Stand Back, Buenos Aires - Buenos Aires Day 4
April 20th, 2014
Stand back, Buenos Aires
Because you oughta know whatcha gonna get in me
Just a little touch of star quality
And if ever I go too far
It's because of the things you are
Beautiful town, I love you
And if I need a moment's rest
Give your lover the very best
Real eiderdown and silence.
We slept in today. Tangoing (or sitting in a tango hall) until the wee hours of the night will give you license to sleep in. And I know, based on how busy the streets were on our walk back to the hotel in the 2a hour, we packed it in early. Adele mentioned how our tango place was open until 6am. Had that been an option, I would have been a super unhappy camper. I'm just not a night person. Unless by night person, you mean curled up in jammies, watching the new episode of Orphan Black (NO SPOILERS!! Seriously, people, do you not see I'm in a foreign country here!! I don't want to know about Cosima's illness - message to BBCA...do not kill Cosima. Kate, take that back to the powers that be.)
Sleeping in was the best choice, because we had an epic brunch planned. This was a last minute addition to our plans. A week or two ago, Adele sent me a link from The Guardian. It was about the best places to eat in Buenos Aires. In the story, there was a passing mention to brunch. I want brunch. There is no brunch culture in suburban Chicago. I want brunch. With a little more digging, I noticed it was a tasting menu brunch. I want brunch. Somehow, we got reservations on an Easter Sunday at 1230p. Bring it on. I want brunch.
Funny enough, we were only eight or so blocks away from the brunch. HG (Hernan Gipponi) is the restaurant inside the Fierro Hotel, a higher end hotel. We decided to dress up a little bit. Easter Brunch deserves a little nicer apparel. I mean, we were dressed up a bit more than necessary, but brunch!!
Here's the thing about the brunch at HG. It had nine courses. Nine. Courses. Strap in on this one. I have pictures of them all. Except the mimosas. Which...I don't understand why that was not documented.
They started with a fruit "bowl", orange juice and a "shot" of beet juice. I'll say this about beet juice...it tastes significantly better than it smelled. But a "shot" is more than any one person needs to try.
Next came the bread basket, which included Medialunas and pound cake. A strawberry guava jam, butter and a dulce de leche topping was brought to the table for the basket. I love bread baskets.
Our third course was easily our favorite of the meal. This was called "63 degrees egg with creamy potatoes and nori seaweed" Egg. Poached. Egg. It was like a buttery goodness. I could have eaten this all day long. And will probably dream about this.
The fourth through sixth course came to the table at the same time. Prawns with grapefruit, fish empanadas and an olive bread with tomatoes and cheese rounded out the "easy" courses. The sandwich situation was the best of them all.
Lucky number seven was a fish course. I don't know what kind of fish it was, but there were yuca chips, beet sauce and green beans. I did pause on this one. The last tasting menu went off the rails on the fish course, so I have some residual memories of dishes like this. And...I just don't like a thick, flaky white fish. But Adele did grab any of the pieces I didn't consume. So it looked to the servers like I was thrilled with this one.
Number eight was the risotto course. First, the server brought out a now fork. A fork I've never seen. We did remark about it, so the server mentioned this is a rice fork that was brought over from France and (seemingly) can't be found anywhere else. Um...I'm a few weeks away from France. And I like rice. So cool.
The fork was for a risotto ossobuco. I was starting to get stupid full, but beef in rice I had to try it...
The final course was a dessert one. They brought out whipped mousse with a tangerine granita, candied pumpkin seeds and pomegranate juice. Neither one of us expected this to be what it was. So light and tasty. We didn't want it to end. But we needed it to be done. We were so full. So very full. And all of this costed approximately $35 USD. It was a steal.
We had one big thing we needed to do today. Something we could only do today. The San Telmo Antique Market. Before we went there, we had to drop our crap at the hotel, then change into street clothes. The market closed at 5p. It was already after 2p and we had a good hour to get to where we needed to be. Time was not on our side.
