30 August 2008

Green Tea, Moussaka + Lethal Piña Coladas

That about sums it up. After meeting Anne and her friend Anna at El Último Beso (no, that's not her split personality in case you're wondering), we shared more lemon pie, drank lots of green tea and talked. I ate one of the best medialunas there since my pain au chocolate phase back in Paris 2003.

Afterwards we met Anna's boyfriend Nacho at a nice Middle Eastern restaurant near Thames & Cordoba and devoured plates of hummus, baba ganoush, seasoned red peppers, falafel balls covered in a sweet tahini sauce and a gooey, cheesy, wonderful vegetarian moussaka that kept giving back. Every forkful was something to write home about.

Finally, we took a taxi to this gorgeous tapas restaurant in Palermo called milion. There are two levels, glass doors, a DJ spinning Lounge Muzak and faithful drinkers surrounding the bar, and groups of beautiful and chatty people split into small little colonies. The backyard was impressive too: there was a long marble staircase leading to the backyard, couples sitting on the steps and smoking.It was the kind of place you arrived early at and stayed for awhile. It wasn't meretricious or cheeky at all, just very relaxed and very spacious, sort of like exploring an old mansion after one of your classmates invites you to his house for a birthday party.
We managed to score some patio tables outside and I ordered--or thought I'd ordered--a Piña Colada, one of the tropical lightweights as far as drinks go. But I was wrong. It was really strong and tasted like rum on steroids. Only the bits of coconut helped me recognize what I was drinking. For a second I considered putting my drink back into the carburetor where it belongs. Fortunately, good memories never give you a hangover and taxis are always swarming the streets to take you back to your apartment in this city.

26 August 2008

Skyline, Fútbol Graffiti and Tango

Today, as I walking from Bar Comet where I'd had an awesome merienda with Laura, my friend from Oberlin that I haven't seen in ten years (we soared through ten years of parallel lives in 90 condensed minutes if you can believe that), I saw the sky from Plaza de Mayo and it looked like this:Belgrano may be where River Plate Stadium is (one of the professional football teams in Buenos Aires), but one hoodlum saw class conflict in his tags, and I can't say I blame him. Boca (Juniors) for the Masses Comrades:
Here's the stadium where River Plate Plays. To be honest, it's a beautiful stadium in a nice safe neighborhood: in other words, everything a football stadium isn't.
Erika and I met Sally, Tina and Still Life in Buenos Aires at the Confitería Ideal where we watched old couples dancing to Tango on their lunchbreak. It was such a beautiful and controlled dance. We sat and watched in quiet loving awe.

21 August 2008

I'm In Love With A New Café and A New Restaurant

I've found two places in Buenos Aires, two new places in Buenos Aires that I absolutely loved with almost complete abandonment today. The first is a little Bohemian restaurant four blocks from our apartment called Artemisia.
It's by reservation only. But the the servers are friendly and intuitive, the menus are written out on little baguette bags, the lightning is soft and pleasing, there's lots of open space and brick and wine racks and hanging lamps everywhere. If Artemisia were a speakeasy, their contraband would be healthy, wholesome and delicious plates of food prepared with subtlety, intelligence and love.
Before The Vegetarian Risotto, Cheese Lasagna and Thai Fish Arrived

Erika and I also found a new café thanks to our tanguera friend Tina. Tina is a little knowledge nymph and suggested we try El Último Beso since Erika and I are such tea aficionados. But when we got there, it far exceeded our coffee-house expectations, maybe because we don't have any in the Land of Fair Winds.
The Entrance
Tucked Away in Palermo Soho
There's a Patio
Two Dining Room: This is the First
This is the Second
On In Back
A Strange Showcase for Silver Screen Kitsch
Perfect for Make-Believe: Imagine You were Victorian . . .
The Front Room Where We Sipped Our Tea
The View From Down Here
This is When I Fell In Love With My Tea
Último Beso is a theme café and restaurant, meaning everything is based around a central idea. When you open the menu, for example, you discover that every tea is based on a different old or classic movie. My tea was called Casablanca. It was a Moroccan Mint and Green Tea infusion that was soft, light and sweet. Erika ordered the Cinema Paradiso, a complex green tea that was sweeter and slightly spicy. To be honest, it was fantastic. We also shared a blah croissant and an absolutely delicious slice of lemon tart pie that made my teeth sing every time I swallowed a spoonful.
So Good It Was Gone
Not to Mention, Girlfriend-Approved
Yet Another Room. What You Can't See From Here is Even More Deceptive: There was a Table Loaded with Each and Every Dessert on the Menu. The Pies Were Practically Chanting: Come To Me. I Love You. I Am Sugar.
So, Of Course, I Turned Away From The Sweets Room Before I Got Sucked into that Vortex and Lost All of My Worldly Possessions
Ending Our Walk With Another Beautiful Porteña Door

19 August 2008

Esta Semana las Prostitutas Están Rebajadas! :: Prostitutes On Sale This Week!

