A Mid-Summer’s Dream of Buenos Aires

by Liz Caskey on December 4, 2013

Can you believe it is December already? How did that happen? I realize I have seemingly been in hiding (at least on the blog) for the past couple months. Truthfully, we have been continent hopping around South America, the US, Europe, and N. Africa.  It has been awesome…but I am glad to be home. You know that sensation the first night home after being away. You snuggle into your own bed with the cushy sensation of your own mattress, the softness and familiarity of your own sheets. You wake up and  know exactly how to stagger to the bathroom in the dark without breaking your toe on a poorly-placed piece of hotel furniture. I did wake up wondering where I was for a nano-second (our cat’s meowing was the ground force).

It was especially nice to come home to full blown summer. That’s right, left fickle spring weather and just arrived straight to the luscious hot days and cool nights of Santiago’s divine summer, cherry-gorging season included. Since most of you are shifting into full on winter mode, I was moved to share some images from our winter getaway to Buenos Aires in mid-July (a.k.a your summer). Buenos Aires is one of those places that pulls my heart strings on every visit. For the past few years I had been doing these frustrating viajes de relampago, flash trips lasting only a couple days. We decided it was high time to savor a whole week there. It was one of those blissful unstructured weeks as in wander-the-city, stop-to-drink-coffee (several times a day), dance-tango, shop-till-you-drop, drink-lots-of-wine, forget-about-the-calories kinda week. It was very romantic. It was very warm at the beginning and then got so cold I used my parka! Argentina showed her wackiness as we learned to navigate the kooky exchange rates and never-ending strikes. None of that deterred from the experience though. I love you BA.

Twisting and turning at Faena’s smoking Rojo Tango. Better than Broadway with fabulous dancing, singing, costumes. In my next life, I am coming back as a tango star. Seriously.

Merienda, tea time, in Argentina is a sacred time of the day to refuel with caffeine and carbs to make it to those 10pm dinners. Especially in the nippy months of July and August, the cafes just invite you to come in and linger. However, I really think the entire reason of their existence is an excuse to eat medialunas, sinfully yummy Argentina croissants, beyond breakfast. Pass the dulce de leche, por favor.

The Sunday (mob) scene on Defense in San Telmo with the flea and antique market. Our must-eat spot is Brasserie Petanque on the corner with Calle Mexico. We are rather predictable folks (I like to think we know what we like…) in that I always order the perfectly prepared steak tartare and my husband usually the duck confit, with a bottle of Fabre Montmayou wine. As we left, things were getting a little hectic inside with the next seating…the maitre’d’s face says it all.

Mmm…Buenos Aires always has an eau de…choripan. That’s right, grilled sausage. This is a city where the aromas of diesel and meat fat drippings somehow oddly go well together. Specifically that wafting smell of chorizo, a seasoned sausage, permeates the air like no other. Not to be compared to a hot dog, which pales in comparison, a choripan is sold on many corners served in a baguette-type roll with salsa criolla, the local pepper and tomato sauce. Fair warning: do not be disappointed when it is not spicy, Argentines are a spice-adverse bunch.

A Photographer’s eye (my husband’s) of BA (well this and all the photos). The amuse bouche at Tarquino (hot new dining spot), antique heaven, vintage buses, Belle Epoque buildings. Come on, Buenos Aires can charm the pants off of anyone.

That’s right, in BA, you can order your churros via motoboy, obviously oozing dulce de leche. They were even hot. Bonus.

We spotted this cute little white pooch in Recoleta near our hotel. She was calmly waiting for her owner–a stylish white-haired granny dressed to the nines—who emerged from this classic bakery with, guess what?!, a box of medialunas. To the right, more scenes from Rojo Tango. I said this tango was hot, right?!

Let’s get something clear, gelato is a major food group in Buenos Aires. It is actually quite nutritious as far as desserts go–chock full of protein and calcium and sometimes, even fresh fruit. Oh, sugar, schmugar. A little never hurts. Honestly, I had to tell myself this to justify eating it on a daily basis. So. darn. good. It is telling when you’re in a city where you can order a liter of gelato a domilicio, for delivery. Everywhere.

While staying at Faena Hotel + Universe (a gorgeous, whimsical Philippe Starcke-decorated hotel), the lounge turned into a full on Cabaret on Thursday night. The whole setting felt like a scene from the Great Gatsby so I decided to order a retro lime gimlet. My husband stayed faithful to his martini.

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