Stuffed pork chops are just one option in the meat case at the new Wood-Dale Market located in the Grand Island Shopping Center.

Courtesy of Wood-Dale Market

Last Thursday was steady. If you’re Israel and Chris Vasquez, the father-and-son team behind Wood-Dale Market’s new store in the Grand Island Shopping Center at Ming and Buena Vista, steady is good. Steady is doable. Steady may mean that a weekend crush is imminent.

It’s nice to see the little guy compete, the little guy win, the little guy set the bar. That’s what Israel and his crew have done at Wood-Dale’s modest location on Stine Road for the last 15 years, and will probably do in the land of milk and honey in the southwest.

How do you compete with Costco, Vons, Albertsons? It’s cheeky to think you can, but Wood-Dale has with terrific quality and service.

Thursday, I visited the new store (father and son will be going back and forth between the shops). Tile wood grain floor, 32 feet of deli case filled with homemade sausage, meat and also fresh fish that includes shrimp, mako shark, wild salmon and halibut from Santa Monica Seafood.

Later this month, Wood-Dale’s sandwich shop will be open next door serving tri-tip and pulled pork sandwiches, homemade soups and salads.

“We’re going to keep the menu simple,” Israel said.

I was there for 45 minutes and 15 people came in. Half of them were new customers, having never shopped at Wood-Dale before. Dennis was their first customer and bought some Basque sausage.

My prediction, and this doesn’t take any great wisdom, is that Wood-Dale is going to be as successful as the new La Costa, which will soon open in the old Elephant Bar.


Maybe people don’t like wind chimes as much as I thought. I thought everybody liked wind chimes and wrote a column about Sue wanting me to take them down during the last storm because they were keeping her awake.

“Good afternoon Herb,

"I just read your column on wind chimes and had to write (& to laugh).

"I have gotten up on windy nights and gone outside to take the wind chimes down, or at least tie them up with a shoelace (whatever string I could find in my sleepy haze) because they have woken me up. So I can relate to what your wife was saying. Glad to know that I am not alone.

"Sincerely, Anita"

There’s more:

“I have hated wind chimes all my life! Annoying little suckers! As a child, my neighbors chimes constantly infiltrated my space and I daydreamed of ways to destroy them. A fishing pole hooking into them and yanking them down ... gum tossing hoping the sticky mess would stop the racket ... etc. No, Herb ... I do NOT appreciate noise pollution in the form of chimes ... silence is golden!

"A reader."

Good thing “Reader” and I don’t live next door to each other or she’d be fishing for my wind chimes.


Wind begets weather and how great has this recent streak of clear, cool, cold and now rainy days been? My mom texted me a picture from Mammoth with the snow piling up at her condo and a message that read “hopeful.”

You can’t change the weather but I found myself waking up a few weeks ago worrying about the drought. I used to worry about the kids — and that didn’t do any good — and I know I’m trying to turn the drought around at 2 a.m.

Mammoth got five feet over the weekend. Bakersfield also seemed to fare well with weather.


Even though a few readers were dismayed when I went artificial, I am in love with my new turf. I bought a Sphere Turf Rake to keep it fluffed up. I walk outside in the morning and the turf is green, always green, evergreen and for a minute, I think it’s grass but it’s not but I don’t care.


Several readers noticed the mistake in Sunday's column on the former owners of Sequoia Sandwich Co. I attributed the lyrics "We were just young and restless and bored" to Bruce Springsteen and those belong to Bob Seger and his song "Night Moves." I knew that. I just wanted to see if you were reading.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.

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