Jorge Luis Borges

(Photo meetaires)

Jorge Luis Borges was one of Argentina’s most prolific authors. His writing is centered on themes such as time, infinity, mirrors, mythology, identity, the labyrinth and the city amongst others.

His bilingual background, the origins of his family and his time spent living in Europe and then returning to his native Buenos Aires reflect in his writing where there is a confluence of European influences and the native imagery and characters. This combination perfectly expresses the local social and cultural construct whilst his metaphysical influences draw you into a dreamlike abstract tour of the city he both knew and imagined.

 

For more on Borges you can visit the Centro Cultural Borges where a new permanent exhibit was inaugurated commemorating the 25th anniversary of his death. Included in the display are some of his drawings, his books and creative process, a map of the places in Buenos Aires which influenced him, photographs, and other elements of the Borgean imagery.

To get some of his books in English, head to the Kel bookstore in Recoleta.

 

Centro Cultural Borges

Viamonte 525, downtown

5555 5358

 

KEL

Marcelo T. de Alvear 1369

4814-3788

Whats up with Fernet?

(Vintage Fernet Branca add. Photo by stolen w-heels)

Those of you who have already gotten a taste of the local nightlife may have noticed the popularity of “Fernet con Coca”, a strange alcoholic beverage made up of, you guessed it, Fernet and Coke.  If there is a classic nightlife Argie drink, then this is definitely it.

The origins of Fernet are unclear. Some say it was originally concocted by a Swedish doctor as a medicine for cholera, others rumor it was invented by an apothecary who was looking for a cure for menstrual cramps,  and yet another theory (from an unreliable drunk source at a bar) states that it was prepared by an medicine woman in Sicily to expel demons from haunted widows. In any case, although the last theory sounds a bit dubious, we are almost certain Italian immigrants imported the beverage to Argentina.

Made of herbs and spices, there is a general consensus that the unique taste of Fernet is to be paired with Coke, and although many claim it to be an acquired taste, there are many more locals that love it. Our recommendation is to try it and see what its about.  After all, even if you don’t like it it’s still a great digestive, and anyway, clubbing doesn’t start until 2-3am so there’s plenty of time to drink up!


This Week in Buenos Aires

As the chill of winter approaches, indoor activities become the choice pastimes. Visiting art exhibits, visiting the Colon Theatre or attending special film screenings, such as the 8th exhibition of European Film which is on this week, are great ways to enjoy the city when it’s cold.

 

Monday

This is the last week to visit the exhibit of Argentine artist Oscar Grillo’s  drawings of people from London at the Centro Cultural Recoleta.  Stop by traditional bar La Biela afterwards for an afternoon snack.

In the evening head to Mundo Bizarro for great drinks in a quirky 40s-50´s ambiance.

 

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Mon- Fri 2pm-9pm

Sat-Sun 10-9pm

Junin 1930, Recoleta

4803 1040

 

La Biela

Av. Quintana 596, Recoleta

4804-0449

 

Mundo Bizarro

Serrano 1222, Palermo Viejo

4773-1967

 

Tuesday

(Mamba museum by Juanele)

Check out French video artist Pierrick Sorrin´s exhibition at the recently reopened MAMBA (Museum of Modern Art). For a great meal just a few blocks away head to Cafe San Juan.

In the evening 20´s style Virasoro Bar in Palermo is screening “Paycheck” directed by John Woo at 9.30pm.

 

MAMBA

Mon-Fri 12-7pm

Sat-Sun 11am-8pm

Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo

4342-3001

 

Cafe San Juan

Av. San Juan 450, San Telmo

4300-1112

Tue-Sun 12-4pm and 8pm-closing

 

Virasoro Bar

Guatemala 4328, Palermo

4831-8918

 

Wednesday

(La Manzana de las Luces by clixyou)

Guided tours at 3pm of The Manzana de las Luces, an old Jesuit residence from the 1700’in the San Telmo area, are worth taking.

Later on at 7.30pm get a glimpse of an imaginary future at La Fabrica where artists Federico Lamas and Monica Hellers exhibt their video installation “Brutal.”

Top off a great day by having a savory dinner at El Baqueano where you can taste native meats such as quail, chinchilla and llama amongst others.

