This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Photo by blmurch)

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 afternoon, stop for some tea and sweet treats at the traditional Confitería Las Violetas and then work off those medialunas by dancing at the nearby Centro Cultural Konex where La Bomba del Tiempo, a percussion orchestra that has become one of the local musts, will be showing off their drumming skills. Sarmiento 3131, Abasto. 4864-3200

Tuesday

(Photo by Gonzak)

Stop by the Museo Carlos Gardel in Abasto where National Tango day will be taking place with inaugurations, live music and more from 5pm onwards. Jean Jaurés 735, Abasto.

Later on, continue celebrating tango at the free performance by renowned dancer Juan Pablo Ledo who will display his abilities in ballet and tango starting at 8.30pm at the Complejo Cultural 25 de Mayo. Av. Triunvirato 4444,  Villa Urquiza

Wednesday

(Escalera by Juan Gatti. Photo by r2hox)

The Museo Sivori, behind the beautiful Rosedal in Palermo, is displaying Contraluz, a new exhibit by renowned artist Juan Gatti. Av. Infanta Isabel 555, Palermo.

Later on don’t miss the second half of the exhibit, a special projection that will take place at the Planetarium starting at 8.30pm. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldán.

The last gallery night of the year will also be taking place in Palermo, so don’t miss the chance to check out some of the hippest city art whilst mixing and mingling with locals and foreigners alike from 7pm to 10pm. More information here.

Thursday

(Photo by Crazy-Heart)

The Fundación PROA in La Boca is showcasing a must-see exhibit of renowned artist Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures and paintings. Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.

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 160 pesos per person and are limited to 8. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

In the evening the stunning Colón Theatre will be staging a concert,  De Raíces y Alturas (Roots and Heights). Director- Enrique Arturo Diemecke. Piano soloist- Nelson Goerner. Featuring pieces by Pascual de Rogatis, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Claude Debussy. Tickets here.

Later on,  the legendary Madonna will be putting on a live show at the Estadio River Plate. Tickets here.

Friday

(Photo by photoAtlas)

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 Moyan_Brenn)

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.

Head out and roam the city bookshops on Saturday evening when the city will  be celebrating La Noche de las Librerias (bookstore night). Check out some of our favorite BA bookstores here.

On Saturday  head to Av. de Mayo and Bolivar where there will be a free concert by Zamba Quipildor, a renowned singer from Jujuy who will be singing Christmas songs and Argentine folklore from 9.15 pm onwards.

Also on Saturday,  the legendary Madonna will be putting on a live show at the Estadio River Plate. Tickets here.

On Sunday there is a free concert at the Colón Theatre featuring the Buenos Aires Instrumental Ensemble who will play pieces by Adolphe Blanc, Alberto Ginastera and Johannes Brahms at 11am. (Keep in mind that tickets to the Colon theatre’s free concerts must be picked up at the theatre’s box office 24hs. prior to the function.)

What to Order at a Parrilla

(Photo by Ostrosky Photos)

Argentine beef is renowned world wide for its quality and flavor so it’s only logical that it be such a hit with visitors to the country.  Parrillas however, offer much more than just beef, as a real asado also include offals (achuras) and delicacies such as Chorizo and Morcilla  (find a full list of translated meat cuts here.).  Below is a list of the 10  most common asado specials.

Provoleta– Served at the beginning of the asado whilst the rest sizzles, this is actually not meat but a tasty cheese. Never mind, it goes on the grill all the same and is topped with a bit of olive oil and oregano.

Chorizo– Many have written about the Argentine chorizo and the famous choripan, and for good reason. This tasty  grilled sausage is a parrilla favorite and a must try for visitors. It’s close relative, the salchicha parrillera, is also well worth trying.

Morcilla– Better known in English as blood sausage or blood pudding, this soft and dark delicacy, may not be for the squeamish but it is a delicious complement to the perfect asado. Not to be missed.

Chinchulin– It’s name comes from the Quechua word chunchul, meaning, intestine, and that’s exactly what it is, but don’t crinkle your nose until you’ve squeezed some lemon juice on it and tried it. It has a unique flavor and texture and is the favorite “achura” of many.

Molleja– This truly delicious asado staple is not as easy to get right, in terms of preparation, as others, so try it at a reputed parrilla where they’re sure to follow all the necessary procedures for perfect texture and flavor.  Squeeze a lemon and enjoy!

Riñon– Another favorite, but completely different in texture and flavor to chinchulines and mollejas is the kidney. They are especially tasty with a bit of provenzal sauce (parsley, garlic and oil) on top.

Tira de Asado: As it’s name suggests in Spanish (in English rack of ribs) this is a tasty asado classic. It is a good cut for those who enjoy their meat well done.

