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APRIL-MAY 2014 | Free magazine | N° 1

BUENOS AIRES GUIDE POLO IN ARGENTINA SAN TELMO ALTERNATIVE CITY TOURS


HELLO! CONTENTS Dear Reader, Thank you for picking up a copy of Playground Buenos Aires! This is a new, free English magazine for people enjoying BA and the rest of Argentina. We aim to help you get some inside tips, see a new part of the Argentine experience or just use our fantastically useful map. The choice is yours. Inside our first edition we’ve got all the alternative tourism routes covered in ‘Take a tour on the wild side’, from graffiti to getting your ‘tache trimmed. If you are here for sports you can check out our guide to visiting an Argentine football match in ‘Football Mad’ and how to begin playing the sport that has made Argentina top in the game, polo. Those whose heart can be reached through the stomach will be keen to find out where to eat the best empanadas in ‘Empanada Empire’ and don’t miss our Restaurant and Bar Guide. Also if you are looking for a next destination, take a peek this edition’s Destination Guide in Mendoza - a divine spot for March and April. Finally, we invite you to peruse through the works and thoughts of our artist of the edition, Fernando Rosas. He designed the cover of our magazine earlier this year especially for Playground BA and it is an honour to have him as our first Artist in Profile. Don’t miss our next edition for a new artist to inspire your creative side. As we are new (this is our very first edition!) we want to get around as much as possible, so if you do like the magazine, pass it onto a friend, or a neighbour, or anyone that looks like they want to read a little English, the more hands on us the better! We are a little bit trampish in that way. Or if you want to pimp us out yourselves in your own restaurant or hotel, please drop us an email and we’ll get some copies to you, we are free for everyone! We are also keen to hear from people who want to contribute in the future or potential advertisers. And if you simply want to email us some feedback or some of your own favourite playground game ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Un beso! Playground BA Editor editor@playgroundba.com Design design@playgroundba.com Distribution & sales office@playgroundba.com Playground Argentina S.A., Alicia Moreau de Justo Oficina 2, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

4 Alternative City Tours 8 Empanada Empire 12 Artist Profile 16 Football Mad 18 Destination Guide 23 Where to Drink Wine in BA 24 Wine Scribbles from a Somm 26 Riding Through the History Books 28 Polo in Argentina 34 A Runner´s Guide to BA 36 Argie Drinks 38 Getting Hungry for BA’s Food 42 San Telmo in Focus 44 Restaurant Guide 48 Bar Guide Take a tour on the wild side

A journey through its history Fernando Rosas

Mad about the game in BA Mendoza

Top spots for a glass or two

Recommended bottles to take home A theatrical experience in BA

Getting to grips with Argentina’s sport The best spots for jogging A guide to the local faves

What’s hot in the kitchen right now Antiques and eats

Eating in Buenos Aires

Drinking in Buenos Aires

www.playgroundba.com

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When British journalist Rosie moved to BA four years ago she fell in love with its vibrant streets, relaxed lifestyle and dulce de leche ice cream. In her free time she enjoys photography, storytelling and writing songs about board games. www.rosiehilder.com

If the idea of lining up to take pictures of the obelisk fills you with dread, and you’re desperate to find out what the city’s really about, one of Buenos Aires’s funky new alternative tours could be right up your street.

SNAP TRACKING BUENOS AIRES

Foto Ruta Tour

Foto Ruta Tour

A photography tour with a twist, Foto Ruta Weekly is a sociable and eye-opening way to explore the city on foot (www.foto-ruta.com, 6030 8881, Saturdays, location varies, US$32). After a short workshop on creative photography, participants take to the streets armed with a map of the area and a list of clues. The quest: capture the clues on camera. On the unguided hunt for ‘sneaky pigeons, ‘the ultimate temptation’ and ‘automobile apocalypse’, groups notice things they normally wouldn’t, experiment with different shots and interact with local people. “The porteños are incredibly open to having their photo taken,” says Becky Hayes, co-founder of Foto-Ruta. “If you ask someone in the street, 8 times out of 10 they’ll say yes, and sometimes they’ll even get a comb out and do their hair for you.” The afternoon ends with a relaxed photo review over a glass of wine: a fantastic chance to get photography tips from a professional and marvel at the city’s visual contrasts and various means of interpretation. The location for Foto-Ruta Weekly varies, but whether you choose upmarket Recoleta or more down-to-earth areas like Villa Crespo, you’ll end the day feeling inspired and equipped to explore elsewhere on your own. Other photogenic spots in the city are the antiques market in San Telmo, roller-bladers and family picincs at Parque Tres de Febrero, and the dilapidated grandeur of Recoleta and Chacarita cemeteries.


Foto-Ruta also run customized private tours (on demand, price varies) an iphoneography tour (Tuesdays, Palermo, US$65) and their latest venture Comida-Ruta (Thursdays or on demand, San Telmo and Costanera Sur, US $125). At the latter, expect to stuff yourself silly on the best street food in the city, pausing between bites to take pictures of sausages bursting from their skins, smoking barbeques and the rotund owners of vintage food trucks. Tour designer and guide Allie Laazar, who was vegetarian until she arrived in Argentina and realised what she was missing, is an expert on local cuisine and happily shares food and photography tips. Her food blog Pick Up The Fork (www.pickupthefork.com) is a favourite among locals and expats and is packed with reviews, recipes and copious amounts of food porn.

The Argentine Experience

THE WAY TO BUENOS AIRES IS THROUGH THE STOMACH… It’s not just the meat that excites foodies in Buenos Aires. Other must-try local delicacies include stuffed pastries called empanadas – common fillings are meat, ham and cheese, and chicken, alfajores, two biscuits sandwiched together with dulce de leche, and the glorious Argentine ice cream, which can be bought by the kilo and even delivered to your door. To try it all, The Argentine Experience (www.theargentineexperience.com, Fitzroy 2110, 38967552, dinner: US$ 85, dinner + wine cocktail mixology class: US$115) have scoured the country for its best ingredients, flown their team in from across the globe and rolled private-dinner party, cooking class and crash course in Argentine cuisine into one fun-filled evening. Guests at the Palermo closed-door restaurant make their own empanadas and alfajores, sample the nation’s favourite tea mate and even learn how to gesticulate like a local. Add that to unlimited silky smooth Malbec, attentive and energetic staff and a heavenly tender fillet steak, and it’s no wonder satisfaction is absolutely guaranteed. Before dinner, a wine cocktail mixology class is an optional extra and is well worth it for the chance to don a bow tie and shake that cocktail mixer. Alternatively, the lovely ladies of Fuudies (www.fuudis. com, 31433159, see website for dates, from AR$250 for aperitif tours, AR$360 for lunch/dinner tours) guide an international crowd through a whirlwind social dining experience: three courses in three restaurants over three hours. Diners should expect top-quality ingredients, upmarket restaurants they might otherwise not discover and a meet and greet with charming local chefs. Fuudies draws a large international crowd, roughly 25 people per tour, and is also popular with locals. To ensure the best of both worlds, guests switch seats at each restaurant. Fuudies also run aperitif tours, where drink fanatics can sample typical Argentine spirits like Campari, Cinzano and Cynar in various stylish cocktail bars.

The Argentine Experience

Cocktail Shaking at The Argentine Experience

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IT’S A MAN’S WORLD

Man Tour photos taken by Jocelyn Mandryk

Man Tour photos taken by Jocelyn Mandryk

You’ve only got to be in Argentina for five minutes before you realise that despite the female president – it’s a man’s world out there. For the worst of Argentine macho culture, jump in a taxi or try and cross the road, for the best, book yourself on The Man Tour (www.landingpadba.com, 6963 7259, Tues – Fri 2.00pm, Sat 11.00am. 6 hours, US$ 215, discounts available for groups or couples). The gentleman’s tour has been showcasing the refined masculinity of the early 1800s since 2011. Highlights include a family run hattery which has been in business for over a century, a straight-razor shave at a traditional barber shop and a stiff drink and a smoke in top cigar bar’s VIP room. The Man Tour was created when tour company owner Jed Rothenberg noticed that it was females who most contacted his tour company. It seemed wives and girlfriends were the ones doing all the organising and Rothernberg felt that men were “always getting tricked into going shopping all day for shoes and purses.” He wanted to give the blokes something else to do, with or without the girls, and so The Man Tour was born. Aside from the tour, other ‘manly’ activities visitors may want to try are: eating a traditional parilla or barbeque, going to a football match or asserting their manhood on the tango dancefloor – note: not being able to dance may have the opposite effect. TAKING TANGO STEP BY STEP To learn the tango rules properly, sustainable tourism company ANDA responsible (www.andatravel.com.ar 3221 0833, tango walking tours AR$1275, AR$1798 by bus, discounts available) operate highly recommendable and personalised tours of local tango halls. The tour kicks off with an hour-long tango class and then heads to the milonga. Here, friendly local tango experts explain the dancefloor’s complex social codes such as the cabecito – a little nod of the head a man gives to a woman when he wants to dance with her – and other rules about how many dances its acceptable to dance with one partner and how long you’re required to dance with them once you’ve started. ANDA responsable also have a number of other appealing tours, including one of La Boca, which visits social immersion projects happening in the area, a tour of ‘Jewish Buenos Aires’ and the least traditional, an hour-long chat with a charming and knowledgeable local where any question is acceptable, be it about economy, politics or Argentina’s chances in the world cup. START WITH STREET ART

Man Tour photos taken by Jocelyn Mandryk

Also socially responsible, Graffitimundo (www.graffitimundo.com, 3683 3219, group tours US$25, bike and hidden walls tours US$35) is a non-profit organisation set up by two London girls who were so taken with the street art when they arrived in Buenos


Aires, that they immediately sought out the artists. On discovering the stories behind the artwork, including how one street artist laid claim to a spot by getting his mother to ask for permission, they began doing tours to promote the urban art scene and have since developed the project to include art fairs, workshops and a documentary about the scene (www.whitewallssaynothing.com). Although anyone wandering BA’s streets will come across graffiti, Graffitimundo’s bilingual guides are experts at putting enormous tortoises seemingly coming out of walls and gauchos holding spray cans into a social, political and historical context. The highly organised tours can be done on foot or by bike and all explore at least three different areas of the city, taking tourists to spots they would unlikely discover alone (a minibus provides transport between them). Groups also get a chance to meet local artists and check out the latest exhibition at hip stencil art bar Post Bar in Palermo. Hot-spots for street art include bus-depot in Chacarita (Fitz Roy and Castillo), Plaza Matienzo in Colegiales (Matienzo and Cramer), and around the Mercado de Pulgas in Palermo (Alvarez Thomas and Dorrego).

GraffitiMundo

THE HOLY GRAIL So you’ve travelled the streets and ticked off the basics: wine, tango and meat. What else are the Argentines proud of? Ah yes. The Pope. Seeing as you’ve not got much chance of actually meeting the guy in his homeland, the next best thing is to learn all about him on one of the free Papal tours (4114 5791, Tues, 3pm, walking tours from Plaza de Mayo, Thurs, 3pm, walking tours around Flores: booking not necessary. Weekends and holidays: bus tours from Flores, 9am, booking essential) run by the city government. You can either take a short walking tour in Bergoglio’s barrio Flores or around the Plaza de Mayo or go the whole hog and get on the Pope bus for a threehour trip. The tour bus may be traditional, but visiting the stand where Bergoglio used to buy his newspaper? That’s one to write home about. Tours are currently Spanish language only. TILL YOU DROP If at the end of all that culture you feel in the need of retail therapy, Yorkshire lass Sophie Lloyd of ShopHop BA (www.shop-buenosaires.com, mobile: 15 3921 0460, shopping by the hour US$40 per person, half day US$150, full day US$250. Discounts for groups) will happily take the stress out of shopping for you. Her custom-made tours take shoppers exactly where they want to go and help them find unique workshops, shops and pieces. A fashion writer and professional shopper, Lloyd knows all the best boutiques – including the appointment-only showrooms – can diffuse the rudest of shop assistants and speaks English, Spanish and French. A questionnaire before you go will help her suss out your style and steer you and your pesos in the right direction.