 

Manzana de las Luces tours.

Mon-Fri 3pm

Sat- Sun 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm.

Starting at Peru 272, San Telmo

4342-3964

 

La Fabrica

Peru 442, San Telmo

 

El Baqueano

Chile 495,  San Telmo

4342-0802

Opening Hours: Tue- Sat 8pm-12pm

 

Thursday

(Mercado del Progreso by blmurch)

 

Take an off the beaten path day in the Caballito neighborhood where you can visit the natural sciences museum, a large market (Mercado del Progreso) and antique trams.

For a great lunch or dinner in the area check out Lo de Cholo, an apparently low key canteen which offers top quality local food with a gourmet twist.

In the evening the Wayne Shorter Quartet is playing at the Gran Rex Theatre. Tickets here.

 

Natural Science Museum

Open everyday from 2-7pm

Av. Angel Gallardo 470, Caballito

4982-6595

 

Mercado del Progreso

Mon-Sat 8am -1pm and 5pm- 8.30pm

Av. Rivadavia 5430, Caballito

4901-3038

 

Antique Trams

Emilio Mitre 500, Caballito

 

Lo de Cholo

Av. Gaona 1699, Caballito

4584-7601

 

Friday

(Orchid by richardoyork)

If you like orchids you wont want to miss the Fiesta de las Orchideas being held until Sunday.

In the evening top the week off with a visit to the Colon Theatre to watch Il Tritico.

 

Fiesta de las Orquideas

Fri10-Sun12 – 10am-7pm

Centro Okinawense

Av. San Juan 2651

 

Teatro Colon

Cerrito 628

4378 7100

 

Saturday and Sunday

(Japanese gardens in Palermo by Rafaelgomez)

All June Saturdays- Samba and Feijoada at 1pm in Notorious.

The Dance and Movies party on Saturdays invites you to enjoy movies that inspire dancing. Jorge Newberry 3663, first floor. 7pm.

Sunday is a great day to visit the Palermo parks and while your there, stop by the Japanese Park and watch the Sumo wrestlers!

Shhh…

(Photo by pieceofplastic)

Back in the days of prohibition, speakeasy bars popped up in New York attracting their clientele by the word of mouth of trusted customers.  Taking this same approach, Frank’s Bar recently opened in Palermo Hollywood promising an invite-only upscale clandestine night out.  To get in you need to dial a password into a faux-telephone booth which opens the secret door. Once inside you will surely be seduced by the superb drinks and the cool atmosphere with an in house erotic shop and international djs . A must find.

10 Things We Love About Buenos Aires

 

1- The Pulsing Energy

(Av. Corrientes by bimurch)

One thing Buenos Aires isn’t is dormant. This is not only a by-product of city life in general, but part of the local character. Late night partying (meaning it starts at 2 am), frantic driving, bright lights,  loud energetic voices, and the countless things to do and see, make this city a full-blown life force.

 

2-The Delicious Food

(Alfajores filled with dulce de leche. Photo by jamieanne.)

Argentine meat is famous worldwide, and indeed, the asado is one of the national stars, however the local indulgences don’t stop there. Try the dulce de leche, ice cream, pizza, alfajores, and the pastries and you will be pleasantly surprised.  Additionally you can count on variety, quality and freshness of produce all year round, which promises palatable dining.

 

3- The Charming Café’s

(Cafe Tortoni. Photo by J.)

A big part of the city culture, there’s a special allure in the traditional cafes, whether they’re well known or anonymous barrio relics.  Stopping for a quick cup of coffee with medialunas whilst on the go, or for a warm submarino (chocolate bar dipped in hot milk) with churros on a winters day is a must.

 

4- The Flower Shops and Verdulerias

(Verduleria in Palermo. Photo by iggykaser.)

Step out on the streets and you will find the city is ornamented with perfumed flower shops and colorful verdulerias exhibiting their variety of fruits and vegetables.

 

5- The Shady Trees and Parks

(The Jacaranda trees in bloom. Photo by q.crescente)

Contrasting with the traffic and the conglomerate of people are the large parks and the shady trees that line even the busiest avenue. The Jacaranda tree, which is spread around the city, is known to pave the streets with purple flowers in spring and the ombú trees, display their grandiose roots in many of the city’s lush parks.

