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Comida Internacional : SCANDINAVIA

April 25, 2011

Olsen is one of the most popular restaurants in Buenos Aires. Every Buenos Aires guide will tell you to pay a visit to this Scandinavian themed resto, as it clearly stands out in the sea of Latin American and even Asian establishments.As if I needed any convincing from the guides, I made sure to reserve one Saturday for lunch at Olsen.

While it is recommended to book a table, I was lucky enough to get one without reservations. Olsen is also known for having 60 varieties of vodka. It is no doubt that this place gets extra crowded at night. On Sundays, people troop over for their whole day brunch specials.

Instead of the usual bread basket, diners are offered a stack of bagels. That alone, makes this place a winner in my book (even if the bagels sucked). The lunch menu allows you to to mix and match 3 entrees.

I had  L-R:

1. White Gazpacho with Almonds Garlic and Grapes

2. Braised Pork with Apples and Blue Cheese on Brioche

3. Rustic Olsen Potatoes

I found the pork a tad too salty, but that was just a minor flaw. Olsen is worth the hype.


Comida Internacional : VENEZUELA

April 25, 2011

Tell a brown Asian girl that Venezuelan food can be had in Buenos Aires, then expect to be interrogated for details.

I walked over to Caracas Bar, a nondescript warehouse looking establishment at the corner of Guatemala and Borges. I came for early dinner (i.e. 8 pm) and so the place barely had any guests. Since it was a bar, it was dark and I had to move next to the window so that I can read the menu properly.

I didn’t know what to expect, I had no knowledge about Venezuelan cuisine prior to that meal. I asked the waitress what the quintessential Venezuelan fare is, and she pointed to arepas.

This is Arepas/Pabellon – carne mechada, caraotas, tajada y queso. It’s basically like a burger of pulled meat with beans. According to Wiki, the bun is made of corn dough.

So delicious, even if the photo I took doesn’t do any justice to this scrumptious sandwich.

A few days later, I met a Venezuelan expat and we bonded over my newfound culinary discovery and indie music.

I miss meeting people from all over the world on an almost daily basis…

Comida Internacional – MEXICANO

April 25, 2011

One of my last meals in Manila, before leaving for Argentina, was Mexican (Ristras at the Fort). I’d like to think they offered legit Mexican food, so I had no plans of trying out this cuisine in BA. But then, people kept raving about La Fabrica del Taco, which apparently had earned itself a reputation for true blue Mexican Tacos. Thanks to Google, I found out that it was closed for the Christmas and New Year holidays (really BA, who does that???) and so avoided a wasted trip.

On the day it opened, I trooped over to Gorriti for lunch. So much for avoiding a wasted trip, because apparently they don’t open till 6 or 7 in the evening. Anyways, I went back after the sun set, and watched the employees of La Fabrica open the doors and set the tables outside. Yes, I was that excited.

I loved how the place was furnished/decorated – so hip, authentic, current and yet effortless.

I remember making a mental note to return here with friends for drinks at night/post party chow. Again, that didn’t happen – there were just too many places to try out!

I had the Carne Asada Gratinado. The beef was so tasty!

For bebidas, I didn’t order my usual Agua sin gas, as I was curious about El Agua de Chavo which  is flavored water made from the base of a Jamaican flower (i.e. if I translated correctly).

Mexican hot sauces – so necessary… you know how bland food in Argentina can be.

Comida Internacional – PERUVIAN

April 25, 2011

Sorry, Argentine steak, but this Peruvian Ceviche was the best meal I had in Buenos Aires.

Like most of the international cuisines I enjoyed in Buenos Aires, it was my first time to have Peruvian food. It was during the trip to Tigre with friends when I convinced myself to finally have a taste of ceviche. I was telling my French friend (while waiting for our steaks) how I think I could have sashimi everyday. He argued that he prefers ceviche as it is more interesting (“sashimi is just raw fish, ceviche on the other hand is pleasantly more complex”). It came as a surprise to him that I never had this Peruvian specialty before, and so promised me to take me to a good, cheap Peruvian restaurant (didn’t happen).

All BsAs guide books and food blogs will be quick to recommend Chan Chan in downtown Buenos Aires. Unfortunately for me, I got to the restaurant only to find out that it was closed for two weeks, and would only open on the day of my departure. Being the girl scout that I am when it comes to places to eat, I consulted my little black book and handy dandy map for the closest, well received Peruvian restaurant.