GraffitiMundo

GraffitiMundo

GraffitiMundo

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THE EMPANADA. An essential for any peckish backpacker, lazy party food contributor and Argentine restaurant menu. A simple, stuffed savory pastry that looks innocent enough but carries within its golden pouch one of the longest and richest culinary histories.

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here did the empanada come from? We immediately make the assumption by its name it comes from Spain. But there is a longer trail of empanada crumbs to follow…

around the Middle East and North Africa and its innards began to broaden to spinach and feta, cheese and potato, and even fish filled pastry pockets – always either baked or fried.

This bundle of warm comfort can be traced back to Persia in the ninth century, where a poet first wrote in praise of the sanbusaj: a stuffed, savoury pastry that was becoming popular across the Persian, Arab and Turkish foodie circles, and most likely originated in what we’d consider ancient Iraq. Filled with meat, onions and sometimes raisins the sanbusak would come pastry wrapped in a triangle or a half moon. Sound familiar? The sanbusak is earliest traced ancestor of the empanada.

When the Moors moved into the Iberian Peninsula they brought their trusty mini meat pies with them and the Spanish also took a fondness for the primitive empanada, which first appeared in cookery books in Andalucia as early as the 1200s.

As the sanbusak gave birth to samosas and boraks it spread

After a couple hundred years perfecting the empanada the Spanish conquistadores brought their tasty tuck with them and so the Argentine empanada was born. After a few hundred years and a couple billion taste tests later the Argentine empanada has settled into a few classics that you’ll find here and all over the country:

The next most popular empanada on the list, ham and cheese pops up everywhere. Sometimes the empanada will be filled with chunks of ham and other times sliced ham roll, the cheese may be stringy mozzarella or a smooth béchamel, there might even be a sprinkle of oregano in there but it almost always comes in a rounded shape pinched at one end.

Chicken is a pretty great staple for when you’ve had enough beef. Usually quite juicy with a bit of onion, olives and red pepper mixed with shredded chicken.

EMPANADA POET’S CORNER

THE LIFE CYCLE OF AN EMPANADA by F Uda Dict An empanada no es nada It’s got what it’s got, it’s usually hot But when I finish it, it’s often forgot… Apart from on my hips.

Although it translates as meat, carne really only means beef most of the time. Empanadas de carne will be stuffed with either ground beef or chunks of beef (carne al cuchillo) in a baked or fried pastry case and usually in a half moon shape. Depending on the region you’ll find onions, chili pepper, boiled egg, olives, raisins, cumin, herbs or potatoes. Look out for ‘arabian’ meat empanadas that carry a little more spicing and come in an open triangle. Carne is the king of empanadas with everyone having their own particular version (beef fat in the pastry dough) with pureed corn in a creamy and sometimes cheesy white sauce. What it does on the tin!

Coming from the north of Argentina, this is the only mainstream vegetarian empanada (but beware of beef fat in the pastry dough) with pureed corn in a creamy and sometimes cheesy white sauce.

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Verdura, or vegetable, can often be misleading as it is usually just one vegetable - swiss chard. Occasionally with onion but always a firm pinch of salt. The best empanada for getting your greens in!

TOP EMPANADA HAUNTS IN BA

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During Easter in particular you’ll see a lot of these tuna empanadas filling the bakeries as people try to steer clear of meat for a short while. Quite a dry empanada normally with canned tuna and a bit of spicing.

The four cheese empanada is a gooey mess that says what it does on the tin!

EL SANJUANINO A restaurant known for its great, classic empanadas and always very busy with diners. Otherwise serves simple food, but the empanadas tick the box alright!

El Sanjuanino, Posadas 1515, Recoleta

NA SERAPIA A bit of a hole in the wall place in Palermo, this is an authentic spot for unpretentious empanadas. A proper bargain basement, also serving wine by the jug and other local food including humitas.

Na Serapia, Av. Las Heras 3357, Palermo

LA AGUADA Specialising in Tucuman empanadas you can expect just a little more spice in your bundles of joy here. If you are really hungry try an empanadota (a massive empanada) and this place does delivery.

La Aguada, Billinghurst 1862, Palermo

EL ORIGEN DEL SABOR With one of the biggest selections of empanadas, this 32 strong menu means there is something for everyone whe ther you like yours with cherries, cheese and ham; or perhaps carrot, mushrooms, pancetta and port; or for a romantic night in try the aphrodisiac empanadas.

El Origen del Sabor, Marcelo T. Alvear 1589, Recoleta

SOLO EMPANADAS A chain store specializing in just empanadas – this doesn’t look fancy from the roadside, nor inside, but they are one of the best options for empanadas on the run and even have sweet dulce de leche empanadas to win you over.

Solo Empanadas, across the city and delivery.

THE EMPANADA OF LIFE by Adreyopoetry Resting at a restaurant, the poet bit into an empanada and sought to find in its vividness something of the meaning of life. Life resolved itself not in the meaty

survivors of his thoughtful disemboweling, but in the amazed face of the perky Latina: 2$ empanadas could not be bought

with a credit card. Ah, cried the poet, oil running down his chin, one conquers one path to find oneself yet again closed in.


Photograph by Adrii Romo https://www.facebook.com/FotoAiRo

She is born and raised Argentinean but finds that English is the ‘language of her soul’. As well as writing poetry, short stories and novels, she is an English teacher.

Sol Cifre is a self-admitted workaholic.

y t i C e h t f o The Silence

Yes, you’ve read correctly: the silence. Buenos Aires is described as the city that never sleeps. But, believe me, there is silence amidst the noise, problem is, nobody ever listens to it. You must listen carefully, that’s the key. From my 6th floor, four blocks away from the first tube station, line D, I listen and observe my surroundings, as if I were a tourist or an outsider. I’m enchanted by the sound of the run-down buses, the shrieks of drunkards uttering the most truthful words, the typical Porteño bar round the corner, opened 24/7, same waiters with vacant looks all day long; my walls witnessing my neighbours’ from, as they call it here: ‘el interior,’ quarrelling and the Italian old lady across the street already thinking on what to cook for Sunday when her whole family comes to visit her. And sometimes, if I stay up really late, I can hear my building’s caretaker trudging his way down to wash the sidewalk and start his daily gossiping with other caretakers of the street. Their lives are a mystery to us all. I’ve heard the most amazing stories about him, none of which I actually believe. People love making up stories here! Maybe it is a way of living in fiction, reality is not that fun after all... How can I forget the Chinese supermarket right behind my building!? A life-saver actually. I always get to see the owners reading a book called “How to Speak Spanish in 10 days” by some unknown author to me. The things is, I’ve been living here for a couple of years and they are still reading that dog-eared book. Determined people they are! Back to silence now. Oh, I’m in love with the silence of my city! I have lived in different provinces of this country, but I finally found the silence here, quite odd for most. The silence protects me. In fact, I write on a piece of serviette at a coffee bar at rush hour; I write on the tube, while I’m offered all kinds of products; I write while I observe the silence. It’s not the silence of the a sunset on a beach, or a night in the countryside, it’s another type of silence... There’s a book I’ve read by Jon Mcgregor, it says, “The whole city has stopped. And this is a pause worth savouring, because the world will soon be complicated again.” Maybe the Porteños are just used to chaos and noise, but being a Porteña myself, I can assure you, there is silence everywhere. Just listen carefully. Sit down, relax, and observe. Our Spanish and Italian roots are visible in the way we hug, in the way we kiss, in the way we are; the voice of our ancestors is there, but silent. Couples having dinner stuck to their cellphones, the loners, the ones sitting and thinking, just thinking. The soft voice of the group of old ladies in their finest clothes, going for a coffee before crossing the street to watch a love story. The silence of wisdom. Silence here works in a different way, hearing it, is only up to you.


“Fernando at work”

Interview by AMANDA BARNES

Artist profile /// FERNANDO ROSAS

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his edition’s artist is Fernando Rosas from Mendoza. A painter and sculptor who dabbles a bit in digital art too, Fernando’s first exhibition was at 16 years old. Twenty years in, he now has a legion of fans and collectors in Argentina and abroad. The inspiration for this edition’s cover was of the seductive eyes of a woman and a myriad of dreams and experiences running through her mind. Her thoughts symbolise Argentina’s culture: seduction and tango, the athletic prowess of polo and the delicious lubricant of society - vino Argentino. “I wanted it to be like an invitation”, he says. We talk to the artist to find out what is going on in the mind of Fernando Rosas. Tell me about where you grew up and your childhood. I had a very normal childhood with lots of games and friends. My parents were separated and I lived with my mum. When I visited my dad I realised that he had a very strange house... [his father Roberto Rosas is also an artist, and lives in his workshop] (See photo p17) When I was with him we didn’t play football or anything like that, instead we made things from wood... we made boats and animals together. That was the only difference to a normal childhood.

“Ave”

For my secondary school I went to a technical school as I was interested in engineering or architecture. At 15 years old I changed to an art school and from there I started art and have been an artist since.

“Julieta”

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

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a courting period, I don’t feel like a digital artist but it allows you to experiment.

The climate in which I grew up. Any sculptural idea I had, you can do without any problems. I didn’t need to create a space for creation as it was already there ... I don’t think I have aesthetic influences from him though.

Have you ever had a period where you just haven’t felt creative at all?

Comparison maybe, but I never suffered it as a problem really.

Yes! Sometimes I have longer periods and sometimes shorter. Then I just do something else – like writing, taking photos or doing audio-visual work. This year has been very intense because I have worked all year. This exhibition [currently at the ECA in Mendoza] forced me to work and it was a marvelous creative period… like being in a state of permanent fascination.

What has the path been to finding your own style?

Do you create more under pressure then?

Working. And then letting myself have different influences from artists, some of which are friends, and some of which are international. There you start to experiment with things that you didn’t know existed. By doing art more and more, you start get your own style.

Yes, for me it works. It focuses you and you focus into this energy. It is very interesting to have this objective - to complete a cycle. An exhibition is a piece of art in itself.

Are there any disadvantages?

You do painting, drawing and sculpture, do you have a preferred format?

“Los malos argumentos”

“El autor”

“Como aire entre las Manos” What are the advantages of having a well-known artist as a father?

Have you ever looked at a piece of art and just thought: ‘this is rubbish’? Yes!

I used to feel like a painter, three years ago. But then I discovered woodwork and now I don’t know what I prefer. But there are levels of suffering when you work which is different. In painting I suffer more, I don’t know if that means it is worth more. Sculpture is more like a game, it is more like a construction and you achieve more constant levels of pleasure. Painting is more physically simple work but there is more of your head involved, more cerebral. I wouldn’t say I enjoy either more though, and I couldn’t just pick one. I will continue doing both.

What do you do then? I look at them coldly as if they are done by someone else, and look if they are ok – if they won’t break, won’t fall etc. And I just leave them. I’ve had many of those! Even though no artists will tell you this, the truth is that

I started trying because I was curious and I am still in

If you are interested in being one of our future artists in “Profile” please contact editor@playgroundba.com Si estas interesado en ser uno de nuestros artistas en “Perfil” en el futuro por favor escribir a editor@playgroundba.com

Fernando’s own home and workshop

And what about digital art?


“Pequeños placeres”

“Despegue”

“La culpable” there are very few pieces that you look at and really say ‘what a great piece of art’. The rest are part of the process.

I don’t even know if it arrived. You have to study customs not art to survive! But now it is advancing a bit to be more practical.

When are you most creative?

** Argentina has a heritage protection law making it difficult to take art out of the country, or selling it to foreign buyers.

For sculpture during the day, and for painting I don’t think there is a better time than the night. You can control the light easier and I also feel that painting is more bohemian – it’s not physical, but intellectual. Nighttime is ideal for contemplation. Where do you get the inspiration for your art? Well the world positions you. But the history of art is a very important part of inspiration. Other art and solutions you find within them… art is very contagious. Also your own art. When I am in a period of work you also get influenced by your own work, when you are making a piece it influences you.

When you aren’t with a paintbrush or putty in your hands, what do you like to do? I like to read, I like the cinema and to share with friends. But I don’t think I am ever not doing art. It’s as if you are always charging yourself with images. Maybe you are sorting out your house or garden at the time, but I am always charging myself with art. If you were cast away to a desert island what is the one food you would eat for the rest of your days, the one item you would bring and the one person you would take?

