(April 13, 2016)—When it comes to Pancho’s, many memories come to mind. Although it wasn’t exactly the best New Mexican food, before mainstream television it was a place where families could fill their bellies and enjoy their evenings.
Was it the chile rellenos? Maybe the sopapillas?
The chile rellenos were like over-sized Twinkies stuffed to the brim with white cheese, and from what I remember, the sopapillas where good and cheap.
With much anticipation, while in high school, a friend of mine and I would take the pocket change we had and would buy lunch from there almost everyday. One time I was hit by a car crossing San Mateo I was so hungry. I remember running across the street so fast to get to the center divider (obviously j-walking), that a woman going probably 30 miles per hour, hooked my leg with her bumper. The car sent me flying in the air, doing somersaults. The previous day we were doing forward rolls in PE class, so, somehow, someway, I managed to curl up and do a forward roll, rather than slamming my face into the asphalt.
My friends were laughing and surprised as they thought that I did that on purpose. Maybe they didn’t see the car hit me? The lady that hit me stopped, but then took off when she saw that I was on my feet. Or maybe it was because I was really hungry and wanted to be the first in line, because I proceeded to run into the take-out section of the restaurant. Like any other poor New Mexican kid, I gathered up my change and purchased a few sopas and a free water. How I managed to survive that and get my cheap sopapillas is still a mystery to me.
I also recall going with my family many times as a child. All the children would play with the flag so much that our parents would have to put it out of reach, as we confused the wait staff pretty often. For those of you that never had the opportunity to eat Pancho’s, they had a flag that you would raise anytime that you needed to order something.
I remember my uncle Lou taking my silverware from me because I would bang them unnecessarily, chanting “we want food!”, with my cousins (we were obviously brats, or I was, shall I say.)
Maybe it’s just the memories stored that make me think of this place? Maybe I want one of their pillow-like chile rellenos? Some memories of this place are more vivid, like the time my cousin Erin ate too much sour cream and puked exorcist style.
So, I’ll just leave this right here for you, so you can stew up your own memories of Pancho’s.