Taste Texas: Castroville: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery

A deliciously delightful Texas must stop, Alsatian bakery on the drive home. I’ve mention plenty of times before that I am from the city of San Antonio, but my Mom’s family’s hometown is D’Hanis, Texas. Located slightly southwest of San Antonio, a beautiful Texas country side drive down Highway 90. 

 Some thing else I may not have mention, I went to elementary school outside of the city, in the first charming small town going down 90, Castroville. St. Louis Catholic School, now we’re talkin’ real small town, schooling. When I attended, there was only about 100 kids in the entire school. So one class of about 15 to maybe 20 students for each grade level. Yep, I had the same classmates every year. Well, one of my favorite Texas bakeries, was just down the street and around the corner from my school. (Actually, everything in this town is basically down the street and around the corner.) 

    

Last week my Mom and I were driving through town and stopped by. We ended up sparking a petty good conversation with the friendly staff and customers. “The meat market down the street, Dzuiks, how do you pronounce the name?” Everyone pronounced it differently. “The ‘D’ is silent.” “No, the ‘Z’ is silent.” “I’ve always pronounced it with a ‘J’ sound.” I guess next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop by for some deer jerky and ask the staff. 

 Haby’s Alsatian Bakery! Castroville is a French-Alsatian settled town. Founded by Henri Castro, in 1844. A lot of the original settlers from Alsace, influence is still visible today. Haby’s has an assortment of fresh baked pastries. So delicious, light, fluffy, and sweet. They also bake cakes for every occasion. Oh, the oatmeal raisin cookiesare my favorite! 

 

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A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

Taste Texas: San Antonio: Casa Rio

It’s the Riverwalk. It’s family. It’s delicious Tex-Mex food. It’s tradition. What else do you think of when you hear someone mention San Antonio’s Casa Rio? 

My mouth waters, my stomach hungrily grumbles, I feel all warm and fuzzy and I think of the countless memories eating there with my family.  I’ve mostly eaten on the patio, so I picture those iconic vibrantly colored table umbrellas along the river walk. Centrally located, it’s so easy to find. Commerce, “you know right by that big red sculptor, but go down stairs along the Riverwalk.”  If you’re from San Antonio you probably given directions like this.  My grandma and I usually order the Regular plate: “A Favorite Since 1946 – Cheese enchilada, tamale, chili con carne, mexican rice, and refried beans.” Did you read that? Do you see the picture? It’s so much food! Oh glorious Tex-Mex food!

The restaurant was established in 1946. Making this one of the oldest restaurant and businesses on the Riverwalk. They host private events and with their historic space and catering. They even have river barge dinners. Next time your on the Riverwalk of San Antonio, stop by enjoy the atmosphere with some delicious San Antonio Tex-Mex and maybe a margarita while the mariachis serenade you.  

Visit Casa Rio

Hey, where have you been Sydney?

I am about a month and a half behind on posting all the articles I’ve written for y’all be cause I’ve been stressing. My work contract ends today, March 26, 2015. Well, get ready for some delightfully delicious, faith and Texas inspiring reading because I just signed the offer to work directly with the company I’ve been contracted with for the last year.

Five years ago, if you asked where I’d be in five years or what’s my five year plan, I never in my wildest dreams thought I be right here. I would have told you “still in medical school, probably just starting residency.” Or Working with autistic children. Of course life doesn’t always happen the way you plan or want it to.

I left undergrad school, with a pretty decent GPA, and MCAT score and just a year left to finish. Starting to look into medical schools. Why did I leave? My family needed me. Faith, family, and food that’s me. My mom was going through a terrible divorce that lasted almost 4 years. I’ve written about her ex-husband, that horrid nightmare, here. My brother and sisters were about 12, 10, and the youngest 7 years old. I moved back home, helping with school pick-ups, drop offs, finances, parenting and still working at the golf course. Eventually shifting my goals to business banking and working my way up.

Summing up the last few years, my family was able to overcome our hardships and move forward. Now what to do, go back to school? I lost that desire for medical school. I guess move to a different city? My friend, Jack, directed me to a contracting job for a pretty big tech company. I was hesitant, told him, I don’t know anything about tech stuff but he assured me that I would do well because I understood the business aspect of companies from working in business banking.

Alright, said a prayer and took that leap of faith.

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So for the last year, I’ve pretty much been competing for my job with other contractors. Now this company is located in Austin, and so many people living in the city and working for this company embrace the “Keep Austin weird” culture and strive to be unique and different from anyone else.

Let’s face it, come on, come in close, group hug, they’re actually all the same. Shocking! I’ve met some really nice and interesting people. Then I met a just a ton of one uppers and realized how little patients I have some times. Jack, was right. I was able to succeed because of my business knowledge and hard work. I also stayed true to myself. Always keeping in mind to stay balanced with the exciting innovations and remembering the business needs.

Finding balance is what I was born to do. Seriously, my mom is Catholic and my dad is Buddhist. Obviously their marriage didn’t workout but growing up I learned a lot of traditions, had culture overload, strong Catholic faith and also learned to always take a step back. Look at the paths behind me, see the possible paths ahead of me, trust in God so that which ever step I take forward he’s right there with me leading me to where I should be.

