Neal and I had lunch at Juan's today, and El Jefe was there, up from Mexico. He usually seems to come around every year or two for a month or so, but this time, they told us he'd been mugged and had some health problems and he might stick around a bit ... well, he's also 84 years old. We went over and paid our respects after eating ... I told him we'd been coming pretty much as long as he'd been open back in the 70s, and pointed to Neal, saying we used to bring him when he was a baby in a stroller.
I act like I'm a hermit who doesn't care about his neighborhood, but there's a reason we've been going to Juan's for more than 30 years. Sure, the food is solid, but it's also the place we go where, to coin a phrase, everybody knows your name. As rarely as we actually cook at our house, Juan's is probably the closest we come to home cookin', pretty funny considering Robin's a Midwest gal and I'm half-suburban Cali, half-Spanish. Linguica's still #1 for comfort food, but chowing down at Juan's is a close second, and it's amazing and a little scary to realize I'm older now than Juan was when he opened his Place.