Honing Our Beef Eating Skills
The hardest part about traveling is knowing where to begin when you come back. After a week-long vacation to Argentina, I don’t know whether I should start with the abundance of steak, the delicious churros, or the perfectly smooth dulce de leche. I’ve literally sat here pondering what to tell you about first. And I know I will get to all aspects of this delicious vacation in due time but it’s just that first impressions are so important.
So why not start with my first impression of Buenos Aires? The very staple I’ve associated with Argentina and perhaps one of the reasons I went: cheap, delicious steak!
I went on this trip with two of my closest friends, one of whom adores steak. Her ideal meal consists of breadsticks, wine and lots of delicious steak (so you might call Buenos Aires her utopia!). Being a meat lover myself, there were no complaints when our itinerary consisted of parilla (steakhouse) after parilla, after parilla. I was essentially challenging myself: how much meat can I eat in one week?
The first weekend was probably the most intense. On our first day, we had steak for lunch, and steak for dinner. The following day I had to take a break and had pizza for lunch, but my steak-loving friend impressively had steak for both lunch and dinner again, followed by a group steak dinner on Sunday.
Insane? A little. But amongst all of this beef eating, I found it amazing that we all agreed on our favorite steakhouse. Hands down, the best meal we all had was at La Cabrera, located in the Palermo Soho neighborhood.
It was the first night of our trip and we found this restaurant in one of our tourist books, noted as one of the best parillas in Palermo. Greeted with large wine glasses, a bowl of different breads and even freshly baked breadsticks, we could barely contain our excitement. We all decided to go with “bifo de lomo” cut, the loin-cut void of fat, recommended to us prior to the trip. If you like filet mignon, this is the way to go.
We all chose a lomo marinated in a pepper sauce that sounded delicious. It was our first steak dinner, and also our first language barrier incident. I’m still laughing about what happened, especially because we didn’t even realize it at the time. It went a little something like this:
Kristin: I’ll have the lomo y pepper concaisse (points to the dish on the menu)
Me: I’ll have the same (points to the dish on the menu again)
Jill: E Tu (doesn’t point to anything on the menu)
The waiter walks away and eventually brings us two platters of steak. We’re quite confused about why there are only two platters but since there was more than enough meat to go around, we didn’t say anything. Once we got the bill, we saw we were only charged for 2, so again, didn’t say anything.
It wasn’t until the next day that my friend (Jill, the steak loving friend), realized that instead of saying “me too” like she thought she was saying, she actually said “and yourself?”…and didn’t order dinner. Good thing the two of us were kind enough to share! :)
But back to the meal, the steak came with all sorts of interesting sides. Marinated lentils, warm applesauce, garlic cloves, potato salads, hummus, eggplant, roasted peppers, pickled beets, green beans, you name it. They were spectacular, with intricate flavors in each miniature dish. It was practically a buffet of sauce and side dishes at your table, and it was the perfect accompaniment to our steak. Speaking of which…this steak was delicious! Perfectly tender, moist and tasty…I nicknamed it “steak candy” because it was so good, I could eat it like candy.
This entire meal cost only $25 US dollars, and that’s including the wine! So, if you’re ever in Buenos Aires, might I recommend a cute little place called La Cabrera. You won’t regret it, and if you’re like us…you might even go back in the same week! And hey, it’s even reviewed in the New York Times.
More accounts of Argentina to come.