How do you shine in a crowd of unique individuals lusting to outshine everyone else? Know yourself, hold on to the traditions and culture you’ve always known. Be open minded and acknowledging of different. Balance and you’ll surely emit an incandescent glow shining brighter than the rest.

Growing up Charming: Domestic Violence- Just the Beginning

I was seven years old when I first met the devil. Standing about 5′ 4″ fair skin, dark brown hair, and beady eyes. He went by the nickname “Frank.” I instantly had one of those cold spine tingling chills run up my back. You know the kind that makes your hairs stand on end. I was surrounded in a joyful celebration for my cousin’s birthday and I could not shake the terror I felt meeting this person. When I got older I always thought it was ironic that I met him in October, which also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I was really hurt and didn’t understand why mom married him. Like I said before I was seven years old. She asked me “can I marry him? Is it okay that I’m marring him.” I told her no, I didn’t think he was a good person. They were married by the following March. My brother was born in July. Y’all can do the math. I didn’t know then she was already pregnant with my brother. So, of course she wanted to try to have a family with him.

My parents divorced when I was about three. I remember my dad was a little upset, but nothing crazy, they just grew apart. It was quick and we all moved forward. I thought that was going to be it. No big deal, because both my parents seemed really happy once they were separated. At least, until this deceitful demon came into our lives.

I would never wish the next eleven years of my life upon my worst enemy. I know there are people that are going through much worst all the time. So there’s probably not even a handful of people I’ve shared this with. At first, Frank, tried to be overly nice. He was still getting to know my mom, win her over, and test her limits. It didn’t take him long to realize she was still young, and naive. Heck, she was my age.

Their fighting started with little arguments, over keeping things in a certain way. He made it clear we had to do everything he wanted, there was no compromise. I had always been a very timid, shy, and obedient child. From my memory, I never did anything wrong that would require punishment. I remember him telling my mom I needed to learn responsibility. My first chore, was washing the dishes. Not too bad right? I learned very quickly to double check the dishes and make sure there wasn’t any residue. I’ll never forget the first time I was hit.

He was a police officer, of course he didn’t use just any belt. His work belt was about two inches thick, with other buckles and snaps all the way around. If I cried it made him smile. You know the monkeys in “Planet of the Apes?” Yeah, that’s what he looked like, big ears that put dumbo to shame, and an eerie grin. I would always try to fight back any tears. Usually, locking myself in the bathroom later and let tears quietly stream as I showered. I remember sometimes the water trickling down the red raised mark along my lower back would sting so bad.

He would find any excuse to hit me. Like most kids, sometimes, I didn’t want to keep my room clean or help clean the entire house. But I would get hit for things like taking to long to wash the dishes, or I interrupted and called him out on some exaggerated lie at a dinner party.

One day he asked me to go outside and feed the dog. I filled her bowl with food, tipped over her water bucket, and started to refill it. I don’t think even five minutes passed, when I heard the door open. Before I could even turn half way around, I heard the clank of his belt buckle and the first sting of being whipped went across my arm, then my lower back side, and my leg. I cried out “stop! Why?” With each word he replied in a hitting rage. “BECAUSE,” and another whip. “YOU,” and another whip. “TOOK,” and another whip. “TOO,” another whip. “LONG!”

Now, his joy or rush of hurting some might have been hereditary. From what I know, his father would beat or hit him and his siblings. I was told his father molested his own grandson. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know that family his has a very twisted and racist way of comprehending everything. If one child out of six did anything wrong, their dad would line all six of them up to be whipped. Starting with the youngest, and getting more intense as he worked his way across to the oldest. The oldest, would be punished the most.

Of course, I was considered the oldest. I was held responsible for my brother and sisters actions. At eight years old, I was left at home babysitting a newborn. By the time I was ten, I did a lot of the cooking and clean and taking care of my brother and newborn sister. Anything they did wrong, such as make a mess, like every toddler and infant do, they were punish, but I would still get punished worst. I would try my best to plea with them to be well behaved, but they were babies. They didn’t know any better.

You know how in middle school, students change in front of each other in the open locker rooms? I didn’t like to, I would usually change in a bathroom stall so friends wouldn’t see any markings and bruises I had. Once, he went into this rage as he hitting my sister and finally my mom jumped in and begged him to stop. When he was done, my poor sister had lacerations all over her lower body. It still makes me tear up remembering how much pain she was in. We couldn’t send her to school for a week. It’s painful and scary to remember this was only just the begging of his torment.

I bet you’re probably wondering why I never spoke out to anyone at school or my own father. Frank was a police officer. The police corruption I’ve seen is another chapter. He threaten me as child, that he was the law, and if I said anything he would find any reason he could to put my dad in jail. I was forced to live with this awful demon. I couldn’t complain, couldn’t run, couldn’t do anything. All I could do is hold back tears and pray. Pretend to have a stomach ache, lock myself in the bathroom, and silently let tears stream and pray. “Come to me, all you who labor and have been burdened, and I will refresh you.” -Matthew 11:28 was my saving grace.