BA: Week One

Steven filled you in on our arrival in Buenos Aires, but now we have been here for a whole week. We have learned important things, like where to buy groceries (not in the supermarket on Sunday, but the fruterias are open). Also today in Dia de las Madres here, so happy mother’s day!

We have also learned how to watch baseball (buy a streaming package from Hulu) so that I could be disappointed once again by my Mets. Go Pads!

In our wanderings, we passed a cafe called Mishiguene (for those who do not speak Yiddish, it means crazy) and we thought, “Excellent, Jewish/Middle Eastern food.” We decided to go Friday night. I dutifully mapped us there and thought, “Hmmm, this doesn’t seem like the right direction, but I have a terrible sense of direction and everything is upside down here anyway.” But Steven thought it was the wrong direction, too. When we arrived, it looked different, but had the right name so in we went. We were right, we discovered later. It wasn’t the same place. This is the cafe we thought we were going to. This is the restaurant we went to. A happy oops.

There seems to be a candy store, called a kiosco, like this on every corner. That’s a lot of chocolate!

The menu included gefilte fish (hard pass) and borscht (also a hard pass), but they did serve us a bread basket with a pretty good bagel and challah. Steven made liberal use of the schmaltz (once again, for those who do not know, schmaltz is rendered chicken fat, so it is spreadable like warm butter), which the bartender tried to explain to us in both English and Spanish. We said, “Schmaltz” and he said, “Are you Jewish?” Of course!

Anyway, the bartender humored me and spoke some Spanish but then reverted to English at times. Steven ordered a huge chunk of meat that they called pastrami, but he said was more like corned beef. It allegedly came with a latke underneath, but it was the biggest latke I ever saw (this is a photo of what I received – the green stuff in the middle is spinach, which I decided I was better off not eating – can’t be too careful). We were warned that it was a lot of food, but leftovers are always good. There really weren’t any veggie options, so I had squid. We also ordered a sort of mushroom and potato pie as an appetizer. Needless to say, it was enorme and we have plenty of food still in the fridge. The bartender, Nicolas, somehow is a Baltimore Ravens fan so I have to say, sorry for your sad game day loss today to the Giants!

Saturday we decided on a death march to touristaville: La Boca with a stop at the Mercado de San Telmo. It was supposed to be cloudy all day, so it started raining and got worse and worse as we got to La Boca. No big deal because it was just really touristy with colorful buildings, so we called an Uber and headed back to the mercado. It’s really a combination flea market and fancy food court (we love a fancy food court). We sat down and ended up having a long conversation with a couple who are from Argentina and Bolivia, but have traveled a lot and now live in the States. We meet so many interesting people. It’s all part of the fun. Speaking of interesting people …

The four-hour dinner (six if you include travel time)

The lovely couple who picked us up at the airport invited us to dinner Saturday night. Marco picked us up at 7 and we made the hourlong drive to La Plata, a province outside Buenos Aires city near where Barbara’s parents live. There’s a lively shopping and entertainment district and that’s where we went. Marco and Barbara have a favorite Italian restaurant they wanted to share with us: Paesano.

They know the waiter, general manager, and chef, so we got the star treatment. The restaurant is expanding and is soon opening an outpost in Miami, so if you’re in the neighborhood and want some fresh Napolitano food, I recommend it. Better than the food was the company. Marco and Barbara are generous and friendly plus they speak excellent English and bowing to our American bellies, we got to the restaurant a little after 8. So early! The waiter, David, surprised us with special drink concoctions and sent an extra round of the house special drinks. Before we knew it, it was well after midnight.

I spent the ride back talking to Barbara. I am sure I missed some of what she was saying to me, but that’s just the way it’s going to be until my Spanish gets better. I think I got the gist of things anyway and was able to speak a little too (The boys spent the trip talking about the important things – sports, cars and sports cars).

I couldn’t understand why I was so tired until we said our goodbyes for now and headed into the apartment. It was 2 am! I do like allowing meals out to expand instead of feeling rushed out the door like I do whenever we are in the States.

Sunday

I took advantage of having no set plans to sleep until 10. Steven was already up and had plotted our day’s death march. We walked about 7 miles if you trust my step counter and 8 if you trust Steven’s. We went to the Japanese Gardens and then just strolled through the linked parks around Palermo. The roses are in bloom in the rose garden (It is weird to see the roses just coming in to bloom in October, and with a little luck perhaps we will get to see the cherry blossoms in the Japanese gardens in a few weeks.) and the paddle boats are out on the lakes. It was a beautiful spring day.

Another excellent weekend of adventure and exhaustion. Just the way we like it!