What's New, Buenos Aires?? - Buenos Aires Day 2
April 18th, 2014
Once I learned I was going to live a life with fresh clothing (undies...I just want to see how many times I can say undies in the last few days. Undies.), we set off to find our hotel. On the flight, Adele also admitted a lack of preparation for this trip. Again, not that we weren't prepared, but it was the little things that missed being considered. Like getting too and from the hotel. We had to figure out how the heck to get there.
We left the airport and found a taxi stand. Easy enough. We had directions and we had the hotel name. Our cabbie knows what's up. The drive was fast paced to the Palmero district. Rules of the road don't seem to apply to everyone and our guy was speeding as much as he could. We saw the countryside pass us by. Guys were riding horsies in fields as we drove by. Our cabbie told us that on a normal day, the drive to our hotel from the airport could take about two hours. Today, 30, maybe 45 minutes. Why?? Good Friday. Lots of places were closed. Traffic was light. This was great for now (getting to the hotel), but for later, what if everything is closed and we want to go places?? Spoiler alert - we didn't. We wanted to sleep.
Hindsight is 20/20. As we replayed the next scene over and over in our heads later in the day, we see what probably happened. We made our way to the hotel. The cabbie pulled over and we settled the tab. At first, there was a misunderstanding on the total. It wasn't a big deal. But in that exchange (200 vs 300 vs 600 - language barrier, I think), money was handed over, then handed back. We gave $300 (ok...these are Argentinan Pesos going forward. 8 pesos to 1 dollar) to the cabbie, but he handed us back $2 bills. Confusion for a moment, then we gave him $600. As the dust settled, we questioned the $2 bills. Neither of us had them to start off with, but why did we get them back?? Seems its a common scam that is unique to cabbies. They hand you back money that is not yours. While $100 USD is commonly referred to as "Confederate Money" (watch 30 Rock if you're confused), here, 100 Pesos is more common and easier to screw around with. In the end, we were out $15 USD each. No. Big. Deal. Seriously. But after we realized what went down, we became more vigilant about money.
We landed at the Rendezvous Hotel in Palermo Hollywood. It's a boutique hotel based out of France, with super cute decor and very small rooms. Which, not an issue. As in other hotels, a full sized (queen??) bed is easily turned into two twin sized beds. We dropped off our crap and decided we needed some food.
Eventually, we ended up at an Italian place down the street. Altura Crucero, like all other restaurants, started opening as we arrived (around 1230p). Burrata and penne pastas were the catch of the day. It was kind of perfect. Especially since it was in the neighborhood. Cause once we were done, we went back to the hotel for a disco nap.
I'm not sure I know the exact amount of time to constitute a disco nap, but if it is three hours, it sounds about right. Adele slept hard. I zoned in and out. But it was perfect for us. The amount of sleep we missed out on the previous night caught up to us at once. Ultimately, we only had one thing we HAD to do on Friday night. Eat.
If you go to Buenos Aires, you are going to eat meat. Meat, meat, meat. Vegetarians should not apply. Parilla means grill in Spanish. If you go to a Parilla, you are eating meaty goodness. We chose our Parilla based on the San Pelligrino list of Top 50 restaurants: Latin America Edition. La Cabrera was listed in the top 15 or 20 restaurants, so it worked for us. A few weeks ago, I made the reservation. And it was only a handful of blocks away from our hotel. Perfect timing.
Now La Cabrera is decidedly a tourist restaurant. You aren't in the Top 50 without being a bit touristy. But when we got to the restaurant, the crowd was a bit intense. We did kind of elbow our way to the front of the line and the folks behind us were not thrilled when we were directed to our seats while they had to wait an hour or more.
I'm not even sure how to go about explaining our meal. It was...amazing.
We started with a bottle of wine. Malbec and Cabernet blend. It was perfect for what we needed. I think we both sighed when we had the first sip. Audible sigh.
Our first starter was a beef empanada. Which was the first empanada we've had so far. The best part was the empanada had a hard boiled egg mixed into the innards. You had me at hard boiled egg. Every time.
The next appetizer was blood sausage. Now we had a choice of two different versions. Neither of which I can remember. But we chose a "sweeter" blood sausage. I actually keep calling it a blood pudding because as I tried cutting into the dish, it was thick, like a pudding. It started squirting out of its casing like one of those backyard cyst removal videos you watch on YouTube. Wait. You don't spend hours watching cyst videos on YouTube?? Yeah. Me neither. The blood sausage...no words. I adored this piece of dinner. Adored. I could have just eaten this and would have been thrilled. Never shy away from blood sausage.
The meat portion was different between the two of us. I ended up with a rare rump roast. "Still mooing", I think I told the waiter. I didn't entirely finish the steak, but I'm also not the steak eater in the family. They also brought all kinds of sides along. Including salads and many, many veggie options. Ummm...surprise!!
For dessert (like I wasn't going to have dessert...come on!!), we asked our waiter about an "ice cream flight" that was listed on the menu. He said it was seven different ice creams. But there was a half portion with four ice creams. Done. Vanilla, raspberry, dulce de leche and amaretto ice creams came to our table. Adele is not an ice cream person, so I ate most of the plate. No. Regrets.
As we paid for our meal, a lollipop tree came to our table. It was great. I don't know what kind of lollipop I grabbed, but it was great to suck on a sweet treat as we walked back to our neighborhood.
But before we went back to the hotel to collapse, we stopped at one place. Olsen was a Nordic restaurant around the corner from our hotel that we stopped at earlier in the day. It was adorable in the daytime. It was super adorable in the evening. We cozied up in a sofa in front of a fireplace and had a nightcap. It was probably more booze than I needed in a day, but it was a nice end to a long day.
When I look back at the day, I know I didn't too too much. But it made sense for us. It was everything we needed. And it was everything we could do today. Tomorrow, we would have more time to do things...more time to explore. And we would be more rested. So much more rested.