Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Caledonia Dawson

The Crazy Cross-Dressing Ibarra Chocolate Coffee Drink

I'm normally wary of foods that have the term 'loco' in the title. Loco is a fun word, with its bouncy little internal rhyme and near-universal recognition among even the least linguistically sophisticated of us in los Estados Unidos. But, really, who would willingly want to consume something labeled as 'crazy'? There seems to be a Taco Loco in every city, for example, but the idea of a Crazy Taco only conjures images of Mad Cow disease to me. No thank you.

All of this goes through my head as I scan the Los Bagels menu above my head, looking for something hot and sweet, and my eye catches on the Loco Mocha. Made with genuine Mexican Ibarra chocolate, this drink is like Univision's Sabado Gigante: pure frothy delight.

But even as the Loco Mocha satiates my taste buds, its enigmatic name prompts my mind to quibble. Why loco? Mocha is a feminine word, surely it should be modified by the feminine version of the adjective. Loca Mocha would seem more grammatically correct. Hm. But maybe it's one of those crazy cross-dressing Spanish nouns like manos, or hands, which should be masculine but is in fact las manos, feminine. Or el vestido, meaning "dress," which you would think, as men don't wear dresses, should certainly be a feminine noun but is masculine.

I am suddenly reminded of crossing the border at Nuevo Laredo after a long and sweaty trip on a Greyhound back from Jalisco and having a sudden moment of panic because I couldn't remember the difference between zapatos and Zapatas. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except that I was bringing a pair of shoes that my friend had had me pick up at a shoe store in Guadalajara back to Texas with me and I didn't really speak Spanish and it suddenly occured to me that I didn't really know this guy that well and I hadn't checked the shoes to make sure they didn't contain...umm...stuff that the border patrol would surely be interested in. And if the German Shepherds weren't suspicious, Customs surely would be when I told them I had Zapatas in my bag. Imagine their surprise when they opened my duffel and found contraband instead of a Mexican revolutionary!

Okay, deep breath. I love how Los Bagels always manages to bring me back to memories of Mexico (which I did successfully return from, my friend's zapatos in hand). I've decided that the Loco Mocha can be whatever it wants to be--who am I to say whether it should call itself a boy or a girl? As long as it keeps being delicious.

Caledonia Dawson

Thanks Caledonia for your "Guest Blog Post."  To read more of her work, check out her two blogs...they are very well written and capture the essence of life in Humboldt... and the Humboldt Bachelorette will have you laughing out loud. &

Friday, February 3, 2012

Salmon Runs

We talk about salmon quite a bit at Los Bagels.  Usually it concerns smoked salmon, lox or salmon spread.  Not today!  As the rains finally came to Humboldt County we were recently treated to some great salmon runs. Freshwater Creek, Prairie Creek and the Mad River showed some impressive numbers of fish heading upstream to spawn.
Photo by Thomas B. Dunklin,
 A salmon's journey never ceases to amaze.  Born in a tiny creek, miles ands miles from the ocean, heading down stream to the vast ocean.  Living in the ocean for 5-6 years then heading back to the same tiny creek to spawn.  It sounds simple, but it is truly one of nature's greatest triumphs.

Photo by Thomas B. Dunklin,
Locally, a gentleman named Doug Kelly has been working tirelessly to improve salmon habitat.  His work with the Humboldt Fish Action Council is a force in our community doing the down and dirty work of restoration.  Using a volunteer squad of community members and HSU students, he is able to create more habit for salmon.  Los Bagels has sponsored Doug's efforts with bagels and pastries for years.  Many other businesses such as Humboldt Grassfed Beef, Santa Cruz Coffee and Odwalla, support Doug's volunteers with the nutrition they need to clear out invasive weeds, clear debris and actually re-create spawning beds where sediment has made it impossible for the salmon eggs to hatch. 

They also have an "Adopt-a-Fish" program for that salmon lover in your life.

We would like to give a special thank you to Thomas B. Dunklin, the North Coast's premier salmon photographer for the above photos,  and if you want to see something totally awesome, watch his video "GET UP"a Tribute to Fish Passage Success Stories.

Cheers to the salmon, long may you run!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Refresh, Renew & Lime Walnut Bread Too!

Happy New Year, here we go for another trip around the sun.  2011 was a good year here in Bagel-land, but personally I am ready for 2012.  Something about the new year, resolutions, fresh starts all makes me very hopeful.

An ongoing tradition at Los Bagels is that we close from December 24th through January 2nd, this gives everyone a nice break and time to actually enjoy the Holidays with family and friends.  It also gives us a chance to do major upgrades to the shops and some serious deep cleaning.  The truly great part of this break is that everyone comes back refreshed, and in good spirits.  We employ about 45 people, most doing customer service and production work, our staff is a tight knit group.  However, by December 23rd even the most diehard Bagelero is pretty well "over it", tempers flair, limits are pushed and friendships are tested.  Keeping the shops running smoothly can be a little touch and go right up until the closed sign gets flipped at 5 p.m. 

Coming back to work after New Year's is really a treat. Everyone is talking about their adventures while we were on vacation.  Who headed south to LA? Who saw a great New Years Eve concert in San Francisco? Who stayed up here and got Redwood National Park to themselves?

All of us in the Los Bagels family are lucky to have this break to recharge, refresh and renew.  It is only unfortunate for Humboldt natives who live out of the area and return for the Holidays, only to find their favorite bagel shop in the world closed.  We hope you understand and it's a good excuse to visit at another time of year.

This year our most popular Holiday Bread was our outrageously good "Lime Walnut Bread"  to start the year out on a generous note, here is the recipe.  Feel free to share this with your friends and family to keep them warm and toasty through the coming months.  This recipe and all your other fav's are in Los Bagels Recipes & Lore, 3rd edition. Feliz Año Nuevo!