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.

New in Town: Museo del Humor

(Photo by Nelson Piedra)

Recently, a new museum was inaugurated in the city, celebrating the local comic and caricature scene. The museum exhibits a collection that spans from the 1800’s to the present and depicts different political and cultural stages of the country.

Artist César Hipólito Bacle, who produced a series of lithography’s that mocked the porteño women’s exaggerated hairdos, first introduced comics and caricatures to the locals in 1837. From then on the genre moved from fashion to politics and became very popular as an expression of dissident political opinions. So much so that president Juarez Selman prohibited Eduardo Sojo, a Spanish journalist and caricaturist who founded the Don Quixote magazine in 1884, to draw his caricature.  Later the magazine supported the 1890 revolution and played an important role in the downfall of the Juarez Selman Government.

Another very important magazine at the time was Caras y Caretas. This magazine not only characterized and illustrated the political situation at the time, but also, gave a lot of importance to the cultural icons that forged the national identity, such as the gaucho. Caras y Caretas became emblematic throughout twentieth century Argentina, and incorporated many novelties that were then copied by other smaller publications.

In the thirties comic strips acquired an increased notoriety as there began to be illustrated adaptations of different stories and books such as Hansel and Gretel and Robinson Crusoe. During this period the famous Patoruzu comic strip, by Dante Quinterno, was published in La Razon and El Mundo newspaper, and depicted the life of an innocent Telhuelche Indian with supernatural strength who was tutored by a playboy porteño. Later on it became an independent publication reaching record circulation.

During the next decade comic strips flourished and began to incorporate different themes, mocking world leaders during the Second World War, and also showing some of the cultural changes in western society, as for example the role of workers and women.

During the military dictatorship local publications dwindled as censorship was instilled, however it was during this period that some of the most renowned Argentine comic artists appeared including Quino who commercialized his work abroad with his emblematic character Mafalda, and later Caloi and Fontanarrosa, amongst others.

Now a day’s comic art is still very much alive in the local culture, and many of the mentioned comic artists are well known by a large part of the population.

The comic art museum brings together all the different periods and characters of this important tradition which has helped to define the local identity.

Museo del humor

Av. de los Italianos 851, Puerto Madero

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm.

Tickets: 10 pesos.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by marise caetano)

A new exhibit on renowned Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce is being held at the MALBA until the 20th of August.  The artist´s work, which focuses on reconstructing history through artistic quotes of newspapers and other media, has earned him international acclaim. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta.

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 violinha)

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.

If you’re looking for a laugh don’t miss the Grin Go! Stand Up comedy Show starting at 9pm at the Absinth Resto Bar. Bartolomé Mitre 1695, Downtown. 4371-6486. Be sure to make a reservation by emailing gringo@comicosdepie.com.ar.

 

Wednesday

(Photo by Jack Zalium)

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.

Unicorn Huset is the most promising new addition to the Buenos Aires night scene. Trendsetters and world travelers meet at this Scandinavian inspired resto/bar-club for some stylish upbeat fun! Open from Wednesday’s to Saturday’s from 9pm onwards. Honduras 5730, Palermo Hollywood.

Thursday

(Photo by cyph3r)

Take a trip down the historical A-line Subway and travel through time whilst stopping to visit some of the city’s emblematic spots such as the Casa Rosada, Cafe Tortoni and Congress.

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 Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires)

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 evening, catch a live show at 10pm at Boris Club de Jazz, one of the hippest jazz venues in Palermo.  Gorriti 5568, Palermo,  info@borisclub.com.ar, 4777-0012.

Saturday and Sunday

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.

La Rural, the annual agricultural and livestock show, will give you 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. Av. Sarmiento 2704, Palermo.

On Sunday the Colón theatre is staging their new opera program featuring Erwartung, by Arnold Schönberg and Marie Pappenheim, and Hagith by Karol Szymanowski and Felix Dörmann. Tickets here

Top 5 Alfajores

(Photo by Silvio Tanaka)

The alfajor is a typical sandwich like snack made up of two “cookies” usually filled by, you guessed it, dulce de leche, (although there are variety’s filled with fruit jams and chocolate as well) and covered in chocolate, confectionary, sugar or coconut. Each region of the country has its own type of alfajor, which varies its fillings and dough type. The most well known are the Cordoba alfajores, with an airy dough typically filled with fruit jams and chocolate and coated with a sugar glaze, the northern alfajores which are often filled with meringue, and the coast alfajores which have a more compact dough and are generally covered in chocolate. Below are our favorite five for you to seek and sample.

