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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Those Who Are About to Eat, Salute You

This post is part PSA and part curiosity-seeking on my part.

Being in Buenos Aires on a typical tango two-week jaunt, I felt like I was always running from a dance class (once I could peel myself out of bed and dress myself) to a shoe store to a milonga. Food was secondary, even though I didn't mean it to be and anyone who knows me knows that food is never secondary to me. But tango definitely came first.

So in amongst all of that running around, my meals consisted of a lot of empanadas. Pretty much all kinds of empanadas. And a little pizza. I remember having some okay risotto, an okay steak, and a lot of cortados.

I came home with a lot of wonderful memories, a suitcase full of shoes, but no clue about the food of Argentina. I know I missed out as far as the eating is concerned and I didn't plan my restaurant-ing the way I normally would. Reading The Tango Addiction's recent adventures made me see that I didn't know where to go to get a really good meal.

I found this food article by Gael Greene, New York Magazine's "Insatiable Critic." It's her Hot List for Buenos Aires, and I'm really curious to know if any of you agree with her reviews because I'm much more inclined to try something written by a food critic than something I found in a random travel book. I read a lot of food writing and so that's where my tendencies lie.

And, for those of you who are planning a trip to Buenos Aires soon or might already be there, perhaps some of these restaurants would be of interest to you. I sure wish I had tried a few of them. Tina--there's a place called Persicco Ice Cream that has nine kinds of dulce de leches! Did you go there yet?!!! (J. Salguero 2591 T: 4808-0888)

Bon Appétit!

11 comments:

NYC Tango Pilgrim February 19, 2008 at 11:33 PM  

TB,

I was like you during my last stay in BsAs. Food was secondary. Went to Burger King for my first dinner. But this time, I am going to treat myself like those two Tangueras at tango addiction.

Thanks for the article in NYT. Maybe I will invite Javier and Andrea for a brunch at Hotel Alvear Palace.

tangobaby February 20, 2008 at 8:53 AM  

Sounds good TP. Let me know how that brunch turns out. Or if you end up eating nine kinds of dulce de leche.

Johanna February 20, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

TB, although I like to choose at least one well-reviewed restaurant before I travel anywhere, I found that one could eat reasonably well almost anywhere in BA. Besides, I do not have the wallet for Gael Green-recommended eateries...

I actually came upon a FANTASTIC vegetarian restaurant (for those so inclined), just around the corner from La Ideal! Couldn't tell you the name of it, but it was gourmet pickin's for sure!

I say, follow your nose!

n a n c y February 20, 2008 at 10:27 AM  

For those with more plebian tastes, here are some ground rules:


http://www.idlewords.com/2006/04/argentina_on_two_steaks_a_day.htm

tangobaby February 20, 2008 at 11:41 AM  

Hi Johanna,

I have to admit that I will open up my wallet a little too much if it will get me meals I can relive over and over again. But expensive or not, I just didn't have much luck in BA--I'm glad you did.

I bet people would be very interested to know about the vegetarian restaurant! Maybe someone else can help us out there.

Hello Nancy,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I loved the link you sent and it's first-rate information for people planning a trip there...I'm going back to read it some more now. Thank you for sharing.

;-)

tinatangos February 20, 2008 at 7:32 PM  

I can't access that article, but I CAN tell you about the food!

Buenos Aires is a WONDERFUL city in which to eat :-) Yum yum yum. Next time you go, e-mail me! :-) I will help.

First of all, the Italian food. Lots of Italian immigrants here. There are places here that serve wonderful hand-made pasta that is just to die for. Also, the helado (gelato) comes from the Italians. :-) If you want good risotto, it depends on where you go - I will try to remember where I went that had beautiful risotto, creamy with just the right amount of saffron.

The mozzarella here is outstanding too ... there is a section in the phone book for mozzarella. bufala, fior di latte, whatever, you can find it here. Combine that with some fresh tomatoes from the local fruit stand, and you've got heaven on a plate.

