Hello Argentina!My apologies for the silence lately. I have just returned from a nine-day trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina (well, maybe seven-days is more accurate. It takes a whole day to fly there and to fly back). Bryan had the opportunity to travel there for a work conference and asked if I wanted to come along.
After endless weeks of sub-zero temperatures, piles of unforgiving snow, and short days with little light, I was more than ready to fly away to a place where they are still celebrating the end of summer.
Buenos Aires is a beautiful, bustling city with influences from so many different parts of the world. At different times and places, the city reminded me of Paris, London, New York City, and even Thailand.
Puerto Madero, one of the newest neighborhoods in the city, includes soaring skyscrapers, a bustling riverside full of restaurants, and stunning views. Our hotel was in this neighborhood, and we spent several warm evenings walking up and down the river.
Unlike in the US where bookstores are dying, the biblioteca in Argentina is thriving. It's costly and time consuming for Argentinians to order books from Amazon (though it is possible), and thus the local bookstore usually makes a lot more sense. This breathtaking book store was built in a former theater. The old stage is actually a cafe, which you can see in this photo.
There are tons of outdoor markets in Buenos Aires, selling everything from antiques and toys to clothing and souvenirs. Pictured above: San Telmo Sunday Market stall selling mate cups, a drinking vessel made from a gourd used to drink an herbal stimulant called "mate" (pronounced mah-tay).
One of the most interesting sites we visited was the Recoletta Cemetary, where many, many past presidents, dignitaries, famous historical figures (e.g,, Evita), and wealthy families are buried. The mausoleums are impressive and the history is fascinating.
Although it's sort of a touristy thing to do, we immensely enjoyed the Tango Show that we saw. Housed in an old, historic cafe, we enjoyed a three course meal (Argentinian steak, of course!) as well as unlimited wine while we watched the show. The dancing was impressive and we loved the music.
Street art is all over Buenos Aires. Not all of it is pretty (there is quite a bit of vandalism going on right now due to the unhappiness of the people about the economy). However, there are still a lot of really beautiful, artistic, and thoughtful street murals around.
The city clearly embraces art, and the vibrant, colorful walls most certainly give Buenos Aires a unique and edgy signature look.
Meat is king here, and you will find no shortage of beef in this city. I think we ate beef nearly every single day in the city.
A favorite: one of the most famous steak sandwiches in the city.
Empanadas are everywhere. You can get them with all sorts of fillings, such as beef, chicken, sweet corn, tomatoes, ham, and cheese.
I even took a cooking class where I learned how to make empanadas, flan, and dulce de leche from scratch! I learned that I preferred the taste of baked empanadas over the fried ones, though both are quite tasty.
Alfajores, sandwich cookies (often covered with chocolate) with dulce de leche (milk caramel) in the middle, are a national obsession. This version that Bryan is holding up is a special twist made with ice cream.
And of course, there's the wine. We tried all sorts of malbecs as well as wine made from other local grapes that I didn't even know existed. The US dollar is very strong compared to the Argentinian peso right now, which means we were able to try a lot of really nice food and wine at prices much lower than what we'd pay in the US. For example, we enjoyed a lovely 7-course tasting including generous amounts of paired wines for about $65 USD per person at the place pictured above.
I have so much more to share with you about my week in this wonderful city. Now that we are pretty much wrapped up with the Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka Series (though I may have a few straggler posts), we'll start this Hello Argentina series! Of course, I'll continue to intersperse Boston posts, as well as maybe sneaking in some other posts from my recent cooking adventures and trips around the US.
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