Today, San Antonio is having the Latino Music Festival at the Main Plaza downtown. Music and food is supposed to last until midnight tonight. As I got closer to Main Plaza, I could already hear the live music playing. As I reached the San Fernando Cathedral I instantly smelled all the delicious food coming from the food booths and the food trucks that were lined up along the side. I took this opportunity to skype with my friend from Italy to show him a little bit of the San Antonio culture. When I started talking to him about enchiladas, flautas and gorditas he had no idea what I was talking about. What??? I knew this was the perfect opportunity to interview the people behind the booths. This is where my story starts.
Not only did we learn the art of flauta making but Josefina, the woman I interviewed, introduced me to the entire family. Josefina, wearing the red hat and red apron, is from Gomez Palacios, Durango. Her aunt Francisca and cousin Rosa are also from Durango and help run the family owned booth. Patricia, the woman in the red hat and dark blue apron is from Monterrey and assists in preparing and cooking the delicious flautas. Maria, the woman in the yellow shirt, is from Sabinas, Coahuila. She runs the gorditas food booth and is close friends with the women of Durango. Francisca, the brains behind the successful food booth, traveled from Mexico at a very young age to San Antonio in the 70’s. Upon arriving she started working in a restaurant where her mentor showed her how to prepare the different Mexican dishes we love so much as well as how to run a successful business. When her mentor passed away, she decided to start her own business selling mini tacos and flautas. Francisca’s nieces, Rosa and Josefina, came to San Antonio about 20 years ago. They were immediately introduced into the flauta business and quickly learned how to effectively run and maintain it.
I asked all these women if they miss their home back in Mexico and they all gave me the same answer. “Yes, although most of us came here at a very young age, we still have family in Mexico that we miss very much. Mexico has become very violent in the past couple of years and that helps make it easier to stay here,” replied Josefina. Patricia feels the same and says she feels safe here. “My son was able to go to school and learn English here,” said Patricia. “I came to San Antonio because I lost a child to the violence in Mexico.” Francisca travels frequently back to Mexico but always comes back to her home in San Antonio. “When I first came to San Antonio, the nightlife was very passive. Everything was over by midnight. I miss the ‘posadas’ in Mexico and the different festivals especially now during the holiday season.”
You can find these women rolling up flautas and stuffing gorditas at most of the San Antonio events around Market Square and Main Plaza. They were very friendly and when I handed them each my card (because they each wanted one) they started joking around saying they were going to tell everyone back in Mexico that I was their boyfriend. (My cards have my picture on them.) They’ll be there until midnight tonight if you’re interested in going. I highly recommend the gorditas and flautas.