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As customers file into the recently opened mcallen restaurant, rock ur belly speed shop & grub, a regular sits in her familiar seat — cast in a red glow, talking over blaring nostalgia from songs of the past.

Elida bautista cruz comes to her sons’ restaurant after work and orders off menu. Because of health issues, bautista avoids the homemade buns, gourmet burgers and potatoes fried in bacon fat.

Her voice breaks and her eyes water speaking about her children. Elida turns 62 on saturday, and when her son, adrian cruz, was planning his prestigious james beard house dinner in new york city, he booked as close to that date as possible.

On tuesday, adrian cruz prepared the dinner at the james beard house titled “my mother’s migrant kitchen,” which was “dedicated to the memories of when we were kids and focusing on the story of her,” he said.Allows city


The james beard foundation is a nonprofit that celebrates and honors excellence in the culinary arts. About 200 chefs annually are invited to host dinners at the james beard house.

The rock ur belly chef and his siblings started cooking by watching their mom work a makeshift restaurant to feed workers who harvested hops with their father. Living in washington, adrian remembers working the fields picking apples and grapes.

She remembers adrian’s first dish was fideo. While her noodle soup was traditional with comino, garlic, salt and tomato sauce, she said he always experimented with different flavors.

Fideo was on tuesday’s menu in new york city, which featured “twist(s) on traditional dishes they were doing before, (but) having fun with the food,” adrian said.James beard

Instead of calabaza con pollo, he served calabaza con puerco, which incorporated celery-root puree and pork. Instead of beef barbacoa, he made a pork-lengua barbacoa mix in gorditas. Instead of regular capirotada, he fused whipped foie gras, banana, chocolate and coffee flavors into what he called a “capirotada mexican twinkie.”

His flare for fusing flavors is what got the attention of the james beard foundation in the first place. Adrian was a winner in the 2016 JBF blended burger project with his concha burger, which used sweet bread as buns.

If you ask elida, it started with her parents, and cooking was a communal activity because they had a big family. Her father would make barbacoa on the pit and her mom made tortillas.Rock belly

Adrian and his brother, bobby cruz, pride themselves on rock ur belly serving customers that order off menu. And with the experience in the kitchen like their grandmother and mother before them, the brothers judge amounts by the weight in their hands and flavors by learned memory.

“right there and then, we’re going to teach them. ‘grab this. Cook this. Drop this,’” bobby said. “‘make this.’ they’re going to create that recipe while this customer is waiting for them.”

Rock ur belly was born as a food truck, and was kept alive as a cooking competition team name and catering service. Car parts, skateboards, graffiti and candles decorate the spot. There’s a stage opposite the bar for live music.Allows city

“I like rock-and-roll bars, don’t get me wrong,” bobby said. “but I’d rather it be a restaurant that has rock and roll and not a bar that serves food.

Rock ur belly showcases the brothers’ eclectic dishes and fusion style. Appetizers include pork belly mac and cheese fried egg rolls, tempura chicken and bacon lollipops and ahi tuna watermelon tartare, which includes tamarindo and chicharron.

But the stars of the show are their burgers, fresh buns and fries. Various burgers include blends of beef, chorizo, slow-roasted pork, cheese sausage, smoked bacon, canadian ham and more. They look to add to the menu when adrian returns, and hope to have a healthy selection of milkshakes soon.Commercial lanes

U.S. Customs and border protection commissioner kevin mcaleenan signed a donations acceptance agreement last month that allows the city to “facilitate the proposed donation of outbound commercial vehicle inspection facilities, including supporting infrastructure, equipment and technologies.”

The federal document formally allows the city to provide inspection infrastructure necessary for empty commercial trucks to cross at the international bridge into mexico as soon as january 2019. The program in part allows the city to donate the improved commercial lanes to the federal government.

“we are going to pay for operations (at the bridge) for actually two years until the federal government puts it into their budget,” said bridge director marga lopez.Allows city

“it’ll offer another alternative to make commercial traffic more fluid by offering empties (empty commercial vehicles) to go through our port of entry,” lopez said.

Infrastructure improvements on the commercial southbound lanes will include fencing, an inspection booth, an exit booth and canopies, according to lopez.

Last year, the city received approval for the donation of northbound commercial inspection facilities, according to a customs and border protection news release. The bridge will eventually be equipped with “state of the art” technology in commercial lanes that include facial recognition and non-intrusive inspection of all commercial vehicles by way of a radio frequency identification-enabled cards, which will contain shipment and driver information, lopez previously told the city council in january.Allows city

The city now awaits a state letter of authority, another formal authorization, from the texas department of transportation. The city will then be able to accept sealed bids for the proposed infrastructure improvements on the southbound commercial lanes.

Construction on southbound commercial lanes could begin as soon as august 2018; fully loaded commercial trucks headed northbound could cross as soon as november 2019.