Don't Cry For Me Argentina (if I'm eating, I'm happy) by Potomac Enterprise

Well, it appears Argentina cried for us all the last two days there. It rained and rained the night of our final organized event. It was a play at The Blind Theater and quite the alternative theater experience.  Essentially your vision is turned off. You enter a pitch black room and sit, unable to see even your hand in front of your face. The play begins and focuses on your other senses (specifically, smell, touch, hearing). As you can imagine (because you have to imagine), I don't have any pictures of that. The drawback is that it was entirely in Spanish; therefore, I have not idea what the story was. lol.

I was a little sad to leave BA, although I was hopeful that maybe in my next location, I'd see Black people. lol. The one time I saw a little Black girl, she stared at me more than I stared at her and gave me a enthusiastic smile and wave. I think we were both happy for each other's existence. The tour guide had shared with me and my friend that Argentina had an interesting history with Black people (i.e., slaves brought over from Africa). Once slavery ended in Argentina (in the early 1800s legally, but more like 1853), they were sold to other countries (namely, Brazil) or forced to living conditions that exacerbated the spread of yellow fever and their deaths. That is insane to me. Insane! Therefore, a population of what was once 50% of throughout various provinces in Argentina dropped to practically nothing. And it's evidenced in the lack of even mullatos in the city. 

Well, this post is not about that, it's about food. lol.  As my ode to my visit, I wanted to share my "Knockout Food and Drink Moments." So, in no particular order, these were my favorites:

Honorable Mention: The Asado Brisket Sandwich from La Tajeno (almost made the cut)

Check out some photos from my last days in BA, which include the tour of Palacio Barollo (must see building  inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy), dinner at El Muelle, and a visit to the beautiful El Ateneo Bookstore.

 

 

The Argentine Experience! by Potomac Enterprise

This was one of my favorite activities during my life in Argentina! I’m so glad my friend found it. Firstly, we arrived too early and were directed to wait at a coffee shop, Il Postco Mercato, nearby. I walked in thinking, well, this is the cutest (and emptiest) coffee shop without coffee that I’ve ever seen. Lol. As you can tell by the name, this was really a specialty market.  Mostly there was wine--lots of wine and cheese--lots of cheese. Also, much like a coffee shop, there were places to sit and work.

After perusing there, we headed back the The Argentine Experience. The night opened with a welcoming from the owner who made us a wonderful cocktail made of a medium-bodied malbec, apple juice, and Pisco. Delish!

Next, we were tasked to identify 20 scents that are common in wines. We were given a numbered sheet of paper and pen and sent around a table to sniff, pause, sniff, think, write. Out of the 20, I got 8 correct, which was quite the accomplishment. Two people got 10 correct though, so I didn’t win. After this game, we went to learn how to make our welcome cocktail and two other cocktails. By the end of the shots of cocktails and entire cocktails, the buzz was real.

Next we were taken upstairs to join other travelers from across the globe to how to properly make empanadas and mate. It was quite a blast and although geared for tourist, I highly recommend it for your list of to-do things in Argentina. 

Eva Rae Visits! by Potomac Enterprise

And, she came bearing wash cloths and seasonings!!

Yes, I’m one of those people that still uses wash cloths. I know that the cloths harbor bacteria if they don’t dry out but mine dry out over night, okay? So, until I have a better alternative, I will be scrubbing down with a rag. Why? Because I'm a researcher, so I have done a hand and soap only shower followed by a wash cloth scrub and that’s all the evidence I need that wash clothes are here to stay :)

In another post, I'll share more about how the initial, "this is the greatest city ever" is wearing off. One of the primary culprits of this is a simple lack of seasoning! I may have mentioned before that my quest to find pepper (yes, black pepper) was almost as bad as my quest to find bacon (bacon finally found on the menu at Pani pictured below)! When I finally found a small container of pepper, it cost $6 USD fool! I was told the scarcity of black pepper comes from locals disdain of spicy food. WTFF? Spicy? Yes, even black pepper is considered too spicy. Again, WTFF. Good luck finding garlic or onion powder either. Lawrys? Hell no. Oregano it is. On eRything. So, my girl hooked me up with paprika, poultry seasoning, and the list goes on. Before she came, the two best meals I had (outside of Steaks by Luis) were those I cooked myself using seasonings I’d brought with me to BA from my trip to Martinique. I made curry fish with lentils and potatoes and I made oven fried chicken wings. Kiss your fingers and lift it to the sky.

After my friend visited, I can say, I have had another yummy dining experience. It was at a mediterranean restaurant that obviously must ship those spices in! We went to Sarkis with some of my “remote” friends. The line is waiting outside the door at 730pm, 30 minutes before opening time.  We ordered five appetizers (tubule, beets, humus, smashed roasted red peppers), wine, veggie moussaka, and lamb (it was a lot of food and the four of us could not eat it all). It tasted wonderful and came to a total of $60 USD (total I said). Double blink.