According to some people (wink, wink, Tanguillo) you're not supposed to eat empanadas in Buenos Aires. Apparently they are no good here (I like them a lot, but what do I know).

Spanish food is really good here too. I'm not too far from Av de Mayo and there are some wonderful Spanish restaurants (will get names for you) with delicious seafood, wonderful paella, 'tortillas' (with great sausage), beautiful wine lists, great flan, amazing house-made limoncello (ok, never mind that that's Italian and not Spanish)...

what else... hmmmmm

Oh! If you can find a good fruit & veg shop near wherever you stay, the produce here is wonderful. Always fresh and very ripe, so you buy to eat the same day. Just like in Europe. :-)

There are great bakeries here, boy do they know how to make bread.

The pizza here is the only thing that I don't eat much of, but it's good. :-)

Oh heavens, it sounds like I'm eating my way through Buenos Aires... Honestly, I'm cooking at home more than anything. My observations are from this year and last year combined. :-)

tinatangos February 20, 2008 at 7:38 PM  

I finally got to the article :-)

I must say (hoping not to be a party pooper) about her article, it's kind of boring to read more people saying "Oh, eating out and taxis in Buenos Aires are cheap"... I always wonder how Argentines feel when they hear people say things like that...

As I said, I'm mostly cooking for myself, so I don't know most of these restaurants. I tend to eat in my neighborhood if I go out... and I actually find it kind of expensive at dinnertime. I will hang on to this article though, for friends who may be visiting :-)

Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 9:13 PM  

Sorry, mi amor, is 9 kinds of dulce de leche supposed to be a good thing? Please tell me where I can get one kind of peanut butter.

The empenadas and pizzas really are sensational here, though. IMHO you cannot get empenadas like this back in the states, but everything else you can get equal or better back in California, where we are SPOILED for amazing food, so why not enjoy the empenadas? I had one tonight, sort of chorizo and swiss and something. Oh momma mia.

Touours tiens,

b

tangobaby February 20, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

Tina!

Your enthusiasm is so infectious. I am grinning just reading your comments. Of course I will consult you next time--you're my go-to girl, you know that already.

I agree with you about the attitude that people have about going to BA, like it's a fire sale or something. But since I hadn't been to any of these restaurants, I just wondered if others had been to them, and what they thought.

As a food writer, I'm sure Gael Greene is predisposed to the fancier stuff, and she is catering to an affluent audience who are all about the best food that money can buy.

Dear Anonymous,

You can get plenty of peanut butter when you come home. Enjoy the ice cream and no complaining! Who needs peanut butter when it's 89 degrees at midnight?!

Plus, you can dance off all the calories.

studio wellspring February 21, 2008 at 10:40 AM  

wowsa ~ all this delicious writing has me salivating for buenos aires adventures immediately. i don't think i've ever wanted to go to a place quite as badly. how does one {i.e. tinatangos} get to spend a year or two there? is it thru a work or school exchange? are you independently wealthy? i'm dying to know: what's the secret? {that is, if you're willing to tell it!} :o)

tinatangos February 21, 2008 at 4:50 PM  

Hola Ms Wellspring! Great questions!

Nobody I know in Argentina is wealthy, I know I'm sure not. Well, not in the material sense anyway - rich in spirit, yes.

I'm only here for a couple of months. I work as a freelance translator so I brought my work with me. I work hard every day, exhausting my brain as it wraps around words (as I work I am cleverly staying inside when the sun is at its strongest)...

Everyone else I know who moved here did it because they wanted to - no school exchange, no work exchange. They saved up their precious pennies and moved here. Now they make a fraction of what they made in their previous countries, but are very happy... :-)

I've lived in a few countries and will probably move back to Italy later in the year, for good. It's something you just do because you want to - there's always a way. :-)

What's the "Secret" ? Well, watch or read the movie or book "The Secret" and you'll have your answer right there. Thoughts become things! :-) Yay for that!

You need to pay a visit here! :-) I'm sure you would love it, it's just so full of... yeah. :-)