Monday, May 26, 2014

Viva Argentina

Two weeks ago I visited Argentina for the first time. It was my first time in South America, and although the atmosphere is definitely different than North America, I felt pretty much at home.

For one, the streets are pretty wide and clean and the people are friendly. More importantly, their food quality surpasses that of our country, especially when it comes to steaks.

We visited a Brazilian-style steakhouse by the river front (near the metal statue of the lotus flower than can bloom now and then). It's a lovely restaurant that can house about 200 guests with a view of the river. We arrived around 11:45am, which was too early for their lunch at 12pm. Mind you, everything here runs late - most restaurants don't open until 8pm for dinner.


To start, you load up on appetizers. I was surprised by their vast selection of salads and antipastos. The quality of food here parallels that of Europeans, especially because there are so many European settlers here. Even the packaging reminds me of European products.


There's also a vast selection of breads and cheeses, but I suggest you save them for another day when you have less meat and more stomach to handle it.

It starts with a hot empanada. If you can, share with a friend because it is quite filling. They also put a piece of bread and a plate of fries on every table. Don't skimp on the fries because man are they good! (Granted, I might be quite biased towards them because of my fries-petish. But do try them with ketchup because their ketchup is more sweet than sour, so it has just the right amount of tang.)

After a long time (your stomach hopefully is still half-empty), the waiters come with stacks of meat. The first one is a sausage. Although our local host told us it wasn't the best part, I thought it was amazing. It was so juicy and marinated with flavor. You can taste the bits of meat that are ungrounded, making it crunchy and soft at once. It's best savored though with the bread that they put on your table, because the soft texture of the bread makes it an amped-up hot dog.

Then came the beef, which I thought was good but cooked too well-done. Apparently the beef here is like that. Unfortunately I'm not much of a meat-lover so that didn't go well with me. There's also a course of chicken followed by a part of the beef (beef throat I think?) that I opted to do without.

The lamb on the other hand was tender and juicy, braised in rosemary and dripping with oil and fat. So good. I should have saved my stomach for that but instead, I opted for the... course of the day - ice cream in a waffle cone! While people say that you should fill up on their beef, I say their ice cream is the real deal. It's so creamy soft but not as sugary as American ice cream so you can actually taste the flavor of the cream. The candied nuts they sprinkle on top is a perfect complement to the soft creamy flavors.

The best part of this meal is the price. For less than $30/person you can enjoy unlimited meat and delicious salads, and let's not forget the ice cream.

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