Anyway, I was so happy to see a familiar face when Eva arrived. Even though she lives hundreds of miles away from me in the states, it was still like a piece of home. During her visit, we went to The Argentine Experience (see separate -future- post for details), Botanical Gardens, a local walking tour, and “La Recoletta” Cemetery where Eva (Evita) Peron is buried. Also, we went to a couple of speakeasies worth mentioning: Bar 878 and Victoria Brown.  I miss the great conversations and laughs already.  Enjoy the pics!

Note. Later I did found curry in the store, so I have to take back some of my wrath regarding a lack of seasoning availability in this city. Also, I have to add Mark'sNOLA, and COCU to my list of yummy places to eat. Marks has a yummy smoked salmon salad, NOLA has a fried chicken sandwich that Chik-fil-a believers say supersedes Chik-fil-a (I had regular friend chicken and fell in love with the sauces that accompany it), and lastly, COCU has yummy french pastries. I love that they are not "too" sweet. 
Pay attention to the sculptures from the Botanical Gardens! Those are humans sucking from that wolf's breast. Strange. 
The "Pink House" (Casa Rosada) is the president's place!

Fuerza Bruta by Potomac Enterprise

I honestly didn’t know what to expect on my way to what many had been calling, “the circus.” “Fuerza Bruta” is actually an off-broadway hit that originated in Buenos Aires (created by Diqui James). Nowadays, you can see in NY (and I recommend you do). We arrived to an indoor, standing only arena.  I’d heard rumors that at this show, we may get soaked at worse or a good misting at best. So, each sudden movement, as the show progressed, had me ready to bolt to avoid any potential downpour. From start to finish, I was in awe. For example, see the pictures of the girls in water below—that happened above our heads as the ceiling lowered from incredibly high down nearly to the tops of our heads. Pretty creative! Eventually, the sprinkler system went off in the middle of the room with me safely on the outskirts viewing.  I had managed to escape the high power water spray that got the crowd wet as the “circus” turned into a club with the DJ pumping your favorite songs turned house.

Definitely unique!

Definitely interesting.

My pictures do the experience no justice; but check them and the videos out anyway. Enjoy.

Everyone was giving Beyonce hair as the live band drummed their hearts out. This was just the beginning.

Then the crowd was suddenly wrapped in what appeared to be foil that dropped from the ceiling. 

One of my favorite parts: the ceiling filled with water extending down towards the crowd

Things got a little intense...

The end of the show..the beginning of the party!

Steaks by Luis by Potomac Enterprise

A fellow remoter, Peter organized a lovely dinner a'la Steaks by Luis.  This was a private four course dinner starting with salad and wine, then an assorted grilled meats (bacon free pork...lol) and wine, then the steaks pictured above cooked and seasoned to perfection and wine, and finally cheesecake and wine. Wine wine wine! :)  Enjoy the pictures. 

The Digs by Potomac Enterprise

I know it’s only like day three or something and I don’t want to sound idealistic,  but I must say that everyone I’ve met so far has had good energy and been friendly and open—amazingly so.  I’m trying to figure out the program selection strategy cause I’m thinking either the DC metro area has me THAT jaded or everyone is on their best behavior for my first few days. lol.  I’m not a real cynic. I generally expect the best of people, but over time you learn caution. Watching out for people turns into watch out! for people. Although one person proves you wrong, another person proves you right and soon you throw “proof" out of the vocab and yellow flag everyone. lol. Seriously, its been great to meet so many people and hear their varied stories and to be welcomed in despite being tardy to the party. 

Check out pics of the digs below. Home and workspace. <3

Strolling by Potomac Enterprise

I'm noticing ham (jambon) is a popular meat in South America. Actually, several remoters told me that it's a popular veggie in Uruguay. Request "veggie-only" and surely jambon would show up in your veggie sandwiches, salads, and rice. Don't get me wrong, ham is great at Christmas (if you're a pork eater), but where's the bacon!? Sidebar: I don't know what part of the pig bacon is, but I have succeeded at finding almost every other part in Argentina including intestines, brain, kidney, liver, chops,....and ham. Lol.

On a brighter note, I can't believe I live here! They welcomed us to our apartments with individual bottles of wine and loads of hospitality. Culturally, lively colors, building art, sidewalk cafes, and plant life stood out the most to me so far. Well those things and 10pm dinners. That "struggle wait" for dinnertime is definitely an adjustment for me. The other remoters have been in Uruguay for a month, so they have adjusted.

