Eating for Fame: Writing for Comosur

cards

So sometimes door just open. In this case, twitter was that fateful door to the food world – or at least I hope so.

The English language food blog that covers all the yummy things happening in LATAM, Comosur, contacted me to see if I could emergency cover an event at El Baqueano (among the top 50 restos in Latin America). It was that night with some 8 hours notice, but who was I to say anything but a resounding “HELL YES”. And so I became food blogger and photographer (working on that bit) for Comosur. I plan on eating my way through the currently hot and sticky streets of BA and its going to be awesome.

Take a look at my first post and stay tuned!

Breaking Boundaries by Crossing them: Cocina Sin Fronteras Featuring Kamila Seidler

(By the way, sorry for the hiatus. I’m back.)

Top Five Free Reasons to Put on Pants and get OUT this Weekend

Buenos Aires makes my head spin sometimes. Yes, its a big city. And yes it probably has too many people and cars, but that’s not why I get overwhelmed. There is such an overload of things to do and see–so many of them free–that I almost always feel like I am missing out somehow.

I have always been interested in doing the cheap/free events in BA, especially when I studied here. But If I thought I was being frugal then, this is a completely different story.

I have recently given myself a budget of 30 pesos per day…including food. This week my solution has been to ply free meals out of my wonderful, loving boyfriend (3 dinners and 3 lunches to be exact). Thank god for boyfriends. Can I get a holla back from anyone other “en negro” foreign workers who are feeling the effects of the end of the month?

These broke-girl circumstances have led me to search for free activities with a kind of desperate fervor that tends not to make for the best schmoozing conversations. I will admit, I get a little too into it. That and searching for recipes…

So I’m going to ask that you guys help me out. Even though they are free, gratis, SIN CARGO, I couldn’t possibly get to all of these things on my to-do list. I need my beauty sleep, of courseMy new theory is that if I post about all the cool things that there are to do over the weekend I’ll feel a little less guilty about not getting to all of them! I’m no superwoman anyway.

So check ’em out and GET OUT. You’ll have fun. I promise!

BAFICI Short Films in Microcentro

110c-baficiplaza

If you thought BAFICI was over, think again! You still have today (Friday) to enjoy some independent film action, no matter how odd. Starting at midday today (12:30 PM) you can see the projections BAFICI’s short film selection in Plaza Estado el Vaticano, along side the Teatro Colon. The plaza was inaugurated in 2012 as a modern space integrated with the old opera house. I have to wonder though, can you hear anything over the roar of 9 de Julio? Let me know!

Feria del Libro- Noche de la Ciudad

This yearly festival celebrates books! What a lovely idea. Taking place in La Rural in Plaza Italia, the event runs from yesterday (oops) until May 13th, but has one night of book bliss FREE on Saturday, April 27th starting at 9 PM and running till 1 AM (the feria can be your previa before the boliche!!). Check out the whole schedule here. Also, apparently it will be free for students next week as well? Worth checking out!

A couple of other cool tidbits:

Brazilian musician Toquinho will be playing a free concert, an homage to Vinicius de Moraes, in Plaza Italia starting at 7 PM on Saturday (27).

And if you don’t mind paying the entrance fee, there will be some food authors speaking on Friday (26) and Saturday (27). Including Narda Lepes…oooooo.

Waiter and Waitress Race (Carrera de Mozo y Camarera)

Photo Credit: Agendacultural.buenosaires.gob.ar

Photo Credit: Agendacultural.buenosaires.gob.ar

This event needs no explanation. But I guess blogging demands it: this is a freaking race where waiters and waitress walk carry trays AS FAST as they can. First service member to cross the finish line without spilling their goods wins! Piece of cake. Or cafe con leche y medialunas. Depends what you order.

(Why this event reminds of Washington DC’s Drag Race, aka High Heel Race I don’t know.)

Saturday 27, from 4-6 PM on Avenida de Mayo.

I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one wearing the “I’m a FAN!” apron. 

Theatrical Neighborhood Walking Tours

This is a new thing. Someone in the city thought (rightly) that tourists tend to stick to the same parts of the city too much and needed to be coaxed into discovering more of Buenos Aires! Genius person. Love him/her.

This is one of the most unique free tours I’ve ever heard of! I am totally dying to do one (expect a post about it when I have), but farted around too much before heading to Mataderos last Sunday. No worries, though, because they will be running from now until October. Two cool ones this weekend though, in San Telmo and Boedo. Make sure to check them out!

Foto Credit: bue.gov.ar

Foto Credit: bue.gov.ar

Los Fantasmas de San Telmo, Saturday April 27: this tour shows the well known neighborhood’s mysterious underbelly, giving visitors the chance to see the creepier (and ghost filled?) side of its history. The one-hour tour starts at 6:30 PM from Plaza Dorrego.

Boedo Antigo, Barrio de HistoriasSunday April 28: this tour tells the story of Boedo! I’ve never been there and the description is sparse. Guess that’s a reason to go and check it out. The one hour tour starts at 3:30 PM on Esquina Homero Manzi (Av san Juan y Boedo).

