December 11 - 13, 2005
Buenos Aires, 3 nights/2 days
Josh and I caught a local futbol game our first night in the city. River vs. I can't remember the other team's name. I've attended many live sports events in my life but I've never witnessed anything like the cheering that went on at this game. Made me feel like the weakest fan ever. The fans divide themselves on both sides of the stadium and once the game starts so does the cheering. It doesn't stop until the game is over and the away team's fans are ushered out of the stadium first. Then, ten minutes later, the home team fans are allowed to exit. It's THAT intense. Good thing cerveza isn't served in the stadium.
People say the meat is SUPERB in Buenos Aires. Dolores, our new friend from Mendoza, said the meat is softer in Buenos Aires than in other parts of Argentina because the cows have less room to roam. She also said there's a saying about the Portenos, God is everywhere but his office is in Buenos Aires. A little inter-country rivalry, I suppose. Apparently Portenos have a reputation of being a bit stuck up. We didn't experience any attitude.
Our first day, while driving from the airport to the hotel, I was immediately struck by the smell of grilled meat. It was as if the beef was sending me a message. Fred Flintstone came to mind. Remember the scent of Wilma's cooking curling through the air and lifting Fred up off the ground by his nose to bring him home for dinner. The smell of Buenos Aires meat was carrying me into the city.
After the futbol game we skipped dinner that first night unless you would call shriveled up hamburgers at River Stadium dinner. A migraine decided to make an appearance and I needed to sleep it off. Just about the only thing that would get me to skip a meal. On our second night we tried the meat at Cabana Las Lilas Restaurant in the Puerto Madero area. I would say it was the second best meal on the trip until that point in time. (Familia Zuccardi in Mendoza still holding the number 1 spot. Also grilled meats. Just getting my fill before I turn vegetarian in India for 7 weeks.) We were tipped off in advance to request a table outside overlooking the water. Muy romantico! The inside of the restaurant was equally beautiful with a mixture of leather and wood furnishings. From the looks of the tables around us people enjoyed their steak and red wine wholeheartedly. Big Malbecs alongside big meat!
A DINNER TO SAVOR!
* Wide assortment of freshly baked breads, cheeses, meats and pates
* Morcilla (Blood Sausage) - I think Josh ordered Morcilla each and every time we went somewhere and it was on the menu. He loves it that much.
* Salad of Greens, Hearts of Palm, Tomato and Onion
* Bife de Chorizo (rumpsteak)
* Asado de Tira (rib strip)
If I were you I'd book a flight to BA and reserve a table inside or outside at Cabana Las Lilas. Please let me know when you'll be there so I can take a detour and meet you for dinner.
Cabana Las Lilas ph: 431301336 www.laslilas.com.ar
Buenos Aires, like New York City, is meant to be walked so we walked and walked and walked. Our hotel was situated in the center of town near Recoletta so we decided to divide the city and comb each half over two days. Day one we headed west towards San Telmo to see some street Tango. Then further west to La Boca in search of Josh's father's favorite pizza joint, Banchero. La Boca isn't a neighborhood you need to see. UNLESS you're fanatical about pizza like we are. It's Chicago-style which isn't my favorite but very good. Quilmes, the local beer, empanadas and pizza at Banchero. Worth the trek.
Another trek was for the so-called excellent SHOPPING! There's supposedly great shopping in BA but I wasn't finding any. Maybe that's because my attention is usually directed towards food and not fashion but I was trying to find the hip latin threads but was unsuccessful. Should have checked with my friends at Lucky Magazine first. Oh well. Plaza Serrano had a few cute stores but it is basically a mall. In one of the shops I liked Josh hung out with the security guard. He said the crime in BA is horrible. No one drives nice cars because they all get hijacked. Not even sports celebs drive nice cars. Sounds serious.
Another shocker about BA was the mullet - it's alive and going strong. You remember the mullet, don't you? The young guys all have total 80's hairdos. It's hilarious.
Next destination is Iguazzu Falls. It boarders Brazil at the very tippy top of the western side of Argentina.