It's hard to keep a secret in La Cañada.
Sneeze on Palm Drive and someone on Commonwealth Avenue will say Gesundheit!
If your kid jaywalks on Gould Avenue, some mom will call you before she gets to Knight Way.
And now, the Big Secret is out: eater.com has placed Lupe's Place on the Los Angeles “best burrito” list.
Thanks for nothing, eater.com!
Until now, life was good. Life was good because most La Cañadans knew nothing about eater.com, the trendy food and dining website, run by a well-funded Washington, D.C. media company. Vox, founded in 2011, now has over 150 million users.
Most La Cañadans had ignored Lupe's Place, despite its convenient location next to Magpie's and across from the trail entrance on Foothill Boulevard. Lupe's had been off the radar for most La Cañadans.
On the other hand, you'll see Latinos from all over L.A. trek to Lupe's for an early Sunday breakfast.
Why? Because the food is so darn good.
Here in La Cañada, most locals don't eat at Lupe's. One exception is former school board member Meredith Reynolds, who publicly announced in the Valley Sun a few years ago, “Tom and I and our two Labs can be seen ‘loitering' out front of Lupe's every Saturday morning with the other La Cañada regulars.”
For many years, our secret was safe. Len and I, plus pets, could walk in, order incredible food, chat with Lupe and Juan about their son, a young Marine veteran, and find an empty table.
Lupe's was our little secret.
Or, as, Eater put it, “Who knew that La Cañada Flintridge could sport such a worthwhile taqueria? This out of the way find keeps things old school by mixing their ingredients into a messy hash consistency, but add some salsa and away you go.”
Thank you, eater.com. Chris Erskine's recent L.A. Times column on the death of the egg white omelette, notwithstanding, the public will discover that Lupe can do egg-white substitutions in the jalapeño/onion scramble (Huevos Mexicanos).
Before we know it, there will be long lines, like they had for milk and nylons during World War II.
At least Eater didn't mention the huevos divorciados, which are just like huevos rancheros but with two types of salsa.
Salsa. Alas, eater.com, why did you have to mention the salsa? Lupe and Juan's homemade salsas, both red and green, are in unlimited squeeze bottles on the counter. The salsa is quite tasty.
In 1998, when Lupe catered our son's high school graduation party, our secret was safe. The food was so good that the Mariachi band kept taking extra breaks. Every 20 minutes, the music would stop. We'd go look for the musicians. Where were they? In the back? In the front? No, the entire band would be in our kitchen, chowing down.
Me: Isn't it time to take requests?
The Mariachi band: What? Play? We're on a break!
Outside the kitchen, there were additional challenges. The guests liked the food. What a dilemma.
Guest: This food is really good.
Me: Thank you.
Guest: Who's your caterer?
Me: Uh, caterer? What caterer?
Those quiet days are over now that Lupe's Place has received the recognition it has long deserved as one of Southern California's best proprietors of Mexican food.
Sunday brunch will never be the same. There will be lines. Our secret is out.
Right here in La Cañada.
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Follow her on Instagram @realanitabrenner, Facebook and on Twitter @anitabrenner.