So what does a family christmas table look like? This is my family's dinner table, last night while waiting for Santa. Festive, colourful, lots of food. Everything needed for a long and furious dinner. I love how in Argentina we wait till midnight to toast and cheers for christmas, as if it was a new year. That second, when the 24th becomes the 25th makes all the waiting worthwhile.
Now, a lazy 25th of long siestas and leftovers extravaganza. Merry Xmas from my family!
Apparently Santa (or Santo?) has been spotted around Avenida Corrientes in the busy neighbourhood of Once. If you see him, give him a letter and ask him about Rudolph. I wouldn't sit on his lap, though.
Merry Xmas, everybody!
Wow. I haven't written on this blog in almost 3 years. Long time indeed. Where have I been? I'm living in Stockholm, studying and working hard (here's my Stockholm blog). It's Xmas soon and I should be out buying presents and thinking about Xmas sweaters and such.
But no, I'm slowly but surely updating this blog, which still gets a lot of visitors (thanks!) so I'm fixing the design and updating the content and posting a bit more often. So….
Facturas are an essential part of every day life in Buenos Aires. These freshly made pastries come with specific and sometimes funny names and everything from the way they are ordered at the bakery to the way they are eaten and shared is carefully choreographed. They are delicious and filling and to me they smell like childhood. They are sold at all bakeries and even at some supermarket these days. They are bought by the dozens and many locals buy them when visiting friends for mate and even for breakfast.
Here are my favourite ones:
. Tortita Negra: Roundish pastry covered in brown/semi burnt sugar. Amazing.
. Medialunas: AKA croissants.
. Cañoncitos: Flaky and roundish with a centre filled with dulce de leche. A bomb, indeed.
. Vigilantes: Who knows where the name came from, but this factorials are kinda like croissants but straight and covered in sugar and jam and or custard.
. Bolas de Fraile: Round and doughy and fatty. Fried and covered in sugar. Like a donut but without the whole.
. Churros: A classic best eaten with hot chocolate.
. Facturas de hojaldre: Flaky, sweet and crunchy. Triangles of flavoured perfection.
The idea of going for tea in Buenos Aires is almost unheard of. Tea is something you have at home. A very uneventful thing. If you are out, you go for coffee, not tea. Tea Connection is trying (successfully) to change all that. First of all they are located in some of the best areas of this city. Their tea selection is amazing and varied, and they serve freshly baked goodies till late, everyday. Their lunches are pretty good and they also sell these delicious flavored water. My favorite thing, though are the pancakes.....
This is the kind of place where you can come with your computer, sit down, sip some tea, have pancakes and check your Facebook account. You can let your friends know that you are in buenos aires drinking tea and not coffee. And eating pancakes and not medialunas.. (the do serve medialunas and coffee, by the way).
-Espresso baren, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
So, I'm in Stockholm these days (and yes, I'm already missing empanadas), that's why I haven't been able to post anything these last past weeks. I've started a new blog here in Sweden. I'll be back in Buenos Aires some time soon, i hope. I promise to post lots then! In the meantime enjoy 'New Stockholm'
El Ultimo Beso
mon/sat 9am 2am
When I lived in London I had a bit of a hard time trying to find a place to go for afternoon tea. I mean, it's an english tradition, right? And still, nothing. I had to conform with coffee at Nero, or the noisy place around the corner. Bad music, bad coffee.
I know that there are places that play bad music and serve bad coffee and tea in Buenos Aires. But, I also know that I can always count on 'El Ultimo Beso' for a refined afternoon of tea and a massive amount of cakes and cookies freshly baked everyday. On saturdays they have a massive cakes and cookies' buffet'. The loose tea is especially selected and the coffee is quite good. Also, the place just looks great, if a little on the girlie side, which explains why most of the customers are nice looking ladies. But again, that's fine by me. Who would complain? Tea plus cakes Plus lovely ladies.
And you don't have to go to London.
Labels: afternoon tea
Argentina's been having a bit of a rough time lately. The global crisis first and now the swine flu pandemic, that has hit this country the hardest, after the US. A combination of bad government, bad timing and plain bad luck has made the situation worst than in other countries. I guess the best we can all do, local and visitors alike is to be careful, wash our hands often, avoid public gatherings (not easy in a big city like Buenos Aires) and not get too paranoid.