What is life like as an artist in Argentina? Complicated. I don’t know if I am very lucky, but I have been able to live from this career. Not just from my art but sometimes working in people’s houses doing murals etc.

The person is my girlfriend, if she would accept! The item would be tools so that I could do a sculpture but also make things to survive. And asado I think, lots of beef! What do you see when you look in the mirror?

What are the difficulties of being a working artist here? The law* is a big challenge… I was three months trying to send a piece of art once... It costed me a fortune and

I see a person in constant conflict, existential, but a person who tries to be noble and honest. A person who decided their career and has dedicated their life to it, but things don’t always end up easy. I see a person still in construction.

Fernando’s father’s house where he grew up

In the end, what really matters? Obviously I am going to say love. But I also think desire ... desire is the motor for everything. The desire for a woman, for being a father, to be a good friend.

For more on Fernando visit his blog and email. fernandorosasartes.blogspot.com.ar rosasarte@yahoo.com.ar. You can also visit his workshop in Mendoza to see more of his work.


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atching football in Buenos Aires is unique. No other city can match the sheer number of teams here or the passion of the Porteño fans. There are twenty-four clubs within the Capital and goodness knows how many more in the Greater Buenos Aires area and the locals’ knowledge of and love for the game goes above and beyond anything I’ve seen anywhere else. Each of Buenos Aires’ ‘Big Five’ clubs – Boca Juniors, River Plate, Racing, Independiente and current champions San Lorenzo – has a long and storied history, full of impressive achievements and events that would seem unbelievable were they to have taken place anywhere else. It goes without saying that if the chance comes up to see any of them for a reasonable price, you have to take it. When a big match is coming up, it seems like nothing else matters. The build-up goes on for days and as the match gets closer it often gets so intense it becomes ridiculous. By the time the game finally kicks off, it is almost impossible to think of it as anything other than the most important event in human history.

It is a widely accepted fact that the fans provide the beauty in Argentine footie The Superclásico between Boca and River remains the most widely-covered match of every season and every guidebook will tell you to head to either Boca’s Bombonera or River’s Monumental, but it is well worth expanding your horizons and looking for matches away from the typical tourist spots. It is a widely accepted fact that the fans provide the beauty in Argentine football and while the noise made by the

Bombonera crowd can admittedly reach deafening levels, the reality is that it is possible to find something similar at every reasonably-sized ground and for a much better price. One of the first matches I went to was at Independiente’s Estadio Libertadores de América. It was a strange experience for three reasons. Firstly, because the stadium itself remains unfinished – there were signs of ongoing building work everywhere I looked. Secondly, because from my vantage point I could see a distant explosion and fire in La Boca which left a plume of smoke trailing across the sky.

Returning to the sedate and refined surroundings of English stadia is decidedly unappealing Thirdly, and most importantly, I had been told by unimpressed locals that Independiente’s fans are famously quiet. After spending ninety minutes in their company, I can honestly say that they would consistently rank among the loudest crowds in Europe. Even more impressive was San Lorenzo’s Nuevo Gasómetro. When we arrived two hours early for their potential title decider against Estudiantes de la Plata, we found the stadium already packed to the rafters and in full voice. It seemed next to impossible at the time, but the chants continued to get progressively louder until kick-off, culminating in a spectacular din the likes of which I have never heard before or since. The best overall experience so far was probably at Lanús, for the Copa Sudamericana final second leg against Ponte Preta of Brazil. As we now expected, the stadium was more or less


full hours before kick-off. When the teams came out, huge firework displays immediately outside the ground made the already electric atmosphere exponentially more impressive. Returning to the sedate and refined surroundings of English stadia is decidedly unappealing. While I would recommend a Buenos Aires football odyssey to any interested party, it would be dishonest to say that everything here is hunky-dory. Antisocial behaviour and violence in and around stadiums is endemic and safety remains the number one concern of every visitor on match-day. The vast majority of the time I have felt perfectly safe, but I have on occasion suffered xenophobic abuse, had objects thrown at me due to my appearance and been caught in a mad crush that instantly brought the word ‘Hillsborough’ to mind. Additionally, the standard of play has dropped in recent years. Argentina’s footballers have left in unprecedented numbers to take advantage of higher wages on offer around the world and the players that remain tend to be has-beens and never-will-bes. There remain an ample number of promising youngsters who may catch your eye but the first to show the slightest bit of real quality will most probably be whisked out of the country on a lucrative contract within a few months. Despite these problems, watching football in Buenos Aires is an incredible amount of fun. It is possible and even affordable to take in two or three matches every weekend and the more I go, the more I appreciate everything about it: from the chants,

which range from puerile jokes at the opposition’s expense to epic poems about unity and the joy of suffering together, to the genuine connection between fans and players, to the unique variety of swearing that I hear in the stands.

The more I go, the more I appreciate everything about it The best aspect of football here is that it brings people together. On one occasion, I journeyed out of the city to watch Banfield, none the wiser as to the route the bus would take to get to the barrio. Having driven past and through areas that are most politely described as ‘low income’, I was dreading having to exit alone and on foot to find my way to and from the game. It is not always easy to feel safe when one is very clearly a Westerner in Greater Buenos Aires. I entered Banfield’s stadium planning on remaining inconspicuous and not even opening my mouth, lest my heavily-accented Spanish land me in life-threatening trouble. Imagine my surprise, then, when the nearest locals began speaking to me as though I had been coming to watch Banfield all my life, jovially discussing the match as it happened and asking with genuine interest how it happens that an Englishman ends up coming to watch their team. It was a brilliant evening and one typical of my experience in this city. Cheap tickets, great atmospheres and welcoming locals: if you love football, then Buenos Aires is paradise.

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DESTINATION GUIDE / MENDOZA Written by Amanda Barnes Amanda is a British journo who has been delighting in Mendoza’s wine scene and vineyards for longer than her liver would like to admit. www.amandabarnes.co.uk

If you are looking for a destination for a long weekend outside of Buenos Aires, cast your glance to the West and on the other side of the country you’ll find Mendoza. The aptly named land of sun and wine, you can’t really go wrong with Argentina’s wine capital this time of year. The Harvest Festival kicks off in the month of March (4 – 11th) and the grape pressing and parties continue on through to the beginning of May.

Cerro de la gloria by Izabel Kapteyn

MENDOZA: LAND OF SUN AND WINE Producing the large majority of Argentina’s wine, Mendoza is a region characterized by its vineyards. There are vines as far as the eye can see and one of the best pastimes here is taking it slow and enjoying a big glass of wine, or three. The city centre has a very small town feel to it with just 8 blocks by 8 blocks that really count as the ‘centre’, however what makes Mendoza the fourth biggest city in Argentina is the wide spread of suburbia all around the city. As a tourist though you aren’t very likely to wander more than a few blocks out of the centre, unless you are heading out to the vineyards or mountains. Mendoza is known as the greenest city of Argentina and the logic behind that reputation is simple – it has a lot of trees. What you might not realize on first glance though is that almost none of them are native. Mendoza was flattened in the 1861 earthquake and when French architect, Carlos Thays (who also designed most of BA’s parks) redesigned the city, he built into it wide, tree-lined avenues and a massive park (Parque San Martin) that makes Mendoza the emerald city of Argentina. In the city there isn’t a huge amount to do, it is the sort of place that you will most enjoy by taking in the sunshine (no less than 330 days a year), indulging in some day time drinking and letting the world slowly pass by…

Mendoza plazas by Izabel Kapteyn


WHAT TO DO

Mendoza - Aconcagua

Giddy up cowboy!

As a seriously agricultural spot, you’ll find your far share of gauchos in Mendoza and where there are gauchos, there are horses. Head down to the Uco Valley to get on some trusty criollo steads and set out into the stunning Andes mountains.

Mendoza giddy up cowboy by Izabel Kapteyn Recommended: Visit the breathtaking Estancia La Alejandra with Cordon del Plata, www. cordondelplata.com (261) 423 7423.

White water baby

Mendoza may be a desert but there is a bit of water to keep the adrenaline flowing, and the water is so cold that it will take your breath away if for some reason the class IV and V rapids don’t. The rapids for rafting, kayaking or riverboarding (basically bodyboarding though the rapids) are located in Potrerillos about 1.5 hours from the city.

Recommendations: If you are planning to get in shape for a summit attempt next year contact www. inka.com.ar, if you want a good hike, climb or walk any time of the year and in any of the surrounding mountain ranges try www.andes-vertical.com You can also venture up into the Andes without doing any leg work with a chauffeured day tour from Mendoza and a decent wine lunch involved with www. troutandwine.com

Relax to the max

Some of us have the philosophy that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it; and if it is sore, soak it. To ease any aching bones, the most therapeutic way to unwind and enjoy the gorgeous scenery is by taking a long soak in the natural springs in Cacheuta. Cleverly designed stone pools channel the different temperature waters of the springs ranging from the rather damn hot, to the pretty darn cold. Take your pick, but make sure to slather yourself with mud and dry off in the sun a couple times in between.

Cachueta Hotel & Spa

Kayaking in Potrerillos Recommended: Argentina Rafting www. argentinarafting.com and www.potrerillosexplorer. com both offer great rafting expeditions.

Get high on Aconcagua

One of the coolest attractions in Mendoza by far is Mount Aconcagua at a stomach turning 6.960meters above sea level. We are coming to the end of the season for attempting to summit, but you can still do some awesome climbs and struts around the park where, on a good day, you can see the peak from the park entrance on the side of the road.

Recommendation: For the full termas experience book into the Hotel and Spa for the day, for a more economic choice – and child friendly – try the water park www.termascacheuta.com Or if nature isn’t your thing but spas are, go for full-on modern spa glory with Entre Cielos Hammam & Spa which is all inside and based closer to the city in Vistalba www. entrecielos.com

Fly like a bird

Like the condor swoops Mendoza’s skies, so do some paragliders. A large hill a couple kms from Mendoza – Cerro Arco – is the perfect launch spot to

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do paragliding over the city and swooping over the foothills of the Andes. Everyday (weather permitting) there are a few companies of professional instructors that will happily launch you off the hillside and into the clear blue skies for beautiful bird’s view experience.

the tanks. Some wineries will also let you taste the grape juice as it slowly transforms into wine. This is the ultimate time to visit Argentina’s wine capital for any wine buff. There are a few ways to get out and visit wineries from the city. If you choose to stay on the outskirts of Mendoza – in Lujan de Cuyo, Maipu or the Uco Valley – then chances are your hotel will be a walk or bike ride from the closest winery, but staying in Mendoza city you’ll need to either brave the bus, bike, car or taxi to get where you want to go.

Paragliding in the foothills Recommendation: Acro Fly have trained flyers and include a pretty cool 4x4 journey up the hillside www. acroflyparapente.com.ar

MENDOZA’S HARVEST AND VISITING WINERIES Every Autumn the city’s population swells as tourists from all around Argentina and abroad pack into Mendoza for the largest wine festival in South America and to enjoy the experience of harvest. The Vendimia (meaning grape harvest) is a world-class wine festival that lasts almost a month with parades, live music, performances and, of course, plenty of wine tastings during late February/early March. The highlight of the festival is the four day outdoor performance in the local greek-style ampitheatre where an audience of 25,000 are treated to three hours of performance art, music, a light show, fireworks and the all- important beauty queen election. Pencil it into your diary’s next year, as it is usually the first weekend in March. Although if you visit Mendoza any other time, you may have missed the processions and pomp, you’ll still be in time to see what the festival is all about – the grape harvest. Visiting wineries between February and May is a spectacular experience as you can see the grapes being harvested, sorted, pressed and processed into

Vendimia Queens

Mendoza winery by Izabel Kapteyn

Bus

Public buses are by far the cheapest way to go, although their span is rather limited. You can access a few wineries by public bus which are within walking distance from others: try the 850 line from the bus terminal to Agrelo and stop off at sparkling wine house Chandon (www.chandon.com.ar, Km 29 on Ruta Ruta 15, Agrelo) where you can do a tasting of their bubbly and eat a sparkling wine paired lunch in their pretty restaurant. Next door you can visit Dolium (www. dolium.com Ruta 15, Km. 30) a smaller winery with underground architecture where you can try wines with the winemakers or the owner. Or head to Mayor Drumond in Lujan on the same bus or the 1.19 bus where you can visit three wineries all within a stone’s throw of each other: the larger winery Luigi Bosca with its long history and good variety of wines (www. luigibosca.com.ar, San Martin 2044); historic and quaint Lagarde with a handsome, old vineyard and a good restaurant (www.lagarde.com.ar, San Martin 1745); and the original garangista in Mendoza and a real gem of a character Carmello Patti (San Martin 2614) who’ll take you through his small winery and show you his press clippings with adorable pride. You’ll probably spend around $350pesos on the bus, a decent lunch and two wine tastings. Another bus option has recently opened up and makes visiting wineries a more affordable option for many – the Bus Vitivinicola (www.busvitivinicola.com). With subsidies from the government and wineries involved, the bus costs only $150pesos and takes you door to door on a circular route between 5 or 6


wineries ensuring that you can get three visits in on the rather long day. Recommended wineries on the route are: small boutique operation Montequieto (www. montequieto.com), fabulous lunch at Terrazas de los Andes (www.terrazasdelosandes.com), learning about llamas and tank tastings at Tapiz, or a step back in history with Clos de Chacras (www.closdechacras. com). This works out at around $500 per person with the bus, a decent lunch and two wine tastings.

tour group like Trout and Wine (www.troutandwine. com) Ampora (www.mendozawinetours.com) or Mendoza Wine Camp (www.mendozawinecamp. com) for around $200US. The next thing you need to do is pick between Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.

