Tag: 浦东新茶

Valley eatery has spent 50 years making food, fans

first_imgSHERMAN OAKS – Twenty-two years old, confident and charming, Rafael Vega took his mom’s recipes and a small business loan and opened a restaurant that bore his name. This was 50 years ago today, back when Mexican food didn’t show up on every corner, before the average American knew words like enchilada and margarita. His dad had run a nightclub and he had some formal schooling, but Vega was basically a gutsy kid who lived in Burbank, gambling that people would enjoy the food he ate at home. “My father was behind the bar, my mother was waiting tables and I was at the door,” Vega, now 72, remembered. “We just wanted a little family Mexican restaurant.” And, as it turned out, a lot of people wanted to come to that little family Mexican restaurant called Casa Vega. In 1956, Vega worked as many as 16 hours a day, never really giving it a thought. He learned to work the room, to shake hands and laugh deeply in that way that makes people feel like they’re at home, even in the company of strangers. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2He worked hard, but he was lucky, too. Luck always ran in the family. His uncle Alejandro went to sea as a cook in 1939 out of San Pedro and bought two tickets in the Irish Sweepstakes while on leave in Gibraltar. When he reached port back home, he was a millionaire, and fronted the money to Vega’s dad to start Casa Caliente on Olvera Street. After 18 years, the family closed the joint and went to work for Rafael, a dapper dresser everyone called Ray. He kept working, introducing people to an Americanized version of the food he’d grown up with. Within five years, he’d paid off his loan and made a lot of friends. And important friends, at that. “You know, Cary Grant, back when Dyan Cannon was pregnant, I was working the door,” Vega said. “I said to him, `Mr. Grant, I really appreciate your business, but this is the fifth time this week you’ve been in here.’ He tells me, `I don’t really care for Mexican food, but when she’s eating the food here, Dyan isn’t such a pain in the … neck.”‘ Vega’s got a lot of stories like that, like the time he got drunk with Marlon Brando, or the quiet, polite way Dean Martin would come in to hang out. “Brando got very possessive,” Vega said. “One time, this guy was giving my aunt a hard time at the door. So Brando got up and he told that guy, `You’d better get out of here’ – and he did.” That’s always the way it has been at Casa Vega, where the lights are so low and the drinks so strong, you never really know what famous person is shrouded off in the corner booth. Was that Tom Cruise and Patricia Arquette? Maybe. Brad Pitt? Perhaps. Jessica Simpson? Possibly. More likely, it was someone like Tamara Ortiz. She’s not a celebrity; she’s a title insurer. She and her friend Gayle Slade come so often, they don’t even have to say the restaurant’s whole name anymore – a simple `CV?’ text message from one is enough to bring the other in a hurry. “There’s certain things in life that you can count on and Casa Vega’s one of them,” Ortiz, 41, of Studio City, said. “It’s truly like a vacation in your own hometown. You can be here all day, all afternoon, all night.” “Not that we’ve ever done that!” laughed Slade, a Sherman Oaks Realtor. “It’s like coming home to family here – Tony the bartender, Rosie the waiter, Ray the owner.” To the restaurant’s fans, of which there are plenty, no superlative seems too great. The chicken enchiladas aren’t just good, they’re the best in the Valley. Antonio Navarro doesn’t just make a mean margarita, he’s the best bartender in the world. The food isn’t just tasty, it’s better than you’d find even in Mexico. Vega privately disputes that, but he’d never tell his patrons. “From time to time, we’ve tried things like pozole or menudo, but our clientele doesn’t buy that,” he said. “It isn’t what I like, it’s what the customer likes. We go through 100 cases of tequila a month to make the margaritas. They’re not the way I’d make them, but the customers sure like them that way.” And that’s what has kept him in business all these years – that, and the way he works the crowd. Waggling his lush eyebrows, slapping backs, purring hello in his rich, velvet voice, he hits every table in the room. Even when the wait for a table is stretched out past an hour and everyone’s packed in, Vega makes sure they don’t really mind. When the tequila is flowing and the chips come basket by basket, reality loses its hard edge and everyone seems to laugh. “It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it’s always the same time in Casa Vega,” said Leslie Gerard, a 42-year-old personal manager who grew up eating at the place and still drives from Manhattan Beach at least once a month. “As soon as someone says Casa Vega, I’m there.” All this has made Vega a wealthy, respected man. He’s sat on corporate boards, gotten his picture taken with President Nixon, served as the honorary consul general of Mexico. And he has given back, employing workers for decades and establishing leadership programs to encourage young Latinos to work and go to college. He’s at an age and comfort level where many people would retire and relax, but Vega still checks in five days a week and plays an active role in the business. When his daughter Christina returns from maternity leave, he’ll hand some things over to her. But he never plans to stop working the room, just like he did when he was 22 and dreaming. “People come up and say, `Thanks for being