The first time we went to the Underground Market I was so happy from all of the delicious food that I could barely wait until the next one. Finally, three months later, it was time for round two of the market. This time it was located in an old factory in Almagro. After climbing a few flights of stairs (which felt like forever), we made it to the market. We enjoyed a few favorites from our first market experience like the cannolis, craft beers, and pisco sours. There were lots of new things as well…whole grain empanadas with quinoa and veggies or squash and blue cheese, spinach burgers with beet spread, squash patties with pebre, Irish soda bread, carrot cake, and lemon chia seed muffins. All were very yummy (the squash and blue cheese empanada being a definite front-runner). The market did not disappoint and was a lot of fun…this time there was even a gospel singing group performing. I am so happy we were able to visit the BA Underground Market again, and am even more excited about the hot sauce I bought to bring home.
One thing I have noticed about expats in Buenos Aires is that they move around a lot. People come and go pretty frequently, causing others to move from apartment to apartment. Our boss recently moved in temporarily with another friend and decided to celebrate their cohabitation. I made magic bars and got some wine and we headed over to Las Cañitas for the gathering. We enjoyed delicious homemade guacamole and listened to good tunes while our hostesses prepared dinner. We told funny stories over amazing tacos and enjoyed plenty of red wine and fernet. It was a wonderful get together and inspired me to try and celebrate small everyday things more often.
When we first started working we were really low on cash. Still wanting to take in as much of the city as we could, we had to get creative about activities that we could do on a budget. We would go to museums on days that it was free, or explore new areas of the park by our apartment. Whenever we did have a little extra cash, we would try and get a nice dinner together. We had read a lot about La Cabrera and decided to give it a try. The restaurant is an upscale parilla that offers its entire menu at fifty percent off from seven to eight at night (perfect for a bunch of broke expats). On our first visit we ordered chicken, pork, and steak to share. The entrees also came with a ridiculous amount of sides that complimented the meat very well. Having been very impressed the first time around, we decided to take Quail there for a farewell dinner (this time at a more reasonable dinner hour for Argentine standards). We shared steak and pork and another round of delicious sides. La Cabrera never disappoints, from its cozy and quirky décor, to its amazing parilla and sides (and the lollipop tower they bring out for dessert…they had root beer flavor!).
San Telmo is by far my favorite neighborhood in the city. I think it has the most character out of all of the areas of Buenos Aires, with its old buildings and street art. With my love of San Telmo comes a love for the weekly market that takes over the streets each Sunday. I couldn’t stop talking about it all week, so Quail decided to name me the mayor of the market. When Sunday finally rolled around, we went to San Telmo to shop for trinkets that Quail could bring home. We first stopped in the indoor portion of the market that is open every day and sells everything from fresh produce to vintage leather bags to antique chandeliers. After we made our way up Defensa to explore what knick-knacks the market had to offer…Quail left with a new purse, jewelry boxes, and a crochet vest. It was a successful day at the market (I left with my own crochet vest and a cute little owl figurine), and I will of course be going back very soon.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate a good cocktail. Few places actually do a satisfactory job preparing a drink, and Milion in Recoleta is definitely one of them. We first visited Milion back in October for Patrick’s birthday. The Resto-Bar is in a gorgeous old French townhouse. After walking up a spectacular staircase, you enter the dimly lit bar. It really is beautiful, with marble counters and huge French doors that lead to an even more amazing outdoor patio. We opted to sit outside and ordered an array of beverages. On my first visit I got my very first Manhattan, and on my most recent visit I chose a White Russian (another first). Both were really good…everyone else’s cocktails were great as well and I was happy that the group was down for taste-testing each other’s drinks (an old fashioned, pisco sour, and pear martini). I really like Milion, not only for its drinks but for its overall atmosphere. Steph always says how it’s a classy place with a very relaxed vibe, which makes it so different from similar places in New York that can sometimes feel pretentious. Needless to say, we will definitely be going back before leaving BA.
I sometimes think it’s strange, but I’m a huge pizza freak. The boys always remind me of my late-night obsession with Little Caesar’s pizza at UDel ($5 pizzas with buffalo ranch dip, come on). Besides my terrible taste in nighttime snacks, I do enjoy and appreciate a good slice, most likely because I am from New York. It has been VERY difficult finding decent pizza in Buenos Aires…its usually too doughy with a drop of tomato sauce and an overload of cheese (and often topped with green olives…yuck). We were very pleased when our boss introduced us to Pizza Piola. The pizza is so good…we chose a pie with prosciutto and another with basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The crust was perfect and the pies had just the right sauce to cheese ratio. The meal was delicious, especially when completed with a delicious frozen treat to cleanse our palates.
My favorite place in the city has definitely become the botanical garden. As much as I love it, I have not been going as often as I would like. The garden was designed by Carlos Thays and contains thousands of different species of plants and trees. I like how you can always find a quiet spot to sit and relax or read (I always think of it as an outdoor library). Quail and I went one afternoon and I think it became one of her favorite places in the city as well. She even started to lovingly refer to it as the Secret Garden. I sat and read while she explored the different sections of the park. I love so much that the garden is a short walk from my apartment, which will probably be one of the things I miss most about living in Buenos Aires. Although it will be sad to part with, it has inspired me to finally visit the New York Botanical Garden
One thing I have tried very hard to avoid while down here is shopping. It has been easier than I thought (probably from living with boys who could care less about shopping), even though we live so close to some of the best shopping in the city. As hard as I tried, I could not let Quail visit without seeing some of the shops in Palermo SoHo. One afternoon we wandered around the neighborhood and came across Casa Chic. I love the way the store is decorated, especially the artificial tree in the middle that’s used as a display for home goods and knick-knacks. I really liked the clothes as well and even fell in love with a few t-shirts in the children’s section referencing the Hamptons. Casa Chic reminds me of so many of my favorite shops at home, and I will definitely be going back to browse for inspiration (my wallet would probably combust if I tried actually making a purchase).
Back in October, I was glad to catch El Caminito on an off day. It made it really easy to get great pictures of the buildings and since we had arrived right after a rainstorm, we had the entire area to ourselves. The one downside however, was that none of the shops and cafes were open for us to explore. At the time I thought nothing of it, but now having visited the spot a second time, I am happy that I was able to see every aspect of the tourist attraction. Alleyways and shops that were shut down on our first trip were open and lively on my second trip with Quail. We enjoyed a nice sunny day walking the streets, while a group of drummers played music and encouraged passersby to join in dancing with them. We stopped in a few hidden shops where Quail found great trinkets (her favorite things) to bring home to New York.
One rainy Tuesday a few of us decided to grab a drink at a bar up the street from our apartment. On the walk home down Thames, Pat managed to recommend multiple cafes, stop to chat with a few friends, and say hello to the man at our local parilla. It was clear that Thames had become Pat’s official turf, so we decided to name him the mayor of the street. After giving him the honor, I thought it was appropriate to listen to one of his many recommendations and visited a Thames café that he had been raving about. I brought Quail to Dain Usina Cultural for a hangover recovery meal and was pleased with our chosen lunch spot. The space is half café, half bookstore, with high ceilings and huge windows that make it extra bright. The white walls and sleek furniture give off a modern vibe, and few random pieces of abstract art give it perfect pops of color. We each ordered fresh ginger orange juice (strongly suggested by Patrick), and I chose a grilled chicken sandwich with Gruyere, caramelized onions, and avocado on ciabatta. The juice and sandwich were really delicious and just what I needed to recover after a night on Pub Crawl.