Fierro Loves Hollywood: Cafés

Café culture is a porteño trademark, and the many gorgeous traditional cafés that are scattered around the city are proof that locals have thrived on cafecitos and medialunas ever since BA´s founding days. During the last few years, a new type of café has sprung offering a wider variety of pastries inspired by French and North American cuisine. In Palermo, cafés pop up every day, offering from scrambled eggs and bacon for a potent way to start the day, to the more understated and local caffeine and sugar combinations.

Best Coffee

Café Montenegro serves Lavazza coffee, and many a foreigner chooses this lovely spot at the corner of Soler and Arevalo because quality java is a guarantee. Arévalo and Soler, Palermo Hollywood.  4040.3783.

The Italian style In Bocca al Lupo café offers top-notch coffee and also delicious sandwiches, nutella filled croissants, and all in a spacey luminous setting complete with an outdoor patio.  Bonpland 1965, Palermo. 4774-3692.

Yummy cakes and Palermitan cozy feel

There is an overwhelming amount of cafés in the Palermo area, and the type that features flowery streamers and rustic atmospheres are the most popular. The most renowned and for good reason are the pioneer Oui Oui, Voltaire (lovely lighting and outdoor seating), Porota (passion fruit muffins!), and Pani ( famous for its sweet potato jam cheesecake). Of course, there are many others and if there’s one you’ve found that missed the list, please share with us!

Bookworm Heaven

Sipping on coffee and reading is the perfect match and Eterna Cadencia, our favorite neighborhood bookstore has tapped into this and also has a gorgeous café with natural light coming in from the rooftop windows. Honduras 5574, Palermo. 4774-4100.

Traditional

For those who want a real porteño experience then stopping by El Bar del Gallego is a must. This corner café belongs to Don Emilio, who despite being offered millions for his prized location sticks to his guns and continues serving the local classics, as well as the bars specialty- a baguette with prociutto, cheese and butter. The bar will soon be moving to the opposite corner and so will be closed during the first fortnight of November. Bonpland 1703, Palermo Hollywood. 4771-1526.

Saturday High Tea at Casa Munet

(Photo by Therese Tjernström)

Casa Munet is dedicated to bringing the wonderful world of tea, cakes and perfectly crafted sandwiches to the local catering scene. They offer catering services, courses and seminars and fortunately, on Saturdays, they also work as a closed-door teahouse in Colegiales. The high tea service they offer includes a fixed tasting menu in which a selection of different tea’s served in delicate cups are paired with either sweet or savory pastries. With autumn upon us, booking a spot at Casa Munet is a must. info@casamunet.com.ar. 1549173005

Argentine Pastries

(Photo by Xiaozhuli)

We’re not sure what the consumption of medialunas per capita is in Argentina, but we’re guessing it’s pretty high and right up there with meat. So, it’s no surprise that Buenos Aires (and practically every other Argentine city and town) is scattered with panaderias (bakeries).  Of course, being bakeries, their specialties include bread, cakes and pastries, like anywhere else in the world. However, as each place has its own twist on sugar and starch we’ve put together a list of typical pastries to sample next time you’re near a neighborhood carb-dispenser.

Medialunas: Hands down, the most popular pastry is this crescent shaped slightly sweet croissant. There are two types: de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist.

Vigilantes: These pastries made mostly from butter are generally covered with quince jam and custard and sprinkled with sugar on top.

Bolas de Fraile: The Benedictine’s came up with this pastry in the XV century after searching for a sweet representation of the absolute. Perfection however didn’t come along until the Argies filled them with dulce de leche.

Cañoncitos de Dulce de Leche: The cylindrical shaped puff pastries filled with rich dulce de leche and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar are the ultimate sugar high for those that like it really sweet.

Churros: These crunchy fried pastries are dusted in sugar, sometimes filled with dulce de leche, and occasionally coated in chocolate. They pair best with hot chocolate in winter at one of these places.

Pastelitos: Prepared for national festivities, these crunchy sweet indulgences are filled with quince or sweet-potato paste.

As a curious side fact, anarchist bakers named many of the pastries in the nineteenth century alluding to the different powers in a gesture of ridicule. Such is the case of the vigilante (which means guard), bola de fraile (monk balls), and cañoncito (cannon).

(find a review  by our friend Allie Lazar of the best Buenos Aires panaderias here.)

We Recommend: Lunch at Cusic

Whether for breakfast, lunch or a satisfying afternoon pastry, Cusic is the place to go.  Welcoming and cozy, this hidden Palermo gem offers homemade cuisine inside a house converted into restaurant, which also has a lovely terrace-garden for the sunnier summer spring days. The food is varied, depending on the time of the day. Options include savory and sweet baked goods, yoghurt and fruits for breakfast (as well as homemade marmalade), delicious sandwiches and wraps, and other more elaborate dishes.

Cusic usually opens from Wednesday to Sunday during the day from 10am to 8pm; however, on Thursday´s, they host special dinners until 12pm in which customers pay what they believe the food was worth. If you´re in the Palermo area and are looking for a charming homey place to stop and enjoy carefully prepared food in a relaxing environment then this is the place for you.  El Salvador 6016, Palermo.

