Wine Tasting in Buenos Aires

(Photo by JacobMar1ey)

There are many reasons to love Argentina: it has a vibrant culture, superb beef, amazing landscapes, stunning architecture, innovative art and a well-earned international reputation for its wine. Travelers who have been to Mendoza can attest to the generosity of the areas top quality vineyards. Thankfully, there are great wine tasting opportunities in Buenos Aires too. Below are some suggestions:

Fierro Hotel Thursday Wine Tasting:  Every Thursday at 6pm small intimate groups gather in the hotel’s restaurant to taste great Argentine wines from different regions of the country, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association, Andres Rosberg, and in-house Sommelier, Martin Bruno. Tastings, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person, and are limited to 7 people. Places must be booked in advance.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Lo de Joaquin Alberdi– vinotecas argentinas: This friendly wine shop in the Palermo district offers weekly wine tastings, focusing on different wineries or varietals. It is also possible to coordinate personalized wine tastings in advance and the staff is happy to help pick out a bottle to take back home. Jorge Luis Borges 1772, Palermo. 4832-5329.

Time Out Walking Wine Tour: This great tour combines both walking and touring the Palermo neighborhood and tasting delectable Mendoza wines at four different venues. More information here.

Anuva Wines: The Anuva wine tasting offers the chance to try five different Argentine boutique wines paired with tapas. They also have a wine club and shipping service to the USA. Wine tastings cost 48USD and must be booked in advance. More information here.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by vagner carvhaleiro)

Stop by La Rural, the annual agricultural and livestock show, and get a feel for the Argentine campo, where so much of the local identity and economy has been forged. The fair takes place from the 19th to the 31st of July at La Rural. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

In the afternoon stop for some tea and sweet treats at the traditional Confitería Las Violetas and then shake off the cold at the nearby La Bomba del Tiempo, a percussion orchestra that has become one of the local absolute musts. Centro Cultural Konex Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864-3200

Tuesday

(Photo by Andreas Ebling)

Fundación PROA in La Boca is showcasing two new exhibits. The first features Argentine and Brazilian contemporary pop art, realism and political art, and the second is a collection of works by Roberto Aizenberg and younger artists who have been inspired by him.  Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

Don´t miss the chance to see Russia’s top ballet dancers on stage at the Teatro Coliseo.  There will be three performances on the 31st of July and the 1st and 2nd of August at 8.30pm. Tickets here.

Wednesday

(Photo by jikatu)

Head to the Dorrego Flea Market in Palermo, which is often overlooked and is the perfect place to go on a treasure hunt.  Antiques and curious finds are waiting to be dug up and claimed in this charming neighborhood market. Open Tue-Sun 10am-7pm.  Av.Dorrego and Conde.

In the evening head to the new El Faro de Buenos Aires Milonga with live music, dancing and more at the special Palacio Barolo.  Wednesdays from 5pm-1am. Av. de Mayo 1370 P.B, Downtown.

Thursday

(Photo by m4caque)

Take a free tour of Buenos Aires with Jonathan, an Englishman in love with the city. Tours start every day at 11am at the center of Plaza Italia by the Garibaldi Horse monument and cover the areas of Almagro, Congress and the Plaza de Mayo using local transport to get around. More information here.

For a unique evening, book your place at Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno. Tastings, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by Mulling it Over)

Stop by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to check out the new Real/Virtual exhibit, featuring Argentine kinetic art from the 70´s. Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta. 5288-9999

Later on, musician Francisco Fattoruso will be staging a live show at Boris Club de Jazz starting at 10pm. Gorriti 5568, Palermo.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by amanky)

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s unique must-try brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays! Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

Book your place for one of Norma’s cooking classes and learn to make typical Argentine food such as locro, empanadas and the delectable alfajor. Classes run every Saturday from 11am-2pm and include lunch. More information here.

Head to the Planetarium in Palermo for one of the special screenings of Journey to the Stars. You can also access the planetariums telescopes to get unique views of the sky. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldan. 4772-9265

Humita: Traditional Flavors from the North West

(Photo by suzienewshoes)

One of the most typical Argentine foods, from the north of the country, is a corn dish called humita. This warming and satisfying dish dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and was an Incan staple, which is why it can be found with different variations along the continent.

In Argentina there are two ways of preparing this dish; one is a la olla (in a pot), and the other en chala (wrapped in corn husks). There is also a  popular variety of corn filled empanadas that are called empanadas de humita.

