First Weeks in Buenos Aires

After a brief hiatus (also known as “I was too lazy and technologically inept to write on my blog”) I am here to report a few highlights from my first few weeks here in Buenos Aires…

Red wine is fantastic and Malbec is the new Sauvignon Blanc.

There are a few things that mark a grown-up in my mind, one being an appreciation for wine.  I have grown to enjoy white wine a lot, my favorite being Sauvignon Blanc after having been introduced to it while studying abroad in Chile.  It took years for me to finally find my go-to favorite, so I assumed that when I learned to embrace red wine it would take just as long.  Well apparently I was wrong, since I can say for certain that Malbec is my new front-runner.  We’ve sampled a few, and not only are they all delicious, but they are also ridiculously cheap (we managed to get a huge bottle for 3 USD).  The best so far?…Uxmal Malbec.

If I could, I would eat all of my meals at Las Cabras.

This restaurant is so good I might ask if I can sleep in the kitchen and just live there for the next nine months.  Highly recommended, we went to Las Cabras after our first week of training at EBC.  It’s a corner restaurant with a majority of its seating outside under a ton of beautiful trees.  The boys ordered the Gran Bife, which is on my Buenos Aires bucket list to order and finish, but I wasn’t quite ready for it just yet.  The meal comes out on a huge wooden cutting board and includes a steak, pumpkin mash (a new favorite), rice, french fries, a fried egg, a slab of smoked provolone cheese, and grilled veggies.  I ordered something that I was more capable of eating, a twist on a favorite from Chile, pastel de calabaza y choclo.  It’s hard for me to explain this dish since it’s unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before, but it is so good I could probably eat it every single night.

It is a major problem that I live across the street from a bakery…alfajores for days!

One of the nice things about our neighborhood is that there are shops for whatever we could possibly need or want food-wise.  We’ve found our local butcher, who looks cranky and mean, but is actually a very nice guy.  We also have a favorite produce stand and chino (small market where we can get wine and necessities).  Our most crucial find, in my opinion, would have to be our bakery.  I counted, and it is about 25 steps away from my apartment.  This is very dangerous.  I think it is safe to say that I’ve found a replacement for my Tate’s cookie obsession in the form of alfajores…dulce de leche sandwiched between two shortbread cookies with coconut around the sides, sometimes dipped in chocolate (my mouth is watering just talking about it).  The bakery alfajores are the best, but late at night when we have a craving we have to settle for the pre-packaged ones…we’re on a mission to find our favorite, and tape the wrappers to our fridge to remember which ones we liked most.

Watch your step!…there’s poop everywhere.

I remember walking my sister’s dog once last January (I should stress once, since I avoided having to walk Brody like the plague).  We walked up the street to the elementary school by our house.  Brody did his thing, and eventually did what dogs do best and pooped.  It was then that I realized I had forgotten a crucial piece of equipment for our stroll around the neighborhood:  a plastic bag to pick up after my pup.  Mortified, I didn’t know what to do, so I looked a Brody and said, “this never happened,” and dragged him home in an almost sprint.  Apparently here in Buenos Aires, people don’t have such feelings of panic when they forget their pooper-scooper.  In fact, I’d be surprised if there is such a thing in this city, being that there is poop everywhere, including on the bottom of my running shoes.  Fantastic.

Steer clear of the chinchulines…for now.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a fearless eater, but I’ve decided that while here I am going to try and taste as many new things as possible.  So far I’ve had a lot of success with this strategy, firmly enjoying Malbec, alfajores, and even blood sausages.  However, one thing I tried is currently at the bottom of my list…chichulines.  After a long day at school and an amazing siesta, we ended up grabbing dinner at a local parilla instead of cooking.  We shared the parilla for three, which included a salad, bread, french fries, chorizo, blood sausage, steak, and chinchulines.  The chinchulines looked questionable from the start (we found out later that they are intestines), but in an effort to look tough, I went in for the kill and tried one.  I have to be honest, it was pretty gross, and I will most likely be staying away from them for a little while.  Apparently there is a very well known place near our apartment that has the best chinchulines, so I may give them one last shot.

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