Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Tradition

 This afternoon we continued a Christmas Eve tradition started when I was a child.  We ate dinner out at a local Mexican restaurant. 

 Our son's comment on my photo taking at a restaurant was, "If this was the summer or I was my sister, I would give you grief for taking photos."  It really is the height of gauche to look like a tourist, or be embarrassing.

Eh!  We eat here a lot, the staff recognize us, I don't think we will be taken for tourists.  Mostly this post is about a restaurant 3,000 miles away, I can't get photos there, so I took them here!

When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, one of my parents friends told them about a great Mexican restaurant in Camarillo.  It was a good hour's drive from our house.  But my dad enjoyed driving and we gave it a try.  My parents' friends were right!  The food was wonderful and the staff made us feel like family!

We'd go about once a month.  I can remember my Dad's birthday dinner there one year.  Once or twice we took my brother's best friend, and ever after the owner's son would ask if we had Norman with us.  It really was one of those places amazingly important to my family history.

One year my parents decided to go to El Tecolote for Christmas Eve dinner.  So we piled into our station wagon and off we went.  Little did we know that El Tecolote closed for the entire month of December.  In the 1950's & '60's, the owner, Mike Loza,  hired Mexican nationals and their work visas allowed them to work in the US for 11 months and required they return to Mexico for a month.  When we arrived at El Tecolote, it was dark.  I think there was a sign saying why they were closed.  I remember my mom saying how nice they could be with their families.  We all thought yes it's nice, but where were we going to eat?  

At the time, Camarillo was a very sleepy little town.  Home was an hour away.  We found a Mexican restaurant that was open.  It was a bit of a hole in the wall, but my parents had 3 hungry little kids in the car and they were game.  I remember, the food was filling, there were lots of lights and Christmas decorations and everyone was very kind. 

We continued the tradition, My dad got recommendations from co-workers of restaurants closer to home.  El Tecolote always made us feel part of the family and each year we would say, this is good, but we wish we were at El Tecolote!

 My husband likes Mexican food as much as I do, so it was no trouble keeping this tradition going with him.   The kids embraced the tradition and I hope they keep it going when they start their own families.

I loved eating out this evening and I have loved remembering a really wonderful part of my childhood.


Stop by How Sweet The Sound to see what other Pink Saturday participants are doing on Christmas.


Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

Merry Christmas to you! ;)

Donnie said...

What a wonderful Christmas Tradition and the best part you had family around. Have a safe and blessed Christmas.

Elyse said...

mmmm! i love mexican food. sweet story!

warmest wishes for continued merriment, good health and of course, treats!