Progressive lunch

I worked on Sunday. That’s right, Christmas Day. I don’t want your sympathy, because actually I don’t care about that, but what I did need at the time were your Noche Buena leftovers and lunchtime remnants, as the work canteen was shut, and I hadn’t eaten any breakfast. I was hungry.

The working day was saved, however, via some mutual back-scratching when “a friend” sent a text message to ask whether I had an escape route to save her from the mother-in-law who was still kicking about 24 hours after the festivities had ended – and was probably quite close to being kicked, as well.

The friend and her partner turned up to Herald Towers with a china plate stacked with fabulous meaty goodies, a tuna-and-egg stuffed tomato, and a glass of Champagne. The whinging was worth the wait, I tell you, although perhaps my Christmas dinner didn’t arrive a minute too soon for my colleagues.

As I was busily putting together pages 4 and 5 of Monday’s newspaper, a query arose about a story. Having selected a newsy feature on how transgender people’s rights have improved in Argentina, the query related to pronoun use. “But if that person is a transvestite, dressing as a woman, then they are still a man and the ‘she’ should say ‘he’,” came the comment.

Apart from not being able to believe my ears about the very narrow-mindedness of my colleague, the whole point of the story was about rights improving… and given that at the end of November, Argentina approved a gender recognition law (and in 2010 passed a same-sex marriage law with equal rights which include the adoption and inheritance rights that heterosexual couples have), well, frankly I was prepared for a fight.

The gloves didn’t need to come on the day before Boxing Day, but regardless, I was annoyed, angered even, that this issue was being questioned.

Because last Thursday, I went for lunch at Parrilla Transeúntes in Barracas. Set up by “trans people and born out of the necessity to create a space in which this group can incorporate their work skills,” this little steak house, set right under the motorway in a rather salubrious part of town, only opens at lunchtime.

Offering up a simple menu – that day’s options were vacío (flank) and bondiola (pork shoulder), plated or sandwiched – as well as salads, chips and grilled veggies for the vegetarians among us (pointedly mentioned by our waitress, and which Azim is, although he was on pause for his Argentina trip), the four of us set up camp under the magenta bougainvillea-covered pergola and watched the butterflies float on by. If it weren’t for the rumbling of trucks overhead, we could have been almost anywhere – apart from under a creaking Barracas motorway.

Although the service was rather haphazard as dishes arrived staggered, with a small helping of patience on the side, once everything had made its way to the plastic table, it was all pretty delicious. The homemade chimichurri in the recycled glass yogurt pot was so unusually hot and mouth-burning, it had to be a recipe from Salta. And it turned out that Carla Morales (see photo), one of the owners and waitresses, was indeed from Salta, according to my Pick Up The Fork friend Allie, which is also the transvestite capital of Argentina.

There was also change from 100 pesos. I know that lunches don’t qualify in that series of my dining reviews, but four people eating plenty of food, sides including some perfectly-cooked chips and soft drinks, paid 140 pesos in total (that would be 70 pesos for two, number boffins).

Why go to Transeúntes? Frankly, if anything can stop the ‘travas’ going to 3 de Febrero park to sell their ‘wares’ because that is one of the few options open to them to make some money – despite Argentina’s laws being so progressive in terms of equal rights – then I’ll make it a regular eating spot.

Parrilla Transeúntes
Aristóbulo del Valle 1851
Open Mon-Fri at lunchtime only.

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