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La Portena

Friday afternoon I had no idea, all the organ meats I'd be eating Friday
night. But Friday afternoons are like that. The evening was all about la
parilla, the mammoth mixed grill at La Portena. They have that oddball
Argentinean-Italian thing happening that makes me realize how little I know
about South American history. So, we had antipasti pre-meat. The meat
included regular sausage, blood sausage, tripe, sweetbreads, shell steak,
and tongue. Enough to easily feed three. No starches, no sides (except
chimichurri, of course). It was total Atkin's paradise…too bad I'm doing
Weight Watchers now.
The family sitting across from us, who were splitting la parilla three ways,
had me mesmerized for no good reason. I was oddly attracted to the Mexican
teen I assume was out with his younger brother and dad. He had this
androgynous, handsome, soft face and Sun-in orange streaked bangs a la me in
1984. He seemed so gentle, and upstanding (that could have something to do
with the fact he wasn't speaking English), so unlike all the bratty teens I
usually see around. He still had that immigrant-y politeness to him. He
hadn't gone bad yet. God bless him, out on a Friday night with his family
eating organ meats. I couldn't stop staring. Thankfully, the walls are
covered in mirrors. Perfect for ogling. (5/23/03)

La Portena * 7425 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, NY

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