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Argentina

BA Food Roundup!

Given our full enjoyment of Buenos Aires' eateries, we felt these establishments warranted a post of their own. Besides being exceptionally affordable (the most expensive steak in a parrilla ran about $15 on average), they also boasted food to rival top offerings in any other world city.

Argentine (Traditional) - AKA Parrillas!

Manolo - No-frills neighborhood Parrilla in San Telmo
Definitely seemed to attract a local crowd more than other places we visited, but was also a step below in terms of quality. That said, they still cooked up a pretty darn good lomo (tenderloin), an exceptional value at less than $10.

Desnivel - Another San Telmo Parrilla
Offering about the same level of frills as Manolo, boasting a primarily local crowd as well and known for surly waiters (though we had a great experience), their meat was a "cut" above. Jake went with a cut of lomo for around $13, while Nicole sampled an amazingly large 1/2-size Vacio (flank) for $6. Both were well-cooked and very tasty. Though the meal rang up at a mere $36 including a bottle of Norton Malbec and tip, we probably could've gone with a shared plate of Papas Espanole as they each had over a pound of fried potatoes!

La Brigada - Yet another San Telmo Parilla
Attracting more of a tourist crowd (it might have been that they just grouped us all together), this was the top of the pack, but also the priciest with our meal ringing in at $68. Jake went with Ojo de Bife (Ribeye) while Nicole had Entrana (Skirt). Both were cooked to rare perfection (amazing for a 1/2-inch thick skirt) and had great flavor despite their little fat content. We also wizened up and shared a plate of papas provencales.

Argentine Modern
La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar
Already covered extensively in our past post (see BA part 1 below), so we'll leave it at that.

647 Dinner Club - Modern Argentine Food in San Telmo
647 was highly rated on many food blogs and publications. Though the food was good, I don't think we'd say it was exceptional and it certainly didn't rate highly in terms of value for money. The space was impressive, if a little clubby, but was almost empty save about 6 tables of diners (about half of them tourists). Probably worth a pass, at least for food.

Other
Filo - City Center Pizzeria
Their thin crust creation was some of the best pizza we ever had, hands down. Even went back for lunch a second time.

California Burrito Company - City Center Burritos
OK, we were probably craving mexican food, so our standards might've been a bit lower, but they still made some darn good burritos that would rival some of the SF-greats. Went for lunch two days in a row. Helped that it was a great value too.

Freddo - Gelato
Might be a chain, but they still made some pretty good gelato, many flavors incorporating that Argentine specialty - Dulce de Leche.

Posted by jkirsch 15:20 Archived in Argentina Tagged food Comments (1)

Museums, Manifestations, Malbec...and Meat!

Buenos Aires, Part 2

sunny 70 °F
View Round the World on nhilde's travel map.

The title pretty much sums up our last three days in Buenos Aires. The weather has continued to be beautiful, so we've made the most of it by walking everywhere, taking in lots of museums located all over the city. On many of these walks, we've encountered public manifestations of one sort or another, which has added an element of excitement to our days. And throughout, we've taken time to indulge in every sort of culinary delight in our sights (mostly ice cream, pizza, steak, and wine). I'm starting to see why Argentines love to tango...it helps to burn off the calories from all the delicious food!

Here's my recap of Buenos Aires, part 2.

Museums

BA has a wide range of museums, and we managed to hit quite a few of them. Although we are not numismatics, we greatly enjoyed our foray into Argentina's tumultuous monetary history at the Central Bank's Museo Numismatico. Here's an interesting fact: since the 1970s until today, the Argentine currency has lost 13 zeros (i.e. 1 Argentine Peso today would be equivalent to 10,000,000,000,000 Argentine pesos back then)!

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The Argentine Central Bank

We also visited the Museu de Armas, where we saw lots of guns, swords, and dioramas of various wars in Argentine history...

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Museo de Armas

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A gas mask...for a horse! (Also at the Museo de Armas)

...And the Fragata Sarmiento, a naval training ship that made 37 (long!) voyages all over the world.

