It’s no secret that I love breakfast…and brunch…and brinner. It is by far my favorite meal and I appreciate one that is well-made. At home I always love my dad’s blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup paired with my mom’s extra crunchy bacon and fluffy eggs. In Buenos Aires, an American-style breakfast is quite hard to come by since locals choose much lighter fare (and sweeter…think dessert sweet), like medialunas with jelly or dulce de leche. Although we did our best to recreate a homestyle breakfast, it was nice to finally find a place that served exactly what we were looking for. Magdalena’s is an expat resto-bar up the street from our apartment that offers American-style breakfast at any time of day. They have delicious pancakes (with real syrup!), breakfast burritos, corned beef hash, and bottomless mimosas. The atmosphere is super relaxed, with outdoor seating under a trellis covered with vines, cool artwork inside, and great music playing the the background. It has become our Sunday morning spot for family brunch and is always a nice way to finish up the weekend.
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!).
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.
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.
This year I am very excited for my birthday. We have a lot of fun things planned and I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone here in Buenos Aires. It’s also extra special this year because my birthday falls on a national holiday, giving us all a nice long four-day weekend. To kick-off a week of festivities, Steph and I decided to treat ourselves to a spa day. We gave ourselves good pedicures (after being appalled by the state of our feet), deep conditioned our hair, and did açaí facials. We also decided to make a nice pitcher of white sangria (similar to this). One of my favorite summer beverages, white sangria is always the perfect compliment to a hot day. We chopped up green apples, peaches, mangos and oranges, and added it to a mixture of Sauvignon Blanc and 7Up (we unfortunately could not find Triple Sec). The sangria was great and made our spa day extra enjoyable.
Super Bowl Sunday is always a day I look forward to at home. Even when my team is not playing in the game (which they usually are not), I love the excitement of the game, spending time with friends and relatives, and of course the food. Knowing it would probably not be the same as being home, we originally planned on going to an American-owned bar to watch the game. Fortunately, a friend of ours invited us to a Super Bowl party. Our boss has lots of friends who work at the U.S. Embassy, some of which are Marines who were hosting a party at their house in Belgrano. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a few of the guys who live there and some other workers from the embassy…we were also led to a gigantic pot of “man dip,” which was outrageously good and extremely addicting. We enjoyed a delicious asado and Patagonia beers, and eventually made it inside to watch the game. I could not have envisioned a better set-up. The living room at the Marine house has lots of huge comfy couches and movie projector. Although the commercials were different, it was a really great game (go Flacco!!) and an even better day. It really felt like home and was just what we all needed to curb our homesickness.
One lazy night I was procrastinating writing lesson plans by browsing Pinterest. I came across a French toast recipe that instantly made me hungry and got me thinking about making Sunday brunch. After sharing what I thought was a brilliant idea, I was completely shot-down by the boys, who argued that I sleep far to late on Sundays to serve a meal that could even be considered brunch. Always one to accept a challenge and prove someone wrong, I vowed that I would make brunch that Sunday and have it on the table by 11am. Sunday came and after sleeping for approximately four hours, I woke up (half-dead) to make our brunch. After a few minor panic attacks and lots of help from Steph, brunch was served (eighteen minutes past 11 according to the boys). We made French toast with Nutella and berries, scrambled eggs, homemade hash browns, facon (its pretty difficult to find regular bacon here, so we had to settle for ham), and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Sunday brunch was definitely a success, and I hope its something we start to do more often.
As I’ve said before, I’m not the best cook. However its something that I’d really like to change, so I’m glad to be living with my friend Steph who has agreed to teach me some of her cooking skills. As soon as we got settled into our new apartment back in Buenos Aires, Steph and I went right to work on making me less useless in the kitchen. Trying to be a little healthy and detox after indulging on our vacation, we’ve been eating a lot of vegetarian meals. We successfully made cauliflower cakes, which came out really delicious especially when paired with a yummy zucchini sauce. Steph made a pizza with a cauliflower crust that I could not stop eating it was so fantastic. We also created our own spicy pasta salad with chickpeas, onions, red peppers and tomatoes (so freaking good). Being the sugar-addict that I am, we of course had to follow-up all of these dishes with something extra sweet. We decided to make fried bananas with dulce de leche, which was a delicious combination and just the right amount of sweet that I was craving. Although I still have a lot to learn, I am really excited that my cooking is getting much better!