LUNCH AT LA CUEVA


Portland, Texas is not funky, cool or artsy like Port Aransas or even Rockport; it used to be a quiet bedroom community to Corpus Christi where many of us commuted ten miles to work there. Community life revolved around schools, sports and churches. The few small restaurants could not sell alcoholic drinks, and if you wanted to buy liquor, you had to make a run to Jessie’s Liquor in Gregory, a tiny town five miles away. There was no public art.

Today industries,some international, have taken advantage of our location on the Gulf of Mexico and our connections to the Port of Corpus Christi. Industries brought jobs and growth. Chain restaurants have opened and one can enjoy an alcoholic drink with dinner and purchase liquor at one of three liquor stores. With good schools it is still a good place to raise a family. There is still no public art other than a memorial tribute to the military and veterans at city hall.

When an art gallery that serves lunch opened up recently, I persuaded Husband to check it out with me. I keep telling him we need more art in Portland.

La Cueva (the cave in Spanish) is owned and run by Gilbert Cuevas, who is also the artist in residence. He moved to Portland from San Antonio after a successful career in graphic advertising. Growing up in the west side in the barrios, he painted what he saw around him.

The ambiance of La Cueva is unexpected for Portland: intimate dining area, dark wood, tall columns, small bar, sophisticated, elegant yet relaxed and casually classy. His paintings – for sale – are displayed gallery style. A curved staircase leads to more art upstairs. The facility is available for private events. The menu offered salads and sandwiches; wine was available. We had The Cubano – deliciosa!

For a look at some of the art of Gilbert Cuevas and his art, go to La Cueva Art Gallary.

Reproductions of some of his original art was available in postcard form. Here is one of several I purchased to share.

29 thoughts on “LUNCH AT LA CUEVA

  1. What a happy find for you!
    Sometimes art shows up in unexpected places. My Alberta doctor has art work on the walls of his office’s reception area. It is all for sale and comes home with him from his visits to the area he was raised in in South Africa. It is his way of supporting some local artists there.

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    • It was nice to discover something different right here. Usually, it is just the big chains that move in and are all alike. We try to support locals when we can.

      Yes, the summer been unusually hot and dry without even a tropical storm to give some relief. With water restrictions our lawn had turned brown. However, for the past few days we have had lots of RAIN and things are getting green again. We have appreciated every tenth of an inch in our rain gauge. Today it is raining again. Cheers to Chac! Take care! Thanks for thinking of us.

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    • Yes, his portraits are good. Thanks for checking out the gallery. I wanted to take more of the art and the restaurant itself but didn’t want to disturb those having lunch. Some pieces were charcoal. Glad you found it interesting even without photographs.

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  2. It really is exciting to discover a completely new restaurant. New in the fact that it has recently opened, but also knew in the fact that it is quite different to other restaurants close by. I’ve looked at some of the art and wish I lived close enough to have lunch and admire more of the works.

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    • It would be wonderful to have lunch there with you, Judith! There is a lovely outdoor area too which I didn’t mention.

      With Covid Husband and I got used to not going out for lunch or dinner. Now we are making an effort to get out. Last week we tried a new place in Rockport called Fulton Irish Pub. No art but we liked it. For lunch we had “Bangers and Mash.” I had seen the menu online before we went and had to Google it as I didn’t know what it was. We loved it! Next time, chips and fish!

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  3. I miss being in that area. I used to have a customer at Ingleside, and one who lived in Flour Bluff, but eventually I gave up traveling for work, and that was the end of that. If I still were coming down to the area, it would be terrific to have a new, close-by place to eat. Maybe I’ll have to visit if I ever can get myself down to Port A again. If I’m going to make it that far, what’s a few more miles?

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  4. Come on down! Raining today! Port A has so many new restaurants that have popped up with the growth. Not the sleepy village it used to be. Golf carts are everywhere and they are trying to have license plates required for them. We haven’t explored any though as we always end up at Virginia’s on the Bay.

    Let us hope we get through hurricane safely!

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  5. Food and art – JoNel – a combination made in heaven. Of course we joined you and Bill. Spanish food is meant to be shared! It is always such a delight to find a new restaurant. An adventure in eating is the best possible in our weary world. We love our little village. Chic, elegant restaurants are few and far between but we do have a rather fine Japanese one. Take care dear friend. Bon Appetit Virginia

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    • Virginia, I have been having trouble liking and commenting so I am trying another way of commenting – hope this one goes through. Yes, it would have been delightful to have had you and Larry joining us for lunch. The artist/chef was interesting to meet and you and Larry would have had much in common. His wife is a partner in the restaurant but she was not there that day. We love our “little village” even without many chic, elegant restaurants. Have a good weekend!

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