When we were in a Mexico City neighborhood recently, Nancy and I discovered a taco joint with an unexpected mystical flavor. We sat at one of the three tiny tables while the beaming middle-aged couple who ran Al Portal served up large, flavorful tacos. On the next table, I noticed a well-thumbed copy of the Kabbalah, the Jewish book of mysticism. The man said the book belonged to their son, an artist. One of his beautiful still-life paintings was hanging on the wall.
|The Al Portal Family with fresh herbs and fruit|
|One of Martin's paintings|
As we were leaving, Martin invited us to a special three-course meal he was cooking for friends that night at the restaurant. He motioned to the mounds of fresh herbs his mother was cleaning for an infusion (tea) that would be served with white wine. He also would show some of his paintings. We jumped at the opportunity.