Our Dream Trip : First Stop – Buenos Aires

Since he booked his dream Antarctic trip as soon as we decided to take off, we had to plan the rest of our trip around to meet the schedule. That made us stay 4 nights in Buenos Aires, which I originally thought it would be too long.

I was totally wrong….

I think, whoever named this city, certainly has a point. Buenos Aires has a super great atmosphere.
The city itself is just beautiful – a modern city with historic European-style architecture. There are so many places to visit – the 2nd beautiful bookshop, the most beautiful cemetery, the new city area along the river, modern art events in the art gallery etc…. What I liked the most, however, is the vibe. There is a wonderful vibe around the city 24/7. There is no down-time. There are a lot of people, a lot of cafes, a lot of restaurants everywhere all the time. People are just having a coffee or tea, relaxing in one of the parks (there are a lot of parks around the city- which is really lovely too) and actually eating regardless of what the time is! We just walked around the city, sat in the park when we got tired, and popped in to have a really nice cup of coffee or tea. We just loved doing it every day.

I am certain that the vibe is made by the people in Buenos Aires. I do not know, but maybe, this is because their ancestors were immigrants? We found them very kind, open-minded, flexible and relaxed people with a funky Latino flavor. I totally loved their craziness! The people who we got in touch with had their own attitude and character, which I found very uplifting and sun-shining. When they would like to say something, they say what they want to say in a very straightforward way. The message is clearly delivered, but it is in the nicest, funniest and funkiest way possible. How can they do that?!

Food? OK, let’s start with what they are famous for – Steak (Parrilla).

As a tourist, it is always difficult to pick the right place to eat. We constantly have to ask ourselves “is this place authentic or just for tourists?, do the locals eat here too?”.
We saw a lot of “Parrilla” signs in front of restaurants. We could see ourselves easily ended up at one of the tourist places and eating far lower quality steak than our proud Aussie steak.
Luckily, a good friend of ours recommended this place called “La Cabrera”. He is Argentinian/Australian and he is a gourmet – the best source of the information. Furthermore, they have 40% off deal when you eat there between 18:30 – 20:00! The steak was really nice too! Go there by 18:15 and join in the queue to be able to get seated for the deal – totally worth it!

Another thing I was really impressed by and loved was their cafe culture! Seriously, it reminded me of Kobe – cafes after cafes, cakes after cakes. The view was just like heaven to me. The biggest thing for me was that most of the cafes could serve tea properly! I know I might sound like a tea snob (and I am), but please tell me how many cafes in Perth can serve tea properly? And their pastries, cakes, bread, desserts…. It was a BIG YES for me….

Here are a few of the places I enjoyed. Most of the places are located in Recoleta as we stayed there. Maybe next time, I would be interested in exploring the San Telmo area more. We just visited there before heading off to the airport, but the area looked very interesting!

Sasha (Recoleta) – Great pastry and tea. The owner (at least we thought) was a super lovely guy. Very very very nice but never crossing the line. They serve proper leaf tea with a proper iron tea set. This small cup (name -unknown) was really tasty…. I would like to recreate it.

Ol’s Cafe (Recoleta) – great for healthy options after eating a lot of Parrilla. A lot of salad options. Really good atmosphere. They bake their own bread downstairs.

La Cabrera (Palermo)- Parrilla as mentioned above. Recommended.

Casa Saltshaker (Recoleta). If you can manage to book this so-called “closed-restaurant” (even though the owner/chef does not like the term), you are very lucky. The restaurant takes only 10 people for dinner and the only opens 4 days a week. The 5 course detestation with matching wines cost USD80 per person, which I think is a pretty good deal. His food is unique – smoky, spicy – and delicious. The matching wines are actually matching to each dish. Very intimate feeling.

Pain et Vin – Palermo – After early dinner at La Cabrera, we found this “bottle shop”. It is technically a bottle shop so we can only “taste” their wine. We tried 3 different wines with nibbles. They serve only local Argentinian wines. When we asked her recommendation, the cool waitress said “my advice is do not try “Malbec” in Argentina. You can have it in your county, can’t you”. So right.
I really liked “RD” – Malbec- Cabenet 2017 from Salta, He liked “Martir” 2015″ Cabernet Franc from Mendoza. As it is a “bottle shop”, you can purchase wines here too.

