Saturday, January 14, 2012

Buenos Aires: Steaks, Alfajores and Daily Chicos

The food we ate in Buenos Aires was not that spectacular, unusual or exotic to us as what we've encountered in Peru and Bolivia, however it was clean, safe and above all, extremely delicious. To sum up, we had steaks and ice-cream every night, and random sweets and treats throughout the day. I am now seriously worried that this backpacking trip, which was supposed to starve me and bring back my maiden figure, will instead turn me into a big fat whale. Don't laugh my friend! I love food and love being skinny - now I have to find a way to make those two live happily together till death do them part.

 Buenos Aires is known for its grilled meat, so we decided to have as much Parilla (barbecue) as our stomachs and pockets could handle. Restaurants serving parilla are all over BA, and it's not hard to find a good one. The photo above is taken at Parilla Pena, a joint not far from our house. I read that the beef ribs are the best on the menu, so we ordered some ribs, salad and house wine.

 All of the parilla restaurants came with this sauce that you can put on the steak. It's a mix of herbs, salt, balsamic, tons of garlic and parsley. I guess you could call it tapenade, but it didn't have any olives in it. Let me tell you, this magic concoction was absolutely divine. I'd eat this on bread every day and be the happiest person alive.

 I took the photo above mostly because of the neat presentation of the produce. You can't tell, but it was really fresh and perky. They had all sorts of types of lettuce, watercress, radicchio and my favorite peppers in the whole world: the long green ones that can be roasted, made into a salad with garlic and vinegar and eaten cold from the fridge. (PS: Mom, oh how I miss your food!)

 Alfajores galore! Alfajor is a traditional sweet made of two soft cookies with dolce de leche in the middle and covered by white, dark, or milk chocolate. It comes in different varieties, depending on the type of chocolate it is dipped into. It can be found EVERYWHERE! It is insanely sweet. One small bite from an alfajor and you need to chug down a whole bottle of water. You can buy them at every corner store, but they are also found at Havanna, which is a coffee shop chain as ubiquitous in BA as Starbucks is in the US.

 You can't quite tell, but the winter scene in the photo above is made entirely out of candy, mostly licorice and Haribo, but also all kinds of jelly candy. We found it in one of the many local malls. They have quite a lot of malls in BA.

 Alright, now we get to the moment of truth. You may have wondered, dear reader, what a Daily Chico is. A daily chico is when Anne and Monica have made a pact to try out all the flavors at the ice cream shop located right next to our house. Daily comes from "we ate one flavor each every day" and chico comes from "the smallest size they had available on the menu." Despite the name (chico), the size was quite big and fulfilling. This was no ordinary ice cream. This was one of the best ice creams in the world, and the prices were no ordinary either. We paid its weight in gold for that ice cream, but it was totally worth it.

 Anne, licking her helado artizanale from Cadore. I think the flavor she got that night was dark chocolate.

 Cadore is the name of the game. If you go to Buenos Aires, you gotta try this. It's located on Avenida Corrientes and you just can't miss it.

 Chorizo grill stand at the San Telmo flea market. Really good sausages, made right on the street.

 This restaurant specializes in Asado de Cordero (roasted lamb) - we didn't eat there, because it was closed down for a private party, but this was what you could see from the window display.

The store whose window display we photographed in the image above specializes in various types of torrone (a traditional Spanish sweet made with sugar, egg whites and almonds), marzipans and halvas. Some of the marzipans contain candied cherries or other fruit. The prices listed are for 100 grams. Anne got 200 grams of halva and we devoured it.

On our first day in Buenos Aires, as soon as we landed, we walked around the hostel and got us some beef stew with potatoes. In Buenos Aires they like to do the fixed price menu (Menu del dia or Menu Executivo) which includes a main dish, a beverage, a desert and an expresso. You can find these fixed price menus all over the city.

First night in Buenos Aires we went to a Japanese restaurant that Daniel had heard of in his guide book and Anne and Daniel got these gyoza things that look a lot like tacos. I don't remember if they liked them or not.

Milanesa is breaded chicken breast and it comes with a lot of fries. By the time we left Argentina, we were sick of seeing and eating milanesa and fries...

Argentine steaks are made from very young beef. We call it veal in the US, but in Argentina it seems to be all veal. They just don't refer to it as veal.