Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 5, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 5



Mountain View News Saturday, October 5, 2019 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills



Pasadena is home to many of my friends in the restaurant business. One family that has made their home here for many years is the 
Riboli family. Does the name sound familiar to you? If not, I bet you know their wines. The San Antonio Winery is just a few miles 
away from where you are reading this right now - no long drive to Napa or Temecula. Los Angeles is home to the longest and largest 
producing winery in Southern California. San Antonio Winery, located just east of downtown Los Angeles in Lincoln Heights, offers 
the ultimate romantic experience, or the ideal spot to celebrate love and good times with friends. Step into the vast tasting room and 
up to the counter, and one of the friendly, learned staff will guide you on your wine tasting adventure. You can choose from a selection 
of award-winning dry wines from San Antonio Winery’s Maddalena and San Simeon collections, or semi-sweet, semi-sparkling wines 
from their popular Stella Rosa line, like Stella Rosa Red, and sparkling Stella Rosa Moscato Rosé, perfect for “stellabrating” romance. 

On my recent visit I took a tour of the entire winery, where I learned about the original urban winery’s history. I even got to see 
where the wines are fermented, aged, and bottled. Once I worked up an appetite, I indulged in homestyle Italian cuisine at Maddalena 
restaurant. Named after the winery’s matriarch, Maddalena was the first restaurant inside a winery in California. It was opened in 
the 1970s after Maddalena Riboli’s sandwiches became so popular, a long 
line would form outside the winery. Today, you can still enjoy some of 
Maddalena’s delicious recipes, like her outstanding lasagna and handmade 
ravioli. You can listen to live music in the restaurant all weekend long. 
San Antonio Winery is located at 737 Lamar Street. There is also an ample 
parking lot with complimentary parking. Visit for 
more information. 

For more reviews please check out my website 
listen to Dining with Dills every Sunday Morning on Go Country 105 at 
8 AM . Save the Date !! Very special wine tasting at the Santa Anita Race 
Track featuring Cake Bread Wines on Saturday, October 19th full menu 
and I’ll be there check out for details !!



[Nyerges is the author of “Guide to Wild Foods,” 
“Foraging California,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” 
and other books. He leads regular field 
trips, and can be reached at www.SchoolofSelf-]

Enrique Villaseñor is at the head of the classroom, 
extolling the many unsung virtues of the prickly pear cactus. 
“It’s often referred to as poor people’s food,” he explains, “but 
did you know that it contains all the essential amino acids, and 
some non-essential amino acids as well?”

Villaseñor is the defacto ambassador of the humble prickly pear 
cactus, a plant that has been used for food and medicine for 

After 35 years as a school teacher, Villaseñor recently retired and 
now actively works as an assistant to pharmacologist Dr. James 
Adams, who shares traditional Chumash healing methods.

In the two hour presentation, Villaseñor takes his audience through 
the fascinating history, and the vast healthful benefits, of the prickly 
pear cactus, beginning with the fact that cacti remnants were 
found in jars in Mexico dating back 10,000 years. He explains that 
archaeologists have found old jars that contained not only cactus, 
but teostine (the forerunner to corn), chili, amaranth, sapote, and 
mesquite, some of the earliest foods from this continent.

As part of his presentation, Villaseñor shares details from the historical 
book, “Relacion de Cabeza deVaca,” the account of Alvar 
Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s journey in the unknown interior of America. 
He was one of four survivors of the 1527 Narvaez expedition. 
From 1527 to 1536, he wandered across the U.S. Southwest, learning 
from the natives about the local foods. Though he was a slave 
for the first two years, he became both a trader and a healer to the 
various tribes. He learned of the value of the nopal (aka the prickly 
pear cactus) from the natives and used it for scurvy, treating arrow 
wounds, and for stomach issues. After returning to Spain in 
1537, he wrote his account of the journey, first published in 1542. 
Cabeza de Vaca is sometimes considered a proto-anthropologist 
for his detailed accounts of the many tribes of Native Americans 
that he encountered.

“The prickly pear cactus is one of the best immune system boosters,” 
says Villaseñor, quoting Hippocrates, who said “Let food be 
thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”

Historically, the prickly pear cactus pads have been used for lowering 
cholesterol levels, digestive issues, edema, wounds, bronchitis, 
fevers, vitiligo, inflammation, type II diabetes, muscle pain, urinary 
problems, burns, and liver problems. Students of Villaseñor 
listen in awe, wondering why they have always considered the 
prickly pear just a food to eat when you’re next to starving, rather 
than the superfood it is. 

