16 Comments
May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

I visited Al's in the late 80's. It was an afternoon after the lunch rush and the tourists were gone. I had my peanut butter and bread and bellied up to the bar. I was in college at the time and I needed to write a paper. I sat next to a lovely Chinese man who was a life long resident. I asked him if I could ask him about his life and the town. He agreed to talk with me which thrilled me to bits. The bartender stood nearby and made sure of my intentions and manners with the gentleman, which also I appreciated how protective he was. We spoke for over an hour of his life as a pear farmer and his life in Locke.

I graduated and got on with life but of all my college papers my story of Al the Wop's and the town of Locke was amoung the very few I kept. I still treasure my conversation with this man and the look back at life as a Chinese immigrant.

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author

Such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing!

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founding
May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

Those steaks look good. And I think ramshackle seems like the perfect word. To me, ramshackle just means : could use a little attention but is still standing, without. i so appreciate this history and am very pleasantly surprised that the new owners seem to be treating it right, instead of upscaling it.

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I’m surprised by the new owners too! Let’s hope they keep their word.

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May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

Good timing as an old friend who lives/works in Locke just posted on their socials about the Locke Foundation having the Asia Spring Festival this Saturday (5/11) from 11 to 5. If you head over to the Pearl Locke, there will be lectures about the documentary Chinese Builders of Gold Mountains (role of Chinese immigrants in the Gold Rush and building of the Transcontinental Railroad) and the book Performing Chinatown (about Chinese Americans in the early days of the movie industry).

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Damn! I forgot to include that in the newsletter. They had a huge banner that crossed the street advertising the festival when we went.

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It's on Instagram for anybody who wants to share the info: https://www.instagram.com/p/C6mBditxQu9/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

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founding
May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

Food with a side of history is the best comfort food ever! Excellent writing, as always <3

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May 8Liked by illyanna Maisonet

Also, i have never heard of peanut butter as a just-hanging-out-at-the-table option. Totally intrigued. Tonight, as I was pulling the twine off a porketta roast from our local italian deli, (that had been in my freezer for a year, i think....) and the twine was of course covered in burnt bits of crispy herby pork fat, I thought about lean-ness and Mami not really liking to eat meat-- I have never thought of it that way before, all the bits that make it pretty obvious that these are PARTS that I am enjoying. Plain old muscle just seems like a random ingredient, but all the other stuff, well, yeah, that is MEAT.

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May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

Sounds like a mellow day with Mami. Thank you for letting us ride along!

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May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

I have never been to a restaurant that serves peanut butter with bread as a pre-snack/starting to get hungry but I haven't ordered yet option so of course I'm going to eat it and I feel a bit like I have missed out on something special cause that sounds weirdly delicious and a way to pass the time....like cracking open peanut shells. So many perfect little truths in this piece, especially the ones we don't always know how to articulate but are what memories are made of.

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author

Exactly like cracking open peanut shells! You get it.

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May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

I love your adventures with Mami! When I was at University I visited Locke and Al The Wop's for the first time. It was like a right of passage for us. I remember the wooden sidewalks and slanted buildings the most. Pre-pandemic a couple of college buddies and I made the trek back to Al's, ate steaks and did a lot of reminiscing.

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author

What?!!! How far is the drive from Stockton?

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For a bunch of college kids, not far with all the laughing and music. πŸ™‚ Maybe 30-45 minutes πŸ‘πŸΏ

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May 7Liked by illyanna Maisonet

So enjoy your trips with Mamie.

Thank you

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