Since the Tribunales subte was closed down (there were protests in front of City Hall and lots of TV cameras since today is the first day of the Cromaño Fire Trial that killed over a hundred people when it caught on fire), I walked to Pellegrini instead. And some guy handed me this little flyer as I was walking to Microcentro. It said:

Señoritas de 21 Años
rubias y morochas a tu elección.

Libertad 4**, 3º D

I feel like Buenos Aires is possibly the only city in the world where:

1. Prostitutes can't afford anything but photocopied flyers
2. Somehow, sex is STILL on sale
3. The average Argentine can't afford to pay them either, so promos are slightly less than an nice bife or a large pizza at a decent restaurant. So what will it be: lomo, or a piece of ass?

And what is a sex promo? Lots of kissing and one free arm? Five licks on tootsie-roll lollipop? A one-minute free for all using a tiny hourglass? An hour of dry-humping? Twenty pesos for the dark room with that unidentifiable woman in room 4 or thirty pesos with the woman of your choosing? I guess I'm not supposed to understand, at least not unless I became sad, lonely and single.

17 August 2008

En La Provincia y Un Paseo Por Palermo Soho

(es) Ayer, fuimos en la provinicia (todavía en la Gran Buenos Aires), un viaje breve en auto de Damian con Inez y Erika a la casa de la mamá de la prima de la prima de Erika, si sigués siguiéndome hasta ahora. Ésta es un cosa que me encanta sobre la cultura sudamérica: toda la familia se junta en la provincia para festejar el cumple de una piba de edad de 15 años. Y todos pasan tiempo conversando en inglés y castellano, comiendo empanadas y una torta casera, tomando vino tinto y pizzetas. ¿Cuando es la última vez que podés acordarte que un grupo de 20 personas (es decir, adultos) se reunieron para una adolescente? Digo, ¡Es la familia latina!

Más tarde, después de comer un almuerzo simple al Olsen (es decir, triste: 3 croissants, mermelada y té commún) con Nicole, Anne y su amiga Nieve (una autra aficionada más de tango, la que no tuvo de mentalidad abierta sobre Buenos Aires), Erika y yo paseamos por Soho Hollywood donde yo saqué unas fotos:

(en) Yesterday, we went to the countryside (still within Greater Buenos Aires), a short trip in Damian's car with Inez and Erika to the house of Erika's cousin's cousin's mom's house, if you're still following me up to now. This is one thing that I love about South American culture: the whole family comes together to celebrate the birthday of a 15-year old teenager. Everyone spends time talking in English and Spanish, eating empanads and homemade cake, drinking red wine and eating little minipizzas. When is the last time you can remember a group of twenty people (that is, twenty adults) coming together for a teenager? I'm telling you, it's the latino family.

Later, after eating a simple lunch at Olsen (read: sad--three croissants, jam and black tea) with Nicole, Anne and their friend Snow (another amateur student of tango, one that didn't have an open-mind about Buenos Aires, Erika and I walked through Soho Hollywood where I took some fotos:

(fr) Hier, nous sommes allés à la sortie de Buenos Aires (mais encore dans les environs de Buenos Aires), un petit voyage en la voiture de Damian avec Inez et Erika à la maison de la mère de la cousine de la cousine d'Erika (si tu y es encore). C'est une chose que j'adore sur la culture sud-americaine: toute la famille s'assemble pour fêter l'anniversaire d'une ado de15 ans. Et tout le monde passait du temps causant en anglais y espagnole, mangeant des empanadas, du gâteau de maison et de petits pizzas, buvant du vin rouge. Dis-moi la verité: qu'est ce que c'est la dernière fois que tu te souviens d'un groupe de veingt personnes (c'est-a-dire, les adultes) qui se réunissaient pour une ado? Je te le dis, c'est la famille latine.

Plus tard, après avois mangé un déjeuner simple (en fait, minable--trois croissants, de la confiture et du thé noir) avec Nicole, Anne et leur amie Neige (une autre étudiant de tango d'amateur qui n'avait point d'ouverture d'esprit) Erika et moi avons marché pour l'Hollywood Soho où j'ai pris ces fotos-cì:

16 August 2008

From Congreso to la Defensa, and Bolivar in Between

During the days when I work, I have this little ritual where I like to walk from Catédral to Plaza de Mayo, and then down either la Calle Defensa or la Calle Bolivar. The sidewalks are more uneven, the cobblestone are falling apart, but these narrow streets are one of my favorite things walking through San Telmo. There are beautiful doorways, great balconies, and it's basicially quiet compared to Paseo Colon.
Tea with Ann Near Calle Hipólito
San Ignacio Church
Graffiti Art
An Empty Street in Buenos Aires in the Middle of the Day!
And Another One!
Beautiful Door #1
Beautiful Door #2 (in Belgrano--Okay, I Cheated)
Glistening Streets After It Rains
The Urban Ebb
And Flow
From the Beginning
What It Looks Like When The Street Has an Idea
And When It's Vacant
Arches #1

Arches #2