Sweet ’n’ spicy
Gaspachos5385 Franklin Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95820
The sound of la señora vendedora’s bugle horn marks the announcement of summer in the barrio.
We’ve had the same vendedora (vendor) for years. She walks long distances in the brutal Sacramento sun, cutting through our neighborhood selling mangonadas, fruit cups and elotes.
Her elotes are never waterlogged, never blemished and always fresh. She slathers on mayonnaise, shovels on Parmesan and then lightly sprinkles just enough chile. Then she begins to slice up our fruit. A layer of crushed ice goes on the bottom of a plastic container, followed by voluptuous chunks of watermelon, pepino, jicama, pineapple and mango. A squeeze of lime. A sprinkle of Tajín. Another layer of crushed ice.
My mother and I sit on the porch or under the front yard tree during those greatly appreciated evenings when the Delta breeze seems to pour through every inch of free space and our bare feet sink into the cool earth as the sounds of vendedora’s bugle horn fades away in the distance. The mayonnaise and cheese on our elotes have formed a union that is hollandaise-like, and the chile is a welcome spice.
In case you don’t live in a neighborhood with its own vendedora, you can always visit Gaspachos.
Gaspachos is a family-owned business run by four Ortiz siblings. Julio Ortiz, the oldest brother, came to the United States when he was 15 years old and worked in the fields. After the rest of the Ortiz family moved to California in 2003, they started selling fruit at festivals years later with the intent to focus on gazpachos, the iconic fruity snack from Morelia, the capital of Michoacaacute;n, Mexico.
Gaspachos follows the traditional gazpacho combination: mango, pineapple, jicama, orange juice, lime juice, queso fresco, salt and chile negro. Gaspachos sprinkles queso ranchero de Morelia, a soft and moist curd-style fresh Mexican cheese, on its fruit cups. The first spoonful leaves my brain frantic between the flavors of salty and dry cheese, acidic juice and sweet fruit. And if you’re thinking this combination might be slightly unorthodox, just think of how many fruit and cheese plates you’ve ogled over at gatherings.
Also on the Gaspachos menu is the popular Mangonada ($6), a combination of chunky chopped mangos, Chamoy, chile, a squeeze of lime and a sticky tamarind candy stick. There are also juice blends if you’re feeling a little under the weather, including the Acueducto blend ($7) containing a lifesaving entanglement of cucumber, celery, grapefruit, pineapple, spinach and orange juice. Then there are the fruit and yogurt bowls ($7) with fresh yogurt, your choice of fruit, granola, a sprinkling of coconut and a cascade of honey.
The pride that the Ortiz family takes in their business is evident from the quality of their products and by the delightful customer service. On one visit, the family said that it hopes to be known as one of the best “gaspacherias” nationally. They’re well on their way.