Photo Credit: bue.gov.ar

Photo Credit: bue.gov.ar

Free Concert at the Teatr: Quinteto Filarmonico

Photo Credit: agendadebuenosaires.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: agendadebuenosaires.blogspot.com/

Want an excuse to see the inside of the incredible Teatro Colon? This Sunday, as part of the “Interpretes Argentinos” series, the Quinteto Filarmonico will be performing for free. The show starts at 11 AM and tickets can  be picked up starting 48 hours in advance in the Teatro Colon ticket office. Its early, but who wouldn’t want to start their Sunday with some beautiful classical musica? Depends on what we did the night before I suppose…

Check this link for a little Mozart played by the Quinteto boys.

Green BA: Mish-Mash of Events in March 2013

Green Film Festival, Green Market and Green St. Paddy’s Day

This  weekend and upcoming week is probably one of the greenest we will all see in BA for a while–and I am pretty sure someone must have planned this.

I grew up with environmental parents which means I love to stare a rocks and trees have a natural draw to green things. Thats why I was very excited to hear about all three green events this next week.

This post may be semi-misleading, however. I bet you are thinking that I will be talking about thre environmental events next week. That is two-thirds true. First, next week is the beginning of a BA Environmental Film Festival (though small, kids; nothing to get too worked up about). Second, its the return of the Buenos Aires Market, which shows off some of the city’s best organic, environmentally conscience and/or just healthy thangs in the beautiful setting of the Bosque de Palermo parking lot.

The third, is a bit of a different case: ITS SAINT PATRICKS DAY.

Admittedly, I am not Irish (but my friends do tell me I may as well be for my skin tone). But I have found that living away from the US of A has made me increasingly homesick on these certain, over the top, tradition-stealing holidays (see Cinco de Mayo for another example). That is exactly why I had an Oscars Party and expected some effort from the man on Valentines Day. I know its cheesy, but now its what reminds me of home.

Which is all to say one of the technically greenist holidays ever is upon us so it gets included here.

Check it:

Environmental Film Festivalcineambiental

When: March Wednesday 12 (oops!), Friday 14 (oops!), Thuesday 19, Thursday 21; films start at 7:30 PM, talks before hand starting at 6:30 PM

Where: Jardin Botanico de Palermo

What: Outdoor screening of five films

Why: Raise awareness of environmental issues via film. Enjoy some movies in ze nature.

Buenos Aires Market

When: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17bamarket

Where: Bosque de Palermo, parking lot in front of the Rosedale

What: a pseudo farmers market/healthy food  market/veggie burger market (check Planeta Joy’s facebook page for more photos and info).

Why:  lots of interesting free workshops like free yoga class at noon both days! Also a workshop on the wonders of wheatgrass and healthy baking…mmmm. Foods to munch, sammies with which to lunch…and I am desperate to understand exactly what is black garlic and how I can put it in my food.

BA Style St. Patrick’s (Paddy’s) Day

When: March 17

Where: All over the city. For a little more wholesome fun, check out the parade put on by the City of BA and the Irish embassy. It will start at Arroyo and Suipacha at 7 PM and end in the Plaza San Martin with an Irish dance show. Everyone cross your fingers that its the Irish dancing phenom River Dance (JAZZ HANDS).

There will also be a Celtic Fair in Belgrano with dancing and food, if you’d rather keep it tranqui without traveling downtown for the parade.

The traditional drinking fest (as traditional as you can get at least) is on Reconquista, where they block the streets and pen you in like wild, green animals. Woooo!! Any and all Irish pub will be, of course, capitalizing too. Check this list for bars with events/promotions, emphasis being on promotions. And don’t forget to wear green so you don’t get pinched! 

What: I think its pretty clear, right?

Why: why else!? To celebrate this wonderful, green holiday. If I were home I would be eating corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread (which apparently is just not called that in Ireland…oops) and a guinness chocolate cake. Since I can’t do that (makes a girl miss her mommy!), I’ll just have to drown my tears in pure guinness and pat myself on the back.

Verdict? Anybody who is anybody will be getting green this week. Join in!

The Good and the Bad: Sushi in Buenos Aires

sushi

I am still in the process of finding my favorite budget sushi in BA.

So this is Gastronomy Research Project numero 1 !! This list will get longer as I get fatter more knowledgeable about the BA sushi scene.

If you like Japanese food and have spent any extended period of time in Buenos Aires you may have noticed that it’s not often authentic. More often than not you will be faced with a very serious decision: whether or not to risk your tuna being a tuna fish roll (not even the cat would eat it…). Oh and did I mention the hunks of cream cheese?