The recipe for humita is quite simple. It calls for a large amount of grated raw corn (approx. 1 dozen), 1 sautéed onion, 1 red bell pepper, paprika,  ½ cup of basil, ½ cup of lard, goat cheese (optional) and salt. Everything except the cheese is mixed together forming a paste, and then for the chala version two cornhusks are overlapped forming a diamond-like shape and in the center a few spoonfuls of the corn paste are placed along with a square of goat cheese. The husks are folded and tied with a small strip of the corn leaves.  Then the wrapped up humita is introduced into salted boiling water for approximately 45 minutes.  To cook a la olla, the mix, without cheese, must be cooked in a pot for approximately an hour. Many recipes include butternut squash for this version, and milk to make the stirring easier.

Safety Tips for Visitors

(Photo by Metro Transportation Library and Archive)

Buenos Aires is a gorgeous city to visit and walk in, however, as in any big city, certain precautions must be taken to avoid unpleasant situations. Below are some safety tips for visitors.

1-    Avoid looking like a foreigner.  Pickpocket and scam artists are always on the lookout for weaknesses and not knowing the language or the place is an obvious disadvantage. Try not to bring attention to this and avoid getting lost by planning your routes in advance. Also, pay attention to your surroundings. It’s easy to get distracted with the sights so carry bags where you can watch them and make sure zippers are closed and valuables can’t be easily accessed.

2-    Speaking of valuables, don’t flash your jewelry, money and technology around. It is better to carry cameras in a purse or knapsack that to have them hanging around the neck. I-Phones and laptops are also high on thieves wanted list. Although not so common anymore, there are also “moto-chorros” (motorcycle thieves) that zoom by and rip necklaces and purses from people on the streets.  Don’t bring your passport with you (just a photocopy for ID is fine), or all your money on your excursions, and leave jewelry behind if possible.

3-   Call taxis from reputable cab companies such as Radio Taxi Porteño (4566-5777), or have to hotel call you one.  This will prevent taxi scam situations or unpleasant moments, and if you do have an ugly encounter you can report it to the company. Also, know your addresses and routes to prevent getting a runaround.

4-    Take heed of the age-old warning, “be wary of strangers.” Many city scam artists approach their victims by appearing to need help and stirring compassion. A common scam is for example the “distraught foreigner that has been robbed of everything and needs your money.” Another recent anecdote from travelers was of two inoffensive looking old ladies who “accidentally” spilled drinks on tourists and then proceeded to wipe them clean of all their money! If you feel uncomfortable or your gut tells you that someone who is approaching you is dangerous, listen to it. It is better to be safe than sorry.

5-    Avoid walking in certain areas at night. In general in the city center it is best to take cabs. Walking around very busy bar/restaurant streets such as central Palermo, Cañitas, Puerto Madero and Recoleta are ok, but don’t stray too much to the smaller side streets. Also, avoid walking in the areas of Retiro, San Nicolás, La Boca and downtown at night, they are dangerous.  Most parks tend to be hold-up hotspots at night too. San Telmo has safe and unsafe areas at night and is better to take cabs to and from destinations.  During the day, keep an eye out in La Boca, Congreso, the small streets around San Nicolás (the neighborhood where the Casa Rosada, Tortoni and other attractions are) and in Retiro (it is not advisable to wander past the train station towards the river). If you are going to an area you don´t know about, ask the hotel or take a cab.

6-  There isn’t much danger  in public transport, regular pickpockets mostly. If you are traveling in the subway, and specially if it is full, keep your bag on your chest where you can watch it. Be wary of anyone who stands too close when getting on and off from transport, and look out for people standing by who have a sweater hanging over their forearm as it is a typical tactic to cover their hand as they pick pockets and purses. At night opt for buses or cabs and stay away from train and subway.

BAFICI Animated Film Festival

(drawings and photo by Mihow_Bitata full animation here)

The inaugural edition of the BAFICI animation film festival kicks off  tomorrow with a broad program of films from around the world. The festival, which has both a selection of films for adults, and one for children will take place at the Centro Cultural San Martin. Some of the most awaited titles include Arrugas, a feature film about Alzheimer’s by the Spanish Ignacio Ferreras that recently won the Goya award for best animated film; ¨Mundo exterior “, a group of short films by international directors; Plymptoons, a compilation of renowned animator Bill Plympton’s cartoons; the six-episode Russian saga Masha and the Bear and the Japanese The Secret World of Arriety, featuring a screenplay by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki.

Tickets to the festival are already on sale and are 20 pesos for adults, and 10 for students and children. They can be purchased online here, or at the Centro Cultural San Martín from midday to 9pm. Sarmiento 1551, downtown.

Italian Art at the Museo de Arte Decorativo

(Maddona and Child with Detail by Carlo Crivelli. Photo by Eric.Parker)

The impressive Museo de Arte Decorativo in Recoleta is showcasing a special exhibit until the 30th of September. The exhibition, “Mareviglia dalle Marche”, presents Italian art from the Marche region in Italy where a lot of influential art was created. The paintings displayed depict religious Italian iconography from the late Gothic period to nineteenth century Neo-Classicism. Tiziano, Rafael and Crivelli are some of the artists who have been included in this stunning exhibition that was curated by UBA professor architect Angel Navarro.

