Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 30, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 11

Mountain View News Saturday, April 30, 2022 



[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.SchoolofSelfReliance.

Enrique Villaseñor is 

at the head of the class

room, 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 millenia. 
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. 

Besides assisting Dr. Adams in teaching how to practice traditional healing with herbs and lifestyle, 
he has become a walking encyclopedia on what he called the “superfood” of the prickly pear cactus. 
He doesn’t want people to think of this food as simply as food of poor people who can’t afford “real 
food.” Rather, he points to all the current products (food, medicine, fabric, etc.) that are currently 
on the market which as manufactured from the prickly pear cactus. 

PRICKLY PEAR USE GOES BACK 10,000 YEARSIn his two hour dynamic 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 teosinte (the forerunner to corn), chili, 
amaranth, sapote, and mesquite, some of the earliest foods from this continent. 

“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. 

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 carefully scrapes the young pads to remove all the spines and the tiny hair-like glochids. 
He puts one large pad into the blender, and adds one apple and one peeled 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. 

THE RECIPE: -“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. 

He does not advocate cooking the cactus if you want it for its medicinal benefits. 

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 each of these every day,” he explains. 

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 also shares testimonials from students of his and Dr. Adams, students who have experienced 
lower glucose levels, improved bowel 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 

The Chef Knows By Peter Dills 

Just this past week I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the most 
determined and dedicated restaurant owners that we have in Pasadena 
area, Blair Salisbury owner of the El Cholo Café. Though, his restaurant 
is well known, Blair still looks after his baby with the greatest of care. 

Self described as "nuts and crazy," Blair's lineage is that of a restaurateur. 
The Borquez family launched the Sonora Cafe in 1923 in a small storefront 
on Broadway and Santa Barbara Ave. After a patron doodled a picture 
of a man and called him El Cholo (the name commonly known for 
a field hand at the time), Alejandro Borquez loved the picture of the man 
so much that he changed the name of Senora Café to El Cholo in 1925. 
The following year, George Salisbury meets Aurelia Borquez and they fall 
in love and decide to open their own El Cholo. Racing ahead to the year 
2000, Blair, the grandson of George opens El Cholo Cafe in Pasadena, on 
Fair Oaks. For those of you old enough to remember, it was once the John Bull English Pub. I found out 
that Blair was determined to open in Pasadena, he was a moment away from Old Town Pasadena, but the 
Cheesecake Factory beat him to Colorado and Fair Oaks location 

Blair still desired to move into the heart of Old Town and his hopes were realized with the opening of the 
restaurant at the Paseo. Blair said, "It feels as though it has been here all along. It just felt like the staff 
and surroundings didn't miss a beat." Truly Pasadena feels like home to El Cholo Café, and Blair wouldn't 
have it any other way!!! 

The restaurant is expansive, with a patio that overlooks Colorado Blvd. and the snow capped San Gabriel 
Mountains. They offer two different bars, one as you walk in, akin to a service bar, and a great place to 
wait for a table and enjoy a "Killer" Margarita, and a back bar just next to the Patio. Offering large screen 
TV's and perfect for slumbering and enjoying the show as they make your Guacamole tableside. 

The menu is full of different combinations, Blair believes that the more selections there are.... the better, 
and he tries to give a little bit of selection for everyone. I descended upon the PLATO DE CARNITAS, 
roasted pork, served with fresh avocado relish, Pico de Gallo, Nopales, rice and beans When I go to a 
Mexican Restaurant I always try the pork. It was stunningly tender and fresh, and may be the best that 
I have ever tasted. My dinner companion gave two thumbs up to the Shrimp Sizzling Fajitas I was just 
about stuffed when Blair brought out the Blue Corn Chicken Enchilada for us to try. It is item that made 
El Cholo famous. A must try for anyone eating at the restaurant. Of course I had a Margarita. A Single 
Margarita that seemed to have the power to bust a piñata. If you love Mexican Food like I do, or just 
want to spend a sleepy Sunday at the bar with guacamole and chips. Save a seat for me. El Cholo Paseo 

Join me this Sunday afternoon on AM 830 KLAA 


Meowronica Lake, age 
1, is an elegant-looking 
kitty. She has a beauti-ful 
swath of black fur going 
diagonally across her 
head and face that reminds 
one of her namesake, 
Veronica Lake. Her 
big yellow green eyes are 
mesmerizing and her 
white face is accented by 
a cute pink nose. She has faintly polka dotted ears. She also has tufted paws with fur 
between her toes. As a first-time mom, she took wonderful care of her 4 little ones who 
are all now adopted. She is spayed, vac-cinated with current vet records. We don’t know 
Meowronica’s begin-nings but we are sure of her Hollywood ending - a pampered life 
as an adored house cat given all the luxuries a kitty can have. Call foster mom Gabbi at 

(626) 808-8557 for more information. 
Pet of the Week

 Seven-year-old Minnie is a smart, silly dog who showsoff her “dance of joy” when she prances around withher toys. She’s a very sweet and polite dog, but she alsogets really excited to see her favorite people, and willsit as close as possible to them to get the most backscratches. Minnie has an adorable, goofy personalityyou can’t help but fall in love with! 
The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dog adoptionsinclude spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriatevaccines.

 New adopters will receive a complimentary healthand-
wellness exam from VCA Animal Hospitals, aswell as a goody bag filled with information about how to care for your pet. 

View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment at pasadenahumane.
org. Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoption appointments are availableevery Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by phonecalls or email. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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