Earlier this month, Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel was chosen by Bjork to direct the artist’s upcoming show at a new and exciting space in New York called The Shed. Little did any of us at The Bubble know that this was just Phase One in an all out Argentine invasion of the Big Apple, with Phase Two finally ready to be announced: there is a yerba mate bar in Brooklyn. In Williamsburg, to be more precise (if there was ever really any doubt).
That’s right, the hipster capital of the world will now be home to long-bearded, flannel-wearing customers consuming the healthy infusion while visibly struggling to correctly pronounce words like yerba and bombilla. The place is called Porteñas and recently opened its doors. Surely it will be a haven for both Argentines abroad and gaucho-adjacent people eager for a fix of the herb-y beverage alike.
So, who came up with this idea? That would be the work of, well, three porteñas (duh): chef Fernanda Tabares, and entrepreneurs Carmen Ferreyra and Gretel Pellegrini. As the website states, these three women have a mission in hand: “The Porteñas experience will offer our audacious patrons an invigorating cup of yerba mate, served with a filter straw in an authentic gourd.” At the same time, they offer “speedy service, sleek décor, and bold and unusual flavors to give customers an organic food experience where convenient meets exotic.”
One of the main angles that Porteñas is pushing for is presenting the health benefits of yerba mate to its clientele. In a world where customers have grown more conscious about what they consume how it affects overall well-being, mate might be an ideal fit. Yerba mate pretty much has it all: it stimulates the immune system, combats inflammation and obesity, and is packed with vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B complex while also containing many essential minerals, fatty acids, flavonols, and antioxidants. “In fact,” as Porteña’s site emphasizes, “yerba mate provides 90 percent more antioxidants than green tea, due to its high concentration of polyphenols, which improve the body’s natural defenses and protect it from cell damage.”
The menu includes traditional mate, juices and infusions with yerba mate extract, and quirky inventions such as Mateccino (capuccino + mate), Mate Latte, Caramel Matte, and something called Wake Up, which is made by combining coffee and mate and sounds maybe a little dangerous.
There’s also mate cheesecake, mate crème brûlée, and a bunch of other mate-related stuff. I could go on, but I’m starting to feel like Bubba explaining to Forrest Gump all the things you can actually do with shrimp. To top it all off, there are also Argentine empanadas, none of which actually have mate in them (surprise, surprise).
No word yet on how the porteñas are planning to explain to the locals that tradition dictates that you’re actually supposed to share mate and sip from the exact same bombilla as your peers, always quite the cultural shock for germphobes upon initiation. So stay tuned for that.
We leave you with a tweet from a Bubble reader who actually went to Porteñas and has only lovely things to say.
The owners are very sweet, their homemade alfajores de dulce de leche are amazing and they have infusiones de mate que no se encuentran en otro lado. La re pegaron en hipster world Brooklyn
— Maria Rendo (@MaruRendo) February 27, 2019