The museum, which has a great architectural beauty, is also well worth visiting for its permanent collection and is showcasing a motorcycle exhibit. Additionally, there is a lovely cafe, Croque Madame, to stop by for cakes afterwards.

Tickets for the Mareviglia dalle Marche exhibit cost 30 pesos. On Tuesday’s it is free. Opening hours during July are midday to 6.45pm. Av.del Libertador 1902, Recoleta. 4801-8248.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by tanenhaus)

The stunning Palacio de Aguas Argentinas (Palace of Running Waters) is celebrating its hundredth anniversary with a special exhibit from midday to 8pm. Riobamba 750, Downtown. 6319-1104.

In the evening stop by La Peña del Colorado where a tango peña will be held at 8.30pm. This Palermo-centered peña serves traditional food and stages live shows as well as hosting folklore dances for the community.  From midnight onwards they also encourage the diners to play spontaneous guitar music. (They offer the guitars).  Güemes 3657, Palermo. 4822-1038. info@lapeniadelcolorado.com.

Tuesday

(Photo by Concepciones Relativistas)

The Museo de Arte Decorativo is a gorgeous museum in Recoleta and it is currently showcasing a very special exhibit of Renaissance art.  We recommend you visit this architectural and artistic hotspot on a weekday as there are long lines during the weekend to see the impressive Italian paintings. Also, the museum cafe is a lovely place for a hot cup of tea and cakes.  Av.del Libertador 1902, Recoleta. 4801-8248.

The Colón Theatre will be staging a program of two one-act operas in the evening; Erwartung (Expectation) by Arnold Schönberg and Marie Pappenheim, and Hagith by Karol Szymanowski and Felix Dörmann. 22nd, 24th, 26th and 28th of July. Tickets here.

Wednesday

(Photo by Carlos Jauregui)

Comic art fans should check out the new Museo del humor that features works by Quino and Fontanarrosa, amongst others. There are also regular screenings of animation shorts.  While you’re in the area stop by the stunning ecological reserve, which is just around the corner. Av. de los Italianos 851, Puerto Madero

Unicorn Huset is the most promising new addition to the Buenos Aires night scene. On Wednesday’s their lille lordag (little Saturday) party brings trendsetters and world travelers together for some stylish upbeat fun! Open from Wednesday’s to Saturday’s from 9pm onwards. Honduras 5730, Palermo Hollywood.

 

Thursday

(Photo by jayhsiao)

Take a private tour with Buenos Aires Historico Tours. Their guides are historians and other humanities graduates from the Buenos Aires University and they will show you a unique and very informed side of the city! 4307-8539.buenosaireshistorico@yahoo.com.ar.

For a unique evening, book your place at Fierro Hotel’s Thursday wine tasting and sample some great Argentine wines, chosen by the president of the Argentine Sommelier Association Andres Rosberg and in-house Sommelier Martin Bruno. Tastings, which include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant, cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

The Colón Theatre will be staging a program of two one-act operas in the evening; Erwartung (Expectation) by Arnold Schönberg and Marie Pappenheim, and Hagith by Karol Szymanowski and Felix Dörmann. 22nd, 24th, 26th and 28th of July. Tickets here.

Friday

(Photo by PizzadeBarr)

Book your place for the full parrilla experience with Parrilla Tour. These filling excursions, which take place in San Telmo on Fridays, will surely leave you satisfied.

In the evening explore the city’s art galleries and museums with the rest of the crowd on the monthly Gallery Nights.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by Roger Schultz)

Remember to make a reservation for Hernán Gipponi’s unique must-try brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays! Soler 5862,  Palermo Hollywood.  3220-6800.  info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

Stop by La Rural, the annual agricultural and livestock show, and get a feel for the Argentine campo, where so much of the local identity and economy has been forged. The fair takes place from the 19th to the 31st of July at La Rural. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

The Colón Theatre will be staging a program of two one-act operas in the evening; Erwartung (Expectation) by Arnold Schönberg and Marie Pappenheim, and Hagith by Karol Szymanowski and Felix Dörmann. 22nd, 24th, 26th and 28th of July. Tickets here.

The BAFICI animation film festival kicks off on Thursday and will be showcasing great animations until Sunday at the Centro Cultural San Martin. Find the full program here.

Top 5 “Bodegones” in Buenos Aires

(Photo by Tanoka)

A bodegon, as it is called in Argentina, is a typical neighborhood restaurant with certain common characteristics. The menu for example usually features what has become the local cuisine; a mix of European flavors mainly from Spain and Italy with a unique Argie twist. Then there’s the waiters, who are generally all men, in their forties, fifties and up, often clad in spick and span white uniforms. Finally these places are all full of history and character, which makes them one of a kind. Below are our top five.

