Feature of the Week-er: Gettin’ Nuts at Dietetica Tony

If its not obvious already, I love to cook. It has to also be obvious that I try to work on a smaller budget. Cooking for yourself is always cheaper than eating out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that making muffins and cakes and starting your day with nuts, yogurt and fruit is the cheapest way to live. To offset those frivolous buys I go to this one little health food store in Palermo. Its taken me a while to get this one out in the blogosphere because I wanted to be completely sure about quality and prices before I divulged the secret of my cheap dietetica. Its not often you find one.

First off: A dietetica is not a diet food store; its more of a health food store.

Just like what you would expect, its the best place to get organic honey, whole wheat flour, dried fruit and nuts and bulk spices that are otherwise impossible to find in the average supermarket (good curry powder does exsist, and in surprisingly healthy quanties in the dietetica world). Truly, most things you need for cooking indian/thai/middle easter/beyond dinners can be found in the better shops.

If I had figured this out before I imported my own tahini I could have forgetten about Sarkis’s “hummus” made with peanuts a long time ago!

All this is to say that knowing a couple of good dieteticas is key to not getting sick of steak  blowing your budget on the high quality, gourmet-eating in the city. I love the idea of going to closed-door resto’s and up-scale eateries, but who am I kidding? I would have to eat lentils and eggs for the rest of the month if I did that on the regular. Reading food blogs will have to cover that department while I try to cover the other side of things–until I magically land that $$$ paying job…

Which brings me to Dietetica Tony, my most recent Feature of the Week-er.

I’m giving it the GET YA NUTZ prize.

Dietetica Tony

Dietetica Tony may not have the most varied selection in all of Buenos Aires, and its definitely not the largest. But what it does have (following the theme here, you see) is that its cheap. See what it says underneath the name on its sign?

“Precios Mayoristas Al Alcance del Consumidor”

Translation: wholesale prices available to the public. 

And truly, they are.

nuts

bread and nuts

See the price on those nuts ?! Excuse my over-the-top enthusiasm, but broken walnuts (nuez partida) go for closer to 13 pesos/100g rather than 7.90 pesos. Same thing goes for the almonds, which are usually around 15 pesos. WOOOO.

The selection of dried fruit and nuts is actually pretty impressive and, of course, on the more accessible side. I regularly take advantage and buy myself some goodies when I make a trip…

goodies

raisins

…check out those chocolate covered beauties.

Another steal is the price on quinoa–4  pesos/100 g, often 9 pesos! Same thing goes for chia seeds, flax seeds and other seedy (hah) things you’d find at such stores. If you are trying to get in touch with your inner health nut be cheap in BA a good way to get some of your protein without investing too much is buy eating chia seeds– they have absurdly high protein levels (shout out to the lil’ sis for her food enlightenment). They were supposedly an Aztec superfood, which of course could only become popular as a health food after the chia pet business was no longer profitable. Whatever; cheaper here!

Chia

Whole wheat flour, also a steal. Again, this is a health food store, so no judging me.

dried goods

Want a sample shop?

250g whole wheat flour

250g powdered sugar

300g unsalted peanuts (making that peanut butter!)

100g walnuts

100g quinoa

100g chocolate covered raisins

Total: AR 32.50 = USD 4.25 (at non-official exchange rate, duh)

Not too shabby.

Dietetica Tony, Thames 2481, Palermo Soho

Feature of the Week-er: Nailin’ it


nail2

Summer means exposed feet. It also means (hopefully) lots of schmoozing on rooftop bars with colorful cocktails in your hands. Your hands will be looked at no matter what you do and I am sure you’ve heard that clean hands/nails make a good impression (which means men can definitely get in on the action). Hell, it’s also just nice to have someone massaging your cuticles from time to time. But no one wants to spend a lot; and that’s where I come in.

You can stop by your local hair salon and cross your fingers that the person who does your nail doesn’t leave you with something worse (a little advice: nail rape via nail file in the hands of a very angry woman let me with claws…cringe). As prices currently stands (though not for long…THANKS INFLATION) My suggestion is seeking out some place that specializes. Prices usually run from AR 30+ for a manicure and 60+ for a pedicure, though some vary depending on the nail polish you choose.

Let me introduce you to my favorite, Avanceê in Recoleta. The nice thing about this place is that it specializes in nails, which means they have all the appropriate tools and furniture. The place is white and clean, though not sterile looking by any means. Chairs are comfortable and color choices are varied.

Prices are very fair—AR 35 for manicure and AR 70 for pedicure. Waxing is available.

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Some Tips:

Bring your own nail polish, ladies. They charge an extra AR 15 just to use the “good” stuff (Revlon). I’d rather bring my own anyway.

Call ahead to avoid having to wait, although you might have to anyway.

Study up on your lingo beforehand if you’re Spanish isn’t too strong. The ladies speak mostly Spanish although I already gave them a cheat sheet!nail3

Avanceê, Azcuénaga 1849 (in between Las Heras and the Cemetery)

4807-0032

Monday, 2 to 9 PM, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 9 PM, CLOSED Sundays

Feature of the Week-er: Dreams of Real French Pastries in Buenos Aires

NOTE: there is some serious food porn in here. If you are offended…go read a cookbook with out pictures. 

I found something akin to a real French bakery in Buenos Aires.

