My second journey to South America has so far been crime-free, and beautiful Buenos Aires is so far 100% deserving of its moniker as the Paris of the continent…
Upon arrival I immediately sought out some of this famous Argentine steak I keep hearing about. El Establo is located a short walk from my hotel, and given the early hour of my dining (locals often eat dinner as late as midnight) I virtually had the place to myself.
I saw my lomo (tenderloin) being grilled on the parrilla through a glass window beside my table, and could confirm from the very first taste that it was entirely chemical-free. I took a photo with my camera phone if you want to see it, but be warned that it’s a bit blurry — I guess I was shaking in anticipation!
I crashed pretty soon after dinner, as I hadn’t really slept on the overnight flight from Toronto. But the next morning I set out to explore Microcentro, the neighbourhood where my hotel is.
Just like every big city in the U.S. has a Broadway Avenue, every big South American city has a Plaza Mayor, a big central square from which new dictators proudly proclaim the toppling of the previous regime before getting assassinated and replaced by a new one. But on days when this doesn’t happen they’re actually pretty uninteresting, so I headed for the nearest café.
If you’re a fan of Starbucks coffee culture, what they’ve got going on here in BA is the real deal. There is literally a café on every block, and unlike Starbucks there is no limit on how long you can linger — plus the menu is a lot better.
What I had here at this particular franchise of the international Havanna chain was a submarino — a chocolate bar dumped into a cup of steamed milk — and two medialunas, or sweet croissants. The establishment also included an additional chocolate biscuit and agua con gas (sparkling water) to cleanse my palate because hey, they’re classy that way.
Oh, and if you think any of the above suggest that I can speak Spanish, I absolutely cannot, but doing your best to stumble through a sentence or two at least gets the locals on your side, and so far everyone I’ve met has been extremely friendly!