By Bike

The classic backpackers tour of Mendoza’s wine scene is by peddling your way between wineries in Maipu, but be warned – although the ride is flat and easy, it is hot and the trucks and lorries swinging around you makes a few of your neck hairs stand on edge, at least until you’ve had a few glasses of wine to not notice anymore. Practically a rights of passage for budget travellers in Mendoza, getting on a bus to Maipu (take the 171, 172 or 173 from Catamarca and Rioja streets) is the first stage to the bike shop where on Urquiza street you’ll find a few different places touting their two wheelers (try Mr Hugo www.mrhugobikes.com, $50). Each bike company will give you a map, but peddling between bodegas is not that hard with plenty of signs and a couple other slightly pissed cyclists leading the way. Stop by at Familia Di Tommaso (www. familiadetommaso.com) for a spot of history, Carinae (www.carinaevinos.com) for the best wine en route, Tempus Alba for a nice lunch in the sunshine (www. tempusalba.com) and try La Rural for the impressive wine museum (www.bodegalarural.com.ar) After a couple stops you’ll be quite merry on the experience and the tourist police have a tendency to follow foreigner’s bikes to make sure they manage to trundle their way back to safety later in the evening. The whole experience will set you back around $320 pesos with tastings and a bite to eat.

Biking in Mendoza by Izabel Kapteyn

By Car

Forget about driving yourself, it isn’t worth it. You’ll get lost, won’t be able to drink and will spend pretty much the same as a private tour. The only way to go is either by hiring a privately chauffered car or going with a small

Mendoza streets by Izabel Kapteyn

Lujan de Cuyo

One of the biggest wine production regions in Argentina, Lujan de Cuyo what locals call the ‘home of Malbec’. A large area that hosts a suburban sprawl as well as countless empty plains only populated by vines. You can reach Lujan within about a 30 minute drive from the city but some wineries are almost an hour away. Top of the list of recommendations is Pulenta Estate (www.pulentaestate.com) for its fun blind aroma guessing game and its fabulous Cabernet Franc; Ruca Malen (www.bodegarucamalen.com) took the crown last year for having the best winery restaurant where you can tuck into five wine paired courses; and Catena Zapata (www.catenawines.com) is the one all the Brazilian tourists go for and is one of the biggest household names of wine although book ahead as the scheduled tours book up quick. There are at least 30 wineries in Lujan that are worth your time so this is by no means an exhaustive list! More wineries can be found on www.thesqueezemagazine.com.

Valle de Uco

The Uco Valley is the word on every wino’s lips not only for its supreme quality high altitude wines but also for the awesome scenery: jawdropping mountains frame the vast vineyards and infinite blue skies – it is any oenophile’s idea of heaven. The wineries are top notch too with some of the biggest investments and ergo the most impressive architecture. Reining high in the architecture race is dutch owned Salentein (www. killkasalentein.com) with its cathedral to wine, art gallery and sculpture garden, closely followed by avantgarde O Fournier (www.ofournier.com) that resembles a Star Trek creation and hosts a stellar restaurant. Or you can try more humble, down to earth wineries like family-run Gimenez Riili (www.gimenezriili.com) or the small cube shaped winery La Azul (www. bodegalaazul.com.ar) There are less wineries in the Uco Valley worth visiting (around a dozen, see

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them on www.thesqueezemagazine.com) but the spectacular valley is certainly worth the extra hour in the car.

Pick your own

If you want to get a little dirty and have a true harvest experience you can spend a day picking grapes followed by a hearty Argentine asado lunch experience at Zuccardi winery in east of Mendoza (www. casadelvisitante.com) You can also taste wine that has been pre-harvested, fermented and aged for you!

USEFUL INFO Mendoza is just over 1000kms west of Buenos Aires and you can reach it by bus (from Retiro, 12 hours, $600pesos) or by plane (daily flights from Aeroparque, 1hr, starting at $150US return). The bus station is about a 25 minute walk from the city centre through some less desirable streets however it is generally safe, a taxi would only cost $20pesos though. The airport is a 20 minute taxi ride from the city centre, $80pesos, and is located in the world’s only airport vineyard!

Mendoza vines by Izabel Kapteyn

A free app guide to Mendoza´s wineries, wines and regions !

www.thesqueezemagazine.com/app


WHERE TO DRINK WINE IN BA ALDO’S

Run by a well-known sommelier, this wine bar, restaurant and wine shop has different wine-related events each day of the week and has one of the biggest collections of Argentine wines (over 600 labels) with the highest number of sommeliers per head in Argentina (there are 6!) If you are overwhelmed by the wine list you can try out the 3 glass wine flight with 3 tapas that will give you a good flavour of what Argentina has to offer, but don’t be afraid to ask the somms to recommend one of the fabulous wines on the list which pull together some of the best wine in Argentina and soak it up with fresh and fun cuisine: cold soups, indulgent salads and the renowned steak. Open all day long for a cheeky glass and a bite to eat, or check out their daily happy hour between 5 and 9pm.

If you can’t make it out to wine country, don’t fear – there is plenty of good vino to drink here in the capital. Here’s a little guide to some of the top wine bars to visit. By Amanda Barnes

Gran Bar Danzon, Libertad 1161 (between Santa Fe and Arenales), Recoleta (011) 4811 1108

LA CAVA JUFRE

A traditional wine bar and cava where tasting and finding unusual wines is more the aim of the game. Located in a historical corner of Villa Crespo, you’ll find a wine bar filled with little gems and there is the occasional wine tasting to boot. La Cava Jufre, Jufre 201 (on the corner of Julian Alvarez), Villa Crespo (011) 4775 7501

BAR DU MARCHE

A French-chic bistro with around 50 wines by the glass. If you are a solo diner, or someone that likes to taste a little bit of everything – this is your place. And not only for Argentine wines but also for a nice (but obviously small) selection of foreign wines. Ideal for winos who like a bit of cheese on the side as they also serve some of the best artisanal cheese in town, and the staff will happily pair it for you.

Aldo’s Vinoteca, Moreno 372 (between Defensa and Bolivar), San Telmo (011) 4334 2380.

PAIN & VIN

As the name suggests, the focus here is on wine and bread – one of the most heavenly combinations. Sommelier Eleonora and her husband Ohad opened this wine bar to serve up glasses and bottles of Argentina’s finest alongside and hunky chunk of proper homemade bread. There are also regular wine tasting nights. Pain & Vin, Gorriti 5132 (between Thames and Uriarte), (011) 4832 5654.

GRAN BAR DANZON

A cool bar and restaurant with an impressive wine list that will give you a taste of different wines produced around Argentina. They also have a pretty good Martini bar.

Bar du Marche, Nicaragua 5946 (between Arevelo and Ravignani), Palermo (11) 4778 1050. Next door there is a great wine shop, Siete Spirits, worth checking out.

MIRA VIDA SOHO WINE BAR

A boutique hotel that does wine tasting on the side, this chic little wine bar has plenty of wines by the glass and some tasty tapas to keep you happy. Private wine tastings can be arranged. Mira Vida Soho Wine Bar, Darragueyra 2050 (between Guatemala and Soler), (011) 4774 6433

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Wine scribbles from a Somm…

Lots of articles like to talk about a “Top 10” of wines. This is not one of those articles. I do not know if they are “the Top” or “the Best”, but I do believe that all they have something special. This selection is not determined by price or variety, but by the fact that they have touched me at some point in my life. Let me share with you why… Colonia las Liebres Reserve 2011, La Espera Reserva 2010, Bonarda, Altos las Hormigas, Malbec, Bodega Funckenhausen, $180pesos $100pesos

Caelum Reserva 2010, Chardonnay, $150pesos The truth is, I met this loveable wine when I moved to Mendoza, so maybe it is a bit difficult to find, but it is worth finding. It is a chardonnay from Tupungato (Mendoza), which has a good complexity while preserving its freshness. It is a wine that I have recommended many times and for which people have always come back and said thank you! Ah! If you are visiting the winery, do not miss trying their homegrown pistachios!

Southern Mendoza also exists, and if you still have not heard about it as a wine region, try this Malbec. The grapes are from San Rafael, a favorite spot for adventuresome tourists, where Marcelo Lorca transforms them into this interesting Malbec. Any “sanrafelino” would be very proud of it. Great structure, combining balanced fruit and oak. A very interesting project, which unites different generations of the family...

Gimenez Riili 2012, Torrontés, $65pesos

Made by a very nice Mendocinean family, the grapes are actually from La Rioja. A perfumed and fresh Torrontés, with delicate citrus aromas. It is a good example for the variety. Torrontés wine is called a liar due to its misleading sweet nose but dry mouth. An ideal option to take with you on a hot summer evening. Daniela Fernandez is a wine lover from La Plata and is currently Sommelier at Francis Mallmann 1884 in Mendoza. She is used to drinking on the job.

“La Bonardita”, warmly labelled by my friend (one of the winemakers) Leo Erazo, is a wine from Ugarteche, Mendoza. A fresh, fruity wine that is not over oaked (something they take care about). Argentine Bonarda is already on the lips of wine drinkers and here you have a very nice example to stuck into.


Alma Negra 2010, Blend Tinto, De Ángeles 2011, Gran Cabernet Ernesto Catena Vineyard, $186pesos Sauvignon Viña 1924 De Ángeles, $330pesos A real enigma ... what is in it?! It is a mystery, but I am sure it is wine. You can think of it as a game and try to discover the varieties... Or, as I prefer, just to enjoy its harmony, complexity and delicacy. How do they achieve it?? ... Oh I don´t know, you have to ask Ernesto that.

RD 2013, Sauvignon Blanc, Bodega Tacuil, $110pesos

A Sauvignon Blanc from Salta ...What? Don´t you mean Torrontés? No, a Sauvignon Blanc from Salta, right in Valle Calchaquí, a particular feature that has been in many conversations with my former boss and friend Norberto Suarez. At a high altitude where the Sun is most extreme you can find this Sauvignon Blanc with marked descriptors of peas and asparagus. Delicately soft, and keep it a secret, because there are only 6.000 bottles of it!

Chamán 2010, Malbec, $180pesos

Arriving quietly on the market last year, this is a gentle Malbec from Mendoza that reminds me of black berry jam and honeyed fruits. It is easy drinking with a little bit of mischief. If you buy just one bottle you might run short, so it may be a good idea to buy two. You won´t be disappointed. It is brand new and already turning heads.

This is one of my beloved favourites. My friend Jose Bahamonde introduced this memorable wine to me. If I could share with you one feeling, it would be the marvellous way I feel every time I drink this wine. If a wine could ever be defined as round, this is it. A deep, buttery, smooth cabernet, with a beautiful aroma of plum. It’s worthy of admiration.

