Tag Archives: argentina

Honeymoon Scenery

Our last leg of the trip was to the northwest of Argentina, in the provinces of Salta and Jujuy. This area is much less visited than Iguazu or Patagonia, but we were convinced to come here by a friend of Michelle’s, who spent a fair amount of time in Argentina.

In the southern region of Salta is Cafayate, an area where the continental shelves pushed the land upward to make some pretty crazy rock formations. I’m a total nerd for this kind of stuff.

The land is like a geologists dream.

The obelisk

North of Salta is Purmamarca, located in the Jujuy province. Here you can see the mountains that look like they’re painted with multiple colors of chalk.

Farther north of Purmamarca is the climb to get to the salt flats. Getting stuck behind a truck here is like getting stuck behind a truck on the I-5 but thirty times worse. There’s no way you’re passing.

At the top there are Pecunias. They have the softest fur, but they’re protected from hunting. Their only natural predator is the cougar, but no one seems to have ever seen one in their life. They should come to Orange County. Heyo!

The building is made of salt bricks! I bet there are no snail problems here.

To harvest salt they either scrape the ground or dig these pools and wait for the salt to crystalize.

Our guide was taking pictures while we were shooting jumping pictures.

Look! I’m flying!

We took a morning hike in Purmamarca. The whole town was very quiet.

It’s so beautiful that I want to cry.

The northwest area of Argentina is gorgeous, but it’s very spread out. Cafayate is a two and a half hour drive south of Salta, and Purmamarca is the same time north. If you have time, it’s definitely worth a visit, but it is a lot of travel time.

Thought I was done with Argentina, did you?

Not a chance! I told I was milking the trip for blog content. I just took a little break over the holidays to do a lot of eating and drinking. Let’s get back on track here.

La Cabrera is probably the parrilla with the most press right now. It takes a spin on the traditional parrilla, and makes it more modern. They offer side dishes with every order of beef, like Korean banchan.

This table is all ours!

Sides mostly consist of tomatoes and potatoes.

First and only time we saw sweet potatoes during the trip.

Remember they’re big on pasta.

This is the only parrilla that has kobe beef.

Eating dead animals has never been so good.

Michelle was very happy in all her Argentinian attire.

Tired from eating all that food. Having a little after dinner treat from the lollipop tree.

Everyone who has been to Buenos Aires raves about this place. It’s good, but their meat isn’t any better than any of the numerous parrillas we went to in the city. I think there is a lot of hype surrounding this place. With that said, it’s definitely worth putting on the list of places to eat in Buenos Aires. Just make sure you have reservations. It’s a pretty popular place.

Cataratas Iguazu

After a weak of binge eating and drinking in Buenos Aires, we headed north to Iguazu. It’s a national park between Brazil and Argentina, and it houses the Iguazu waterfalls. Think Niagara Falls but not commercial and sucky.

Thanks to my friend Grace, we got upgraded to a falls view room at the Sheraton. It’s more expensive than other hotels, but it’s the only hotel in the park.

This is what we got to see from our balcony.

The zoom.

I was sad that I did not get to see monkeys.

The park consists of trails and catwalks that take you through the jungle andaround the falls. Michelle is standing over one of the smaller falls. It’s still pretty scary to look down over the edge on these small ones.

There’s wildlife of course. I forget what these are called, but they pretty much work like raccoons and squirrels in Yosemite. They try to hang out in lunch areas and steal human food.

You can see these guys lying in the sun all over the place too.

The falls are beautiful. It’s like looking at a scene of Pandora. Michelle said, “The only thing that could make this better is if the water was blue.”

If you’re brave you can even get on a boat and get closer to the falls.

We were brave.

I’m completely drenched right now. Mostly from waterfall, some pee.

Here we are at The Devil’s Throat. Behind us in Brazil.

This is just a piece of The Devil’s Throat. The only way to truly see how immense and powerful it is, is to be there in person. We do have video too, but we will save that for another time.

Food outside of Buenos Aires.

Food in the other areas of Argentina, outside of Buenos Aires, does not stray too far from the traditional foods. You won’t get a whole lot of influences from different cultures. The food is pretty much what it has been for a long time. This was the case for Dona Salta, a restaurant in the town of Salta in the northwest of Argentina.

Empanadas are definitely a traditional food.

Beef and onions.

Chicken.

Shredded, stewed beef.

Cheese. Glorious and oozing.

This is mondongo, tripe soup. It’s like menudo but without Ricky Martin.