Vacio: or Flank steak is another very common asado cut. It is enjoyed both well done and medium rare, and is also commonly prepared in the oven with potatoes during the winter.

Entraña: Although traditionally this cut wasn’t  as often included in asados  as others, it has recently become very popular and for good reason. It is both low in fat and juicy at the same time, and is the perfect cut for those who like their meat medium rare or rare.

Bife: Steak, finally, the most well known cut. Sirloin steak (bife de chorizo) is the most common, and can be eaten well done, or rare. It can be ordered in two ways, either sliced in half and open, which is called mariposa (butterfly), or as it comes, in a slightly thicker version.  Tenderloin (bife de lomo) is a delicacy and considered to be THE finest meat cut.

Matambre

(Photo by maggiemason)

Matambre is a typical and savory Argentine staple consisting of flank steak (beef, or pork)  prepared on the grill, in the oven, or boiled and stuffed with egg and vegetables.  Matambre actually comes from the word mata (kills) and hambre (hunger) and got its name because it is a fast cooking meat that Argies peck at while the rest of the slow cooking asado sizzles on the grill.

This local delicacy is well worth trying. The stuffed version (Matambre arrollado), available at any deli store (fiambreria), works very well as sandwich meat, a good picnic alternative.

You can also share this typical Argentine food with friends and family by making your own! See the Matambre Arrollado recipe below.

Matambre Arrollado- or  Stuffed Hungerkill 🙂

Marinade:

1 veal flank steak

1 liter of milk  (or ½ a cup of white wine and ½ a cup of vinegar)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

For the filling:

A few slices of bacon

6 Hard-boiled eggs (or as needed, this will depend on the size of the flank steak)

200 grams of spinach

2 carrots

1 clove of garlic

Finely chopped parsley

Flavorless gelatin or 2 beaten eggs with parmesan cheese.

Salt and pepper as needed.

Mustard- optional

Putting it together:

1- Remove the fat from the fatty side of the flank steak

2- Combine the marinade ingredients in a deep dish and  allow the flank steak to sit in the marinade overnight if it’s made with milk, or for a few hours if done with the vinegar and wine.

3- Boil the eggs, grate the carrots, and finely chop the garlic and the parsley.

4- If you choose to oven bake then spread the flank on a large piece of foil with the fatty side up, if you’re going to boil then skip the foil.

5- Spread with mustard (optional), sprinkle with salt and cover with garlic and parsley.

6- Place the spinach leaves along the flank.

7- Cover the spinach with the bacon.

8- Spread the grated carrot on top.

9-  Place the eggs in a long side row at around 4 cm from the border of the flank.

10- Sprinkle with the gelatin powder or cover with the egg and parmesan mixture (this is to hold the filling together).

11- Roll up the flank. If you’re baking then roll it with the foil and secure the ends well with toothpicks and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour per flank kilo. If you’re boiling sew the all the edges with a needle and thread.

12-  Wrap the flank roll in a light cotton cloth and tie up with cotton string.

13-  Boil the roll in salted water for approximately 1hour per kilo of flank (the flank you choose should weigh around 2kgs).

14- Remove from the water and place a cutting board and something heavy on top whilst it cools for approximately 5 hours.

15-  Remove the cloth and strings and serve sliced.

Top 5 Places for Steak in BA

(Foto by murilocardoso)

Don Julio: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there’s no place like Don Julio for a mandatory sample of Argentine meat. A relaxed homey environment, good wine but most of all a great place to satiate your inner carnivore.  Guatemala 4691, Palermo. 4831-9564.

El Pobre Luis- Luis Acuña is the Uruguayan owner of this popular parrilla in the Belgrano area. Decorated with football shirts and offering some Uruguayan specialties as well as traditional Argentine asado cuts (which they cut themselves!) this is undoubtedly a meat eaters heaven. Arribeños 2393, Belgrano. 4780-5847.

Parrilla Rolaso: This neighborhood parrilla serves abundant portions of top quality meat cooked to perfection. The service is good, they have a good wine selection and their own refrigerated wine cave. Julián Alvarez 600, Villa Crespo. 4854-8411

El Obrero: This mythical restaurant in La Boca decorated with football paraphernalia and antique wooden furniture, is another great option for good quality asado although they also serve other great traditional meals. Definitely a place to try, although preferably during the day as the area is a little dodgy at night. Caffarena 64, La Boca. 4362-9912

Cabaña Las Lilas: Because they serve their own beef, this famous upscale Puerto Madero restaurant is a safe bet for a great quality dinner or lunch . Popular amongst tourists and generally crowded it is best to book in advance. Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 516, Puerto Madero. 4313 1336.

