Eating my way through Buenos Aires
My husband was traveling on business to Argentina, so in my usual fashion, I decided to tag along. We don’t have kids (yet) and as long as I have a reliable internet connection, my job can travel with me – so why not…right? After some deep contemplating (it is a killer plane ride) and a bit of finagling, my ticket was booked and I was off.
As usual, our travels center on food; this trip was no different. What better place for a foodie to travel than to Buenos Aires. After all, I have heard so many positive things about the food in Argentina, especially the barbequed meat. Well, no wonder – the steaks were outstanding, some of the best I have tasted. An Adkin’s dieter’s dream, as I like to put it. And the value of everything, simply put – incredible.
To put the term “value” in perspective – two people could dine at one of the top restaurants, split a bottle of quality wine, each enjoy a starter, a main, dessert and coffee for about $80-90 US.
So you are probably wondering what I liked best about the cuisine in Buenos Aires? Well, just to give you a taste…
- the most flavorful, juicy Chorizo I have ever tasted (seriously); the tender, falling off the bone lamb; a trendy, unique restaurant on every corner; the “drinks like a $50 bottle” of $10 Malbec; dulce de leche everything; mounds of melted cheese as a side; the hand-held empanadas – with all sorts of tasty fillings; and of course, the grilled beef served with real chimichurri.
One thing I simply could not get used to was the time the Argentineans eat. Dinner does not start until 8:30PM, which is probably comparable to eating at about 5:00PM in the States. We were always the ones hanging about, waiting for restaurants to open. Boy, I felt old.
So what and where did I eat? Good question…
Tuesday – I arrived in the morning, a bit nauseous from the flight, so I didn’t eat much until dinner. Dinner was scheduled for 8:30 at Sucre with my husband’s colleagues.
Sucre is an upscale restaurant decorated in dark earth tones and rich textures specializing in their grilled meats – with the house specialty being the barbecued pork. Although I did not order said pork, I did sample a piece. It was so rich, so succulent – I doubt I could have eaten more than three bites. But, it was divine.
I started with the farm egg. To me, it may have been a bit too runny and not the best choice for my unsettled stomach. The flavor was nice, the texture not so nice. The flavors reminded me of a very rich French onion soup.
I ordered the lamb for my main. The lamb was obviously slow cooked, pulled apart and rolled up tightly and then grilled and served over couscous. It was incredibly tender, no need for a knife. No sign of gaminess here.
Dessert was my favorite part - Volcán de chocolate, (chocolate volcano). The chocolate inside was a velvety dream, and mixed with the vanilla ice cream – I was in heaven. I should note, the ice cream in Buenos Aires was extremely creamy and delicious. Not sure if that has something to do with their hormone free cows?
Wednesday - Joe and I headed to a quick lunch at El Club de Milanesa around the corner from our hotel, the Vitrum in Palermo Hollywood. Milanesa are basically schnitzel – chicken or meat that is pounded thin, breaded and then fried. We ordered the Milanesa de Pollo for two. For two, it was extremely large. I felt it could have served four easily. It was topped with mozzarella and provolone and a tiny bit of tomato sauce. Frites, or fries were served alongside. No doubt tasty, but not a dieter’s lunch.
We decided to skip the planned evening event, the tango dinner show, and headed to Casa Cruz. Casa Cruz came highly recommended from a few sources, one being The New York Times.
When we arrived, we entered through two huge brass doors into a dark, sexy interior. One of the first things you’ll notice is the stunning fresh flower display atop the round bar right as you walk in. The space was covered in velvety fabrics and mahogany wood. It was gorgeous. And of course, we were the first ones there.
There were some hits… and a miss here.
The hits being the octopus and the halibut. I have never had octopus so tender, it really did melt in your mouth. Served atop a polenta cake, it was outstanding. The halibut was topped with goat cheese and served over lentils – which I thought was odd, but somehow it worked. The halibut was tender and flakey. The lentils were reminiscent of really good baked beans, and the goat cheese added a bit of creamy tanginess. It was a great combination of flavors. This meal was accompanied by a full bodied Malbec.
The “miss” of the night were the oysters. They were extremely briny and fishy; it felt as if you were inhaling the ocean…and not the clean, fresh, salty ocean but rather a smelly bayside part.
We finished the meal with an apple tart and coffee. Casa Cruz turned out to be our most expensive meal of the trip, but still only set us back around$140 US.
For the rest of my adventures in Buenos Aires, check out part II of this post, “Meating” in Buenos Aires, in the coming days…