Tripe. This tastes like the farm. It’s good up to a certain point, but having a barnyard taste in your mouth after you’re done eating is not that cool.

Fortunately you can wash the taste out of your mouth with some vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream. In all of Argentina they are serious about their ice cream. You start with two scoops for the small serving. I can definitely get behind that kind of thinking.

While the food hasn’t changed much over time, it’s good wholesome food. It has a feel of home cooked, even when in a restaurant. I can always get into some good, old-fashioned home cooking.

More meat in Buenos Aires.

It’s a cold, rainy day and I’m feeling lazy. Here is a post about my favorite parrilla of the trip.

La Brigada is a huge parrilla located in the San Telmo area of Buenos Aires.

They serve some less traditional empanadas. These are ham and cheese and cream corn empanadas.

We ordered the asada especial, beef ribs.

Yes, he is cutting that bad boy with a spoon!

It comes right off the bone.

Wipe your mouth. You’re drooling.

It’s okay to be a little bit turned on by this, right?

Probably the lightest flan I’ve had in a while. This is like eating a cloud.

While I call this my favorite parrilla of the trip, it’s said with an asterisk. All the places we went were very good. It just depended on what kind of eating mood we were in at the time too, and we were ready to eat after walking the San Telmo Market. I would definitely say that La Brigada is a stop that has to be on your list.

Argentina: The part without food.

So far you’ve seen us eat and drink on our vacation, but we did more than that. There really isn’t much to see in the actual city of Buenos Aires, but we still managed to see and do some things too.

Buenos Aires has a lot of street art. There’s a lot of graffiti too.

The architecture in the middle of the city is really nice.

This is where their Congress meets.

About ten blocks down the road from their Congress is La Casa Rosada, Pink House. Every weekday there are a couple of protests that march from the Congress to the Pink House.

Here is one of the protest groups, spray painting grievances on the buildings.

Who is this man, whose face they painted on the wall?

I think they want Dave Navarro out of Jane’s Addiction or something like that.

This is the Obelisk. If people come from other parts of Argentina, this is where they stop first. This is also where the people get very drunk and celebrate their soccer victories.

We got to go to the Recoleta Cemetary, the final resting place of Eva Peron. You know, Evita? Madonna in that movie? Don’t cry for me Argentina?

People to this day leave flowers at the Duarte family mausoleum.

We took a short day trip outside of Buenos Aires to Tigre. This is the church next to my tall wife, who is all legs.

You know how they paint the poorer areas bright colors to turn them into tourist traps?

They do that here too, and it works. Tourists!

A trip to Buenos Aires isn’t complete without a visit to the San Telmo Market. It’s 10 blocks of street vendors, all selling the same stuff pretty much.

Looking at these fifteen images I posted up, you have pretty much seen Buenos Aires. Yes, there are museums in town, but it’s not so different from what you could see at a museum at home. So come to Buenos Aires, see the things we saw, and spend the rest of the time eating and drinking. It’s a great city.

Argentina: Not just for steak.

When people find out that we’ve returned from Argentina, they immediately ask us about the steak. The steak is incredible, but I feel like Buenos Aires is starting to offer so much more. Eat steak, but here are some other things you definitely want to check out.

Azema is a restaurant, named after the head chef and owner. This place is a fusion restaurant, combining foods from his travels to Vietnam and Morocco. Michelle’s favorite part in all this is that you can tell them how spicy you want it, and it actually ends up with a good bit of heat.

Fried dumplings. They’re like Asian empanadas.

Shrimp curry. They tend to overcook their shrimp in Argentina. The shrimp were a bit softer than I’d like, but it was great to taste some different flavors.

Michelle went with a Moroccan style lamb curry, and based off the sniffles she got the spicy she had been missing.

Los Inmortales, a pizza joint that’s very popular. If you ask for it by name people know.

Pizza is a pretty big deal in Argentina. It works out well for them, because cheese, olives, tomatoes, ham, and pepperoni are regular items in their diet anyway.

Pepperoni and mushrooms. The crust on their pies is well balance. It’s light but not too doughy.

You can’t see it, but under the layer of cheese is ham, covering every square inch of the crust. The sweetness of the ham against the saltiness of the olive and cheese worked well.

We checked out Sudestada, an Asian fusion joint. I was impressed with how many people were using chopsticks.

Hopefully they recount the orders for hanging chads.

Dumplings for starters.

Chicken curry. Beautifully presented.

