Buenos Aires

28 Dec

The second we stepped off the plane to Buenos Aires, I was happier. At 8:00 at night, it was 80 degrees! That’s what this SoCal girl is talking about. Yes, yes, I know I am from Washington State, but I hate being cold these days and Peru was cold!

Our first night, we just arrived to our studio AirBnB and just chilled – it was Christmas Day and nothing was open, and it had been a long day.

But in the morning, we were ready to go! For our first day, we decided to explore the neighborhood Recoleta and visit the Recoleta Cemetery. Although visiting cemeteries isn’t really my thing, this one is famous.

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It’s basically a bunch of raised tombs – some of which are really fancy, and others that have broken windows and lots of cobwebs. I believe it’s maintained by the city, but families still own the plots. There were many tours being led through the cemetery, and I heard one guide sharing that a tomb had recently sold for $220,000 – after being listed for three years and originally priced at $300,000. This kind of blew my mind. He said that the family had to clear their family’s remains and then would turn the tomb over. I always thought something like that would be a one time deal, but apparently not.

Anyway, what makes this cemetery so famous is the grave of Eva “Evita” Peron, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946-1952.

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You might better recognize her as Madonna, signing “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”

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She is beloved in Argentina for being a women’s right activist and fighting for the poor. Sadly, she died at only 33.

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After walking through the ceremony, we decided to get some lunch. Argentina is famous for three culinary things: beef, pasta, and pizza. We went for the pizza.

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I had read about El Cuartito as being the best for Argentina’s famous variation of pizza – the fugazetta. All pizzas here are served on a focaccia type bread, lots of cheese, and a little tomato sauce. The fugazetta is a pizza just like that but topped with sweet onions. We ordered a slice of that, along with a slice of mozzarella y jamon (mozzarella and ham with sliced bell pepper and olives), and napolitana (served with fresh tomato slices).

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All three were pretty good, but the fugazetta was actually my favorite. The onions were caramelized and sweet.

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Look at how thick that focaccia bread crust is! I am actually a thin crust and extra tomato sauce pizza kind of girl, but this was pretty good – especially compared to the fake pizza I had in Aguascalientes (didn’t even write about it, not delicious).

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After some delicious gelato and strolling around, we headed home to get ready for our puertas cerradas dinner experience. Puertas cerradas are closed door restaurants and are essentially dinners held in the private homes of chefs. Reservations are a must and they are usually pretty small. We chose a puertas cerradas called Cucina Sunae by Chef Christina Sunae and with Asian influences – we really needed some spicy food (nothing is served here with heat or salsa!)

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This is the front of the restaurant. They don’t give you the address until you make the reservation and this man in front (like a bouncer at a club?) ensures you have a reservation before you’re allowed in.

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We chose to sit outside.

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The menu. Delicious food. Same starter, salad, and dessert but you choose your entree.

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Homemade siracha sauce. I don’t like siracha at home. We used the whole bottle here.

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Chicken satay with peanut sauce and pickled vegetables. Delicious.

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Seafood salad. Probably my favorite course, and that’s with tough competition. It was spicy, but had nice fresh herbs to balance it out and was served with these succulent shrimp and calamari. Sooooo good.

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Emilio’s entree. Sea bass curry. It was delicious. Until he tried mine.

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Prawns in tamarind sauce. I usually think tamarind is too sweet, but this was balanced with salty peanuts and was just awesome. I am used to shrimps being called camarones, but here they are referred to as langostinos (which to me, are the small lobsters that Emilio and I drive to Puerto Nuevo for). Emilio kept sneaking prawns off my plate and pretty much licked the sauce clean off the plate (well, he used a spoon but that dish was clean!)

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And then, dessert. A delicious fried banana puff with omg good passion fruit sauce, some chopped fruits, homemade ice cream, and then this crazy green marshmallow thing.

Overall? Amazing meal. It’s 250 pesos/person and well worth it. Next time, though, I want to go to a closed door restaurant that is even smaller and where all the guests sit together communal style.

What makes Buenos Aires awesome, beside the warmer temps? Significantly better food (than Peru).

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