The San Telmo Antique Market is open every Sunday and seemingly takes over an entire park and the surrounding area. Not only do antiques dealers show up, but there are also the local artisans who spread their crap on a blanket on the ground (Buenos Aires seems to be swarming with hippie artists). In the middle of some of the streets and park areas, Street Tango is performed for tourists and locals alike in Plaza Dorrego. Probably more for the tourists, but everyone seems to stop in their tracks as a tango begins.
We walked around and picked up a few items. I snagged a Starbucks mug for Michelle. Adele found a set of French champagne glasses. We missed out on some of the shopping due to brunch running long and travel times to the market, but we got the feel of everything this area had to offer. We did stop in a hat shop (sombrero!! But not sombrero, sombrero. Just sombrero) and walked out with a few accessories (because I realized I pick up scarves in foreign countries).
Once the market closed and we stopped seeing the tango, we had to make a decision about what to do. Adele wanted to see a bridge in the Puerto Madero district. And it was within walking distance. Done.
From district to district (neighborhood to neighborhood??), I am constantly amazed at how the city changes. San Telmo was definitely a bit grittier, but very touristy with the market. Puerto Madero was shiny and slick. And very touristy. The waterfront is always a good place for tourists to congregate and this one was no different. One of the focal points is the waterfront and the Puente de la Mujer bridge. This is very much a photo op for everyone. The bridge is beautiful, especially in the evening.
Next to the bridge was a ship. The Presidente Sarimento. As we got closer to the ship, we noticed the ship could be boarded and explored. For a mere $2 (like $0.25 in USD), we not only had a great vantage point for selfies with the bridge, but we could see the sights of a ship. Who am I kidding, I basically paid $0.25 for this picture.
Sidenote story on the ship. Two teenage girls were in my general vicinity and were taking pictures. They're the typical pictures that teenage girls take. One girl makes a model pose on the side of the ship kind of thing. I was walking behind the picture taker and the girl modeling was doing an elaborate leaning against the ropes kind of maneuver. Out of nowhere, an older (though not old, so no excuses) couple walks into the shot. No big deal, right?? These things happen when taking pictures. What was hilarious about the whole part was when they obliviously stepped in front of the camera and stayed there. For longer than they should have. Then they moved slightly to the left of the model (though maybe an inch or two away from her) to take pictures of the bridge from the boat. The picture taker and I stared at each other incredulously and started laughing. Then the model joined in the laughter as the interlopers moved on. I didn't speak Spanish. They didn't speak English. But we both said the same thing, "Can you believe these two dummies??" We all chuckled as we went our separate ways, sharing a completely stupid moment.
By this time, we were starting to finally get hungry again. Not overly, but enough. Earlier in the day, we had come to the consensus that pizza was necessary. Before researching this trip, I had no idea that pizza was a "thing" here. But there was a vast influx of Italian immigrants at one point (I could look it up, but so can you), so Italian food is everywhere. And the pizza here is supposedly out of sight.
We crossed the bridge when we saw from the other side an Italian flag on a restaurant sign. And as we walked closer, it looked like we were on the money with our option. It said PIZZA on the building. Da Caravaggio had indoor and outdoor seating. It also had wine and pizza. Sitting outdoors drinking wine and eating pizza...perfect. The mosquitos weren't that appreciated (I am currently playing the "Let's Count the Mosquito Bite" game, something entirely unfun), but that's the problem with outdoor seating.
By this time, we were running on fumes. But we still had a ways to go to get back to the hotel. Subway to a connecting subway to the 20 (meh...more like 30) minute walk to the hotel sapped any of the energy we had left from us. And we were already the walking wounded. We had just enough in us to change into jammies and attempt to write about the day. The TV selections were minimal, but I found Animal Planet. Sure, "Too Cute" was in Spanish, but it was all about kittens. KITTENS!! They are so cute and I didn't need to hear about them. I just wanted to see them frolick. Though in reality, I think I saw them frolick for about five minutes before I passed out for the night. Kittens...