Originally published June 11th 2014
It was nearly four months ago, when I was strolling down Avenida De Mayo, with my back against the Casa Rosada, and the faint sounds of chants and drums from the peaceful protesters. We were heading towards food, which isn't exactly surprising. It was food in the present that triggered this memory, a conversation about empanadas that got me thinking of Buenos Aires and all of its culinary delights.
We were on what I like to call a "foot to food" adventure, because we were on our feet from early morning, to late evening, and any guilt that could have accompanied the many meals was almost non-existent. The first night was the exception as we had been sitting in a plane for 13 hours, and almost immediately after arriving I was introduced to the emperor of pizzas the fugazzetta rellena, an insane version of Chicago's deep dish pizza. This deep pan, double crusted pie oozed with cheese, ham and onions. Sharing in Buenos Aires is typical but we had not clued in right away and had ordered three separate pizzas. A slow walk back to the hotel was the only option.
Every morning, in a state of lifelessness we ate our breakfast quietly in the hotel. The Savoy Hotel which is situated in the best possible location for our main mode of transportation, our feet, is a nod to a bygone era. You instantly feel a little glamorous walking into this architectural beauty, it's grand elegant lobby bar is fit for the graces of guests such as Albert Einstein and Eva Peron (Evita). The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the staff were very helpful. Just as time is predictable so were my movements in the early mornings. Like a zombie I would grab my coffee, non-decaf (which was a treat), a plate of cheese and meats and a danish. Just enough to energize me for our first stretch of walking.
The first culinary highlight of the day was lunch, and by that time the scents of barbecue had started to filter onto the streets. Our lunch picks were always random, and aside from Cafe Tortoni never researched beforehand. A childlike giddiness overcame me as I would stir my piece of chocolate into my glass of steaming hot milk, the submarino, had become my new best friend. My eyes would widen in search of empanadas only to discover that sorrentinos were on the same menu. Defeated, sometimes I would have to get both. Almost always lunch would take place on a patio. And almost always we would over eat.
Now dinner was an event of its own. Be prepared to eat late, (if you show up at a restaurant at 8:00 pm you are probably going to be the first ones there), and be prepared to eat. Hold the table for support as your server brings you piles of different grilled meats. Hiding any pleasure will be hard as you cut into the warm provoleta and start dishing out the rosti (potato pancake). You can not escape the feeling of sitting at a large family table during the holidays, the atmosphere is very celebratory. And when you start to wrap up you realize it is almost midnight.
Heads up. no surprises, servers are great but very laid back and you will almost never be offered the bill, you must ask. If you are not travelling within a few blocks, once dusk hits taking a taxi cab is highly recommended for tourists, as it is almost unavoidable to cross certain parts of the city that are less desirable.
I could not possibly convey our entire trip in one post, I do try to keep my word count at just enough so I can keep your attention. That being said, if you are heading that way let me know and I would be more than delighted to share. Need a link for a restaurant, comment below. Luv K8e. Thank you Michael Bacinello for your exceptional photographs (above in slide show) .