Remind me never to play matchmaker with anything more volatile than avocado and cilantro. The disengaged sideline is the best place to enjoy a party like Zarela’s 20th — I only had to concentrate on keeping my consort upright despite the high-octane margaritas. She does know how to marinate the guests. The bar was like a boozy A train, but we wisely listened when she insisted we move upstairs and then had to take all the crazy sightings secondhand — as someone said, “Where else can you see Gael Greene and Dr. Ruth at the same table?” A rhinestone cowgirl was also there but not throwing her usual “I’m a movie star” pissy fit, at least as much as I heard. My most in-focus memory is of Zarela’s consort helping to ferry the star of the show, a sacahuil, like a washtub-sized tamal made with fresh masa steamed in banana leaves. To this Arizona refugee it was like time travel into the landscape of memory over reality, but it probably went over or under most of the guests who still believe Mexican means fajitas. I skipped the chicken and pork in solidarity with the First World arrogants and had to wonder why the creamy rice with poblanos and corn is always better at the restaurant than when I make it from the cookbook. What was most fascinating was realizing that I remembered being in that space’s previous incarnation, back in another cycle when wine bars were the great white-and-red hope. It’s just too bad the inimitable Seymour Britchky’s last book was in 1991, when there was no Mexican category, only “Latin American.” It would be fascinating to see what has lasted two decades. Will the annoying newish wine bars on Columbus one day revert to real restaurants reflecting the real city?