Steak…It’s What’s for Dinner

11 07 2008

Posted by: Chris and Laura                  

Travel Dates: 4.26.08 – 5.2.08

Laura: We had been speaking Spanish for five and a half months when we entered Argentina and both felt comfortable with our ability to communicate. After arriving at the bus station in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I asked directions to the subway. When the woman responded, I wasn’t even sure she was speaking Spanish. I quickly realized that Argentinian accents are very different from the rest of South America. I later learned that any word with a double “l” such as calle, the Spanish word for street, generally pronounced cah-yay was now cah-jay. Over the next few days, I noticed a few other variations in pronunciation. When speaking, I had to translate the Argentinian Spanish into Standard Spanish then into English. So communication became more difficult. This double translation could have been a problem, but we soon learned that Argentinians are some of the nicest people we have met while traveling.

Three months earlier when we were traveling through Guatemala, we met a couple, Pamela and Ezekiel, who were from Buenos Aires. When we told them that Argentina was on our itinerary, they gave us their email addresses. Once we arrived in the city, I sent them an email thinking we could meet up for coffee. After exchanging a few emails, they invited us to their house for a traditional Argentinian steak dinner. We had perfectly cooked steak, bell peppers stuffed with egg, and a dessert with cream cheese and fig preserve. You can’t beat a home cooked meal and great conversation. (Below: Chris, Laura, Pamela, and Ezekiel).

Argentina is known for it’s parilla, large portions of meat cooked on the grill. If you order parilla in a restaurant, it feeds two normal people or one Chris. Another traveler in our hostel suggested a place for us to eat good steak the second night of our trip. Desnivel is located in the neighborhood of San Telmo, where we were staying. The Lomo de Mostaza, or fillet with mustard sauce, was so excellent the first day, that we ended up eating there four nights in a row. Added to our lunch the first day we arrived and dinner at Ezequiel’s house, Chris managed to eat steak six days in a row.

Chris:  I consider this to be one of my greatest achievements. 

Laura: During the day when we were walking around the city, I made it my personal goal to sample the ice cream from every ice cream shop I saw. This is a monumental task considering that the smallest size (which costs four pesos or about $1.30) will get you a towering heap of gelato yummy goodness. Of course I sampled multiple flavors, but decided that the best ice cream store is Freddo’s. Their Classico Dulce de Leche is much better than Hagendaaz (Sorry, Damian).

Argentinians are obsessed with dulce de leche, a sauce with the consistency of condensed milk but a light caramel taste. Since it is probably too viscous to be injected through an IV, Argentinians have invented multiple ways to include this tasty syrup in their diet. They have the list of pastries that you might expect, such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream. However, they also have dulce de leche flavored milk and even Oreos with a dulce de leche filling. Many of our hostels included a dulche de leche spread as part of breakfast.

Chris: Anyone who’s spoken more than a couple sentences to me understands my deep affection for meat and my “pro death” stance.  I’d generally prefer my steak bloody, and if possible, still mooing.  In fact, just bring the cow to my table and I’ll cut off what I want.  I’d eat a poodle if it tasted good and wouldn’t get PETA on my back.  Keep in mind that the price of a perfectly cooked top quality steak here is about $10 for around 15oz. worth.  Yea, that’s right.

Normally we eat around 7-8pm, and figured this was a tourist place since everyone around us spoke English.  But the last night we came late around 10:30pm to find a line of locals waiting for a seat since Argentinians eat much much later than we do.  The owner, who is without question the largest man on the continent, saw us in line and motioned for us to follow him.  An Argentinian couple in front of us tried to step forward, but he waved them off, and pointed directly at us.  We passed the other patrons, avoiding angry stares and confusion as to why we were given preferencial treatment.  The owner smiled and sung as he served the customers, and even tickled those who ventured to close.  At first I thought wow, that guy is a giant but he’s one of the happiest people I’ve ever met.  Then I remembered the wise words of my brother: “Of course he’s happy.  He’s probably never had anyone stupid enough to argue with him.  He’s terrifying.”

 

 When not eating tasty cow, we also walked all over town checking out the different neighborhoods and museums.  Our hostel was located in the San Telmo area of town, one of the oldest and best preserved sections of the city.  On sunday there is a gigantic outside market where you can find a range of leather products, jewelry, art, and more.  Tango dancers line the cobblestone streets as do other musicians and performers.  There is a certain New Orleans vibe here with the history and tourism.


 

Palermo is the modern/trendy area of the city where you can shop for the latest fashions at a fraction of the price.  That fraction is comical still to us, given as we live in dorms everyday, but supposedly stuff is a lot cheaper here than Europe or the US.  And yes guys, the women are beautiful.  According to my father they rank as #3 on a recent list of “Top Cities with Beautiful Women.”  But I’m not going to say anything more, as Laura is peering over my shoulder as I type.

Click here for our Buenos Aires Pictures***

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4 responses

12 07 2008
Jane

So, with all the cows and the change in venue, have Willy and Henrietta taken their leave?

12 07 2008
Jane

So, with all the cows and a change in venue, have Willy and Henrietta taken their leave????

22 07 2008
Pame and Eze

Chris, Laura! We still have some meat for you!! Keep travelling and enjoying, you are always welcome at home!

3 08 2008
GorLeryArbibly

I agreed with you

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