Ilene Squires Photography

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Week in Buenos Aires, Gastronomy

Everyone in my inner circle knows me as a foodie. While indulging in a five - star meal, it is not unlikely that I am planning my next one. Out loud.
Buenos Aires was a natural fit for me from iconic dessert fancies to the savory aged meats and cheeses. And who could forget the libations? With all of the European influences on Argentine culture, it is no surprise that wine and beer were not only top notch but often times, cheaper than water!

Have you ever had an alfajor? Nestled between two cake-y cookies you will find a delicious middle filling of dulce de leche. I am not a dessert person, or so that is what I say to justify overeating the savory, but hot-damn! Alfajores are the perfect pairing for a coffee or tea. On a day trip to Colonia de Sacramento across the canal in Uruguay, we encountered these alfajores caseros or, homemade alfajores. 
 Interesting fact about alfajores? They are a derivative of Arab culture, traveling back to the era of Arab rule on the Iberian peninsula. The ones below are topped off in a thin coconut layer. OMG!
 Cafe Tortoni is a Buenos Aires staple. There, one can find anything from decadent desserts, a live Tango show and the famous sifones, better know as seltzer bottles made famous at the turn of the century. 
Ice cream lovers beware! You are going to put on approximately 5lbs with the gelato alone. If ever in Buenos Aires, Freddo, a nationwide chain serving up the most ah-mazing super dulce de leche, is a must - do! 
And this naughty face and finger? Scroll down....
 just topped off an entire container of fresh store - bought dulce de leche! Without a spoon!
 Argentines call a pint a chop, and Quilmes, the national beer, is to die for. If you're in the mood for a moderately priced bottle of Malbec, try Septima
 There is a HUGE Italian influence in Argentina, obvious in their dialect of Castellano and their love for limoncello! Mirinda is an Uruguyan soda. 
American brunch eateries, if you are reading, please adopt Lomo al Caballo which translates to: Breaded veal with an egg "riding on it's back." This is the Uruguay edition, Chivito Uruguayo. WHOA. 
No shame in my game! 
We had our finest meal at La Cabrera, in Palermo Soho.
Bife de Chorizo with Roquefort cheese and pureed pumpkin? It was a little slice of heaven.  
We topped off dinner with a dessert for three: champagne, 3 desserts with one to spare. 
 I hold no pretenses; I LOVE street food almost as much as I love processed meat. Yup! I said it. If I wasn't a married woman I would eat cold cuts and cheese off a wooden board for dinner each night. 
If you were wondering what a Choripan is, worry no more! It is just a fancy word for street sausage. Below was the "Tabla Enorme!" Um...
At Lo de Jesus, another quaint Palermo Soho eatery, we had our one cultural foodie experience. By that I mean, we ate things that were rare finds and that I would be OK with never having again. Ever. I grew up eating all sorts of "exotic" things but boy, this Tabla de Carne was out of this world. 
Now that I know what Rinones, Glandulas, Mollejas, and Chinchulines look like, and more importantly, what they taste like, I think these may be the only carnivorous foods I've ever eaten that weren't for me. But don't they look so good?!
Pictured below was the tabla we had on our last night which was far less adventurous than the one at the fancy restaurant! 
A few nights during our trip we hit the local grocer, which you will see below, and made our own tabla with fresh figs, pears, cheeses and chorizo. So tasty on a fresh baguette and artisan olive oil. 
Antonitos, our charming local grocer is featured below. I wish New York had markets like this on every corner. LOVE!

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