Top 5 Culinary Tours in Buenos Aires

(Photo by Alaskan Dude)

Parrilla Tour: Meat eating is mandatory for most people who travel to Argentina and the Parrilla Tour is the perfect way to do it. There are two versions of this carnivorous adventure; one takes place in the San Telmo neighborhood, the other in Palermo. Both include stops at three different neighborhood parrillas, and dessert at an ice-cream parlor (newcomers to Argentina may not know it yet, but Argentine ice-cream is the best.) The guides have interesting information about Argentine cuisine and culture, and also make sure to recommend the top cuts. More information here.

Argentine Experience:  This lunch or dinner experience is a great way to get to known what the local cuisine is about. The event begins with a mate refreshment upon arriving and then, once clad in chef hats and aprons, continues onto the empanada-making phase. After that comes a delicious steak and wine lunch, during which some fun and games take place, and then a mate tasting and brewing class, and an alfajor making class, all with top notch information about the local traditions. The dinner option also includes all you can drink until 11pm and free guest list entry to a BA nightclub. Places must be booked in advance. More information here.

Fuudis Gourmet Food Tour:  The last ten years have seen a boom in the city’s gourmet culinary industry, and not only in the realm of steak.   This is the side of the city that Fuudis has set out to explore and share. Their tours include stops at various restaurants focusing on a different city neighborhood on each tour. The experience is not only culinary, it is also a fun social event and special way to get to know the city. More information here.

Cooking with Teresita: Different cooking class options are offered in this bed and breakfast in the city’s outskirts. Whether it’s a short empanada lesson, a one day food tour, or a chance to make asado you’re sure to enjoy this popular option, where you will be able to cook and sample delicious food and wines. More information here.

Buenos Aires Food Tour:  Pick Up the Fork is one of the best Buenos Aires food blogs in ciberspace; not only is it written in English, it reviews every restaurant and food stand in the city and from a sincere point of view. Recently, Allie, the taster and talent behind it, has started offering customized food tours to cater to each travelers preference, whether it’s off the beaten path restaurants, the best closed doors, or why not, where to find the best chori. More information here.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by bogavanterojo)

Start the week off by getting a general picture of Buenos Aires with Jonathan who offers free daily walking tours that start at 11am from the Garibaldi Statue at Plaza Italia. More information here.

In the evening stop by La Peña del Colorado .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 t.bo79)

Stop by the new Gardel exhibit that is being showcased at the Casa de la Cultura until the 30th of April. The exhibition features the largest tango collection in the world! Av. De Mayo 575, first floor, downtown.

In the evening head to Boris Club de Jazz where Russian Red will be staging a live show starting at 10pm. Gorriti 5568, Palermo.

 

Wednesday

 

(Photo  by Celine Aussourd)

Summer is the time for outdoor sightseeing and there are some great tours by air and water that make for perfect alternatives to get to know the city in a fun and novel way.

Later on stop by La Catedral in Almagro where you can take a tango lesson staring at 7.30 pm or 9pm. Sarmiento 4006, Almagro.

Thursday

 

(Photo by vmiramontes)

Stop for a light lunch at hierbabuena in San Telmo and then check out the Margarita Paksa exhibit at the  MAMBA !  Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo.  4342-3001.

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  include special tapas from Hernán Gipponi Restaurant. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Friday

(Photo by ::: M @ X :::)

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 stop by Fierro´s Thank Fierro its Friday Happy Hour from 6pm to 8.30 pm and then head to one of the city’s top bars such as Isabel, Frank’s Bar, Unicorn Huset or 878! Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by dlev1979)

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.

PM Open air music– Outdoor live music, art and more merge in this new Saturday event which takes place in Palermo from 2pm to 9pm. Paraguay 4905, Palermo

Find a ten-day weather forecast here and don’t forget to stop for ice cream at one of these fantastic Buenos Aires heladerias!

On The Argentine Christmas Table: Vitel Thoné

(Photo by Mario Carvajal)

The Argentine Christmas menu is varied, sometimes it includes asado and others a broad selection of cold dishes such as chicken, stuffed tomatoes, deviled eggs, piononos, palm hearts, salads and more.  Most often it is a combination of the two. What is almost never missing is a Piedmontese dish called Vitel Thoné, which consists of cold sliced meat coated by a sauce of egg, tuna, capers, olive oil, cream and anchovies. Below we share the recipe in case you want to bring it to your own Christmas table:

Ingredients:

–  1-11/2 Kg of round stake/silverside

–  Onion, carrot, bay leaf, and garlic for the broth

–  8 hard-boiled eggs

–  1 cup of olive oil

–  10-12 anchovies

–  2 cans of tuna fish (in brine or oil)

–  1 cup of cream or 1 cup of mayonnaise

–  2 teaspoons of  dijon mustard

–  2 teaspoons of capers

–  Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

– Clean the steak from fat or covering membrane.

– Place steak with salt and vegetables for broth in a large pot of water and boil for approximately an hour or an hour and a half (until it is tender).

– Let cool in the broth.

– Slice into thin pieces.

– In a blender combine the yolks of the 8 hard-boiled eggs, the tuna and the olive oil until a paste is formed.

– Add approximately one cup of broth.

– Add anchovies, mustard, salt and a generous amount of pepper.

– Add the cream/mayonnaise.

– If the sauce is too thick then add a bit more broth.

– Layer the steak slices in a deep dish and cover each layer with the sauce. Sprinkle the capers on top.

