"LIVE! LIVE! LIVE! Life's a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death"
attributed to Mame Dennis

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mi Buenos Aires Delicioso

We flew into Ezeiza early Tuesday morning and took the Tienda Leon shuttle into the centro, where we were then taken to the apartment we've rented for the week. We weren't scheduled to meet the landlord for another two and a half hours, so we planted ourselves at the corner cafe and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of café con leche and medialunas. This Argentine classic has already become a favorite of Pat's.

After sorting everything out with the apartment and wandering around the city a bit, showing Pat some of my old haunts, we took a break from the heat at Cumaná, one of my favorite places in Buenos Aires to get a bite to eat. Have I mentioned how beautiful and sunny it is here? What a welcome escape from winter in Seneca Couty! We shared a pizza de palmitos, and Pat tried his first Quilmes.
Later that evening, we set out to get a drink and explore San Telmo, the neighborhood where we are staying. Time Out recommended Bar El Federal as a historic porteño hang out. I was dubious as to how authentic it would be, but since it's only a couple blocks away we figured we'd give it a shot. We sat at the bar, although we should have snagged a table outside when we arrived early. It quickly filled up with natives and tourists alike. First we ordered a bottle of Etchart Privado Torrontes, which used to be a favorite. I visited their winery in Cafayate, Salta when I was in Argentina in 2001. I found it to be a bit too sweet for me now, but by the time we finished the bottle we decided that we liked the place and would stay for another. This time a bottle of red, Lopez from 2007. It was a wonderful compliment to the mini picada we ordered: three cheeses (roquefort, goat y de campo), salame de campo, liverwurst and green olives stuffed with walnuts.It was hearty but smooth, a great example of what I love in a Malbec. We didn't think we were that hungry, but after watching the bar man prepare them with such pride I couldn't help myself.

Mini picada: Three cheeses (roquefort, goat y queso de campo), 
salame de campo, liverwurst and green olives stuffed with walnuts
Everything was so flavorful, and complemented each other well-- so civilized! Later we had a bottle of Ricon Famoso 2004, blend from Bodegas Lopez featuring Sangenovese, Merlot and Malbec grapes. This wine was smoother and lighter than the younger Malbec. The flavors were more subtle, which made for an interesting comparison particularly with the pairing of the picadas. The grand total for this wonderful evening came to 95 Argentine pesos, less than U$30 at the current exchange rate. What a glorious welcome to Buenos Aires!