Sylvia Aguilar was born in 1948 in Los Angeles and was raised in Torrance, California. Her mother was born in Mexico and brought to America when she was just six months old. She didn’t find out she was illegal until she was 34 and someone came to her door with a warrant for her arrest (thankfully, it got resolved). Sylvia’s dad was born in the United States to Mexican immigrants and was in the lithography business. Sylvia’s parents, the only Latinos in an all-white community, were culturally aware of who they were. While they assimilated into the dominant culture (her mom was even the PTA president), they maintained their identity, too. They embraced their heritage, taught their children to never to be ashamed of who they were or where they were from, and spoke both Spanish and English at home.
Sylvia learned about her heritage at big Sunday breakfasts with huge pans of fried potatoes, bacon, eggs and hand made tortillas. Her father would tell stories about their family members, the war and where he grew up so his kids knew where they came from. Sylvia grew up in a traditional household, so was relegated to helping her mom with the cooking and sewing.
Sylvia went to college after high school and thought she wanted to be a nurse. After a year of school, Sylvia concluded nursing wasn’t for her. She had studied sociology and someone suggested she apply for a job as a parole officer. She didn’t even know what the job entailed, but at the young age of 21 applied for the job during the LA riots and gang wars. Sylvia got hired on the spot thanks to her bilingual abilities.
Sylvia worked with adult parolees at first, but soon learned she could do little to help them; her hands were tied and she felt hopeless. After six years working with adults, Sylvia got a job as a probation office with juveniles and never turned back, working with them until her retirement.
Sylvia got married in 1970 and moved up to Portland with her family in 1987. She has 2 children, 3 grandchildren and is spending most of her time in Baja, soaking in the sun and dancing.
Mexican Caesar Salad
romaine lettuce tossed with fresh tomatoes, red onion, cotija cheese, house-made crispy tortilla strips & caesar dressing
add grilled chicken breast 3.95 add wild salmon 4.95
beer-battered fresh cod, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo & a special sauce, served with honey-lime dressed greens topped with cotija cheese
slow-cooked Carlton Farms pork with poblano & jalapeno peppers, tomatillos, herbs & spices, served with Mexican rice & warm flour tortillas
a rich cream cheese cake with a toasted coconut-graham cracker crust & a mango swirl filling, topped with a fresh fruit salsa
full-flavored pilsner style beer from Mexico…light & fresh
Oregon Blackberry Margarita
tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice & muddled fresh berries, served on the rocks with a salt rim