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Jake at the helm (carrying my purse)

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The Fragata herself.

Art-wise, we really enjoyed the contemporary Argentine artists featured at the new Museo Fortabat in Puerto Madero and the world-famous MALBA in Palermo.

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Malbec / Meat

Speaking of MALBA...we have made a concerted effort to get our fill of Argentina's delectable and affordable wines, particularly Malbec. To ensure maximum enjoyment of the wine, we have also injested large quantities of Argentine beef at an assortment of the city's parrillas (which can loosely be translated into "steakhouses", or maybe "grills"). I didn't believe it until I tasted it myself, but I can now say with absolute certainty that Argentine beef is the best in the world. It was so tender that you could almost cut it with a fork, and it was more flavorful than any steak I've ever tasted. YUM!

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Our dinner at La Brigada, in San Telmo

Manifestations

Not much to say here, except that the Argentines seem to rival the French in sheer number of strikes/protests/general disruptions to daily life. During our short stay in the city, we saw major strike action by the hotel and restaurant workers' union and the bank workers' union, and several other gatherings by anarchists, anti-communists, and veterans. And I think this is just par for the course...

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Bank workers' strike

Posted by nhilde 14:16 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

May Day & Gourmet in BA

sunny 73 °F

We've been readjusting well to city life since arriving in Buenos Aires late Thursday night. We're staying in a lovely little guesthouse called the Cocker (so named after the previous owner's dog) in the neighborhood of San Telmo - an area of restaurants, antique shops and designer boutiques.
So far, our time here has been primarily consumed with two activities: walking (as the weather gods have continued to smile on us we've been exploring large swaths of the city on foot) and eating (BA is a food city that ranks with the best of them and we've done our best to take advantage. This is also a great way to offset all that walking).
On Friday we set out to explore the city center and Retiro. Unfortunately, it took us about half the day and several attempts at visiting closed museums for us to realize that May 1st is a national holiday! On the bright side, Recoleta Cemetery (where Eva Peron and other national icons are buried) is open every day and we spent part of the afternoon wandering through.
Recoleta_Cemetary.jpg

The weekend pretty much consisted of us repeating portions of our Friday walk - with a good deal more success as things were actually open. On Saturday we visited the Casa Rosada (the Argentine Presidential Palace as featured in both Madonna's film Evita and real-life Argentine history), the exceptional National Fine Arts Museum, and the BA Design Centre. Most interesting about the Casa Rosada is that fact that you could just wander into the building - probably a while since this was last true about either the White House or most European presidential residences.
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Some say that the pink color came from cow's blood - a common paint additive at the time
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Is that an obelisk or are you just happy to see me? El Centro on the weekend.

We spent yesterday enjoying the street markets of San Telmo - one of BA's main Sunday attractions. We also had a chance to visit a restored 19th century house in the neighborhood where they'd discovered remains of 16th century life below. Its now been excellently restored and can even be rented out for events (for those of you looking for a place for your next Bar Mitzvah or Family Reunion, you can find more info here).
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Interesting display of posters and... gloves.

That brings me to our other primary activity here - eating! We've enjoyed both traditional Argentine Parillas (those meat and malbec places of Gaucho lore) and more modern eateries too. The highlight so far was probably last night at La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar where we enjoyed a 10 course tasting menu with wine pairings at an Argentina bargain price. The head chef Alejandro Diglio formerly worked under Ferran Adria at El Bulli in Spain and has infused touches of molecular gastronomy in his menu. Though everything was delightful, the following dishes really stood out:
Grilled Bread with Egg Yolk & Truffles, served with a chicken-leg reduction (Pan/Heuvo/Trufe)
Lamb Loin and Scallops served with sweet potato puree (mar y montaƱa, cordero-vieyras)
Ribeye with Malbec reduction and radish ratatouille (Ojo de Bife)
Rabbit with Apple jelly and foam (Conejo/Manzana Verde)
Two amazing desserts, one featuring a "dirt" of chocolate mousse

Posted by jkirsch 09:07 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

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