Off Second Avenue

Amid all the rending of garments lately over bloggers taking freebies, I should be hesitant to do a shout-out to a friend. But then years and years ago I tagged along to one of her parties with another friend, and I will always remember how well a virtual stranger was treated in a crowd that included luminaries from Geoffrey Beene to David Byrne. So I will say, once again, Zarela do throw one hell of a fiesta. The food was the cosa. I’d had the plantain chips with peanut salsa before, and the picadas, little masa saucers filled with tomatillo and avocado salsa, but not the potato crisps to be dunked into a sauce she later said was made with tomatillos, chile pasilla and worm. Because we had to leave early because my consort was leaving next day for a workshop in Kentucky, we wriggled our way too soon into the salivating line for the buffet and snared the full monte, of which I was most enamored of the huitlacoche casserole. This particular fete was at her home, and while I heard at least 125 people were invited, they seemed to have checked their egos at the door — media guests I expected to piss all over me were cordial to warm. The celebs were even mellower. Call this the restaurateur who mistook her clientele for real human beings.