When times are tough, nothing better than some good comfort food, like medialunas.
This blog could well be called 'beyond medialunas', since they seem to be a staple in the local diet. They are a smaller, sweeter version than the all too popular croissants. People have them usually for breakfast with cafe con leche. There are 2 kinds of medialunas:
. de manteca -fluffy, thick and quite sweet
. de grasa -thin, flaky not as sweet
So, if you are visiting this lovely city, or are already here, remember to wash your hands and avoid public gatherings. Oh, and don't forget to order some good medialunas. They will make life a little sweeter, even in these rough times.
Photo by Martin Lavega
Labels: general tips
Boutique del Libro
fri 10am 11pm.
I was talking about my favorite cafes ever other day. and several ones came to mind. From Nordic Bakery and Fernandez & Wells in London, Teany in NYC and Albert & Jack's in Stockolm all these cafes have something in common: Great location, amazing food and coffee, perfect atmosphere and just that something that makes them special. Whether it's the best cinnamon rolls ever or a huge tea selection, there's something that sets them apart from the rest.
If I had to choose my favorite cafe in Buenos Aires, and this is not easy, I mean, why choose one, when I can go to all of them? but for argument's sake, if I had to choose one, then 'Boutique del Libro' would be my pick. It's a music shop, a book store and an amazing cafe. They have a great selection of cd's and dvd's. thousands of books, from arts to politics and everything in between.
Everytime I go to la 'Boutique del Libro' there's amazing music playing. Cat Power, the National, Bonnie Prince Billy and many more will make the afternoon a much more pleasant one.
Located in a quite area of Palermo Soho, 'la Boutique del Libro' is the perfect place for a cozy afternoon of music, coffee and music.
It might be your favorite cafe, too. It certainly is mine..
opened everyday till late
1776 Gorostiaga st.
1672 Laprida st.
After a few days of eating medialunas with cafe con leche for breakfast, your stomach starts complaining. You feel tired, cranky and stuffed. You'll soon start craving for natural food.
An apple or a walnut would do. But there's a more appetizing solution: 'Natural Deli'.
Mike, the owner and organic food's crusader, came from London to teach us that good natural, fresh, organic and veggie food can actually taste good. Organic coffee, scramble eggs, home made granola, french toast and home organic jams will redefine a typical breakfast in Buenos Aires. For lunch there's quiche, sandwiches, wraps, soups and freshly pressed juice, lemonade and ice tea. All good and fresh.
This is not a fast food place and they do take their time to prepare the meals, so patience is a must (you are in Buenos Aires after all). Natural Deli has two branches and they are planning to open up a few more. And yes, they sell apples and walnuts, too..
El Salvador 4701
I was slightly reluctant to write about this place. But why? It's always packed, so they definitely don't need any extra publicity. Then, they didn't let me take pictures. I really wonder why? I hate it when places impose this kind of stupid restrictions on paying customers. And it's expensive.
So why am I still writing? Well, despite the fact that it's always packed, they don't let you take pictures and the waiters are cranky, the place is a classic in the Palermo Soho area. They were one of the pioneers in the neighborhood, when they opened back in 2002.
From ice coffee to orange/chocolate pound cake to the sandwiches and salads there's a big selection to choose from. Everything is freshly made everyday.
Mark's isn't really a deli, as it's know in the states, although you can take stuff to go. It's more of a NYC style coffee house (I mention NYC since I lived there for years, I guess if I had lived in Chicago, or say Spokane, I would have said that it reminded me of either one of those cities).
I personally like Palermo, but there's a lack of good places to go for breakfast/lunch/afternoon coffee. The ones around Plaza Serrano are rather tacky and expensive. So places like Mark's Deli (and there are just a few in the area) are always a must go for those of us coffee nerds.
I always told myself that I wasn't going to write about Mark's Deli, but I just did. Maybe I wrote about it because I was there today and had a good time, even if it was crowded, expensive and they didn't let me take any pictures, except for the ones I managed to secretly take, of course..