`Happy Hour’ in Heights

Badillo family’s Fiesta Botanero marks return

October 12, 2005

If you thought you saw a new Mexican restaurant up in the Heights, think again.

El Fiesta Botanero, which opened its doors in August, actually marks a return to the neighborhood for owner and chef Salvador Badillo.

Badillo owned and operated Fiesta Mexican Restaurant at the same location from 1996 to 2001, but was hit hard by the recession.

“I had to close down after 9/11,” he said. Badillo decided to reopen this August at the same address because it seemed a good place to do business. “It was pretty successful before,” he said.

El Fiesta Botanero (which, roughly translated, means “Happy Hour,”) is located at 1310 13th Street.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Serving everything from tacos to carne asada to seafood, Badillo said the focus of the menu is homemade Mexican food. He said shrimp fajitas are the most popular dish.

The restaurant competes with three other Mexican food establishments in the neighborhood — Hood River Taqueria Mexican Restaurant, El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant and Juanita’s Marketa — but Badillo said the business are supportive of each other.

What sets El Fiesta Botanero apart from the competition, he said, is his experience and knowing what his customers like.

“I love to be involved in the food (industry). I’ve been working in food since I moved to Hood River.” A native of Mexico, Badillo has lived in Hood River for 23 years.

Badillo said the first two months of business have been good.

“It is the time of the year when everyone slows down, but I’ve had really good comments from my customers about the food,” he said.

El Fiesta Botanero employs three people — Badillo, his brother and his daughter. His brother cooks during the day while Badillo works at Down Manor Retirement Center.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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