Nómade Reserva 2003, Syrah, $170pesos

A gem from La Consulta (Uco Valley, Mendoza). This wine is like an old man who gets more eccentric with age. Drink it at the right moment (now!), and it is expressive and totally enjoyable. It is a wine to drink unrushed, similar to talking with a grandparent, and stay in your mind forever. A wine that shows that Argentine wines can age more than 10 years and not have an exorbitant price.

Linda Flor 2009, Malbec, Bodega Monteviejo, $282pesos

If the subject is flowers, it is violet that we find this beautiful Malbec that Marcelo Pelleritti made. Captivating, elegant and consistent year on year. A convincing wine which I am proud to recommend. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, if you want to meet the real Argentinean Malbec, I present to you Linda Flor.


THEATRE COMPANY TEAMS UP WITH BIKING BUENOS AIRES TO PAINT ARGENTINE HISTORY IN A NEW, INTERACTIVE, AND SURPRISING LIGHT.

George Nelson is a British freelance journalist who has been working in San Francisco and Santiago before settling down into the irresistible charm of BA again. He loves to write on environmental and social issues, as well as peddling through history.

“Your bike is a time machine and you’re going to journey through the pages of Buenos Aires’ incredible history,” said tour guide Jonathan Misrahi, the porteño’s Theodor Geisel inspired hat sagging as the afternoon sun further illuminated his dazzling waistcoat. A self-styled inventor, entrepreneur, and “actor wannabe,” Misrahi captivated the group as he explained what was to unfold: a voyage through the capital’s vaults, acted out by both a trained cast and ourselves — apparently. Caught in the Act: Theatrical Bike Tour — a new collaboration between tour company Biking Buenos Aires and theatrical group Compañía Fårö — delivers a fully interactive series of encounters, designed to “leave you impacted by the experience just as fellow Argentines have for centuries.” We had been warned to expect the unexpected, that we would be drawn into the performances and dragged out of our comfort zones while soaking up the sites of the city.

The three actors stand motionless in Parque Lezama, waiting to recount tragic tales of Argentina’s economic crash of 2001.

Additionally, we were asked to sign a confidentially agreement, in the air, promising to keep stum about all that was to occur — for fear of spoiling it for future guests. Slightly mystified and a little worried, our sevenstrong gang cycled from the garage on Peru to Parque Lezama, and Argentina’s economic collapse of 2001. Actors Osvaldo Pefluffo, Verónika Ayanz, and Claudia Bursuk were waiting for us in the park, standing


motionless and disguised behind adapted comedy tragedy masks and a sheet tied between two trees. They were already attracting considerable interest from perplexed bystanders. Summoned from our bikes, Misrahi led us to a clearing before explaining the events of 2001. Sadly, due to the pact I signed earlier, I am unable to describe what passed in more detail. However, I will say that it involved making a hell of a racket and chanting at the top of our voices. Our group seemed to be growing as dozens gathered around, the public confused and curious in equal measure, but the rambunctious outdoor theatre continued. As expected, there was also the odd jeer and insolent remark thrown in our direction throughout the afternoon’s performances, but Misrahi and his colleagues shrugged these off with aplomb: water off a duck’s back.

Tour guide Jonathan Misrahi narrating the history of Buenos Aires.

Parque Lezama was only the beginning of the four-hour, six scene tour. Next, we cycled to Puerto La Boca and 1894 before transporting a few years later to 1902, also in La Boca — cue comfort zone extraction. A trip to 1942 followed, and a chance to meet one of Argentina’s leading ladies as she shot to fame. Time for a mate and alfajor pit-stop. Not all Argentine history is so light-hearted though, and Misrahi was quick to remind us of the unforgivable acts that befell Argentina’s last military dictatorship. Outside Club Atlético — the former torture and detainment site of abducted civilians — a distressing scene panned out before our eyes, brilliantly acted out by both Peluffo and Bursuk. One moving, Puerto Madero dance routine later and we arrived in Plaza de Mayo to be met by an eerie sight, lit against the backdrop of the Casa Rosada, much to the astonishment of locals and tourists alike. I wish I could tell you more; it was quite a climax to the tour. Misrahi then took centre stage, recounting the words of Spanish novelist, Miguel de Unamuno, his six foot three frame vanishing in a heartbeat behind the Monumento Al General Manuel Belgrano to wild applause. We were then left to contemplate Argentina’s fascinating backlog. Running for a limited time only, Caught in the Act: Theatrical bike Tour will be unravelling Buenos Aires’ history every Sunday until April 20. The tour starts at 4pm in San Telmo. For more information visit www.bikingbuenosaires.com.

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Langbien

CASSANDRA is a lifelong horse rider, but when she arrived to Argentina and picked up a polo mallet, it was like learning a whole other game.

P

olo. For most the word conjures up a mindful scene, fine fillies in heels and hats, sipping champagne whilst strong handsome men perform an aerobic fight on horseback, chasing a ball around a field. For me, growing up riding horses I knew a little more about the sport, but I had never had the opportunity to play it, that was until I moved to Argentina. I decided a month into my move that I really wanted to start riding again and being in a country that is known to be the leader in Polo throughout the world I thought now is the time to finally experience it… A little prematurely I decided whist visiting a saddlery that I had to have some real polo boots: the knee high custom made soft leather boots were the real deal and I just had to have them. This decision was swiftly regretted when on arrival to my first lesson my boyfriend decided to inform my new teacher and his two handlers that I had already ordered my polo boots even though I had never swung a mallet in my life. Smirks and laughs soon followed and I felt like the Aussie gringa with no idea. It was time to attempt redemption!

Cassandra Langbien is an Australian interior designer who moved to Argentina after falling in love with the country at the heights of Aconcagua and has now renewed her love at ground level sourcing beautiful fabrics and artisan work to spruce up people’s homes back in Oz. www.tribeandco.com

There is much debate to the origin of Polo itself, both Iran and China claim to be the first players of the ‘Sport of Kings’ which even had a place in the Olympics up until 1936. Thereafter the Brits popularised it throughout the world including Argentina where the British settlers started to practice it in their free time in the Argentine pampas. Fast forward to the 20th century and Argentina is considered the mecca of polo, having the largest number ever of 10 handicap players (the highest handicap one can obtain) in the world. Australian ladies don’t have the same reputation sadly (in fact no ladies do)… Although I was willing to give it a go. Back on the polo field, mounted on horseback with mallet in hand, I began learning how to swing correctly and hit the ball. I soon realised it was not going to be as easy as at looks! My years spent learning the ‘English’ way of riding were skills rendered useless here. Holding the reins and steering is a different technique and even for the most seasoned of equestrians, it is a very new action to swing a mallet on horseback. One that’s very important to learn correctly or you’re likely to do some seriously damage to your unassuming mount! After 40 minutes of chasing the ball around the field, manoeuvred by my enthusiastic and patient teacher Leopoldo, my efforts paid off and I was managing to connect with the ball at a faster pace. After 50 minutes I was beginning to take notice of the weight of my mallet and we slowed down to call it a day. Those enthusiastic efforts I would pay the price for later in soreness but nothing that a (another) good glass of Malbec and a hot bath couldn’t fix. But before the sourness subsides and my fancy new polo boots arrive I am already planning my next lesson, because that’s the thing with Polo, it’s genuinely a lot of fun, made even more special by the Argentine all consuming passion and a picture perfect back drop, even if you don’t have the riding experience you will come away with a true appreciation of the skills required and learn something about yourself, the horse and the sport.

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Amanda Barnes is a British journalist living in Argentina and while she might have British blood, she will need a full transfusion to ever look halfway confident on horseback. www.amandabarnes.co.uk

Photos taken at Puesto Viejo


W

hile being a polo player usually involves vast amounts of cash, a legion of lithe horses and a partiality to butt pain, you can also get a flavour of being a polo player within just an hour’s journey from BA and with just a hundred or so dollars in your hand.

Heading out to the stables afterwards, we got kitted out in chaps and a horse helmet but not before spying some players darting across the fields with a thunderous clap of hooves following them. I was beginning to worry that this wasn’t really a ‘beginners’ sport…

All around Buenos Aires are estancias where people come to play polo from all over the world. Many polo players will come and stay for weeks, months or years on end to train and improve their game living and learning from the world’s top polo players and instructors who, for the most part, are Argentine. But if you just have a day, you can also get your polo fix, even if you are a first-timer.

I have to confess, I am disastrous with hand-eye coordination. Sometimes I fail to correctly lift a glass up to my mouth, so the thought of managing a ball and mallet while on a moving object was looking pretty hopeless from the outset. The fact that that moving object was a horse, made it even more despairing. Playing hockey on horseback I suddenly realized, was not going to be easy – especially considering I barely knew how to do either.

I was heading out for my first time recently as I caught the air-conditioned Lobos Bus to Cañuelas (www.lobosbus. com.ar, Bme. Mitre 1760) one morning. Arriving to the beautiful flat-land estancia at Puesto Viejo (www.puestoviejoestancia.com.ar, Ruta 6), you couldn’t feel further from the city with green fields as far as the eye could see. We were welcomed to a country breakfast and sat down for a chat with our teacher for the day (and international polo player), Gaston.

But Puesto Viejo had told me anyone (including me) could. So there I was, kitted out and ready to play with a couple other clueless visitors. Fortunately our first part of training wasn’t actually on the horse, but on a wooden stool. Stood up on a stool we practiced with the mallets in our hand to try and strike the grass in the right direction. While this was surely the best way to learn how to manage a mallet first, taking a look around our small group wavering sticks in the air stood in a field on stools, I’m sure Gaston does this for his own amusement too. But stools felt like a welcome baby step before trying to ride a great beast at the same time.

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My horse experience is limited to being sat on a Shetland pony and led by a trainer walking around village fetes as a child, and later trundling up mountainsides on sturdy criollo horses with gauchos as an adult. The horses at Puesto Viejo were an entirely different breed: handsome, muscular and so very tall in comparison. Sitting on them was already a very different experience alone, now add the bat and the ball and all of a sudden it felt like trying to ride a bike for the first time. Riding around the field just trying to hit the ball and not the grass was the first task, and then it becomes a case of aiming to go in one direction. The horses were all well trained, it was more a case of re-training ourselves and in the meantime getting the best side abdominal workout you can imagine. After an hour or so, we were well and truly in the flow, and it was time to take a break and have lunch. God bless Argentina. A full asado of roasted meat followed with some salads and sparkling water, chased down by a mug of coffee to re-awaken the ass muscles and then we were back to our horses for our first chukker. More than a chukker (which is theoretically only seven or so minutes), this was continuous play with some of the local pros to bolster our game. After an exhausting and exhilarating hour of play, I had scored twice, found new muscles I couldn’t have imagined and discovered a new interest in a sport I will probably never be able to afford to play seriously. I could see why people get addicted to this game. Sweat glistening and smiling, we went to watch a game with the professionals who were having a friendly on another one of Puesto Viejo’s impressive polo fields. As we looked on watching, with a couple of the wives, the players moved around the field with dexterity and speed. As each chukker finished, they’d be off to swap horses (it is really exhausting work!) and mop up their sodden brow. Underneath the sweaty helmet though almost everyone had a big grin, even those who play all the time. Although some might have a pre-conception that polo is an elite and hard to reach sport, what surprised me most was to learn that at the end of the day - polo is just darn good fun.

PUESTO VIEJO You can book a polo day or polo stay at Puesto Viejo Polo Club where they also have a small ranch to stay overnight and a swimming pool looking over the polo fields. Visit www.puestoviejoestancia.com.ar for more details, or call 11 5279 6893. OTHER ESTANCIAS NEAR BA La Candelaria (www.estanciacandelaria.com) Argentina Polo Day (www.argentinapoloday.com.ar) Estancia Los Dos Hermanos (www.estancialosdoshermanos.com)


FAST FACTS: POLO You may know that polo is one of Argentina’s most important sports, but how many of these can you get right? How many are in a polo team? The simple answer would be four. Four players are required, but usually with each round (chukker) the players will swap their horses – that means 24 horses are required per team in the standard six chukker game, and so in one game you have between two teams 8 players and 48 horses. Now you can see why it is expensive! Who invented polo? Most believe it came from Persia (today’s Iran) from before the 5th century BC, which makes it over 2500 years old. It spread through Asia and Indians taught the British to play polo in the mid 1800s. Nowadays the British are credited with spreading the sport to the West. British settlers in Argentina are thought to have brought the game over here in the late 1870s. Argentina is now considered to have the world’s best players and the three most important polo tournaments are played here (la triple Corona). Why do polo players where white trousers? The tradition to wear white trousers is thought to have come from India where players preferred to wear light trousers in the heat. The tradition has continued, as has the traditional name of jodhpurs for the tailored riding trousers - they were named after the city of Jodhpur in India. Can amateurs play polo? Yes. So long as they have a lot of money. Polo is a pretty unique sport as it is actually the amateur players that pretty much fund it. One wealthy amateur player will hire the rest of his team – three professional players – to play in a tournament. The more you pay, the better your players, and the more likely you are to win. Can women play polo? Yes, they can. Female players aren’t as common, but theoretically they can play in the same matches.