Roticería Miramar: In the heart of the traditional tango barrio of Boedo, this charming traditional “rotisería” offers typical Spanish influenced Argentine food. A good wine selection completes their tasty menu. We recommend you try their oysters, cheese and cold cuts, amazing boquerones, and rabbit amongst other delicacies. San Juan 1999, Boedo, 4304-4261.

Spiagge di Napoli: Obviously Italian (as the name suggests), this well-known bodegon from the twenties is famous for its homemade pasta, specially its fusilli. Av. Independencia 3527, Boedo.

El Obrero: This mythical restaurant in La Boca neighborhood is a classic for visitors looking to taste typical Argentine dishes and great asado!  Decorated with football paraphernalia and antique wooden furniture, the cozy local vibe and great food make El Obrero is well worth the visit, although preferably during the day as the area is a little dodgy at night. Caffarena 64, La Boca, 4362-9912.

Albamonte: This traditional restaurant in Chacarita was founded by a group of restaurant workers who after losing their job in the late fifties decided to open up a place of their own. Today they are still going strong and serving some of the best local cuisine in town. Av. Corrientes 6735, 4553-2400.

El Preferido de Palermo: This typical bodegon that has been in Palermo since the 50’s has maintained its traditional style despite the areas modern boom.  The restaurant’s specialty are their potato tortillas, and other Spanish influenced dishes. Borges 2108, Palermo. 4774-6585.

‘Campo’ Tradition at Expo Rural 2012

(Photo by tasito)

The Exposición Rural, one of the biggest fairs of the year, kicks off today until the 31st of July. The event, which brings together the livestock and agricultural industry, is one of the most important for professionals in the area, but also, for enthusiastic visitors who flock to Palermo to see the exhibited farm animals, shows and experience the lively vibe.

exhibition, the best cattle are prized, and there are a a number of cattle and horse shows, as well as a host of other activities.. Llamas, pigs, chicks and other rural animals are also on display and are a great attraction for visiting families. Additionally, there are also other typical campo activities such as traditional dances, a Pato tournament (similar to polo) on the 21st at 6pm, and a demonstration of horse taming on the 28th of June at 3pm.

From the 19th to the 22nd of July there will also be a display of regional foods including cereals, beers, wines and liquors, preserved foods, sweets, organic products, dried fruits, cheeses, olive oil and dulce de leches.

Tickets for Expo La Rural cost 25 pesos, and the fair is open from 9am to 8pm until the 31st of July. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

Buenos Aires Celebrates Friendship

(Photo by amanda.venner)

On Friday, Argentines will celebrate Friendship Day. This festivity has a recent origin and dates back to the sixties when there was an international interest in determining a universal friendship day. Different dates were proposed for different reasons and in Argentina, Dr. Enrique Ernesto Febbraro, who was a psychology and philosophy professor, suggested that friendship day be celebrated on the anniversary of man´s landing on the moon. To him, this event symbolized a unified humanity. The date was finally made official and since then has stuck, despite the many objections to what it commemorates as many feel it doesn´t represent anything local. In any case, every 20th of July Argentines do celebrate friendship, usually during the evening and there are plenty of parties and fun things to do. Below we include a few of the activities that will be offered for the occasion.

Hernán Gipponi Friends Day Tasting Menu: The hotel’s lavish restaurant will be offering a special menu to celebrate friendship in good taste. The menu, with wine pairings by Escorihuela Gascón, will feature some of the new flavors the renowned chef has been working with, including grilled polenta with goat blue cheese and black pudding, and veal cheek, humita, cooking broth and tomato-pistachio vinaigrette. Some of his classics will of course also be present such as the 68° cooked egg, catch of the day and the famous granita and foamy lullo dessert (with a new twist).  Book your place at 3220 6820, info@hgrestaurant.com.ar. Fierro Hotel Buenos Aires, Soler 5862, Palermo.

Bomba del Tiempo Dia del Amigo: The Monday classic will be staging a special show for friends who wish to dance to the beat of the same drum. The event begins at 8pm at Ciudad Cultural Konex, Sarmiento 3131, Abasto.

Isenbeck Beer Friends Festival:  Starting at 8pm, this new edition of the Beer Friends Festival will feature live music by 90’s dance queen Crystal Walters and a great line up of DJ’s. There will also be kinetic games with special prizes and a photo booth. Tattersall, Av. Del Libertador 4595, Palermo. Tickets here.  

Bar Mágico, in San Telmo is celebrating their 15th anniversary with a special magic show and dinner. Places must be booked in advance at 4304-9336, shop@tangomagic.com . Carlos Calvo 1631, San Telmo.