 

6-The Amazing Architecture

(Puente de la Mujer. Photo by S.Amrit)

From the French sumptuousness of the Colon Theatre and the city palaces to the more humble but colorful buildings in La Boca, from the Colonial structures to modern day skyscrapers, the city is filled with a variety of architectural styles of great beauty.

Some architectural must-sees include the Palacio Barolo, the Cavannagh building, the Colon Theatre, and the Puente de la Mujer in Puerto Madero, amongst others.

 

7- The Diversity

(La Boca by jodastephen.)

Buenos Aires is a city defined by the merging of different influences. Spanish, Italian, French, British, and German backgrounds meshed with the native traditions and people making for a unique social construct with a very peculiar identity. This diversity is reflected in the cuisine, the architecture, the art, the customs, the styles and the ethnic make up of the city’s inhabitants.

 

8- The Cultural Buzz

(Teatro Porteño. Photo by Luis Fdez.)

Theatres, galleries, and stages of all sizes plague the city providing for a lively cultural and artistic scene. Live music can be heard everyday in many places and range from traditional and remixed tango, to local rock, to folkloric music, to jazz, to funk, to classical, to a percussion orchestra. The same variety and quantity of theatre productions and art exhibits can also be found everywhere, making Buenos Aires a very lively city, culturally speaking.

9- The Literary Flavor

(El Ateneo bookstore. Photo by una_cat.)

From the nostalgia present in tangos and the stories of immigrants, to the crazy quirky characters that roam the labyrinth like streets, to the political history, the intercultural influences and the cat filled botanical garden, its no wonder that such great literature has come out of Buenos Aires.  Filled with bookstores and avid readers in the trains and buses, the city was named the international book capital of the year for a reason!

 

10-The Passion of the People

(Argentine Tango. Photo by gwilmore)

Gesticulation is something that every ‘Porteño´ expertly carries out when cheering for their football team, whilst having singsong conversations over coffee, or temper tantrums whilst driving. Whether they’re mourning for their long lost past or seducing a lady in a tango, raising they’re voices in a heated political argument or celebrating a victory, their passionate personalities shine through for better and worse, making them a very lively crowd.

 

Anything you would add?

Off the Beaten Path: Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco

(photo by sebastian-dario)

A Neocolonial building with a beautiful Spanish style courtyard houses the Isaac Fernandez Blanco collection of Hispanic-American art.  An impressive display of antique and religious objects, furniture, silver, and paintings dating back to the 1700´s are sure to take you back to a key historic moment where two very different cultures colided to define what South America is today.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 2pm-6pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12am-6pm. English tours must be booked in advance.

Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco
Suipacha 1422, Downtown
4327- 0228

English Tours
4327-0272.
mifb_educativa@buenosaires.gob.ar

Mate: A Community Tradition

(Photo by Evelyn Proimos)

A bitter beverage brewed from the leaves of the Yerba Mate has been circulating Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay from before the Colonization. Drinking mate has become a  kept tradition of the Guarani Indians, carried out in a ritual and collective form.
Popular belief states that the Guaranies planted Yerba Mate on the burial sites of their loved ones. As the plant grew, they collected the leaves and brewed mate with it which they shared in a round with their families. It was their belief that the spirit of their deceased would grow with the plant and seep through the beverage into their own bodies.  Many other legends exist around this infusion drank from a calabash gourd through a metal straw, but despite diferent versions it has allways been a tradition valuing the preservation of the culture and sharing amongst the community.

Throughout the colonization, the many cultural and social changes, and the large waves of immigration that the country has gone through, this custom has remained and has been adopted to a larger or lesser degree by all, having become a symbol of local identity and really keeping a piece of the Guarani alive.  The mate culture has many peculiarities, such as considering the first fresh mate to be the “fools mate” because it is still too bitter.   The custom of sharing mate in a round has also been kept and has made this drink more than just an antioxidant packed infusion. Rather, it is a tradition which brings people together to share a beautiful and ancient ritual that comes from the land.

Would you like to know how to brew your own mate? Click here.