The Golden Circle Doughnut Shop: A Primer and Introduction – Part 2
At dusk on March 11th, 1743, the Aguila sailed into the harbor of Point Loma. It was then that tragedy struck. Less than a mile from shore, a fire broke out in the munitions hold of the ship. Despite the ragged state of the rest of his supplies, the hold was surprisingly full. Cardoza was notoriously stingy with the use of gunpowder. While this no doubt endeared him to the Spanish Navy’s pursers, it proved unfortunate that evening.
The journals of Padre Hermes Espinoza, who witnessed the Aguila sail into Point Loma, called the explosion “a thing of terrible beauty. And loud. My mule was quite startled.”
Only two sailors survived the blast. And with all of the ship’s logs, official documents and charts destroyed, the exact location of Los Besos remained a mystery for another thirty years. Indeed, it wasn’t until the late 1770’s that the Spanish founded Mission Los Besos Del Santa in the heart of a thriving (for the time being) Indian community along the marshes and scrub brush of the bay’s western shore.
It should be noted that many modern historians question whether Cardoza ever entered Los Besos Bay at all. They cite a lack of archaeological evidence and various circumstantial proofs: most notably, that the treacherous currents in the bay (especially during strong winter tides) would’ve made 18th Century navigation almost impossible. Moreover, the two survivors of the Aguila explosion gave such erratic and fabulous accounts of their expedition to Los Besos that their story as a whole is circumspect (among other decidedly tall-sounding tales, they spoke of meeting a tribe of miniature Indians that lived inside acorns, and of a tame grizzly bear that spoke in Flemish and drank honey wine).
Nevertheless, some 275 years later, California possesses a city named Los Besos, located on the shores of a wide and picturesque bay, not far from the site of the former Spanish Mission. And in Los Besos, there is a somewhat neglected thoroughfare named Avenue Cardoza.
And on the corner of 31st Street and Avenue Cardoza, there is a doughnut shop called The Golden Circle.