New Mexico

Maria Adela Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque NM

Cooking is an art says Maria Adela Lazcano owner of El Zarandeado Mexican Food Sinaloa Style located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It took her 13 years to create the recipes for El Zarandeado Restaurant. Maria is originally from the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Her recipes are inspired by the culinary traditions of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Sonora.

For example, el zarandeado is a traditional dish from Sinaloa that features the a kind of fish called Pargo. The fish is sliced in lengthwise and marinated before being baked in the oven. The result is a fish with a crunchy texture that is cooked evenly. The restaurant was named after this traditional dish that literally means “the shaked one.”

Maria is grateful to be running a family restaurant with the help of her daughters and her son. El Zarandeado has two locations in Albuquerque and her family collaborates in the operation of both. Family is very important to Maria. She told me that one of her major goals was to have her kids work alongside with her.

Although Maria is happy to live and work in the City of Albuquerque, she feels culturally connected with Mexico and wishes to open a restaurant in her home state of Sinaloa in the future. “My heart is in Mexico” she tells me “I want, god willing, I want to end up with a restaurant in Mexico.”

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Owner Maria Lazcano holds a Sinaloa inspired seafood plate. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood in Albuquerque New Mexico

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Maria Lazcano and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood

Maria Adela Lazcano (left) and her daughter with El Zarandeado Mexican Seafood Sinaloa style. Albuquerque, New Mexico. June 1, 2014.

Jose Aldana with Aldana’s Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico

I had the great honor of photographing Jose Aldana, the owner of Aldana’s Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico on May 31, 2014. The restaurant has a family, mom and pop atmosphere and serves Mexican and New Mexican food. The most popular plate comes with a tamal, an enchilada and a sopapilla (fried pastry) covered with red or green chile sauce. The restaurant appeals to Mexicans, Mexican Americans and New Mexicans alike.

Jose is originally from a little town called Jilotepec located in Estado de Mexico, which is a state in central Mexico. As a young man he worked in the fields in Mexico. When he moved to the United States, he started washing dishes, sweeping floors and later began to prepare food. His experience in the restaurant industry let him to start Aldana’s Restaurant with the help of friends and family.

Mr. Aldana has come a long way. He said that he remembers his life in Mexico merely as his “infancia” (childhood). He has spent roughly 22 years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His life has been mainly shaped by living and working in United States.

Jose Aldana with Aldana's Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico

Jose Aldana with Aldana’s Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico. May 31, 2014.

Jose Aldana with Aldana's Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico

Jose Aldana with Aldana’s Restaurant in Santa Fe New Mexico holds a menu at the main entrance. May 31, 2014.

Ali Morales and his family in The South Valley in New Mexico

Ali Morales is 25 year old enthusiastic law student from Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua. He is a first generation Mexican American and is setting up roots in the United States. His wife and young daughter Aliana were born in the United States.

Ali’s plan after finishing law school is to practice law in the areas of Criminal law, immigration and worker’s compensation. He currently works at a law firm called Abogado Elias Law that serves Mexican Americans and Hispanics in the South Valley, New Mexico. The South Valley is located just south of Albuquerque.

I asked him what the term Mexican American means and he replied that he thinks of someone who immigrated to the United States from Mexico. He considers his young daughter, Aliana, also to be Mexican American because she has an American mother and a Mexican father. “She is a Mexican American, she represents both cultures” he said.

I also met Ali’s parents and sisters at their home in the South Valley. We drove south of Albuquerque for like 20 minutes and we got to a neighborhood outside of the city. When we got there we found Ali’s dad, Jesus Morales, working on a project to restore a mobile home. We toured the backyard and gathered the family for some photos.

I would like to thank Ali for inviting me to his parent’s house to get a glimpse of Mexican American life in the South Valley.

Ali Morales and family in Albuquerque's South Valley

Ali Morales with his wife Mercedes and their daughter Aliana. Photographed on May 28, 2014 behind Abogado Elias Law in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ali Morales in his small office at Abogado Elias Law Albuquerque New Mexico.