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TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY If you’re running in Buenos Aires during the spring and summer months (when most tourists visit), you’ll immediately notice the heat and humidity. It’s oppressive. Remember to bring a water bottle or a handful of pesos to buy a bottle of water on your run. As you probably can guess, since the temperature is so hot, the UV index is also extremely high during the daytime, so wear sunscreen and shades. Just think how miserable you’ll be dancing the Tango later if you don’t. RUN WHERE THERE IS LIGHT AND PEOPLE “If it’s that hot, can’t I just run at night when it’s cooler?” Buenos Aires is a very nocturnal city and there are people out at all hours of the day, so yes you can; but keep in mind that you may not know the area very well and not all streets will be well lit. Only run where there is plenty of light and people around. Avoid the parks in the evening

Lauren Miner is a writer and consultant from the US living in Argentina. She enjoys sushi, dance, yoga and travel and you can read about her attempts at healthy living while in the land of empanadas at Active Expat. www.activeexpat.com

After traveling 5,000 or so miles to eat your way through the land of empanadas, choripan, carne asadas, and dulce de leche you may feel the need to “run off” the extra calories that have made their presence known along your waist-line. But as you step outside, eager to put those pounds in check; you may find that 1) you don’t know where to go and, 2) Buenos Aires is an absurd obstacle course comprised of crazy drivers, meandering pedestrians, loose sidewalk tiles, and dog poo. Do you give up? Not a chance. Because, despite how it looks, Buenos Aires has quite a few options when it comes to running. So whether you are interested in enchanting cityscapes or luscious gardens, adventure or sightseeing, there are numerous routes to satisfy runners of every variety... while minimizing doggie-doo incidents. To get you in your stride, below are some tips and tricks for running in Buenos Aires.

when most of the locals will have gone home. To put it simply, use your best judgment. Although you’re unlikely to be robbed on your run in Buenos Aires, it’s better to play it safe. ROCK YOUR BEST RUNNING ATTIRE Porteños like to look good whether they’re sipping mate in the park, eating at their favorite parilla, or sweating their faces off. With that in mind, feel free to wear coordinating sneakers, Lululemon racerback top, and high-tech breathable fabric cropped leggings for your run. I personally prefer these to shorts, since Argentine men frequently like to shout, “compliments” at women as they run by. The men aren’t dangerous, just annoying. Of course, if you forgot to pack your running clothes you can also purchase running gear at the Nike store on Avenida Santa Fe or at one of the many sporting goods stores in the Outlets de Aguirre section of Palermo/Villa Crespo.


TOP F VE RUNNING SPOTS IN BA 1

SECTOR MAP (Page 50-51)

BOSQUES DE PALERMO This scenic park features lots of long, winding dirt paths free of pedestrians and poop (most of the time). It’s a bit hard to get to if you’re not from the neighborhood, but it’s worth the bus ride to run alongside the lake and towering trees. The number and variety of trails allows one to explore a new route every day. It’s also just a nice place to sit and enjoy a picnic with friends. Perfect For | The ‘Oh, I’m just training for my next Marathon’ runner

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PARQUE CENTENARIO Centennial Park is a beautiful little park, ideal for short runs, on the edge of the Palermo and Villa Crespo neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. The park’s paved paths are well maintained and clean. They encircle a large pond, which features a picturesque menagerie of ducks, statues, and fountains. Families and friends flock to its grassy spaces on the weekends, so the park is best for running during the week, in the morning, or late afternoons when there are fewer people. Finish, ruin, or celebrate your run with an ice cream cone from one of the many vendors in the park. Perfect For | The ‘I only run if a Bear is chasing me’ runner

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RESERVA ECOLÓGICA COSTANERA SUR At home, we’d call this the boonies. It’s far, but before you get discouraged, the Reserva is definitely the place you go to get out of the city without actually leaving the city. Open from 8am5pm Tuesday-Sunday, except on days following rainstorms, the Reserva is an 8km or 5 mile loop which curves along the coastline, through sun-lit pastures and wooded terrain. The unpaved trails are flat and firm, but also give runners, cyclists, and walkers great views of Uruguay and the Buenos Aires skyline. It might be a hike to get to, but the beautiful views, peaceful atmosphere, and vehicle-free trails make it worth the trek. Perfect For | The ‘Granola-muncher, one-with-nature’ runner

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BARRANCAS DE BELGRANO Hidden away behind the city’s tallest buildings, you’ll find this little gem. Quiet and removed from the usual Buenos Aires hustle and bustle, this park features paved paths that casually loop around the park. Old men play chess under shady branches and lovers kiss passionately between manicured flowerbeds. For US citizens desperate for even the smallest taste of Americana, keep your eyes peeled for the miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty. Totally odd, but cool...I guess?

Does not appear on the map

Perfect For | The ‘I’ll take some culture with my run please’ runner

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PUERTO MADERO Puerto Madero is perfect for running because the entire area is set up like a racetrack. Two paths run on opposite sides of the Río de la Plata riverbank and are connected by 4 bridges. It’s a very versatile space and lends itself to making running goals in terms of distance, speed, and time. Here you can enjoy views of old Buenos Aires and new Buenos Aires. Though the entire loop is only about a mile in length, the clean streets and light traffic make it ideal for running without impediment. Perfect For | The ‘I will cut anyone who interrupts me’ runner

Can’t decide what type of runner you are or which park is best for you? Check out www.urbanrunningtours.com.ar for guided running tours every day of the week in Spanish and English. Great if you’re nervous about running on your own. The Buenos Aires Hash House Harriers aka The running club with a drinking problem (find them on facebook) in Buenos Aires is another great option as well. They meet every second Sunday in a new part of the city and stop to drink at stations along a planned run route. You’ll get to run, drink, and make friends…what could be better than that?

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Tamara Tenenbaum is an Argentine food and drinks journalist, stirred with a bit of social media work and served in a cocktail glass with lots of ice.

There are definitely a lot of great bars in Buenos Aires where you can have a perfectly made Martini or Margarita: but what would be the fun in that? When in Rome, do as the Romans do: have a sip of one of these tasty local drinks. You might even acquire a new favorite.


FERNET CON COLA After wine and beer, Fernet must be the most consumed alcoholic drink in Argentina. All across the country, people ranging from teenagers and senior citizens consume this bitter at very different times and occasions. The most common way to drink it is mixing just a couple of fingers of Fernet in a glass of coke: that way, the bitterness is balanced out by the coke’s sweet flavour. Some people, especially older men in Córdoba (an Argentine province famous for its high Fernet consumption) like to drink it with club soda or even straight up. You can find Fernet con cola pretty much in any bar in Argentina.

CLARITO The Clarito is a classic Argentine cocktail: it was invented by Pichín Policastro, probably the most famous Argentine bartender of all times (there’s even a bar in London, Galante, which pays homage to his legend and recipes). It was long forgotten and it is experiencing a sort of revival now, as a consequence of the comeback of classic cocktails. The recipe is very simple: it’s actually just a very strong Gin Martini (90% Gin, 10% Dry Vermouth) with a lemon twist. One of the best places to have one is Verne Club (Medrano 1475): the bartender, Fede Cuco, is a long-time fan and “Clarito Ambassador”.

COLORADITO “Aperitivos” (drinks made out of diverse combinations of bitter, vermouth and juice or club soda, usually taken before a meal) are part of Argentine history and popular culture: they come mostly from Italy, and were brought to the country and consumed by the large amounts of working class immigrants that arrived to the country around 1920. While the Italian Garibaldi (Campari bitter + Orange juice) is the hottest aperitivo right now, the Coloradito is one of the most authentically Argentine. The basic recipe includes Campari bitter, Dry Vermouth and a lemon twist (some bartenders add a spike of Gin). A great place to taste it would be the bar at the Hotel Plaza, a true Buenos Aires classic.

EL PATO El Pato is, just like the Clarito, another classic drink invented by legendary bartender Pichín Policastro. The recipe is more complex but actually more palatable to the Argie taste, that prefers bitterness to a high alcoholic content. It includes Campari, Gin, Cointreau, Dry vermouth, Red Vermouth and Kirsch. Not many places serve it but there’s a great one that does: Florería Atlántico, the speakeasy owned by Tato Giovannoni, who actually supervises the Galante Bar in London. They have a whole section of classic argie drinks, so it is definitely worth the visit.

CYNAR JULEP The Cynar Julep is a modern classic: a drink invented in the last decade (authorship is disputed) that became popular when bitters made their big comeback and can now be found in almost any bar. Cynar is sweeter and less alcoholic than Campari and it has artichoke as one of its main ingredients. The basic Cynar Julep recipe includes Cynar, grapefruit juice, sugar and mint. In some places, such as 878, one of Buenos Aires’ best bars, a spike of Gin is added. It is definitely recommended.

PARA COMPARTIR - VS PREPARADO

When you see two prices next to a drink with p/compartir (to share) or preparado (prepared), the menu is not asking you if you want two straws or one, but rather the quantity of booze that you like in your glass. Order a G&T for example and preparado will arrive as a single glass with a single shot mixed with tonic, para compartir will arrive in two glasses, both with ice but one filled to the top with gin and a bottle of tonic on the side. Even by the time you have split this into two glasses you can end up with a drink pretty heavy on the alcohol side… ideal for getting the night started or for finishing it off, not ideal for a hangover (especially if you are looking at gin nacional).

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GETTING HUNGRY FOR BA’S FOOD SCENE Sorrel Moseley-Williams is a British expat who has been tucking into BA’s gastronomy scene since her arrival in 1998.

Aramburu by Pablo Baracat Aramburu by Pablo Baracat

While tackling a vast Argentine steak on home turf is the stuff of travel fantasies for many visitors, in fact the Buenos Aires gastro scene is so hot right now that it goes beyond swallowing chunks of tender rib-eye. That’s not to say that taking on a kilo of beef should be dismissed, far from it. And while BA isn’t the Latin American version of New York in terms of variety and fusion, it’s definitely going through a spell of creativity. From tasting menus to pop-ups and chef collaborations and specialist food markets, the BA gastro scene should sate the most demanding of palates.