I ended up at Status Virrey (Cerallos 178)

When I was handed the menu, I didn’t bother looking past the Ceviche offerings. I chose Ceviche de Toyo.

Apart from the fish (which I belatedly found out was actually shark!), it had three kinds of corn, a cheek of sweet potato, peppers, cilantro, lime juice and a mountain of sliced onion. It was love at first bite.

Even the bread basket was a delight. Moreso the dip that came with it. Actually, I was told that the creamy sauce, was for the ceviche and not the bread. (Note to self: find out what that sauce is!)

I left the restaurant, doggy bag in tow, mentally bashing myself for not having gone to Peru instead.

I vowed to be back for more. Didn’t happen. I guess I’ll just have to go to Peru next ? Eyeing you, Pisco Sour!

Comida Internacional – ARMENIAN

April 25, 2011

I had never had Armenian cuisine prior to the trip. I was curious. There are a handful of restaurants in Buenos Aires that specialize in Armenian food, I went with a popular one: Sarkis Armenian (Thames 1101, Palermo Viejo). I got to the place at midday ( I would usually only eat out during lunch time, and have the left overs for dinner- if I had not shared the meal with a friend) and it was packed. Luckily, reservations were not required. I was seated deep into the end of the room, next to a group of local young professionals enjoying an early lunch. I might have been the only solo diner, so I got a little extra attention.

I pored over the menu, which did not have English translations, so I got the waiter’s attention for assistance. Armenian cuisine, judging from the menu, is heavily influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. I relied on what the waiter had suggested I order (all side dishes). According to my little black book (which really is a little silver leather journal), I had keppe nervido and laban. I can’t tell you which one is which as it was a meal I enjoyed three months ago.

I had this to start, I’m pretty sure it’s not hummus because I’ve had hummus before, so I would not have ordered that. Maybe hummus’ cousin?

There was meat stuffed in here. Pork I think.

This was my favorite, meat wrapped in grape leaves.

Overall, I found it was nothing to write home about. Maybe if I had company, I would have enjoyed the meal more (because we would’ve most likely ordered the raved about mains!).

Comida Internacional- BRASILEÑO

April 25, 2011

Due to time and funds limitations, I was not able to make a trip to Brasil. I might have annoyed all my local acquaintances when I bugged them to point me to the direction of the best Brazilian restaurant in town. Nobody was aware of any Brazilian resto, which I found odd, or maybe Argentines really despise Brazilians that much. That didn’t stop me from my quest for feijoada and acai.

Anyway, internet research sent me marching deep into Palermo Soho, for what was supposed to be the most authentic Brazilian restaurant in Buenos Aires. I think I walked up and down Cabrera St four times to look for 4199. Turned out, said restaurant had closed. Desapontado is Portuguese for disappointed.

I’m not sure if it was the Time Out magazine I had bought, or the Lonely Planet book in the apartment, or Guia search that had referred me to Me Leva Brasil in Costa Rica 4488. It was the last day of 2010, I forget where I had come from, but I remember walking a great distance in the intense summer heat to get here (then again, that’s what I was doing everyday in Buenos Aires). The restaurant had only 2 tables occupied inside and the waiters, big Brazilian men, were too busy watching the pre-New Year festivities over at Rio de Janeiro.

So I asked for the menu and zoned in on Feijoada. The price, 55 pesos (Php 555), had me rethink for a second, yes 55 pesos is already on the expensive part of the spectrum, in Argentine dining. I had never had Feijoada before, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it (as it reminded me of Dinuguan), so 55 pesos was indeed a big amount to gamble. But  I knew I was going to kick myself and pull my hair out till I go bald, if I did not order it. So I order it, I did.

I remember the burly Brazilian looking at me funny, as one order was good for 3. Tsk, it’s not as if I didn’t have take away option.

As for Acai, they only had the concentrate and not the real thing. So I opted for agua sin gas instead (6 pesos?!?)

Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil. Like Adobo, it is prepared differently per region, each one claiming theirs’ as the best. I think almost all would have a side of kale/chards, rice and farofa, (Google it). I will admit I did not like it so much on my first bite, but as I persisted (it cost me 55 pesos, of course I will persist! ) I developed a liking to it. It was my last meal for 2010, and the first for 2011 (thanks to the left overs).

When I got back to my apartment, my new flat mates had arrived – Brazilians!

I was beyond thrilled.

I baked chipas today, then had a glass of cheap Malbec.

April 25, 2011