Ali Morales in his small office at Abogado Elias Law in Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 28, 2014.

Ali's father Jesus Morales at his home's backyard

Ali’s father Jesus Morales at his home’s backyard in Albuquerque’s South Valley. May 28, 2014. Jesus Morales has a home construction and remodeling business.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque’s South Valley. From left to right: Mercedes, Ali, Jesus (holding the dog’s leash), baby Aliana, Manuela, Jessica and Diana Morales. May 28, 2014. South Valley, New Mexico.

Ali Morales with his family in Albuquerque's South Valley.

Ali Morales and his family inside their home in New Mexico’s South Valley. From left to right: Jessica, Diana, (sitting down), Jesus, baby Aliana, Manuela, Mercedes, and Ali Morales. May 28, 2014.

Alma Martinez Owner of Nena’s Food in Albuquerque New Mexico

Alma Martinez is from Mexico City. She learned to prepare antojitos (Mexican snack foods) from her grandmothers and her mom. Alma has continued the family tradition by establishing Nena’s Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a third generation preparer and seller of antojitos such as quesadillas, and pambazos.

Alma has lived in Albuquerque for 15 years but still identifies more with the Mexican culture than with the American one. Learning English has been slow for her but that has not been a big obstacle for her business. She has family members that help her out in case translation is necessary.

Alma loves Albuquerque and is proud to have her business in the city.

Alma Martinez with Nena's Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alma Martinez with Nena’s Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photographed on May 28, 2014.

Alma Martinez with Nena's Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alma Martinez with Nena’s Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photographed on May 28, 2014.

Alma Martinez with Nena's Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alma Martinez with Nena’s Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photographed on May 28, 2014.

Alma Martinez with Nena's Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alma Martinez with Nena’s Food in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photographed on May 28, 2014.

Frank Chavez Restores Vintage Chevrolet Cars and Trucks

I visited Frank Chavez’ auto shop on May 25, 2014. Mr. Chavez specializes in restoring Chevrolet trucks 1937-54 and cars from 1935-65 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I spent a few hours talking with him about low rider symbols such as dice, tattoos, religious symbols.

The conversation started because Mr. Chavez took out a book from his archives called Low ‘n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico by photographer Jack Parsons. It’s a beautifully illustrated hardcover book that illustrates the culture of low riders in northern New Mexico.

Mr. Chavez is also a member of the Duke’s Car Club Albuquerque Chapter. According to the club’s web site, the organization is “the world’s oldest lowrider club in continuous existence.”

I met Mr. Chavez at the 30th Annual Car Show presented by the Albuquerque Museum and the New Mexico Council of Car Clubs on May 18, 2014.

Frank Chavez with Duke's Car Club Albuquerque Chapter

Frank Chavez specializes in restoring vintage Chevrolet Trucks and Cars. Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 25, 2014.

Frank Chavez with Duke's Car Club Albuquerque.

Frank Chavez with Duke’s Car Club Albuquerque Chapter. Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 25, 2014.

Frank Chavez with Duke's Car Club Albuquerque

Frank Chavez with Duke’s Car Club Albuquerque Chapter. Albuquerque, New Mexico. May 25, 2014.

Juanita’s Comida Mexicana

In the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico I found Juanita’s Comida Mexicana. It’s a Mexican Restaurant run by Juanita who is originally from Namiquipa Chihuahua. She offers food inspired by her hometown’s ranch. Food prepared at Juanita’s Restaurant is enjoyed by Mexicans and Americans alike. She told me that Americans love the food because it reminds them of the food their grandparents would cook. Photos from May 20, 2014.

Juanita with Juanita's Comida Mexicana. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Juanita with Juanita’s Comida Mexicana in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Barelas Neighborhood. May 20,2014.

Juanita with Juanita's Comida Mexicana. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Juanita with Juanita’s Comida Mexicana in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Barelas Neighborhood. May 20, 2014.

Juanita with Juanita's Comida Mexicana. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Juanita with Juanita’s Comida Mexicana in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Barelas Neighborhood. May 20, 2014.