Pork chow fun. This dish is okay. It was nice to get some familiar Asian flavors that we were missing during our trip, but it’s nothing too special.

Michelle loves hot dogs, so even though we had just eaten a couple hours before, she had to try an Argentinian hot dog. They call them superpanchos.

They offer all kinds of toppings to garnish their hot dogs, but to Michelle’s dismay none of them were jalapenos.

Whether or not you’re a fan of beef, you should visit Buenos Aires for a food vacation. There are enough restaurants challenging the traditional standard of parrillas. They’re doing it well too, combining the leisure eating style with different types of foods. This gets a big thumbs up in my book.

Argentinians eat a lot

There is still one thing I cannot figure out about the culinary lifestyle of Argentinians. How do they eat so much? They eat four times a day, eating a full meal, and at each meal they eat without leaving leftovers. We tried to eat like the locals one night at a parrilla called El Trapiche.

There are very few tourists in this joint. It kind of reminds of me a New York diner, very brightly lit and loud.

We started with the prosciutto and cheese dish. Ham is serious business in Argentina, not like the crap we have in the states.

This is a half order of morcillas (sweetbread). I’m used to eating them in the states, covered in some sort of sauce. Eating them off the grill with a squeeze of lemon is a bit too gamey for me. The mineral flavor of this only allowed me to get through three of these.

This is single order of flank steak. If it looks overwhelming that’s because it is overwhelming. Looking around at the other tables we would see pasta and potatoes in addition to the meat. I have no idea how the locals were putting it down so easily.

Let’s not confuse things. It was delicious. It was just far too much food for us to tackle. They asked us if we wanted to take any to go, but unfortunately since we were travelling we wouldn’t have had any way to reheat it. Plus, we had other foods to eat. We couldn’t be bogged down by leftovers.

Next time we head back to Buenos Aires, I’ll be ready. I’ll be packing a tapeworm.

Argentinians eat late, but not that late.

If you show up at a restaurant before 9:00 PM and you see people eating, they are definitely tourists. Michelle and I didn’t want to look like tourists our first night out, so we decided to grab a couple of drinks before dinner. We started out at our hotel bar and headed over to a speakeasy for some more drinks. By the time we ended up at dinner it was midnight. They told us they were going to stop serving in half an hour. We almost got turned away, but we convinced them we could eat quickly.

Chorizo. We originally didn’t order this, but a drunk tourist insisted we order it and even ordered it with our waiter as he was leaving. I have to say this is one of the best dishes that was forced upon me at a meal. One thing they don’t do in Argentina is spicy. We were told the chimichurri sauce was very spicy. It was nothing, not even a 1 on a scale from 1-10.

We weren’t very hungry so we just went with the steak. Bife de lomo.

Jugoso. The grass fed beef is so delicious. This was the first steak we had in Argentina, and it was enough to make me realize I was ruined for corn fed American beef.

First Meal in Argentina: French Food

Expect a lot more posts to follow on the topic of food in Argentina.

Argentina is a country that is well known for some foods traditionally. Steak of course is one of those things. Empanadas are another staple food for this country. There is a heavy Italian influence on their food with pastas being very popular. Ham, cheese, olives, and tomatoes are seen a lot in a lot of their dishes from their Spanish influence. What you won’t find in traditional Argentina cuisine is a lot of spices or sauce covering their foods. They let the food speak for itself.

While the majority of restaurants stick to these staple foods, there are different restaurants challenging the status quo and going with different ethnic foods and even combining them together. Oui Oui is one such restaurant. It’s a little French cafe in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires.

Fresh pastries are laid out for people to purchase. There is a sign indicating that at the end of the day any pastries left over are heavily discounted, indicating that pastries are made fresh every day.

They have fresh lemonade with some spices they add. It’s very refreshing.

Michelle had the salmon sandwich. The salmon was very fresh.

Her sandwich came with a side of potatoes. In Argentina they use potatoes as their primary source of starch other than bread, but they really don’t do much with it. Sprinkled with some herbs and then fried or boiled is pretty much the most that’s done to them.

I ordered the ham and cheese sandwich, which came along with a side salad.

This was an incredible sandwich. I didn’t know it at the time since this was our first meal in Argentina, but the ham is spectacular in this country. Coupled with a creamy cheese and a soft, fresh backed bread it went down super easy.

I had no idea what else I was in store for at the time, but I was very happy with my first meal in Argentina. Definitely check this spot out if you’re in Buenos Aires for some time.