Mark and I don’t have much of a Thanksgiving tradition together, mostly because Mark fairly hates Thanksgiving. But Mark is also an accommodating guy, and, even if he weren’t, he knows force majeure when he sees it. One occasion on which the force majeure was too strong to tangle with, we were in Buenos Aires. Americans we knew there were going to go and have their Thanksgiving turkey in an American-style restaurant called Kansas Grill in the suburb of San Isidro, where the Presidential residence is also located. These friends courted us energetically. There was nothing else we had to do that particular Thursday. Not even Mark was able to think of a convincing excuse, and we joined them and we had a good time. The Kansas Grill was kind of like the biggest and glitziest diner in any American suburb in which a stack of pancakes are called for on a Sunday morning. As I remember, we all got to sit in a huge booth, and that’s something that doesn’t happen every day in South America. Good turkey and good trimmings, too.
Last week, after several years of abstinence, I finally got my turkey-with-all-the-trimmings again. We had to be in Rio for most of the week, so we did the appropriate Googling and we discovered that we had two options. But it was easy to rule out Thanksgiving at the Marriott Hotel. Too Republican, and we'd have had to dress for the occasion to boot. So we reserved for three in the afternoon at the Gringo Café in Ipanema, more down-home and much more us. The place is real '50s-style, right down to the turquoise-colored chairs. It's run by Sam Flowers, an American from — well, I’m not sure, but I’d guess California, only because he sounded like my brother-in-law who is Californian. Sam is a good-looking guy and a great host, and he sure knows how to pile up a plate with turkey and trimmings.
Just one thing that was a little odd. Thanksgiving is not a Brazilian holiday. Could be that other Americans were planning to stop by the Gringo Café for their turkey later. But, at the seemingly traditional Thanksgiving hour at which we turned up, the Americans were few and far between, and the Brazilians who stopped in would order a burger or a piece of cake and then go on about their everyday business.
Here was our menu (or rather, my menu). Scrooge ordered meatloaf.
Um um good!
Now you see my pumpkin pie . . .
So thanks, Sam, for my little taste of home! Same time next year?