YOUNG GUNS While the hottest chefs in BA have their own private members’ club, that’s not to say they don’t share the love. Team GAJO (Gastronomía Argentina Joven), which adheres to the nueva cocina argentina concept by applying elaborate techniques to local ingredients, often gathers for one-off events at each others’ restaurants, dispelling the myth that too many cooks spoil the broth. Given that most of the members ranked in the 2013 edition of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list, it would be a sin not to familiarise yourself with at least one GAJO restaurant. While one lady chef, Soledad Nardelli from Puerto Madero’s Chila rules the male-dominated roost thanks to her presence on the small screen on El Gourmet, other young guns to watch out for include Paraje Arevalo and Local Restó’s Matías Kyriazis, Hernán Gipponi from Fierro Hotel’s HG Restaurant, Gonzalo Aramburu from Aramburu and Astor Manduque Porteño’s Antonio Soriano. A fixed menu will whet tastebuds at bistro style Paraje Arevalo (Arevalo 150, 011 4775-7759, on Facebook), while the more contemporary HG (Soler 5862, 011 3220-6820 www.fierrohotel. com) specialises in five-, seven- and nine-course paired tasting menus. An intimate evening at Aramburu (Salta 1050, 011 4305 0439, www.arambururesto.com.ar), whose wine pairings are


put together by one of Argentina’s top sommeliers Agustina de Alba, is a breathtaking culinary show that lasts for 12 epic courses. Astor (Ciudad de la Paz 353, 011 4554-0802, www.astorbistro), meanwhile, takes great pleasure in showing of seasonal ingredients and changes the menu up on a weekly basis. As for the first lady of nueva cocina argentina, TV chef Nardelli is extremely dedicated to cooking exclusively with Argentine ingredients at Chila (Alicia Moreau de Justo 1160, 011 43436067 www.chilaweb.com.ar) – expect Paraná river fish, prawns from Chubut and rice sourced from Entre Ríos. For more specific fare, El Baqueano (Chile 495, 011 4342-0802 www.restoelbaqueano.com) does an excellent job specialising in native meats – think yacaré alligator, wild boar and llama – while the self-proclaimed “bistronomie” menu that has a strong French focus applied by Darío Gualtieri at Casa Umare (362 Billinghurst, 011 4861 2030, www.casaumare.com) is mouthwatering. The nueva cocina argentina doesn’t just stop with the GAJO grouping chefs, however. Fine dining also comes in the shape of the Cow Sequence, a captivating top-to-toe beef menu created by Dante Liporace at Tarquino (Rodriguez Peña 1967, 011 6091-2160, www.tarquinorestaurante.com.ar); the longestablished and impeccable Tomo 1 that takes simplicity and complexity to a new level (Carlos Pellegrini 561, 011 4326 6698 www.tomo1.com.ar) led by Federico Fialayre; while Jean Paul Boudoux’s La Bourgogne at the Alvear Palace Hotel (Avenida Alvear 1891, 011 4805-3857) can be relied upon for the finest French cuisine. CLOSED DOORS Essentially the Buenos Aires food trend of the past five years, closed-door restaurants – where a chef opens up their home to cook for an intimate few – could be nearing saturation point. Although plenty of flavours and cuisines haven’t reached BA as yet, experience shows that with so many puertas cerradas to choose from, it’s best stick to those with established reputations for the best value-quality ratio. (Kudos, of course, to every Tom, Ricardo and Harry turning to the kitchen to try and make a quick buck…) Note that these restaurants will generally only provide the address on reservation, might require a small deposit and only accept cash. The undisputed queen of closed doors is Christina Sunae from South-East Asian restaurant Cocina Sunae (www.cocinasunae. com). Although she wasn’t the first on the scene, US-born, Phillipines-raised Sunae has made the concept her own -and she holds it in spades: hosting at her Chacarita home, offering a communal table to larger parties, retaining smaller ones for couples requiring intimacy, a blinding Thai/Filipino/Vietnamese four-course menu that changes each week, one of the most competitive set menu prices in the city and dishes zipped up with chillis picked straight from her terrace garden. Other foreign cooks to make their mark on the closed-door scene include NOLA Buenos Aires (www.nolachef.net), courtesy of New Orleans transplant and bundle of energy Liza Puglia; Colombian Santiago Macías brings Caribbean flair to

Cocina Sunae by Duff and Frances Phography

Cocina Sunae by Duff and Frances Phography

NOLA by Jocelyn Mandryk

NOLA by Jocelyn Mandryk

Casa Saltshaker Toro 777

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Toro 777

Adentro Dinner Club

Adentro Dinner Club

Jueves a la Mesa by Ramiro Landeo

Jueves a la Mesa by Ramiro Landeo One Table by Jocelyn Mandryk

Villa Crespo at I Latina (www.ilatinabuenosaires.com); and the long-established Casa Saltshaker from the able hands of North American Dan Perlman. Puerta cerradas aren’t just limited to expat chefs, however, and Argentines have been at the forefront of this trend. Main game players include Diego Félix’s Casa Félix, a splendid example of a pescatarian restaurant; 30 Sillas by Ezequiel Gallardo, offering contemporary twists on Argentine classics; Paladar (www. paladarbuenosaires.com.ar), run by an on-the-ball husband-andwife team; and Casa Coupage (www.casacoupage.com), a sommelier-led affair dealing in modern Argentine cuisine. New face on the scene is Toro 777 (www.toro777.com) in Chacarita, a friendly and cute affair with a creative five-course menu that is one of the more economical such restaurants around. Of course, carnivores and herbivores are exclusively catered to as well. Adentro Dinner Club (www.adentrodinnerclub. com) flame-grills once a week while Steaks by Luis (www. steakbuenosaires.net) is a new addition on the scene. Those with an aversion to grilled meats should take a direct line to San Telmo and Jueves a la Mesa (www.juevesalamesa.wordpress. com), the vegetarian, often vegan, brainchild of North American yoga teacher Meghan Lewis. COOK COLLABORATIONS The current big thing getting foodies in a feeding frenzy is chef collaborations. At the start of February Christina Sunae and Gonzalo Bazterrica from Ocho Once closed-door restaurant brought together their respective South-East Asian and French repertoires to sell out two nights; Astor’s Soriano has teamed up with chef Yago Márquez to host a night of indoor street food; the very same Márquez guest-cheffed at Hernán Gipponi’s weekly One Table dinner last month; and (pause for breath) Gipponi has also collaborated with Mendoza’s Chef Mun – Soriano, Sunae and Bazterrica have also popped up together at Astor. But one of the most exciting gastro collaborations projects around is El Baqueano’s. Each month, cook and award-winning owner Fernando Rivarola invites guests chefs from around Latin America to join forces for his Cocina sin Fronteras (cooking without boundaries) project. Big names have included Peru’s Gastón Acurio and Brazil’s Alex Atala to share Rivarola’s kitchen for one night only – although they come with a price tag, these meal tickets are the hottest in town. Other pop-up events include the weekly Fuudis (fuudis.com) neighbourhood tours and Bröeders Beer Night, led by the aforementioned NOLA chef who whips up southern-style fried chicken and biscuits with her brew-master other half Francisco. Also keep an eye out for the Greek Mobile Kitchen (www. cocinarodantegriega.blogspot.com), which changes location each dinner. One venue that dabbles frequently in pop-ups is Oasis Clubhouse, which has hosted the likes of Diego Félix, Christina Sunae and the now Mendoza-dwelling Mun Kim. The 5th Floor B&B (www.the5thfloorba.com), run by Brit and trained chef Miles Lewis, hosts irregular Vietnamese or vegan nights, indeed Miles himself might get in the kitchen. That should keep you busy eating for a while…


San Telmo is one of BA’s most historic barrios and has cobblestone plazas and handsome older architecture dotted around the neighbourhood as well as new modern apartments and colourful graffiti making it a mish mash of then and now. Littered with antiques markets and design stores, this is the hot spot for second hand knick knacks as well as serious antique furniture purchases that will set you back a few thousand. This is not a spot for bargain hunters but more for shopaholics who will find this browsing heaven.

By Amanda Barnes

WHERE TO EAT Café San Juan Chef Leandro Cristobal is a skater and a tattoo aficionado and his unique personal style is reflected in his simple but adventurous dishes. With the menu scrawled on chalkboards and changing on an almost daily basis, this has become a firm favourite of Portenos and tourists so much so that a spin off sister restaurant has opened nearby on Chile 474 (La Cantina de San Juan). Tapas and typical Argentine dishes with a twist served in a retro style diner. Café San Juan, San Juan 450 (between Bolivar and Defensa), San Telmo (11) 4300-1112. Reservations recommended. Open Lunch & Dinner. Closed Mondays. $$$

La Panaderia de Pablo A boulangerie style place where you can sit down to a brunch, hearty lunch or relaxed dinner with an emphasis on bruschettas, sandwiches and big salads. If you have a sweet tooth or are on an anti-atkins diet this is your place to tuck into different tarts,

Photo by Amanda Barnes

pastries, cookies, muffins and breads, and bring a doggy bag to enjoy Pablo’s delights a little longer at home. La Panaderia de Pablo, Defensa 269 (Corner of Moreno), San Telmo (11) 43316728. Open daily Breakfast & Lunch, Thurs – Sat Dinner. $$

El Baquedano While carne is king in Argentina, there are some other carnes that often get neglected while all eyes are on the revered cow. This restaurant celebrates all the other meats of Argentina: llama, chinchilla, wild boar, rheas and even alligator. It is Mar del Plata chef Fernando Rivarola who is championing the underside of Argentina’s carnivorous food culture and he does it with great style in a seven course tasting menu or a la carte. Don’t miss the llama carpaccio. El Baquedano, Chile 495 (corner of Bolivar), San Telmo (11) 9 3671 8602. Dinner Tues – Sat. $$$$$

THE MARKETS For little trinklets and antiques try Mundo Antiguo, Defensa 566, which

has rows of small stands displaying all their wears. Further along the same road you will find another mini market at Defensa 834 which is basically a glorified indoor garage that can get a bit hot in the summer as most of the vendors seem to sell hundreds of lights and chandeliers. The main antiques market is the Mercado de San Telmo, Defensa 963, with the biggest concentration of stalls that sell everything from fresh vegetables, retro matchboxes and old leather handbags to second hand clothing and a uncountable treasure trove of antiques.

LITERARY HAUNTS La Poesia This is a longtime literary hangout that used to be graced by freethinkers and writers during the end of the military dictatorship. Nowadays it is more of a tourist haunt as well as homing a loyal legion of locals that come for the traditional argentine menu, artisanal beer and attractive pulperia decor with hams hanging from the ceiling and tango memorabilia around the walls.

San Telmo sundays by Izabel Kapteyn

S TE


Café San Juan Plaza Dorrego El Solar de French El Rufian Melancolico

SAN TELMO

Antiques Market

Antiques Market

El Baquedano La Poesia Antiques Market SECTOR MAP

La Panaderia de Pablo Aldo’s Vinoteca Bebop

El Rufian Melancolico An Aladdin’s cave of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 111th hand books, El Rufian Melancolico is stacked high to the rafters with books, magazines, postcards and old photos. Great for digging with a small collection of English language and French books. Don’t leave without checking out the record shop upstairs. Bolivar 857.

A DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE BOX Indulge in all your cocoa fantasies with this artisanal chocolatier where you’ll find hand painted and hand sculpted chocolate architecture alongside cognac spiked chocolate alfajors. Tucked away in the smart Galeria El Solar de French, an attractive gallery

with design shops and boutique stores. Kakawa, Galeria El Solar de French, Defensa 1066.

into your soul, as will the seductive cocktails and impressive wine list. If you can keep your foot from tapping

PLAZA DORREGO

long enough they also serve a good menu for dinner. Bebop & Aldo’s Vinoteca, Moreno 364/372, (11) 4334 2380. Open daily, all day.

With tango dancers and an artisan market, the plaza always attracts a fair crowd, especially on a Sunday where the antiques market sees it jam packed with visitors. Sit back with a coffee in one of the many cafes around the plaza, and enjoy the mid week peace or the weekend madness. Just be sure to mind your pockets here, as with any popular tourist spot it is equally as popular with petty criminals.

JAZZ BABY If you’ve had enough of tango and want to get back to some serious jazz, do yourself a favour and go to Aldo’s place. A brand new jazz club has just opened in his basement which promises to offer live music twice nightly of not just jazz, but “all the good things” as owner and music buff Aldo Graziani puts it. The intimate venue will get the beat straight

Tango wallets by Izabel Kapteyn

Izabel Kapteyn. Izabel is a travelling photographer who loves to get her snaps of not just a flavour of the places she visits but also the many different faces of a city or village. Check out her project highlighting local stories and characters at www.travelbypolaroid.com

Don’t miss the notice board on the way out covered in poetic scribblings from customers written on napkins pinned to the wall - proof that there are literary types that still frequent his 19th century inn. Chile 502 (corner of Bolivar).

