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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Folk art in Riverside?

For Mother's Day, hubby & I went to downtown Riverside to do a little antiquing. But first we were hungry. You can't shop on an empty stomach now can you?

But where should we eat? The only place I've ever eaten in Riverside is the Old Spaghetti Factory. There is always the Mission Inn, but it was Mother's Day so both places were packed.

So we drove around until we stumbled upon the most unusual eatery. It was called Tio's Tacos. This was our first time there. We were in for quite a surprise.

It seems the restaurant owner is also a folk artist. Over the last 10 years he has taken all the junk he has found around his property & turned it into art. Take a look for yourself. It was quite a spectacle.

Before eating we decided to walk around a little. First off there is this dome shaped hut. It is made mostly of beer bottles. It had water running down the outside. So I guess it was really just one large fountain.

Inside all there was is this hanging chandelier that he made. I loved seeing the light coming in from the different color bottles and the sound of the water trickling down.

Next to the dome shaped hut was this small chapel. It is also made from beer bottles.

Here is the inside of the bottle chapel.

There are two houses plus the restaurant on this property. The roof of this pink house had all this displayed on the roof. Pretty wild.

There is this garden area you can walk through that has junk art hanging everywhere. Lots of water shooting across just over your head. I misjudged once & got the back of my hair wet. There was a stone walkway that also had water trickling through the stones.

All throughout the property he has these topiary forms that are shaped into animals & people. They are filled with the most unusual stuff. Here we have one stuffed with shells, one with little kids toys & one with barbie dolls. And who could miss the large doll head sitting in the sink? Don't you have one sitting in your backyard?

Another tree had these stuffed men looking like they were climbing the tree. Some trees had stuffed animals hanging from them.

A lot of the walkways looked like this. He has thrown whatever junk he could find into the concrete along with river rocks. Here we have a bike encased in the concrete. And did you notice the gnome? I saw TV remote controls, game controllers, tools, hubcaps, toys, etc in the concrete. Some of the walkways just had beer bottles or bottle caps encased in the concrete.

All kinds of art made with junk.

Most everything was so bizarre. But still kind of cool.

We then went inside the restaurant to order our food. You order at the counter & then go find a seat. You can eat inside or out. We opted to eat outside on the patio as it was such a beautiful day. And what did we have for lunch? Hubby had this small crab tostada & a machaca burrito.

I had this carne asada burrito. They were pretty good. I hear this place is mostly known for it's mexican style seafood & fruit smoothies. We had neither. So I guess we will have to go back & try. I love fish. And their specialty is Tilapia. But when I saw that they serve the fish whole, I changed my mind about having fish. Not sure I can eat fish when it's looking back at me. Yuck!!!

I was going to try & get a photo of the fish for you. But I wasn't brave enough to go up to a complete stranger & say "Excuse me, can I take a photo of your fish?". Besides, I wouldn't want to scare you.

Here is hubby eating his tostada. Notice the carved palm tree behind him?

This was our scenery while eating lunch. Topiary figures filled with shells. There was water shooting out from most everything, everywhere on this property. This one was a little rude, but still funny.

See what I mean about weird? You never know what you will find at this place.

This topiary is filled with bottle caps & is holding a globe. He has a metal can for his head.

And here I am. Can you believe I am showing you a photo? I can't.

The house on the corner of the property has a small gift shop that was closed. I hear the family who owns the restaurant also lives in this house. This steel gazebo was in the front. It was about the only normal thing I saw.

Well that, and the roses. I did love this planter. And did you notice the rows and rows of rusty old metal cans used for edging?

This topiary sits on the front of the house. It is filled with cans. Looks like this one is still in needs of more cans. I like that they turned the light into a head for this. They had more of these sitting on the back of the house incorporating other lights as heads.

There was so much to see. I'm sure I missed a lot because there was so much to take in.

I loved these rusty doors on the gift shop. I'm glad the gift shop was closed or I may not have noticed the doors.

There was even an old clawfoot bathtub that had become a fountain.

It was almost overwhelming on how much folk art there was. This guy has some sort of imagination.

Well I hope that you enjoyed the folk art. And I didn't even take photos of anything inside the restaurant. Lots of mosaics in there.

The folk art was a little too weird for my taste, but I could still enjoy it. Just wouldn't want it in my back yard.

So if you are ever in Riverside California, be sure to stop by & check out Tio's Tacos for yourself. They are located on Mission Ave just a couple of blocks north of the Mission Inn.

And be sure to have something to eat and drink there while you are at it. But don't say I didn't warn you about the fish. I wouldn't want you to have nightmares of a dead fish staring at you.

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  1. Now this was a pretty bizarre journey you took us on -- I was loving every minute of it taking in all the details. I am with you the food looked yummy and fresh and the roses and that wrought iron gate wow -- is was beautiful.

    Happy outdoor Wednesday


  2. I had no idea you lived in CA! My husband lived in an apartment in Riverside when we met. My in laws live in Lancaster so sometimes we meet up in Riverside as a halfway point. I'll have to show him this post, I don't think he's ever heard of this place. Huell Howser needs to take a trip here for sure!!!

  3. Wow! Can you imagine how much time it took to make all these things?? Your right about the imagination!!! Sometimes the strangest things can lead you to inspiration!

  4. Boogieboard CottageMay 13, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Wow, this really reminds me of my teenagers rooms! Only this is really cool and took a lot of thought in making it, were as my kids rooms......anyway, thank you for the fun field trip, I really enjoyed it! Mary :O)

  5. What cool junque!!! I'm sure you had 10 x's more fun eating there, than any other place you might have found, how fun! Thanks for sharing! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  6. Kim, what an amazing spot! I'm one who truly enjoys folk art, but this takes the cake. Pretty bizarre! I agree that it is pretty cool and interesting. I can't imagine how many hours went into creating all of this. What an imagination! Thanks for taking us along. Did you find any antiques to take home? ~ Sarah

  7. That was really neat. Never have I seen something quite like this. It is sorta creative. Thanks for sharing, it was fun to see. Great pics of you and your honey. Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Cool stuff. I believe you could say they have eclectic style, ey?
    Hope they didn't recycle the food! LOL! Looks like they didn't give your hubs much on his plate. Hope he didn't leave hungry! ;o)

  9. Hi KIm!
    Hmmmmmm art...hmmmmmm - pretty crazy ! I didn't see anything that I want to duplicate...LOL !