Tag Archive | "restaurants"

A Taste for The Argentine Experience

Argentine food culture can sometimes be slightly intimidating, full of deeply held traditions that if done wrong, can generate looks of dismay. The tastings and events at The Argentine Experience aim to make Argentine traditions accessible, while offering travellers, new residents, and locals some of the best food the city has to offer. Their ethos lies in the belief that the beauty of travelling and experiencing a new country can be enhanced in the company of others from all corners of the globe in a relaxed atmosphere.

Juan Garcia mixes a few custom cocktails (Photo: Terra Borody)

Juan Garcia mixes a few custom cocktails (Photo: Terra Borody)

The Argentine Experience started life as a closed-door restaurant; in this case in a tiny residential flat in the heart of Recoleta. The passionate team quickly found an investor and set up shop in a sumptuous and prime space in Palermo.

The evening began with a ‘wine cocktail and aroma class’, where guests are invited to sample 20 glasses of various aromas – from lychee, violet, and smoke – in the hope of awakening those senses for the subsequent wine and wine-cocktail tasting. Mixologist and sommelier Juan Garcia hosted a mini-wine tasting featuring Malbec and Torrontés reds, where he guided the group into unlocking the nuances of some of Argentina’s flagship varietals, before preparing three red, white and rosé wine cocktails. The fruits of the knowledgeable and talented Garcia’s labour were served alongside a selection of wine-based canapés; bites of heaven that offered a glimpse into what chef Interadeck Hoontrakul had in store for us for the rest of the evening’s food tastings.

Diners diligently construct their empanadas (Photo: Terra Borody)

Diners diligently construct their empanadas (Photo: Terra Borody)

The night continued upstairs with a brief introduction by charismatic hosts Richard Porter and Stefi Speranza, who would be our guides for the rest of the evening. They spoke of the company’s concept of offering more than just a dinner, but a dining experience; an experience where guests are immersed into Argentine culture and cuisine, in a relaxed environment, surrounded by other likeminded people.

The main course- a juicy steak with cooked vegetables (Photo: Terra Borody)

The main course- a juicy steak with cooked vegetables (Photo: Terra Borody)

Diners were seated around two communal-style tables in a rustic setting of high ceilings and hardwood floors, and were treated to an interactive empanada making and tasting session. This was followed by one of the best meals my photographer and I had ever experienced. The focal point of the main course was of course the Argentine classic: steak. Juicy, succulent, tender, and every other adjective you could possibly think of to describe a perfect steak. It was all of them. Roasted vegetables and puréed potatoes acted as accompaniments, and wine – which was switched to a deeper, more complex Malbec – flowed freely throughout the entirety of the evening thanks to attentive server Jose Valdivia.

After we had been floored by the steak and unanimously decided that it wasn’t going to be topped anytime soon, we were handed two further Argentine classics: mate and dulce de leche. Mate, as you probably know, is a national institution – one with a ritualistic process and an often-dividing taste, and an aspect of the country’s food culture that our hosts were especially keen to share. As a group we then prepared from scratch, served, tasted, and discussed the mate on offer, complimented by perhaps the more crowd-pleasing alfajores. Tables were filled with temping bowls of dulce de leche, coconut shavings, melted chocolate, and vanilla biscuits, and diners were asked to dig in, get making, and taste until there’s no room to taste more. As Argentine experiences go, that is something hard to complain about.

The Argentine Experience
For more information check out their website or Facebook page.
+54 911-6715-0330
Fitz Roy 2110, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires.

Posted in Food & DrinkComments (0)

Top 5 New Year’s Eve Options

Although Buenos Aires is undeniably a party capital, New Year’s Eve is a surprisingly low-key affair and many people spend midnight with their families before heading to a party. Others join the mass exodus that is indicative of the start of the holidays, leaving the capital and either crossing the Río de la Plata to head to one of Uruguay’s many resorts, such as swanky Punte del Este to mingle with the jet-set, or to one of Argentina’s beach towns.

But if you aren’t able to escape the city over the period and are still at a loss as to what to do, The Indy brings you a variety of ways to see in 2012.

Fireworks shoot over the Buenos Aires night sky (Photo: Beatrice Murch)

Some key things to know: Don’t expect to get public transport or a cab anywhere around midnight on the 31st – so get wherever you want to early and be prepared to stay there until at least 4am, as it will be nigh-on impossible to move around the city. Do expect to spend money! For the holidays, many restaurants, shows and clubs jack their prices up, so throw out the idea of doing this particular Saturday night on the cheap. Also, book ahead! Many of the restaurants and shows will fill up in advance – don’t expect to wing it by just dropping by as you risk being disappointed.

If you are feeling you want to fit in with the local spirit, don’t forget your pink undies! It has recently come to our attention that it is tradition to wear them on New Year’s for good luck (something the Indy staff have not been doing, so imagine how good 2012 is going to be now we know this!)

One of the many beautiful dishes from El Baqueano-Carnes Autoctonas available on New Years'

1. Eating: Restaurants

A number of Buenos Aires’ fine eateries are doing special menus to see in the new year. As there is a word limit on this piece, we can’t highlight all of them here, instead bringing you a small overview of the restaurants we know are doing something special this Saturday. If you would like a complete list of the capital’s restaurants to find out what they are offering for yourself, visit our directory. Bear in mind that not all restaurants are open, so check in advance to avoid disappointment!

