Janie and Barba the 2 Loves of My Life.

The English have their Tea. The French have their Red Wine. The Japanese have their raw fish. Every ethnicity has their own delicacies. The Texas-American-Mexican is no different. Janie frontThis dish is so rare it can only be gotten on the weekends. Thousands of little shops all across Texas start turning the lights on around 4:30 Saturday morning. The work day ends at noon or when the commodity runs out. Then Sunday again 4:30 am the lights come on oven begins to heat  and it starts all over again until noon or when it runs out whatever comes first. You generally won’t find tables and chairs in these kitchens and the menu if very limited. Corn and flour tortillas a few avocados and the main course. Not a lot of inventory. Imagine the rent going on for 31 days a month and the cash register only rings eight of those days. Ah but you better get there early because you never know when they will run out.

 Children are suspect of it until they work up the courage to try it. Then they wait with great anticipation until dad comes home with it. I remember the my first time. My cousins told me that it came from the brains of a cow and if you inspected it closely sometimes you might find an eye buried down inside the mound. I loved mine wrapped up in a flour tortilla. Just plain no hot sauce or salt or anything to ruin the flavor. My mouth would water as the tin foil was slowly unfolded and the steam would come curling up. Any second now it would be touching my lips then the roof of my mouth and then…ecstasybarbacoa1. It leaves taste buds screaming for more. As in precious stones and illegal drugs you can only purchase this item by the quarter, half or full pound. Even pronouncing it’s name is titillating. You have to kiss your lips twice all the while curling your tongue to roll the “r”s. Barbacoa. Saying it as you are calling a lamb Baaarrrr ba KO Ah. Mexican Bar B Que. Mmmm mmmm good.

 You have to be careful. There are places that give you all meat. But there are some places  that mix it with fat. By far the very absolutely best place in San Antonio is Janie’s Barbacoa located on the corner of Bandera Rd and Huebner Rd. Every Saturday and Sunday there are two constants at Janies. Her hair wrapped up in a hair net and her big beautiful smile.

 Oh I know the policemen have their donuts and the Jews have their bagels but the Mexicans have it the best. We have our Mexican Bar B Q. I’m all grown up now and I like to have my Janie’s on thin corn tortilla’s. Don’t tell my doctor but I load that baby up with lots of salt.

 What’s so significant about some shredded meat you might be asking? Memories and warmth. It’s the warJanieSmile2mth we get from our memories of our traditions brought to us by thousands of Janie’s from all over the state continuing the rich heritage of our common brotherhood.  It is the common execution of our rituals that make us unique. And it is that uniqueness that adds a bit of color and distinction a great big beautiful state called Texas.

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