For the second time, this season,
Eloy Cavazos, the geriatric wonder, registered a clamorous triumph,
last Sunday, in Tijuana. After spending more than three decades
on the circuit, and retiring in 1985, only to return to the rings
in 1987, the 50-year-old "Little Giant" is performing
better than ever. It seems that, now that he doesn't need the
money---although he certainly earns enough of it--he is performing
for the sheer love of it.
ALFREDO LOMELI heads this Sunday's corrida in Plaza El
Toreo de Tijuana. He will alternate with Rafael Ortega and Spanish
Matador Domingo López Chavez, facing bulls from José
Lopez Chavez. The action begins at 4:30.
On Sunday, he alternated with Rejoneador José Hernandez Andres (substituting for Giovanni Aloi), and matadores Guillermo Capetillo and César Castañeda, facing one bull of Begoña and six of Doña Celia Barbabosa, who performed before the largest crowd of the season.
The start of the corrida was delayed, nearly 20 minutes, because arriving vehicles where held up by a huge traffic jam, caused by extensive road work.
On balance, it was an excellent herd of bulls. The Begoña toro was brave and noble, although in the second half of the lídia, it took a defensive position, next to the barrera. Of the Barbabosa sextet, one was difficult and another was impossible, but the other four were excellent, pressing strongly against the horses and maintaining their strength and nobility, throughout. One was rewarded with a turn of the ring.
Siempre Listo, with 480 kilos, was excellent in the first half of the lídia, allowing Andres to demonstrate abundant personality and excellent horsemanship, as he placed rejones in fine fashion. Then, with difficulty, but with excellent technique, he placed long banderillas and one pair of cortas. But, he had difficulties with the rejon of death and was forced to dismount. He finished the performance with the descabello. It took this observer a few second realize that something looked weird. The rejoneador is left-handed!
Eloy has three formulas. Formula One is a pure crowd pleaser. Formula Two offers something for purists, as well as tourists. And, Formula Three is that in which the matador really gets serious and demonstrates what a great torero he is. With his first animal, Tio, Eloy used Formula #1, thrilling the crowd with a very brief faena. The fans loved it. This reporter didn't. For, although Tio was announced at 475 kilos, it looked to be only a novillo whose horns seemed unnaturally blunt. After placing a good sword, Eloy cut one ear, which really wasn't deserved.
But, his second animal, Max, was a genuine toro toro. Weighing 485 kilos, it was an excellent, strong and handsome, animal, and Cavazos wasted no time in giving it Formula Three. Eloy's cape work was acceptable, but with the muleta, he presented a grand, dominating faena to both sides. Eloy totally overwhelmed the animal, working in wonderful style to both sides, while demonstrating great aguante and a very erect stance, complemented by running the hand from Tijuana to Ensenada.
At the end, although there was heavy petition for the indulto, Eloy--- realizing that Max was an excellent toro, but not a great animal, which is what is demanded for consideration for the indulto--ignored the petition and dropped the bull with another fine sword placement. Max was afforded a turn of the ring, while wearing a bouquet of roses that Eloy had placed upon it. The matador was granted well-deserved ears and tail.
Neither of the sons of the great Manuel Capetillo is much of a torero. And, Guillermo Capetillo demonstrated, Sunday, that it's time to terminate a career that wasn't notable, in the first place. He should stick to soap operas. He failed to give the proper lídia to either of his bulls, although his second toro was an especially brave and noble one. Capetillo failed to run the hand or to give a proper exit. Lástima de toro! The matador was properly boo'ed, while the bull was applauded.
César was hungry for a triumph, but it just wasn't in the cards. His first bull, Sobrino, with 480 kilos, scared the frijoles out of this critic. It was a terrible animal, possessed of a short charge, sentido, and hooks to both sides. It constantly searched for flesh.
Castañeda opened with good Verónicas, then put his life on the line by placing banderillas and having to run for his life, after each pair. His faena was a catch-as-catch-can affair, with the matador almost being caught, on several occasions. César had troubles with the sword and descabello and was limited to applause.
His second bull, the 495-kilo Triunfador, was an excellent example of toro de lídia. It was brave, noble, strong, and honest. The matador opened with very good cape work, again placed banderillas, this time very well, and designed a nice faena that inspired music and applause. Had he killed well, César would most certainly have cut a couple of ears, but such was not to be. He was applauded, while the happy fans carried Eloy on their shoulders.
Due to the road work, which will delay all traffic to and from Playas de Tijuana, the balance of the season will be celebrated in the downtown plaza de toros. This Sunday, a herd of José Julian Llaguno bulls will be run for Alfredo Lomelí, Rafael Ortega, and Spanish Matador Domingo López Chaves.
The Sociedad Gastronómico Gazteluleku, of Pamplona, presented its annual trophy to breeder Luis Guillermo López Olea, of the Villablanca ranch, for presenting the tastiest bull of the recent Feria de San Fermín. The bull that won their gastronomic accord weighed 620 kilos and was fought by Ortega Cano.
Venezuelan novillero Hugo José Molina "El Morocho", who suffered severe spinal injuries while performing in Sevilla, may be on the road to recovery. Following surgery in Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami, the torero could move his arks and legs. But, whether he returns to the rings will not be known for several months.
CHIKI JAI SPANISH RESTAURANT
RETURNS IN HUGE TRIUMPH
In the 50s and 60s, the best Spanish cuisine restaurant in Tijuana was the Chiki Jai, which is located downtown, just a half-block from the Jai Alai Palace. It is a very taurine restaurant, with bulls heads and taurine paraphernalia all over the walls. And, the food was wonderful!
The Chiki Jai was sold, became Sol y Sombra, and almost immediately, the quality of the food plunged. Aficionados stopped eating, there.
Well, several weeks ago, Barnaby and Mary Conrad said that they had eaten there, that the restaurant had been re-purchased by Paquita and Manuel Monje, and that it had returned to being a wonderful dining experience. It now goes by two names, Sol y Sombra y Chiki Jai. Those who take the bus from the border arrive only a half block from the place, which is located at Avenida Revolución #1388.
This reported and his friends tried it and confirmed that which the Conrads had said. The menu is pure Spanish, although is also offers decent steaks. The first Sunday, we sampled the paella, which is authentic Madrid-style and the very best in Tijuana. Then, last Sunday, I tried the calamari steak, which was sensational.
The meals begin with great bread and a healthy serving of Roquefort cheese. Then, comes either very tasty black bean soup or an equally impressive spinach salad. You can select a full meal, or try one of dozens of delicious dishes that effectively could be called tapas. Paquita supervises the kitchen, while Manuel rubs elbows with the guests, and loves to discuss toreo and toreros. Ears and tail to Paquita and Manuel!
Do yourself a favor and dine at Sol y Sombra/Chiki Jai. You're going to love it!