Another Great Weekend in Aztlan!

Staying local and enjoying the sights, sounds, and food in the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: August 23, 2013

Another Great Weekend in Aztlan!

Although I cherish the time I spent in Hawaii more than 13 years ago, and I still remember some of the exotic Far East countries I visited while in the military back in the early 70's, and I have yet to make it to places like New York, Chicago, Florida or Mazatlan‘«™I still find myself saying "There's no place like home" when I kick it with the "Fearsome Foursome" and other friends here in the Land of 1000 Dances.

Instead of spending a lot of time & money on travel, hotels, and pricey tourist traps, I have come to enjoy the sensible costs of wining & dining local in the L.A. area without killing my wanderlust and desire for future trips that I know I will make before I kick it and head upstairs with J.C. and the homies...

One good example was just last weekend. Watcha;

Thursday nights are my 'Fridays' after a 10 hour day-4 day workweek. Not bad for an older dude, huh?

Being my good friend DJ Sugarbear's birthday weekend, the Fearsome Foursome assembled and enjoyed happy hour at the 7 Mares Restaurant on 1st Street in San Fernando to start things off. Place is clean, good food aroma in the air, good service. No cover, prices are very reasonable, with 2 for 1 drinks till 8pm.

With endless free chips & salsa, the margaritas are pretty big, so 2 of them baby's should get you in a good mood when you only pay for 1. Same goes for a bucket of beers ~ 2 for the price of 1. The shrimp cocktail is large, delicious, and pretty impressive, with more than enough shrimp, avocado, fresh onions, cilantro, and other ingredients to get your attention.

(unlike like some places that put 4 or 5 shrimps on the rim of a glass of watery tomato ketsup or a sorry small pile of sprouts with lemon & onions and try to pass it off as a shrimp cocktail‘«™yea, right!).

Anyways, on this night there was a live, 4-man conjunto band jammin' from table to table. Not the kind of stuff I play in my truck as I'm cruisin' down the road, tu sabes, but not bad for the brief time we were there. Pretty cultural, and these guys did sound pretty experienced, so we enjoyed some good old fashioned home-town Mexican music, drinks, and food, and the bill was less than $60.00 for four of us.

Friday was DJ Sugarbear's & singer Mike Castrenon's birthday, so we cruised on over to City Lights Cocktail Lounge in Hacienda Heights, where LOUIE PARRA & THEE MAD LATINS took the stage for the night. Another cool place with affordable happy hour till 7:30, we sat in air conditioned comfort with singers Lava Gonzales & Andy Rojo, as Thee Mad Latins, featuring singers Lulu Cardona & Mike Castenon, put on a masterful show of dance music ranging from Top 40 to Oldies to R&B to Cumbias and back, making it a fun night of dancing and partying with a standing room only crowd.

LOT'S of RAZA in the house, everybody just as cool & friendly as you want it to get. ..and for all the 'players' in da house, the Vagabond Inn Motel next door offers discounts to City Light customers after the shows. Live bands every Friday & Saturday, no cover‘«™not bad‘«™

We found gas for $3.72 a gallon in Bassett on the way home, and we stopped in East L.A. around 2 am to enjoy some of the finest tacos & quesadillas from one of the legendary front yard taco stands on the East Side. No lie‘«™generous portions of fluffy fresh grilled meats, cheese & tortillas, with all the chili & condiments you want at 2am on a warm summer night in the heart of Aztlan‘«™total cost to feed 4 hungry people: $11.00‘«™ plus a buck for a chilled soda or a water‘«™I LOVE East L.A. !

Saturday, among so many things happening around the southland of Califas, the 2 tickets of the night that had our attention was LIL' RAY JIMINEZ & THE RHYTHM BEATS at the VFW Hall in Pico Rivera or RUBEN MOLINA & THE SOUTHERN SOUL SPINNERS DJ Group at the VFW Hall in the City of Industry. Since I hadn't seen Lil' Ray perform in so many years, he won the toss of the coin. (No offense to Mr. Molina & his crew of course. Heard his show rocked...sorry we missed it!)

But to start things off, we had to have a delicious gourmet Mezkin-style dinner at EL JALISCO CAF?Ž on Valley Blvd in Bassett, one of the San Gabriel Valley's best kept secrets. Unbelievably affordable & absolutely scrumptious food & ice cold Tecates started our evening out right! Dinner & drinks for 4: $38.00 ~ top that!

Anyways, after that, the Veterans & the crowd at the Pico Rivera VFW were pretty nice and inviting to us, all drinks were served at a discount, and Lil Ray & The Rhythm Beats were jammin'. Of course, besides singing favorite oldies that had everybody dancing and smooching (yea‘«™I saw some of you!), LiL Ray drew some loud applauses & standing ovations when he performed Jackie Wilson's immortal "Lonely Teardrops" and his own legendary signature tune "I Who Have Nothing".

The crowd here was a little older, but you couldn't have convinced them, as the dance floor stood full all night long, and the Gente partied! We hung & partied and kicked up some chancla with Danny & Rosalie Hernandez, and the beautiful Shorty Sanchez ‘«™ another good time, with more good music and good friends!

Sunday, it just felt too good a day to stay home in my jammies & watch TV with my Lady, so the Fearsome Fearsome made it a 4th day of road trips by hittin' the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet for a live concert of BB WOLF, one of the Inland Empire's more powerful offerings of righteous Chicano Rock & Roll to thrill your soul. These guys were really on it and sounding so good, keeping the dance floor full, and about 1,000 people stood happily entertained all afternoon. They were joined by special guest singer MONIBEE HENLEY of ORIGINAL SACRIFICE, another popular and hard hitting Inland Empire band, as she melted hearts with a nice version of the Chicano lover's anthem "Sabor A Mi".

The drive home back to the San Fernando Valley was so mellow, as we luckily drove west into a beautiful California sunset at the right time, making it home just around dusk.

Life in the Land of 1000 Dances with LatinoLA's & East L.A. Revue's Fearsome Foursome & friends‘«™

‘«™let's see what happens next!

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
East L.A. Revue Radio's Frankie Firme & DJ Sugarbear and their ladies make up the "Fearsome Foursome" ...partying, good looking grandparents dedicated to proving that there IS life, love, and dancing after the all kids grow up.
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