Speaking of "the others", I was very happy to finally meet many members of the fun, friendly, and eclectic RY group Saturday night while strolling the Soho Palermo streets after dinner. One of the remoters shared that her friend was fighting that night. Now with my lackluster hearing and vision, I became under the impression we were heading to see a bar brawl. Wrong. Next, I thought we were walking the a million blocks to see a match live. Cause why else would I walk a million blocks? Lol. Well we were indeed walking to watch tv monitors at a crowded bar with smoke and low lights and teenagers.  Now, my friends in the states know that I love some MMA, but I couldn't really enjoy it with a horde of barely legal babies shoving and wasting good drank all around me, especially given that my eyes were burning from the smoke. My eyes are already fighting battles, they don't need exposure to smoke. And while I'm 33 on the outside, Im’a vibrant 53 in spirit, so all I could think about was my bed. I stayed long enough to see the friend, UFC fighter Villante  lose the fight. Then a couple of us left early. And, by early, I mean 3am. So, I didn't get to see Holly get dragged that night :(  But over all, I had a interesting, well worth it time. Much more energetic than myself and like true natives to the city, other remoters others stumbled home closer to 8am.

Un advance rápido hasta hoy...Thanks to one of my new friends, I figured out how to stream Pandora in a country that it doesn't exist in (re: Cloak).  Bop bop! And, in all appropriateness, the first song to play on my playlist this morning was "Been Working" by Nina Simone. Thanks Nina. In this new and beautiful city, I almost forgot today is Monday; and, as much as I'd like to be, I'm not just here vacationing. 

Check out some pics from my stroll yesterday.

 

 


Buenos Aires, Estoy Aquí by Potomac Enterprise

 

This customs hodgepodge (aka "line")&nbsp;was no joke. Line cutting was rampant. But, with all the time in the world, I just "stayed in my lane" on relax.

This customs hodgepodge (aka "line") was no joke. Line cutting was rampant. But, with all the time in the world, I just "stayed in my lane" on relax.

I'm in Palermo Soho, it's 2 hours ahead of EST, and the weather is amazing! No wonder I saw so many pools from the plane as it descended.

First stop—The Clubhouse . It’s a cool, sexy little spot where you can swim, "drank", or just relax while waiting for the clock to strike that magic check-in time at various nearby hotels.  There's a place to store your bags. Of course, there’s wifi. There's music. And, it consists of an in-door area with sofas and tables, a patio with a fireplace, and an outdoor bar, seating area, and pool. Raise your hand if you’ve needed this before.  Um, muchas gracias.

But before the first stop, let me rewind. I’ve never taken a Spanish class and the guilt I already feel about barely conquering English and not coming close to any other languages was exacerbated by the silence during my taxi ride to The Clubhouse. I can’t say the driver didn’t try. I had my mini-dictionary and wondered, “how did humanity exist prior to Google (specifically Google Translate)”? Yes, I have GT but totally forgot to download the offline packages and taxis aren’t wired with WiFi yet (as far as I know). Anyway, I was pretty hopelessly searching through my paperback for an explanation for my presence in this guy’s country, taxi, etc. #FAIL

And, I knew he was talking slow, but it couldn’t sound any faster.  #Blankstare.  So sad. I could only wish a word like “gracias” or “bien” came out of his mouth.  No luck. I politely asked, “Habla Englas” and he replied, “no”. I don’t blame him…I should speak Spanish! Maybe by the end of my 3 month emersion in South America,” I might be”. Lol.

Anyway, the ride began and he kept looking back at me.  #Pressure. I’m flipping through my book trying to figure out how to make conversation without blurting "IM TIRED AND HUNGRY AND DON’T WANT TO TALK ANYWAY." #InsertSnickersBar. About 10 minutes later, he hands me his phone. It’s Google Translate!! Praise'em. I look down and read, “Is everyone where you’re from as cute as you?”  Ha! I laughed out loud. I typed back, “Thank you very much---especially after a 10 hour plane ride”. He laughed and wrote back something that didn’t quite translate properly to the effect of, “I can only imagine what you’d look like once painted.” Lol. I was thinking, “Hopefully I'd look my age “painted”…because you are clearly way under it.” Lol. But I didn’t say that (cause I knew I needed a snickers). 

Anyway, thanks to his phone, I was able to communicate my purpose and length of stay. He knew how to ask for my "Whatsapp" in English, so I knew how to tell him about my friend visiting from Texas in a week and us needing someone to show us around. Chauffeur locked down? Check! lol.

Anyway, much like some people, you cannot tell what this amazing spot The Clubhouse is from the front outside. It's gated and looks closed. But, once inside, I was glad I didn't tell the taxi, "it's closed--- keep driving".  I ordered the ceviche (sole, avocado, mango, pico de gallo, and passion fruit) with a side of drank, the El Porteño (Uva, ciruela, fruitilla, vino rose, Absolut, ginger syrup). Sounds yummy! 

Here are a couple of pictures for you to click through, but there is more to come (about the actual city!) ...once I eat and nap :)