Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about how shocking and uninformed my initial meeting with Buenos Aires was, but um, yea, it was quite a shock.
My reasons for studying abroad:
-chill with brown people
-eat rice and beans and plátanos
-get a few credits to add to my African American studies major
It wasn't until I had already signed on the dotted line to go to Buenos Aires (based on peoples comments that it was an amazing city similar to NYC, that they had a great time, that the food was great, that it was cheap...) that I actually started researching Buenos Aires.
As it turns out, there is absolutely no rice and bean or plátanos eating, no spicy food, hardly any salsa, (a pretty stiff cumbia actually), and (though i don't want to play into the European imagery) most people have Italian looks with some sneaky black/indigenous features that pop up. Now this is all in Buenos Aires, which has taken it upon itself to become the center of the Argentine universe....
The rest of the country is admittedly more colorful, gots some flavor in their food, and lets say are more like the REST of Latin America.
Now as much as I might complain about the things that I CAN’T get here readily:
(AHEM)peanut butter, thai food, Indian food, tea tree oil, chipotle peppers.
And though I might complain about the average persons dinner options
(COUGH) pizza, pizza, empanada, pizza, carne, carne, jamon y queso, and empanadas. MILANESA
And salad consists ONLY of lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
It is PERFECTLY OK to just have meat and white bread for dinner.
Seasoning is salt & pepper. Nothing else is needed. Nothing!
STEAK SAUCE is an insult
As much as I might complain about the general eating habits of Argentines, there are somethings that I just can't get enough of down here:
5. $10 filet mignon…
· I don’t even really mess with meat all like that in the united states, but I’ve definitely had the best steak of my life in this city. So far, Argentina's carne industry is pretty far from the capitalistic meat factories that exist in the US, so the meat is rich in flavor and guilt-free.
· Every street corner has beautiful stands overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables all at competing prices. It makes an awesome photo-op, but it also makes fruits and veggies look oh-so-much-more appetizing.
· This herbal tea is sipped from a gourd through a special straw. It has no caffeine but is an all natural stimulant, and keeps you regular, (if you know what I’m saying).
So every culture has their delicious pastry dough wrapped around some meat and cheese. Jamaican Beef Patties, Dumplings, and Argentina has their empanadas. I remember the first time I tasted a real empanada was 5 years ago on Venice beach, and empanadas and I have been inseparable ever since. Luckily, down here, they’re less than a dollar each. Will it be veggies, ham, cheese and pineapple, carne, pollo, or corn today?
1. FACTURAS with Dulce de Leche
·After every verduleria overflowing with all of these fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll find an equally beautiful panaderia/confiteria with glossy cakes of chocolate and fruits, peeking out the window begging for a good mouth to go home to. Dulce de leche is crack…theres not much else that I can say about it.
Now, at some point in my stay here it became my daily habit to wake up, take a run in the park then get my yoga on. Now these things are awesome but then I would incorporate a stop at a verdularia to pick up tomatoes and palta, THEN stop at the panadaria and pick up 3 empanadas, and a half dozen facturas dripping with dulce de leche.
As I told myself, as part of my reintroduction to the country, the city, and my neighborhood, I’d pick a new stop each day and chow down. Empanadas never get old, and I’d make a mental note of which pollo empanadas had a pit of spice in them, which carnes were ruined with pesky olives, which verduras were particularly garlicy & delicious, and which crusts were flaky, and which were soggy after coming from the oven.
Now I have to admit, I’m an eater and an unabashed AMANTE of food. I don’t have any shame in my eating game, BUT there is a time when things get to be too much, and food gets a bit sinful.
Yup I said it sinful.
So, I decided that it was time that I got out all of my food comforts and reintroducing out of the way for a week…then go on a cleansing fast.
The following are meals from my week of indulgence:
CHIPOTLE CHICKEN SALAD
CARNE/PAN DE BUDIN
CRESOMA llena de dulce de leche
FACTURAS DE DULCE DE LECHE