I have gotten used to the sushi in Buenos Aires, despite the tendency for it to be smothered in cream cheese. Side story: the first time I ate sushi in Buenos Aires I ordered Sushi Pop with a friend and was so shocked and dissapointed that I didn’t order from anywhere for at least 5 months. Two and a half years later, after becoming friendly with BA sushi, my lovely boyfriend convinced me to try it again. I don’t know if the sushi has gotten better or if my palate has become a little more forgiving, but I LIKED IT. And I ate it all. However I still maintain that there is a rude amount of rice-to-fish ratio.

Barrio Chino Supermarket Sushi

Not good. I guess it sort of somewhat killed my craving, but not really. Way too much rice, way too little fish, and didn’t seem particularly fresh (also been sitting in a refrigerator for who knows how long…). I only tried the sushi at Casa China, but I really didn’t give me any desire to go back. On the upside (yup, there is one) it was incredibly cheap. Around 25-35 per roll but they are massive (again, because of the quantity of rice). I’d say this is only for the really desperate and broke.

Sushi Pop

The classic delivery. Pretty good, not great. It kills  the craving, but the rice-to-fish (RTF) ration is pretty terrible (see the picture above? that extra ring of rice makes me sad). Alaska (all salmon, AR 110 for 36 pieces) menu was good but I suggest chopping up the nigiri (the piece of fish lying on top of rice) and distributing among the other rolls. The Barcelona (salman and fresh tuna) is something I definitely want to try, but so far they have been “out of tuna”. Id rather them tell me that then give me tuna fish instead—which has happened. Gag. Huge, non-traditional selection with something for everyone. Rolls prices are a little higher, around 36-39, but they have 12 pieces. Combos start at 115 for 40 pieces.

Gako Sushi

Definitely better than Sushi Pop in terms of RTF, with interesting flavor combinations too. Particularly enjoyed the rolls with smoked salmon. The spicy mango roll was a nice idea, but lacked mango (??). First time delivery orders get four free pieces of sushi! It’s more expensive than sushi pop, but probably worth it.

Juncal 2819

Haru

Don’t ask, just go. That’s right, don’t order—GO. Very nice place with a varied menu and really well done food. Half of the parties were Japanese, too ! Oh and cheap. Fried tofu with teriyaki served as a complimentary starter. Vegetable tempura is well done. Chicken teriyaki appetizer was delicious and smelled even better (opposite, I know). Rolls were very good: RTF ratio great (although they are smaller than your average argentine goliath sushi rolls) and fish and wasabi were very fresh. My only two complaints would be that the spicy sauce on one of our sushi rolls (probably just a poor choice anyway) covered up the flavor of the fish and that there could have been more of a variety available (no red tuna!). For the price, however, this place is hard to beat. For three people, AR 320 with wine for two and tip included. Oh, and we got a free dessert (I am going to say for being 3 beautiful women) which means that this place wins onda points.

Av. Rivadavia 3324, near corner of Aguero
sushiharu tempura

Benihana Buenos Aires

OK so I understand while you might scoff at this one. But pleaseee hear me out. This yanquilandia chain is, yes, a chain but it has a pretty great happy hour deal. From 4 PM to 8 PM everyday you can get half priced drinks (a list of some 10 fruity cocktails) for AR 25, which are good enough for the price. The sushi, although nothing stellar, is also dirt cheap at rolls for AR 25 with 10 pieces or a tamaki for AR 16 and is arguably the best sushi in the city at the happy hour price. They also have a pretty complete food menu including jalapeno poppers (??) if you feel like a TGIFridays special with your sushi…Perfect people watching outdoor seating too, but it fills up fast. The verdict? Totally worth it for the price.

Alto Palermo Mall, on the corner near Colonel Diaz and Arenales; or just look between TGIFridays and Starbucks
sushiben

Sushi Colors

Sushi 3

I recently decided to throw caution to the wind and try out Sushi Colors. These guys deliver fresh, well-portioned rolls to much of Buenos Aires (although they very inconveniently stop right before my neighborhood, las Cañitas). Combos are surprisingly plentiful and the RTF ratio was impressive. I didn’t even have to divvy up the fish from the nigiri to compensate for less than impressive filling, like I always do with Sushi Pop. Was it more expensive than its cheaper competitor? Yeah, a little. The AR 164 price tag on the 40 piece box cost us 38 more pesos than the all salmon Alaska box at Sushi Pop, but I would pay more for more fish any day.

Sushi 2 Sushi 1

Since we were two ladies and two gents, we sprung for three more rolls: the Tiger Roll, the Tino roll and the Boston roll. The Tiger and the Tino were fried sushi, which were unsurprisingly ordered by the Argentine gents. I can’t say I liked them that much, but that’s a personal preference against cooked (and fried) sushi. The smoked salmon Boston roll was good, although I think I preferred the basic sushi and avocado roll. All in all, GREAT price for quality. Our total price tag was about AR 320 with tip, split between 4 people. We also got a 10% discount because we ordered between 7 and 8 pm on a Friday. But we didn’t eat that early; we just asked them to bring it at 10 and it was EARLY. They do a 15% discount ordering between 7-8 Tuesday-Thursday.

Where do you get your affordable sushi in Buenos Aires?

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.