If you want to see 2011 out in true Argentine style (eating half a cow washed down with a malbec) La Cabrera parrilla in Palermo has a special New Year’s menu. For modern Argentine cuisine de autor, Casa Cruz in Palermo is offering tasting menus with wine. And if you want to go a little away from traditional Argentine, and move more into the experimental, El Baqueano in San Telmo has national meats that move away from the obvious ‘cow’ variety, into llama, caiman, wild boar and other offerings.

For something more international, try the following: Almacen Secreto (closed door, Colegiales), Astrid & Gastón (Peruvian, Palermo), Dehli Bar Downtown (Indian, San Telmo), Filo (Italian, Microcentro), La Maison (French, Palermo), María Félix (Mexican, Palermo), Sette Bacco (Italian, Recoleta), and Sipan (Japanese-Peruvian fusion, Palermo location).

If it’s more about drinking than eating, Aldo’s Vinoteca y Restorán is guaranteed to satisfy, as well as tantalizing your tastebuds with their New Year’s menu.

2. Eating: Big Hotels

As you would expect, the big hotels are all offering special menus for those wanting to dine in traditional luxury on the 31st. The evenings cater to a more international crowd, with a more European or North American approach to bringing in the new year.

The Park Hyatt (Recoleta), Alvear Palace Hotel (Recoleta), Four Seasons (Retiro), Marriott Plaza (Retiro), Hotel Castelar (Microcentro), and the Sofitel (Retiro) all have special evenings planned. The fare is pretty much the same with all of them – dinner with a show, followed by dancing in old style glamour.

For a hotel with a difference, offering a more up-beat New Year’s celebration, gay-friendly Axel Hotel in San Telmo has a special dinner with tango show, followed by set by DJ Tomas Abella. The dinner is for guests only, but the party and copious amounts of champagne can be enjoyed by all who want to drop by.

3. Dinner Shows

As to be expected in the world capital of tango, many venues are putting on a special new year’s menu and celebrating the coming of 2012 with spectacular dinner shows. Esquina Carlos Gardel (Abasto) is hosting a ‘Noche de Gran Reveillon’; Complejo Tango (Once), Confiteria Ideal (Microcentro), El Viejo Almacen (San Telmo), La Ventana (San Telmo), and Señor Tango (Barracas) are all hosting special dinner shows.

Bored of tango? If you are after a dinner show with a difference, why not go for flamenco at Tiempo de Gitanos or Al Shark‘s Arabian Nights show, both in Palermo.

For a complete list of tango shows, visit our directory, and  those looking for non-tango shows, can visit the website Reserva Tu Cena Show, where many have special nights planned for the 31st.

The view from the top of Palacio Barolo will give a spectacular vista on New Year's Eve. (Photo: Beatrice Murch)

4. Outdoors

Want to revel in the summer night rather than sweating it up in a club or bar? Well, Buenos Aires has some great options for hanging out and watching the midnight fireworks in more natural environs, and could be either a pre-club plan or an option for those who want to make the most of the first day of 2012.

A popular choice is to head down to Puerto Madero and watch the fireworks from along the docks or on the bridges. The neighbourhood has a huge variety of restaurants where you could choose to dine before the clock strikes, as well as at least one club that is hosting a new year’s party, making the fireworks a solid option to build a night around.

Across town, the Planetarium is another option for those wanting to lie back on the grass and watch the skies light up as the clock chimes. Generally a popular choice with locals, the parks fill up and make for a festival-like atmosphere which feels far away from the bustle of Buenos Aires.

A final choice, technically outdoors, is Palacio Barolo’s New Year’s tour, culminating in champagne on the building’s terrace at midnight, with a spectacular view of the fireworks 100-metres above street level.

5. Dancing

Want to party like it’s 1999? Well, many of the big clubs are hosting special new years parties, although like everything in Buenos Aires, they start late, most kicking off after midnight. So they are great options for continuing the night into the morning of the 1st January, but won’t play host to your midnight toast, alas.

Buenos Aires clubbing can be an all night affair (Photo: Beatrice Murch)

If you want to mix with an international crowd, from 1am onwards you can head to Piso Compartido’s party at Club Niceto in Palermo. They are expecting to see 1,400 revellers from all over the world dancing in the club and promise surprises, games, and medialunas at 7am for everyone still standing. The music is a mixture of rock, pop, latino and 80s.

Asia de Cuba is a great post-fireworks option for those in Puerto Madero. The party kicks off at 1am with music that promises to be varied and very danceable, including electronic, house, rock and regatton.

Over in Palermo, the clubs along the costanera will fill up late, and any one of them could be a great option if midnight was spent by the Planetarium. Many have international DJs over from Europe or North America, who will be playing the best techno and electronica beats well into the morning. Crobar and Pacha are a couple worth noting.

And outside of the Palermo circuit, Amerika in Almagro and La Boutique (formerly Museum) in San Telmo both have big nights planned.

Posted in Food & Drink, The City, Top 5Comments (1)

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