Some random cocktail bars: Boticario (Palermo), Presidete (Recoleta) – these were recommended by the cool waitress. Oh yeah. They serve really good cocktails – 3 shots of whisky in it! – it cost only about AUD10! YEAHHH.

In Buenos Aires, I somehow felt like they are enjoying their life more than us. Do we tend to worry about tomorrow too much?? That’s why the city is dead quiet Monday night? I do not know…. But I just thought, why not make the most of it while you can….

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My Birthday Week – August 2016

Day 1 – Wednesday

Wednesday is my flamenco day. My teacher is very kind and brings a bottle of bubbles if someone’s birthday falls on the day of the class. The first year I did not know the tradition so I just said thank you and enjoyed the kindness. The second year, it was during a workshop (my favorite La Chica!). When I was leaving, they sang Happy Birthday for me. It was really lovely. This year was my third year at this school, so I thought I should prepare. I brought a bottle to enjoy with my flamenco people. After class, we stayed to have a glass of bubbles. It was a lovely, intimate and relaxing time we spent in the middle of the week.

Day 2 – Thursday

Thursday is my ballet day. I started ballet 6 months ago just to help my dance technique – core strength, balance and furthermore to learn how to turn. To be honest, it is not much fun as I do not know what I am doing in the class…. At least what I can do is not drink at dinner and show up at the class every week. So no glass of bubbles for me this day….. But I was proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation!

Day 3 – Friday

This day was my real birthday. My day started with a chocolate biscuit with salted caramel cream and hot chocolate for morning tea. Not a bad start at all. Dinner was sushi at the best Japanese restaurant here – our home. Tonight the chef was my husband. He visited 2 different fish shops on the way home and got my favorites; Coffin Bay Oysters, Tasmanian Salmon, its head and frame, Canadian Scallops and cooked Tiger Prawns.

We started with Coffin Bay Oysters and a glass of cava as entrée. While I was preparing rice for sushi, he prepared all fish for nigiri sushi. Salmon’s head and frame were salted and went to the oven until they became crispy (200 ◦C for 40 mins). AAAAHHHH! Just loved to surround by real food! To be honest, I strongly believe that we cannot find any better in Perth. By dinner time the table filled with sushi, we opened the second bottle – bubbly red. Yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

Day 4 – Saturday

After cleaning the house and doing the laundry, we went for a bike ride to Kings Park. The wild flowers had started blooming here and there. It was beautiful. At the café, my husband ordered me a cup of maccha latte. It was a lovely gesture from him! After a little bit of nap, we headed to Co-Op Dining (http://co-opdining.com.au/) in East Perth for dinner. The restaurant focuses on local produce which is organic and bio-dynamic (Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture). We tried the 5 course degustation with matching wines. All dished were fresh and delicious. I especially liked the first dish – raw vegetables (cauliflower, radish, kabu radish, parsnip) with rhubarb puree and the desert. My husband liked the slow cooked egg yolk with carrot puree topped with puffed buckwheat and garlic chops, and the slow cooked kangaroo tail. The down side was the appearance and décor. Although it was located in a nice area, we could see it was a renovated office. The service was friendly, but not pro. Some were poorly explained (e.g. the first dish was supposed to be eaten by hand but it was not explained, Kabu was introduced as Japanese radish etc). This place was certainly a wonderful bistro, not fine dining though. Having said that, we loved the food and wine. All wines were so nice and unique we had never seen them before.

Day 5 – Sunday

As my husband went to see AFL, I decided to do what I like. A bottle of bubbles was opened at 2pm. I called my mother to chat, ‘line’d with my friends in Japan and watched Osaka’s comedy shows. And most importantly, doing nothing! My husband might call me lazy but why not?! A bottle of bubbles, family and friends and laughing out loud made me happy and was the best way to finish my celebration.