Friday, December 19, 2008

How is anyone here skinny?

Argentine cuisine isn´t exactly world-renowned, but it is quite good. Obviously, the country is known for its beef (I can confirm that this is for good reason). But there´s plenty more to eat here than a thick juicy steak. Including the ginormous amounts of beef, the diet here is horrendous. Vegetables here typically include potatoes (fried or mashed), plain lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sometimes mashed pumpkin. Lots of breads--all refined grain, of course. I´ll be going into seclusion when I return, while I burn off a few extra pounds.


Beef: It´s what´s for dinner (and lunch)

First, a few words on the steak. They really do eat tons of it. I ate the best steak of my life in Buenos Aires. A tenderloin (bife de lomo). Juicy. HUGE. Less than US$10. And I´ve had several decent steaks for even less than that. Argentines love an asado, or barbecue. They lay out every part of the cow across the parilla (grill).

This was an asado at the hostel where I stayed in BA. You can see short ribes on the left, with chinchulines (small intestines) in front of them (yes I tried them...crunchy on the outside; pastey on the inside). Chorizos are in the middle, with some morcilla, or blood sausage, in front of them. And to the right, we´ve got a couple kidneys. They taste like beef, but are pretty fatty. And the bife de chorizo (sirloin) isn´t even on the grill yet.

From Argentina




Italians at heart

There´s lots of italian blood in Argentina. BA even has a local slang based on Italian words. And so there´s lots of pizza and pasta. Quite popular is the basic pizza de muzzarella, usually topped with oregano and a few olives. The pizza below cost me 10 pesos, or three bucks.

From Argentina


And there´s a boatload of pasta, typically made fresh at the restaurant. You pick your pasta (spaghettis, raviolis and ñoquis are the most popular) and then your sauce (tomato, bolognese, pesto, cheese, etc). Delicious.

My favorite, ñoquis (gnocchi in Italian; they´re potato dumplings) with pesto sauce. It´s almost gone for a reason

From Argentina




Snacks

In order to make it from a 1:30 lunch to dinner at 10:30, you often need a snack. I often substitute these snacks for a lunch, as they´re cheaper by far.

Empanadas are dynamite. Little pastries filled with ground beef, ham and cheese or any number of other combinations, it´s a mission for me to find the best. A day without an empanada is a sad one indeed. My favorite is caprese--mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

From Argentina


Choripan also is a great snack. The name comes from the ingredients: chorizo and pan, or bread. And this brings me to something very important, as you must must must top your choripan with

CHIMICHURI. Slather it on everything from the obligatory rolls to your steak and sandwiches. It´s oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic and usually some chili, depending on the recipe. Awesome.

Argentines also like a sandwich. Quite common is a simple tostada, a white-bread sandwich with ham and cheese, grilled.



Breakfast

Breakfast is simple, and it´s also, as a rule, included with your hostel stay. Coffee--usually cafe con leche--and medialunas (literally "half moons." Croissants). Smear some dulce de leche, a creamier version of caramel, on your croissants and you´re having desayuno Argentine style.


Dessert

Of course there´s flan. Of course there´s tirimasu. But why would I waste my time on those when there´s gelato (known here as helado)?? For as little as US$1.50, you can have a small cone piled high with four inches of ice cream. Popular flavors are dulce de leche, a variety of chocolates and fruits. Get at least two flavors to do it right. Like empanadas, I enjoy an helado more often than I should.


I haven´t eaten this well so regularly in my life. Are you drooling yet? Want to come join me?

Now I have to go decide which of these treats is going to be my lunch!

1 comment:

steff said...

my travel philosophy: what do i get to eat while i'm there? and yes, for the record, i'm very jealous.