Book store, rufianoby Izabel Kapteyn

43


Welcome to Argentina: the land of pizza, pasta and parilla! There is so much more to Buenos Aires’ food scene though and this is a quick glance guide to some of the gastronomy gems you can discover in the city. Don’t forget that Argentineans dine late at night with most restaurants not opening much before 8pm and often still serving till gone midnight. Lunch is usually noon to 3pm. CASA CRUZ This restaurant has a long history of providing top quality food, and now having been taken back over by sommelier and foodie Aldo Graziani Casa Cruz is back on top of its game with some of the best steak in town and a more relaxed atmosphere. Perky jazz and an eclectic mix of music set the scene for this upscale yet unpretentious restaurant where you can order delicious cocktails or wine from a list that will take any wine lover at least an hour to pick from. Pick a red though because the best thing here is the steak: juicy with a distinctive, rich flavour hinged with herbal notes and a smoky finish – the secret of how they cook it remains in the kitchen. Argentine beef at its best. Of course if you aren’t a meat eater, there are homemade pastas, plenty of fish and great tapas style starters to pick from. Expect beautifully done argentine classics like a big milanesa as well as healthy and fresh Mediterranean style cuisine. Casa Cruz is back, and in good form. Casa Cruz, Uriarte 1658 (between El Salvador and Honduras) Palermo (11) 4833 1112. $$$$

SARKIS Serving food as if it were in Armenia, and un-translated menus to match, this is a great spot for those on a budget who want to taste some proper Middle Eastern food. Busy, simple, and sometimes a bit rushed – this isn’t your spot for a fancy date but it will keep you happy with its keppe, big portions and unpretentious Armen-tinean flavours.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $

0 / 50 50 / 125 125 / 175 175 / 250 over 250

Pesos per person for average meal (main + starter/dessert, excluding drinks)

Sarkis, Thames 1101 (between Jufré and Lerma), Villa Crespo (11) 4772 4911. Open daily Lunch & Dinner. $ SUCRE Voted one of Latin America’s Top 50 restaurants, Sucre is not short of bookings. But if you get a table at this chic and minimalist restaurant in Belgrano, you are in for some of the best fusion food around town. Chef Fernando Trocca blends Mediterranean cuisine with Japanese, Peruvian and Argentine influences to create fresh and inspiring dishes. Using seasonal produce he is also a big fan of using every part of the renowned Argentine cow so expect to see some less common cuts of meat. For a more pocket friendly experience of Sucre, try out their lunch menu which has 2 courses for $170. Sucre, Sucre 676 (between Figueroa Alcorta and Castañeda) Belgrano (11) 4782 9082. Reservations 24 hours previously online, open daily Lunch & Dinner. $$$$$ BELLAGAMBA If you want a traditional Argentine ‘bodegon’ (tavern) Bellagamba is probably one of the most centrally located ones still sending out milanesas and jugs of wine at lunch time the same way it did since opening in 1900. Started by a couple Italian immigrants, the motive behind this bodegon is filling food and a place to eat in a cosy atmosphere. Cheap, cheerful and authentic. Bellagamba, Rivadavia 2183 (between Junin and Uriburu), Congreso (11) 49515833. Open daily 8 till mid afternoon. $$ BAR DU MARCHE A French inspired bistro where you can get - hold your breath - real cheese! While most queso around the country is disappointingly bland and cremoso, Bar du Marche offers a seriously good cheese platter and Francophiles can delight in Foie Gras too. The desserts and rest of the food are pretty fab, and you can pick from 50 wines by the glass. All the food is also

PRICE GUIDE

RESTAURANT GUIDE

available as a takeaway service, and there is a great closed-door sushi restaurant above. Bar du Marche, Nicaragua 5946 (between Arevelo and Ravignani), Palermo (11) 4778 1050. Open Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Closed Sundays. $$$ COCINA SUNAE There are many closed door restaurants in Buenos Aires nowadays but Cocina Sunae is one the most established and has one of the most unique proposals – offering great value Asian cuisine often not found in this part of the world. Christina Sunae has been in the kitchen since she was 14 learning from her Filipino family as well as taking inspiration from time spent travelling Asia and years cooking in New York. Starting out five years ago Christina began by just cooking for friends but word about her tempting culinary skills spread and now the home restaurant sits up to 70 in two sittings per night. With four courses inspired by the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia you’ll be treated to some of Christina’s home comforts like Thai shrimp curry, tangy Ube crepes filled with wok veg, and cashew cream and merengue dessert with green tea ice cream. The menu changes every week but there’s always a trademark tickle of spice. If you have been in Argentina too long and want to feel some real heat just try a dollop of the homemade hot sauce real kick and can be packed away in your handbag to take home. Another delight to take home is her cookery book, where you’ll find many (although not all) of her secret family recipes. Cocina Sunae, (secret location) Colegiales, (15) 4870 5506, www.cocinasunae.com $$$


Chan Chan, Hipólito Yrigoyen 1390 (between San José and Santiago del Estero) Congresso (11) 4382 8492 Lunch & Dinner, Closed Mondays. $$ GREEN CURRY One of the number one foods an expat will moan about missing while living in Argentina is curry. A post pub staple for some at home, it’s surprisingly absent here in the Southern Cone. You can however cure your hangover or lunch time craving with a spicy (ish) curry in the city centre at this cheap and quick lunch spot. Thai curries and healthy wraps and salads never go amiss and service here is quick. Tucuman 271 (corner 25 de Mayo) Microcentro (11) 4312-8337. Mon – Fri Lunch. $ DON JULIO A classic parilla place in Buenos Aires, Don Julio is often on people’s ‘not to miss’ list

Don Julio, Guatemala 4691 (corner Gurruchaga), Palermo (11) 4831 9564. Open daily Lunch & Dinner. $$$ SIAMO NEL FORNO Even though Argentina has a huge Italian influence, most of the pizza here can be disappointing with thick, spongy bases, an inch of plastic cheese and an inundation of grease. Siamo nel Forno however makes pizza like you’d expect it in Naples: thin crispy base, with a tasty splash of tomato and only a sprinkle of for formaggio. Cooked in a real wood oven you’ll be crying mamma mia over your margherita. Don’t miss trying the Nutella pizza for dessert. Siamo nel Forno, Costa Rica 5886 (between Ravignani and Carranza) Palermo (11) 4775-0337. Dinner Tue – Sun. $$

PABLO ORTIZ AVILA

DESIGNER

To step into Peru and the land of spice and ceviche, try out Chan Chan in the Congresso neighbourhood. With a simple décor and unpretentious service what shines is the fresh cuisine that brings a little taste of Lima into a dark street in Buenos Aires. Affordable and tasty.

for visiting the city and with packed tables almost every night you can see why. A rustic restaurant that doesn’t lend too much to the eye but the slabs of beef they serve will please any meat lover like a pig in muck. The wine trained servers will also be able to help you pick out a top choice Malbec to go with your steak. If you order one of the pricier bottles you’ll be asked to sign the bottle with your reflections on the meal to be displayed around the restaurant.

GRAPHIC

CHAN CHAN


El gin artesanal argentino necesitaba una tonica artesanal que le haga compaĂąia.

conocelos a los dos en la casa de su creador tato giovannoni. floreria atlantico - arroyo 872 2013 drinks international best bar in latin america & caribbean


BAR GUIDE The nickname of a ‘city that doesn’t sleep’ doesn’t come from Buenos Aires’ office culture… but rather its addictive nightlife scene. Any night of the week you can head out for a few cocktails, a local brew or rave into dawn at a nightclub. Live music and nightclubs start late (11pm for music, 3am for nightclubs), but with a new crop of happy hours throughout the city your night can start relatively early. There is an exhausting number of bars and nightlife spots, but here is a selection of different types of bars to get you started. PUERTA UNO

VERNE COCKTAIL CLUB

Once a secret bar, the secret is pretty much out now about Puerta Uno but it still has that underground vibe as you turn up to the unmarked door and should remember the owner’s names – Robertino and Marcelo – just in case. Once in, the bar opens up to a series of patios with evolving decoration and a DJ keeping the atmosphere buzzing. Cocktails are the order of the night and the barmen do some convincing sake and fruit potions.

As the name suggests, this is a bar dedicated to creative cocktails. Opened last year, this Palermo bar is already drawing in good crowds who come for the neat twists on old classics. If you really have a hangover wish for the morning, try their absinth tasting menu.

Puerta Uno, Juramento 1667 (corner of Arribeños), Belgrano (Barrio Chino). (11) 4706 1522. Tues – Sat after 9pm.

GRAN BAR DANZON

SKY BAR The best known rooftop bar in the city, Sky Bar is on the 13th floor of Hotel Pulitzer in the city centre making it ideal for reaching some cooler Summer air and enjoying a view over the night city lights. A popular ‘after office’ spot and also ideal for downing a couple cocktails at sunset, although the DJ plays well into the night too. Sky Bar, Hotel Pulitzer, Maipu 907 (corner of Paraguay), Centre (11) 4316 0800, Daily after 5pm. FLORERIA ATLANTICO Entering through an afterhours florist-cumwine shop-cum-record store has to be one of the more unique entrances for a bar, and that’s the only way to get into this new bar and restaurant in Retiro. Owned by a top mixologist and a super sommelier, the drinks here are to die for of course, as are the tapas and food. Dedicated to the immigrant tribes of Argentina, you’ll find cocktails twisted with Italian Aperol, Spanish sherry, French cognac and English Earl Grey. A creative and cool spot for those who really know their booze. Floreria Atlantico, Arroyo 872 (between Suipacha and Esmeralda), Retiro (11) 4313 6093. Mon – Sat, 10am – 3am

Verne Cocktail Club, Medrano 1475 (corner of Costa Rica), Palermo (11) 4822 0980. Daily from 9pm till late.

One of the stalwarts of the bar scene, Danzon has been one of BA’s happy hour favourites since forever and everyone stays throughout the night for the good food, cool music and beautiful people. A bustling atmosphere and usually packed with people it is above ground level in the Recoleta neighbourhood. Gran Bar Danzon, Libertad 1161 (between Santa Fe and Arenales), Recoleta, (11) 4811 1108, open daily from 7/8pm CAFÉ MARGOT A real treasure, Café Margot has a history stretching back to 1904 and a step into this bar/café feels like a step back into history with dusty bottled lined walls and lots of olde-worlde memorabilia. Beer is brewed here each morning and their homebrew is served throughout the week, as is decent bar food. The waiters will rave about their turkey – which is served in countless sarnies here – and actually claim to have invented the turkey sandwich (just go along with it!)Unpretentious spot for a coffee and step back into a different century.

get tango, jazz, swing and anything else that has continued to sound good over the last few decades. Even the prices hark back to a time before. La Casa del Sr Duncan, Av Rivadavia 3832 (between Medrano and Salguero), Almargo, (11) 4958 3633. 8pm till late Tues – Sat. Check out their facebook/SeniorDuncan for listings. LA CIGALE One of the best music bars in the city centre, La Cigale has a bit of je ne sais quoi. Apart from the trendy French theme, they hit it right on the head with their live music which ranges from electro nights to vintage spinning, as well as a space upstairs for bands. If you get there early, indulge in the daily happy hour from 6 till 10pm. La Cigale, 25 de Mayo 597 (corner Tucuman), Centre (11) 4893 2332, Mon – Fri from 6pm, Sat from 9.30pm. LIVERPOOL Although the thought of Beatles paraphernalia might make you cringe, this Brit pop themed bar actually hosts some pretty decent live bands. With a proper stage equipped for musicians, most nights you get a band play and afterwards it turns into a nightclub. Liverpool Bar, Arevalo 1376 (between Cordoba and Alvarez Thomas), Palermo (11) 5355 7632. Mon – Sat nights. ALSINA

SR DUNCAN

It is fitting that BA’s best club is practically in a palace. With a capacity of up to 1500, Alsina is its own principality of party. The main floor is filled with a throbbing mass of clubbers will the upstairs balconies offer a little bit of respite and a good people spotting platform looking over the crowd. Alsina attracts international names and hosts a party every night of the week.

A converted mansion with a penchant for swing and tinkling piano notes, Sr Duncan is a handsome live music venue where you’ll

Alsina, Adolfo Alsina 940 (between Bernando de Irigoyen and Tacuari), Montserrat (11) 4331 3231. Daily from midnight.

Café Margot, Av. Boedo 857 (corner of San Ignacio), Boedo, (11) 4957 0001. Daily 8am till late.


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PLAYGROUND BUENOS AIRES - ED.1 - ABRIL/MAYO - 2014  
PLAYGROUND BUENOS AIRES - ED.1 - ABRIL/MAYO - 2014  
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