Havanna: This famous Mar del Plata alfajor company is probably the best-known producer of these top-quality treats. Their chocolate alfajor is what made them famous and it is everything it should be, plus, they are easy to find and can be bought at the airport to take back home.

Estancia el Rosario: This is the epitome of the Cordoba alfajor and is quite different from the coast versions we usually get in Buenos Aires.  Their must try`s are the fruit filled kind, which is typical of this region, and their dulce de leche ones are also sublime. Find the addresses of stores in Buenos Aires that sell their products here.

La Olla de Cobre:  Although not so readily available as the other two, these Areco delicacies are well worth the trip to the countryside. Plus this is a great place for chocolate too, made from scratch starting from the processing of the cacao bean to the delicious end product.

Tresam: These extra sized alfajores come from Rosario and are filled with top quality San Ignacio dulce de leche. They are most well known for their alfajor de maizena, which is made with cornflour and decorated on the sides with coconut.

Del Tucuman: As the name suggests these traditional delicacies come from the North of the country. Their typical alfajor is called cicero or casita, and is filled with meringue and cane sugar; a totally different alfajor from what we generally see in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires for Kids

(Photo by Mora)

During July, Argentine children have winter holidays, and a broad variety of activities are offered for the young ones. Below are a list of fun activities and sights to visit with children.

Parks

The city is full of beautiful parks and in Palermo, the Rosedal is one of the most attractive. You can rent pedal boats to go around the lake. Nearby are the Japanese gardens where it is common to see kids with their grandparents enthusiastically feeding the fish.

The Planetarium is another great spot to go with children. It is currently showcasing the immersive show “Journey to the Stars” which traces stars through time. The experience was created in collaboration with the NASA, the American Museum on Natural Science in New York and a group of renowned scientists. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldan, Palermo.

Fun Parks

Parque de la Costa: Tigre is an interesting place to visit in the outskirts of the city and boat rides and other fun activities abound in this unique district. One of the main attractions for children in this area is the Parque de la Costa where roller coasters and cotton candy promise to seduce the heart of every child.

República de Los Niños: This Disney-inspired children’s theme park on the outskirts of La Plata was built in the early fifties for civic learning. The team of architects based the design on stories by Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers and legends by Tennyson and Mallory. The park also includes a doll museum with dolls from all over the world. The theme park can be visited every day from 10am-6pm. Camino General Belgrano and 501, M. B. Gonnet, La Plata. 0221-484-1409.

Zoos

The Buenos Aires Zoo is a special place in the city, not only because it displays a large variety of exotic animals, but also because it is an important research center and has beautiful architecture that dates back to the late 1800´s.  It also hosts many special events for children. Av. Las Heras y Av. Sarmiento.

Temaiken Biopark: This popular well-kept biopark on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in Escobar, is more than a zoo; it aspires to be a combination of Botanical Garden, Zoo, Aquarium, and Natural History and Anthropology Museum. A guaranteed child pleaser. There are special buses that take you there leaving from Plaza Italia.

Museums

Museo de los niños: This interactive museum for children in the Abasto shopping mall is a small scale reproduction of the city and allows kids to look at how businesses function and to play at being a part of them. A popular place for the young ones!

Buque Museo Fragata: This frigate commissioned by the navy in 1898 to be used as a training vessel is now docked in Puerto Madero and is open as a museum.

Museo Participativo de Ciencias: This fun interactive science museum is set inside the Centro Cultural Recoleta, right next to the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Its motto is “Prohibido no tocar” which translates to Forbidden not to touch, and pretty much sums up the idea.

Museo de Ciencias Naturales de La Plata: This famous natural sciences museum in La Plata has a permanent exhibit that traces the history of life from the inorganic to the organic concluding with mankind and culture. It showcases over 2,500,000 objects including dinosaur fossils.  Paseo del Bosque S/Nº. La Plata. (54-221) 425-7744 / 9161 / 9638. museo@museo.fcnym.unlp.edu.ar.

Museo del Titere (Puppet Museum): The Puppet Museum in San Telmo has a beautiful collection of puppets from all over the world as well as a specialized library and an antique puppet theatre where shows are occasionally staged. Piedras 905, San Telmo. 4307 6917.

MALBA: The MALBA museum of Latin American art regularly offers special activities for children where different works of art from the museum are discussed. The discussions are then followed by a creative activity where they make their own work related to what they saw.  For these winter holidays they have also organized a recycling workshop and a live presentation of how different things from daily life, such as soap and knits, are made.

Theatre and shows

Winter is also the time for children’s theatre productions. The city government organizes many of these, including clown, dance and puppet shows. (Find full schedule here).

The annual Disney on Ice is also a big hit and features ice-skating performances of Disney musicals.