Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 4, 2024

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Mountain Views-News Saturday, May 4, 2024 



(Reprint from 2023)

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 

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 Pasadena.


I’m Gustavo Lira, Tasting Room 
Manager and Wine Buyer at The Bottle 
Shop in Sierra Madre with another 
wine and spirits selection. 

Who says you must drink Mexican beer 
while celebrating Cinco de Mayo? I sure 
as hell don’t. Just as the Mexican forces 
defeated the French forces in the Battle 
of Puebla in 1862, this wine could top 
many a French wine in a blind tasting! 
Let me introduce you to the Clos 
Benoit Red Wine 2019 from the Valle 
de Guadalupe. 

Clos Benoit was founded in 1997 by 
the husband-and-wife team - Bonnie 
and Ben Benoit. Veronica Santiago 
was the winemaker for ten vintages 
including the 2019 vintage. Their 
vineyard is at an elevation of 932 ft 
in sandy loam soils. They modeled 
their vineyard after the French estate 
Vieux Telegraphe in Chateaunuef du 
Pape by planting their vineyard in 
the same percentages as Telegraphe’s 
famous la Crau vineyard. 
Additionally, they have the only plantings of Counoise in all of Mexico – sourced from 
the famous Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape. 

The vineyard is farmed organically, and they add very minimal sulfites to the wines. 
They use native yeast to start the fermentation process. All this leads to a gorgeously 
finessed and elegant wine. They make just two wines: a white made from Viognier, 
Grenache Blanc and Roussanne and a red made from Grenache, Syrah, Counoise, 
Mourvedre. The 2019 vintage is made of 78% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 5% Counoise, and 
3% Mourvedre. The wine was aged in used French oak, and new 500L American oak, 
and aged for 12 months. It then was aged an additional 12 months in bottle.

Veronica Santiago hit a frigging home run with this wine. Beautiful light color in the 
glass. Delicate fruit, strawberries, and plum on the palate. Very subtle spice. Finesse 
and elegance. An absolute beauty of a wine. I will surely look for her own wine label 
called Mina Penelope and try to bring that wine into the Bottle Shop. Total production 
for Clos Benoit is around 280 cases. You won’t see this anywhere else around here. 

This wine is available at The Bottle Shop for $35.99. Mention you saw the wine in the 
Mountain Views News and get it for $33.99!

Coming up at The Tasting Room - Saturday night (5/4 at 5pm) Organic & Biodynamic 
Wines. Thursday & Friday (5/9 & 5/10) Chardonnay From The Santas (Santa Barbara, 
Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Cruz, and Santa Maria) Reservations are recommended, 
walk-ins welcome based upon availability. Scan the QRCode to sign up for our 
newsletter with more details. 

Until next time – Salud!




3 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced

½ cup sliced onions

½ cup sliced red bell pepper

½ cup tomato juice

2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

1 cup salsa

8 (1/2 inch thick) slices French bread

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook and stir until 
lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the sliced onions and red peppers, and cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the vegetables 
are tender. Stir in the tomato juice and taco seasoning, and mix well. Cook mixture until the 
juice has thickened and the chicken is well coated with sauce, about an additional 7 minutes.

Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

Spread 2 tablespoons of salsa over each slice of French bread. Evenly spoon the chicken 
mixture on top of the salsa topped bread. Sprinkle each sandwich with 1/4 cup Cheddar 

Place sandwiches under the preheated broiler and cook for 5 minutes or until the cheese is 
melted and beginning to brown.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 35 mins

Yield: 8 sandwiches

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