here,”‘ he said. “But it’s the other way around. I should be thanking them.” brent.hopkins@dailynews.com (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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first_imgDunfanaghy Golf Club Notes:Hi Everyone, Well what a great weekend. The club was the place to be last weekend with the Ryder Cup Celebrations.It was easy to see the amount of planning the committees put in to make sure the weekend was a great success. Nothing was left to chance and everyone had a most memorable weekend in the club. A special word of thanks to the Ryder Cup Committee comprising of Captain Gerald, Lady Captain Cheryl, Vice Captain Vaughan, Vice Lady Captain Mabel, Cairns Witherow, Bill and Paula Mc Callion and Jim Conway. The club would especially like to thank our sponsor for the weekend “Smiley Monroe”. The weekend would not have been possible without the support that Vaughan’s company gave the club over the weekend. A special word of thanks to Nicola who assisted with every last detail regarding the functions in the Clubhouse and Marque over the weekend. Jim Conway and his company was responsible for the marketing of this weekend and it was easy to see what a great job he did, with the large crowds who came to the clubhouse over the weekend. The atmosphere around the club was brilliant all weekend.We started on Friday night with a sing along with Bill Mc Callion and other guests. The night was very enjoyable with a large crowd in the clubhouse. Then on Saturday we had a four person team event split into 2 shotgun starts and everything went according to the plan. Paul McGinley led his team to victory this weekend and our own Captain Gerald also led his team to victory with a great score of 99. It was a fitting victory for all the work he has put into this weekend and indeed all year and made all the sweeter that he was accompanied by his father Michael on his team. Well done on the golf and the weekend. The golfers enjoyed the hog roast in the marque after the golf. Saturday night we had entertainment by Ards Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Group and then later that night we were entertained by Copperhead in the Marque. There was a large crowd in the clubhouse and Marque all day Saturday. Well done to all the prize winners. Then on Sunday we had the three ball scramble and again the golf course was full. Everyone enjoyed a meal afterwards while watching the conclusion to the Ryder Cup. Well done to Paul Mc Ginley and the European team. It was easy to see that his leadership qualities were a major factor in the Ryder Cup being retained by the European Team. We hope to see Paul and the Ryder Cup in Dunfanaghy in the near future.There is a sheet up on the notice board and any person interested in playing in the Gaeltacht League team this year needs to put their name and contact details on the sheet to be included in team selection as soon as possible.We have the Past Captain’s competition and meal on Saturday 4th of October 2014 Can all past Captains please make contact with Mary and Ruth in the clubhouse as soon as possible to include your name on the timesheet for the day if you are hoping to play golf or join the Captain for the meal afterwards. Results:Wed 24 SeptOpen Single Stableford1st Roger Green 41pts2nd John Nee 39pts Gross Billy Griffin 26pts bot3rd Ray Finn 39ptsCSS 37ptsFri 26th September Ryder Cup Singles;1st Tony McGilloway 40pts2nd Hugh Ferry 38ptsGross John Chambers 24pts3rd Joseph McGinley 37ptsCategory Declan McGrady 34pts1st 9 Ray Finn 20pts2nd 9 James Connors 18pts botCSS 36ptsSat 27th SeptRyder Cup Classic;1st D & D Moore G & M Dalton 99pts2nd G & M McGreevy T McGilloway B Gilfedder 97pts3rd P Hunter M Stewart G Regan E Druce 95pts4th B & M Kelly J Doherty C Roarty 94pts bot5th P McGlone D McDaid C Jones S Parker 94pts6th P Smyth F walsh A Murray K Armstoing 93ptsLongest Drive (Ladies) Cherly Chambers(Gents) Fergus WalshNearest the Pin Stevie ParkerCSS N/ASun 28th SeptRyder Cup Scramble1st Michael Mary & Dean McColgan 55 5/6 bot2nd Dominic Bogues Liam & John McKillion 55 5/63rd Bill & Paula McCallion Janice Doherty 56 2/3CSS N/ACompetitions this coming week:The competitions are as follows:• Wednesday 1st October Open Singles Stableford• Saturday 4th October 4BBB Competition• Sunday 5th October Brian Mc Ginley Memorial GOYNew Year’s Eve At The ClubhouseWe are pleased to announce that the very enjoyable New Year’s Eve Party held at the Clubhouse last year is again being organised. The Band, which by all accounts, “made the party” have again been booked. Food, although yet to be arranged, will be along the same lines as last year. The cost will again be €30 per person and numbers will be strictly limited to sixty people on a “first come” basis. No tickets will be issued, and bookings can only be confirmed on receipt of full payment. Mary will be in charge of all bookings and as this will sell out very quickly I would advise those interested to contact her immediately and pay by card over the phone.As this is not priced as a fund raising exercise there will be no refund for those having booked but unable to attend.If however, you are unable to attend please contact Mary and you will be put in touch with someone on the waiting list willing to buy your ticket.GOLF NEWS: DUNFANAGHY DELIGHTED WITH RYDER CUP WIN was last modified: September 30th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DunfanaghygolfNoticesSportlast_img read more

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