SO PUT DOWN THE MEDIALUNA. I am sure its delicious with its almibar coating and strangely yellow-ish tint, but that is not what I am here to discuss so please clear your mind of such thoughts (and your plate) !

We are here to talk french pastries. Flaky, buttery, fresh and ideally recently taken out of the oven. That is exactly what I found on a recent morning while walking to work. You know in movies when people literally stop in their tracks after being hit by the smell of fresh-baked whatever wafting out of a bakery? I did that lurch-to-a-halt move before deciding that I couldn’t take another step without a very important taste test.

That morning I was lucky enough to stumble onto La Patisserie Francaise.

And after being faced with this…

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I bought this…(for ARS 3.50)

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And I died. And dubbed this place the “Next Best Thing to a Ticket to Paris” (at least until I own my own airline…ha ha).

I, the queen of shovelling food into my mouth at a steady stream, actually ate this slowly. It was perfect–at least as far as my standards go. My French experience is relatively basic (a total of three weeks) but I made sure to make my French collegue try it. She said it was up to par. I say it goddamn SURPASSED it.

And so I went back and ate this…

At ARS 3.50 its a full peso more than the average factura (Argentine version) so I don’t know if you can spare it.

I AM SO KIDDING. You would be missing out on a daily weekly trip to France by not trying these babies. Did I mention that the French Embassy apparently orders from here? And anyway, lets SAY that the ARS 6.27 pesos per euro was accurate (hem, inflation makes it more like ARS 7.75), then your French style pastry here would be at least half the price than the real thing. Now thats my kind of deal.

Oh, and this is what I saw when I finally turned away from the pastries…

For more details check out 2XTango’s review.

La Pâtisserie Française

Malabia 2355, between Charcas and Guemes (Palermo Soho)
Update: The croissant is good, but its not great. Definitely less medialuna (none of the sweetness, in fact) but not all the way buttery croissant. I still have high hopes for the one with pastry cream in it…and the caracol with raisins is 100% worth it.

Feature of the Week-er: Rapanui Ice Cream

My Buenos Aires ice cream place is better than yours.

(I dare you to disagree)

Buenos Aires is known for its ice cream. It feels like there is a shop on every corner just waiting for you to ask them to trot over to your doorstep with some of the cold stuff in a freezer bowl  (shout out to badelivery!!). There is even an (popular AND expensive) Argentine ice cream joint, Dolcezza, in my native Washington, DC that really does know what it’s doing. Their salted caramel ice cream is ohmyfkwqkba.

So my second Feature of the Week-er is dedicated to Rapanui. It wins the prize for the “Place you Want to Live Next to but Shouldn’t” spot in the city.

In definite Pick Up the Fork  style, I played my own game of “This Why You’re Fat” and enjoyed a 1/4 kilo with a friend on a recent Saturday afternoon. (Don’t expect Rapanui to deliver to your house; they are too classy for that). The flavors I generally salivate over (of the ones I can remember) are maracuya (passion fruit) and kiwi sorbet, lemon pie with meringue (which tastes soo much like key lime pie it hurts), any of the ddl ones, one that tastes like nutella, and the raspberry sorbet. But I should mention that I never met a Rapanui ice cream that didn’t make my heart skip a beat.

So why is this my Feature of the Week-er? Because this place is cheaper (and better) than the most well known ice cream shop in Argentina, Freddo. A 1/4 kilo at Rapanui comes out to 27 pesos while the same size is 33 at Freddo! And of course, in ingenious argentine style, you get to try 3 flavors per 1/4. Sweet.

Rapanui is also an adorable spot for a coffee or chocolates (it’s originally known as a chocolate shop from Bariloche) with ample seating and even a communal table. I’m thinking this would be perfect ice cream date spot, in fact. I have also been lucky enough on TWO occasions to be offered a free chocolate, so they really have won me over.

If all that doesn’t convince you then know this: I don’t even really LIKE ice cream that much. Please, just try it.

So celebrate “Every Day Should be Ice Cream” day (if President Cristina FK can make up random holidays why can’t I?) and swing by Rapanui. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Rapanui, Arenales 2302 (corner of Azcuenaga), Recoleta

Update: I tried Jauja. No comparison.

Feature of the Week-er: Okebon Cookies!

cookie2

WARNING: YOU MAY FIND THIS POST TO BE A COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT AND FRIVOLOUS DISTRACTION THAT CAUSES YOU TO LEAVE THE OFFICE ON A COOKIE RUN. SORRY.

Okebon’s Cookies are the oh-so-lucky winner of my first ever
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Feature of the Week-er !!
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I have now tried two types of this brand’s cookies (the sugar sprinkled Girotondo and the slightly orange flavored Panal) and I like them. They were also really cheap: ARS 6.25 at the chino around the corner. These two facts come together to make these cookies the “Most Delicious Bang for your Buck”.
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Dunk ’em, munch ’em, crumble them over your mate for all I care. The package is surprisingly large so its great for hoarding for yourself sharing with friends.
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I’m not saying that these cookies could pass for homemade (although they would be delicious as ddl (dulce de leche) cookie sammies) but for your basic snack cookie they do the trick. A little “oo!” even escaped from my mouth after my first taste (TMI?).
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So CONGRATULATIONS to Okebon for creating a cookie that I actually want to buy again.
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