Guests staying at our Terrace Suite can also make use of the grill. Instructions on how to make an asado are available here, or otherwise the front desk can arrange for an asador to come and make it for you!

Find a list of meat cuts with their translation on Landing PadBA´s  How to Order Coffee and Meat in Buenos Aires.

The History of Empanadas

(Photo by cheeseweese)

When one thinks of local Argentine food there are two immediate images that come to mind;  one is ‘asado’ and the other, the empanada.

However, as almost everything local, the delectable empanada was not born in Argentina but brought here by the Spanish. The Spanish in turn had incorporated these delicacies from the Arabs.  who prepared them with lamb, bulgur and spices and called them ‘esfigha’ and ‘fatay’.  Further back, the empanada can be traced to the Greeks who had come up with phillo dough and to what was once Persia, where there was a similar dish centuries before Christ.

In Latin America this tasty pastry filled with different combinations of meats and vegetables became very popular and in Argentina it acquired its own identity with regional variations.  In Salta for example, the meat filling is cut in cubes and previously boiled, then mixed with potato, egg, scallion, cumin and cayenne pepper.  In Tucuman they incorporate raisins to the filling whilst in Cordoba they are coated with egg and sugar.  This way each place makes its own variation imprinting it with the local identity.

 

More information on where to try the best empanadas in Buenos Aires here.

To make your own, we suggest you try our chef Hernán Gipponi´s recipe for rabbit empanadas, available here.  (Don´t forget to order some while you´re at the hotel!)

Top 5 Restaurants in San Telmo

(Photo by Roberto Berlim)

 

El Baqueano: The concept behind this successful auteur restaurant is to reincorporate native meats that have been excluded from popular cuisine. Their nine course tasting menu which changes monthly includes innovative dishes made with quail, hare, rhea, alligator, prawns from Puerto Madryn and other local delicacies. A unique approach to the native meat eating culture. El Baqueano-Chile 495,  San Telmo. 4342-0802. Opening Hours: Tue- Sat 8pm-12pm.

Aramburu: Renowned chef Gonzalo Aramburu who brings molecular cooking techniques to the San Telmo scene offers another innovative take on local cuisine. Visually stimulating and delectable, this restaurant is one of the city’s best. Aramburu– Salta 1050, San Telmo. 4305.0439. Tue-Sun 8pm-closing.

Cafe San Juan: Despite its name this is much more than a cafe. The impeccable savory dishes served in this cozy San Telmo favorite has turned it into one of the city classics.  Spanish inspired entrees, fish and seafood, duck and pork are regulars in their small and changing menu. Av. San Juan 450, San Telmo. 4300-1112. Tue-Sun 12-4pm and 8pm-closing.

Caseros: This inviting restaurant on Caseros Avenue will seduce you from the moment you set foot in it. Bright splashes of color from vegetable and fruit centerpieces contrast against the pristine white tablecloths and chairs opening up the appetite to simple but well prepared satisfying dishes with top quality ingredients.  Av. Caseros 486, San Telmo. 4305.0439. Tue-Sat 12-4pm and 8pm-closing.

Vineria Gualterio Bolivar: This auteur restaurant is led by Alejandro Digiglio who after working at Ferran Adria´s El Bulli brings deconstructivist cuisine to Buenos Aires. The vanguard 12, 14 or 16 step tasting menus offered at Vineria are undoubtedly one of a kind! La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar– Bolivar 865, San Telmo.4361-4709. Tue-Sun 12.30-4pm and 9pm-12pm.

Chimichurri

(Photo by NicoledeB)

 

Chimichurri is a traditional sauce made from herbs, garlic and vinegar that is used on meat at asados.  It is said that the name of the sauce comes from the British. Allegedly, the English men associated the spice-based sauce with curry, so when they wanted it they said “give me curry” which was locally understood as chimichurri.

There are many ways to make the sauce and we have included just one of the many recipes. Whichever way it’s done  we recommend you make it a few days ahead to enhance the flavor.

 

Ingredients:

● 250 ml water (1 cup)

● 60 ml vinegar (¼ cup)

● 60 ml vegetable oil (¼ cup)

● 1 Tbsp coarse salt

● 1 Tbsp dried oregano

● 1 Tbsp thyme

● 1 Tbsp ground chili pepper

● 1 Bay leaf

●  Fresh parsley

● 5 garlic cloves, chopped

Preparation:

Heat the water, vinegar and salt until they boil.

Mix all the other ingredients except for the oil and incorporate them to the water mixture.

Allow to cool at room temperature.

Add the oil.

Store covered in a glass jar.