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Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Driving back in the rain from Independence VA where I'd been to see Jr Maxwell in the nursing home, I thought I'd treat myself to a good lunch, one I could enjoy the rest of the day with spicey aftertaste. LA MEXICANA, far and away the best restaurant in Sparta in my and several others' ways of seeing/tasting. Good food. Friendly atmosphere. The owners came here from the Canary Islands. They went to Miami first and, like tossing a frog into boiling water, they jumped right out and came to Sparta.

A wonderful Columbian woman, Consuelo, opened it about five years before and brought Venezuelan, Columbian and Mexican cuisine to Sparta for the Hispanic community. A small restaurant with a counter and some tables off to the side. Consuelo made a good business of it and eventually wanted to live someplace where she could go out and dance when she wanted to. She sold La Mexicana and moved to Summerville SC where she has a restaurant, CONSUELOS. Before she left she hired a Mexican woman, Consuelo, and taught her to cook Consuelo's way. It was a sad day when Consuelo left the store and the county. There were about a dozen of us non-Hispanic who savored her meals.

The transition was easy, however, because the new Consuelo cooked like Consuelo. This is Consuelo pictured above who has cooked there ever since, more than 5 years. Consuelo is a hard working woman. I've known her to work three jobs. First, she worked all the time getting money together to get her two kids here from Mexico. The original Consuelo went to New York from Bogota, worked all the time to get her kids to USA from Columbia, then came to Sparta to get out of NY. Present Consuelo has had what I call her babies here several years now. The girl, in her last year of high school likes it here. The boy, much younger, wants to go back to Mexico. What's a mother to do?

This beaming face you see of Consuelo is her spirit shining through. She is a loving woman and her food is prepared in that spirit you see in her face. I believe the spirit of the person preparing the food has a great deal to do with the sustenance in the food. In some places the food is dead because the energy in the kitchen is dead. LA MEXICANA serves living food with a beaming spirit preparing it. A picture of St. Germain is on the wall.

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