 

Typical Argentine Merienda

(Photo by amanky)

In Argentina we follow the Spanish-Italian tradition of the merienda, better known in the Anglo world as afternoon tea. It is basically a small meal between lunch and dinner. Although the culinary options nowadays have broadened and include treats such as muffins and bruschettas, classic Argentine meriendas consist of:

Cafe con leche and medialunas: A typical local staple served at all hours consisting of coffee with milk and yummy croissants made of lard (de grasa) or butter (de manteca).  In winter the coffee might be substituted by a submarino (a piece of chocolate dunked into hot milk).

Mate and facturas: Sugar and a caffeine like booster (mateine) come together in this combination of bitter mate and sweet pastries filled with dulce de leche, custard and quince jam.

Licuado de Banana and Tostado de jamón y queso: A favourite for Spring and Summer, this combination of banana and milk smoothie and grilled ham and cheese sandwich on special crustless bread, is a great afternoon energy booster.

Tea with milk and toast: The simplest version of the snacking combinations, and the one most commonly found in households. Toppings for toast are of course dulce de leche, maybe jam and for the light version cream cheese.

This Week in Buenos Aires

Monday

(Courtesy of arteBA Fundación)

The city’s most important art fair, ArteBA, which will be open until Tuesday, is a great opportunity for art enthusiasts and collectors to see the latest Argentine art on the market.  Open from 1pm-9pm. More information here.

In the evening the renowned Cuban orchestra Buena Vista Social Club will be presenting a live show next to Omara Portuondo at the Teatro Colegiales. Tickets here. Av. Federico Lacroze 3455, Colegiales.

Tuesday

(Photo by this is emily)

Book your place at the stunning Duhau Palace Restaurante and Vinoteca for the special Salta Cuisine menu paired with Colome wines that will be specially prepared throughout the week. Lunch: 300 pesos, Dinner: 400 pesos. Reservations at 5171 1340.

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 ::d::)

Throughout the week the Buenos Aires artisan pastry week will be celebrated around the city in cafes and cake houses. Check out the special offers and discounts and go on an indulgent quest to find the best medialunas in town!

In the evening the Tango Championship semifinals will be held at 11.30pm in La Viruta. Armenia 1366, Palermo.

Thursday

(Photo by irargerich)

Stop by the Buenos Aires Planetarium to experience 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. Tue-Fri 1pm, 4pm, 5pm. Sat-Sun 2pm, 3pm. 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm. Av. Sarmiento and Belisario Roldan, Palermo.

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 cost 25 USD per person and are limited to 7 people. Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220-6800.

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

Friday

Friday is a national holiday as the May revolution is celebrated. Festivities will take place at Plaza San Martin starting 10am. Details will be updated on Thursday.

In the evening stop by La Peña del Colorado for some live guitar folklore and tango music by the talented trio Gorosito/Cataldi/de la Vega starting at 10pm.

Saturday and Sunday

(Photo by Peter Forret)

Throughout the long weekend the Japanese Gardens will be celebrating different culinary customs of the Japanese culture. Av. Figueroa Alcorta and Casares, Palermo.

On Saturday don’t miss  the City Tango Dance Finals, which will be held in the afternoon at La Usina de las Ideas. Tickets must be picked up on Friday at Casa de la Cultura ( Av. De Mayo 575) from midday to 5pm.

On Saturday at 8.30pm Chinese pianist Lang Lang presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s: Partita No.1 in E-flat major,  Franz Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat major, D. 960 and Frederic Chopin’s twelve studios, Op. 25. at the Colón Theatre.

5 Best Hotels for Food and Drinks

For Breakfast

Hernan Gipponi at Fierro Hotel

The best 4-step gourmet breakfast in town, including fresh fruit juices, perfect pastries, Spanish hams and unique hot and cold breakfast dishes created by Chef Hernan Gipponi. This posh Palermo restaurant also serves a great Spanish inspired tasting menu for lunch and dinner with special wine selections by the Argentine wine association president, Andres Rosberg and resident sommelier Martin Bruno.

Soler 5862, Palermo

3220 6800

For Lunch

Chez Nous at Algodon Mansion

This bright and elegant restaurant in Recoleta offers a great menu of French-Argentine fusion cuisine. Plus they have an annex cognac bar and a glass-covered patio with a fireplace that is great for winter!

Montevideo 1647 – Recoleta

3530-7777

For 5 O’clock Tea

(by Suzienewshoes)

L’Orangerie at the Alvear Palace

Tartlets, scones, and perfect cakes and all on delicate china plates make for the best teatime experience in the city. To accompany their afternoon treats they also offer a wide selection of special tea blends. Also in the Alvear Palace is La Bourgogne, one of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires.

Alvear, Av. 1891, Recoleta

4808-2100 int.1643

 

For Dinner, Wine and Cheese

Duhau Restaurant and Vinoteca at the Hyatt Hotel

This classy restaurant offering international cuisine specializes in wok and wooden grill preparations. The other thing they’re known for is their Vinoteca with a unique cheese room here you can taste an exclusive selection of Argentine wines and savory cheeses accompanied by chutneys and freshly baked breads.

Av. Alvear 1661, Recoleta

5171 1234

For Late Night Drinks

(by Sterin)

Faena Hotel

This flamboyant hotel designed by Phillippe Starck offers top quality cocktails in the Library Lounge and in the Cabaret where they put on a fantastic tango show. A fashionable place full of character, well worth visiting on your night prowls in BA.

445 Martha Salotti, Puerto Madero

4010 9000