– Refrigerate for a few hours to enhance the flavor.

Top Alternative Argie Gifts for Christmas

(Photo by blfotografia)

Gift giving can be hard for some and tricky for others, thankfully, travelling is a great opportunity to purchase creative and unique presents. Typical gifts from Argentina include delicious dulce de leche, mates, tango music and wine, but there is a lot more! Below are our picks for this years Argie Christmas list and you can find more suggestions from last year’s Christmas here.

Gabriela Horvat jewelry: Those who are staying at the hotel have surely noticed the stunning designs by this contemporary Argentine jeweler that are displayed in the hotel lobby. The artistic combination of modern forms with typical materials such as silver and knits make these pieces ideal present candidates. Plus, you can purchase them at the hotel.

Dotta Filetes: Filete Porteño is an Argentine decorative painting style that is typical in the world of tango and nostagic Buenos Aires. Dotta Filetes has incorporated that style to make traditional mates decorated with artful flowers, as well as other objects including shoe shiner’s boxes,, platters, and more in this truly local decorative style. Find their products here.

Fluffy sheep skin slippers: for those who are returning to the northern hemisphere, these slippers will make winter all the cozier sans the cold toes. They are available at stores that sell regional products and probably at a discount price since they are out of season in Argentina.  You can also contact the people at Tacún who specialize in leather and sheep skin items. For those who will be staying in the hot weather, the fresh alternatives are alpargatas, which are comfy fresh shoes with jute soles (Paez has some colorful modern options.)

On the culinary front:

(Photo by AussieGold)

Traditional gifts regarding food and drink from Argentine would typically include dulce de leche, Havanna alfajores, and a good Malbec, all great choices, however don´t overlook these alternative picks:

Regional Alfajores from Cordoba filled with quince jam or Tucumán alfajores that are filled with meringue and cane sugar. (find our top pick of Argie alfajores with links to where to find them in BA here).

Torrontés wine is the typical white Argie counterpart to Malbec and is just as stellar a gift for cheery toasters.

Local gourmet olive oil is also gaining quite a reputation. Find the best brands of Argentine olive oil  here.

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.

Planning Your Trip: How Much do Things Cost?

(Photo by morrissey)

A fellow traveler recently asked us if there were any sources we knew of to calculate the cost of things in Buenos Aires so as to know how much spending to expect. Since we couldn’t find a satisfactory reply, we decided to look into it ourselves. It proved a difficult task since prices vary in different neighborhoods and stores, and are not very stable.  Below is what we came up with, it is of course a list of estimated costs.

Transport

Train: $1,10

Subway: $2,50

Bus: Between $1,10 and $1,75 depending on distance. It is estimated that there will be a raise in bus tickets in July, and it has been announced that their price will double.

Taxi: During the day the initial meter is 7.30 pesos and then 73cents/200 meters, at night the initial meter is 8.70 pesos and then 87c/200m.

Food

Cafe con leche: between 14-18 pesos depending on the café.

Medialunas: between 3,50- 5 pesos, depending on the café, 32 the dozen in a bakery.

500ml bottle water: 15 pesos in a restaurant, 6 pesos in a kiosk and 4.50 in a supermarket.

600ml soft drink: 15pesos in a restaurant, 8 pesos in a kiosk and 6.50 pesos in a supermarket.

Local beer 970cc: 6.90 in a supermarket, 27 pesos in a bar.

Empanadas: 6 pesos each.

Pizza:  Average 45 pesos for a big pizza, depending on the toppings and the place.

Ice Cream: approximately 20 pesos for a cone.

Choripan: approximately 20 pesos at a chori-cart (we suggest El Puestito del Tio, in Palermo)

Lunch menu including main course, beverage and dessert or coffee: average 50 pesos.

Dining out: Starting at approximately 100 pesos and up per person.   Find a city restaurant guide with (very) estimative prices here.

Outings

Most museums cost between 1-10 pesos if the government runs them. The privately owned MALBA charges a 25-peso ticket for adults.

Japanese Gardens: $16 pesos for an adult ticket.

Cinema: General ticket: 40 pesos 3D: 46 pesos

Theatre: Starting at 140 pesos and up. Ballets and operas are more expensive, and there are independent theatre productions that cost approximately 50 pesos.  Click here for online tickets to upcomming shows.

Nightclubs: Between 40-70 pesos.

Buenos Aires Rama Tours and Rama Food for IPhones

(Photo by reflectification)

Rama Tours is an iPhone app for travelers offering different city tours prepared by enthusiasts and connoisseurs.  In 2010 the BBC picked it as one of the leading iPhone travel apps.

The tour on offer for Buenos Aires by Kate Stanworth is called ¨Heart of Buenos Aires¨ and is a great introduction to the city’s political and historical quarter centered arround Av.de Mayo.

Recently Rama also launched city food tours, and of course Buenos Aires had to be featured!

For breakfast and pastry lovers, Frank Almeida from Sugar&Spice (responsible for the delicious cookies at Fierro’s mini-bars) went on the quest for the best medialunas in town.

Dan Perlman from renowned closed door restaurant Casa Saltshaker was in charge of the San Telmo and Recoleta food tours featured in the app.

Finally Maria Carrá from BA Foodies prepared a tour of 5 recommended Palermo bars that due to their character have withstood the test of time as some of the neighborhood’s hottest go-to places.

The application, available from iTunes here, is a perfect way for gadget enthusiasts and people stopping for a short visit to get an overview of the city.