Profile picture
Paolo Lucchesi @lucchesi
, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Virginia Ramos, a.k.a. the Tamale Lady, died today.

Back in 2014, I began working on a story about her. As her restaurant stalled continuously, the story never came to fruition, but I’d like to share some snippets from my time with her.

After she was banned from selling at Zeitgeist, she began the process of opening her own restaurant.

Step one was navigating the city’s tangled permitting system, which meant meeting with city officials in an empty conference room at City Hall.

She found the permitting system (and its costs) insane, and kept expressing so at that initial meeting.

I took this photo of her during that first meeting. I think it captures her incredulity at the city’s red tape. 3/
About a year later, she finally got the keys to her would-be restaurant. She gave me a tour of the space, a little cubbyhole of a space off the corner of 16th and Mission. It would need a lot of work. But that's not what I remember most about that day.

That was the longest I spoke to Ms. Ramos. Until this point, most of our conversations were via phone.

(She would call my cell and when I picked up, she'd say, "Oh hey sweetie do you still work at the paper?")

On this day, we spoke for maybe an hour. She spouted her feel-good philosophy, things like "Old school means you still have heart. We need to keep the heart in the city."

And I saw that joy and kindness.

It was that smile that had been immortalized by the talented @sfchronicle photographers over the years.

(Especially @cityexposed.)

Anyway, as we were leaving, I offered her a ride. I had driven, and she had been complaining earlier about leg pain. She didn't get around particularly well anyway. She declined, and said she wanted to walk home instead.

But she told me to wait for a sec.

She walked (hobbled) around the corner, and emerged 30 seconds later.

With a bouquet of flowers. (?)

She said she since she didn't have any tamales, she had to give me *something* to make my day special.

(I said she should put them in her home.)

.... But yeah: one of a kind.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Paolo Lucchesi
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!