Villaseñor explains that because prickly pear was always available 
in good times and bad, in times of drought and plenty, it was always 
something that poor people could and did use, but then it 
came to be regarded as simply a food of last resort.

Today, however, that view is changing. Villaseñor points out that 
one can find hundreds of products made from the prickly pear on 
Amazon. This includes food and food supplements, pills for diabetes, 
as well as various products from the cochineal bug that is often 
found on the prickly pear plants. The cochineal has historically 
been dried and crushed to get carminic acid, and a very good red 
dye for clothing and even food products.

The highlight of Villaseñor’s presentation is when he turns on a 
food processor and makes a prickly pear drink for everyone to try.

First, he scrapes the young pads to remove the spines and the tiny 
hair-like glochids. He puts one large pad into the blender, and adds 
one apple and one orange, and blends it all. The resultant drink 
is thick, and so it can be thinned further with water if one prefers. 
Everyone enjoyed the tartness and sweetness of the drink. No 
sugar is ever added.


“Agua de Nopales” -- Prickly Pear Cactus Water, 
by Enrique Villaseñor:


1 - Prickly Pear Cactus pad (cleaned and rinsed)

1 - Peeled Orange

1 - Green Apple

2 - Cups of chilled water

1 - Ice

1 - Lime

Dice 1 Prickly Pear pad. Place in 
blender with 2 cups of water. Blend. 
Dice 1 green apple. Blend. Dice 1 
peeled orange. Blend. Add additional 
water to taste if the smoothie 
is too thick for you. Serve chilled 
with ice. Use lime to taste. Do not 
add sugar. Suggested serving is 1.5 
cups 2X a day. Enjoy! 

According to Villaseñor, this is one 
of the best ways to get your daily intake 
of the prickly pear, in a form 
that is tasty and easy to prepare. The benefits are that it strengthens 
your immune system, helps you to lose weight, and lowers 
your cholesterol.

Villaseñor adds that complete health is really about complete balance, 
and by “balance” he explains that each of us need to find 
balance physically, spiritually, socially, and financially within our 
community and family. “You should work at this every day,” he 

Additionally, Villaseñor points out that the natural immune boosters 
include sleep, plant-based diet, exercise, not-smoking, having 
minimal stress in your life, maintaining a healthy weight, minimal 
alcohol consumption, maintaining healthy relationships, and 
avoiding infections. Consuming prickly pear cactus daily is just 
one part of this overall balance.

Villaseñor shares a little about his background during his presentation. 
His mother is still alive at 101 years old, and she taught him 
Balance in all things. “I was outside all day, always doing things 
outdoors,” he explains. “And when we had a problem, my mother 
healed us!”

Villaseñor also shares testimonials from students of his and Dr. 
Adams, students who have experienced lower glucose levels, improved 
bwel movements, weight loss, and lower cholesterol levels 
by consuming the prickly pear cactus drink, and other herbal remedies 
they teach. 

Regarding the many additives to foods today, Villaseñor advises, 
“If you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it!”

Villaseñor smiles as he shares an old idiom, which underscores 
how Mexico’s identity is tied to the nopal, or prickly pear cactus. 
“Soy mas Mexicano que el nopal,” he says, which translates as “I 
am more Mexican than the cactus.” The expression is asking, between 
the lines, what came first, the Mexican or the cactus, affirming 
the person’s pride in being Mexican.

Enrique Villaseñor can be contacted at

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown



Amaryllis Fox's riveting memoir tells the 
story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine 
ops unit of the CIA, hunting the 
world's most dangerous terrorists in sixteen 
countries while marrying and giving birth 
to a daughter. Fox was in her last year as an 
undergraduate at Oxford studying theology 
and international law when her writing 
mentor Daniel Pearl was captured and 

Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied 
to a master's program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown's 
School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that 
predicted, with uncanny certainty, the likelihood of a terrorist 
cell arising in any village around the world. At 21, she was recruited 
by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing 
hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments 
and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president. 
Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the Counterterrorism 
center. At 22, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations 
training, sent from Langley to "the Farm," where she lived for six 
months in a simulated world learning how to use a Glock, how 
to get out of flexicuffs while locked in the trunk of a car, how to 
withstand torture, and the best ways to commit suicide in case 
of captivity. At the end of this training she was deployed as a spy 
under non-official cover--the most difficult and coveted job in 
the field as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art 
and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the 
Middle East and Asia. 

Life Undercover is exhilarating, intimate, fiercely intelligent--an 
impossible to put down record of an extraordinary life, and of 
her astonishing courage and passion

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