Thursday, April 29, 2010

36th Annual Buenos Aires Book Fair

One of our tour books highly recommended this Feria de Libros as not to be missed.  It occurs once a year and apparently librarians from far and wide travel to Buenos Aires for the event.  We were quite disappointed upon arriving at the festival to find a glorified Barnes and Noble that you had to pay to enter.  All the books were new and overpriced and the fair seemed to be run by large book stores who had shelled out an unnecessary amount of money to create mid-sized commercial bookstores throughout the massive event space, much of which was catered to children.  Here are some photos of our experiences in the fair...

Apparently, we missed all the drama: later that day, violence broke out at the release of a book by journalist, Gustavo Noriega.  The book's controversial subject matter (which apparently criticizes the corrupt government statisticians) provoked some 10-15 people to begin throwing chairs into the audience.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Casa de John

John (friend from high school) has generously let us crash with him for the three weeks we've spent in Buenos Aires.  He lives in an amazing group house in the congreso neighborhood.  John and, believe it or not, his twenty roommates along with a handful of squatters like us inhabit a complex of three connected houses.  The setup of the house is tough to capture in photo, but here are some highlights...

One of the houses' three kitchens seen from the roofdeck

Inside one of the kitchen/living rooms

View of the cathedral across the street from John's roofdeck

Beautiful rooftop garden

This one's a bit confusing.  It's the view down into John's house and into the house below as well-- there are lots of roofless open areas like this in the complex.

Another kitchen/living room

house pet/devil-cat

Monday, April 26, 2010


Jesus Foosball
Montevideo, Uruguay


Argentinian meat is said to be some of the best in the world. The high-quality beef that's omnipresent in Argentine restaurants and supermarkets is famously hormone and cruelty free, and is extremely lean due to the amount of exercise that the cows receive in their open pastures. Given the fact that Rives and I watched Food Inc. the night before we left for South America, and have more or less sworn off American beef, we've been extrmely happy to indulge in Argentine carne. Some of our favorite meat-speriences:

Jumbo parilla in Montevideo's Marcado del Puerto, a charming, enormous marketplace filled with open parilla restaurants. (Technically in Uruguay, not Argentina, but close enough!)

This waiter was trying to explain the different cuts of meat to me, but I got a bit distracted.

Huge delicious steaks (ojo de bife and bife de chorizo) at Rosalia, a traditional parilla restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires. We requested that the steaks be "jugoso," or "juicy."

Brochette de lomo at La Cabrera, one of the most excellent (albeit, tourist-filled) steak houses in Buenos Aires. If you go here, get this. Service includes a bounty of outstanding free side dishes.

Choripan was our street food of choice in BsAs. Juicy chorizo, fresh crispy bread, and chimichurri. que rico.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Maté (Uruguay)

We've seen plenty of the popular beverage yerba maté so far in our travels, but nowhere has it been nearly as prevalent as here in Uruguay. It's hard to walk a block through the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, without passing a Uruguayan with gourd and thermos of hot water in hand happily sipping the infusion through a bombilla, a type of straw that strains the dried leaves as they steep in hot water. They drink it everywhere...sitting on the bus, walking along the boardwalk, lounging on the beach...

One lady--in the spirit of Uruguayan hospitality and kindness we've experienced here--offered us a sip from her gourd and explained to us how despite the widespread popularity of the beverage here in Montevideo, you can't order it in any bar or restaurant, everyone must carry around the gourd and thermos of hot water themselves.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homemade Empanadas

We recently discovered empanada wrappers sold for next to nothing at a grocery store in Buenos Aires...we were overjoyed and have made homemade empanadas several times since.  I'm sure that making the wrappers yourself can't be too difficult.  We'll definitely have to learn when we get back to the states.

You can put anything under the sun into these little wrappers.  This time, we chose to stuff them with steak, caramelized onions, celery, and roquefort.  We also made a sweet one with plum and roquefort that turned out great!

You can wrap them up in a number of different ways.

Then toss them in the oven for about 20 minutes...we would tell you a specific temperature, but John's oven is too broken to set and the empanadas seem to turn out tasty regardless.

Find stick to hold oven closed if necessary...


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yoga Farm

Apologies for infrequency of posts, as of late. We're revving back up, we promise, starting now!

Rives and I returned Friday night from five days at an organic yoga farm located 90km outside of Buenos Aires. The farm is run by Hare Krishnas who abstain from meat, eggs, onions, garlic, alcohol, and dating, among other things. As volunteers, each day we received lodging, yoga, tai chi, and meditation classes, and three delicious vegetarian meals in exchange for 5 hours of labor and $15 USD. We were really excited to detox and revitalize after a week full of red meat, red wine, and very little sleep in Buenos Aires. We convinced our friends Carlito and Alexi, with whom we'd met up in BsAs, to join us on the farm.

Unfortunately, it rained for three of the five days. Since we couldn't work on the farm in the rain and mud, we were relieved from volunteer duties, and, thus, spent hours on end lazing and reading and playing cards. By the end of day three of constant sleeping, being fed, and playing on the floor of the temple, we felt like enormous spoiled babies. It was awesome!

When the sun finally came out, we got a chance flex our (atrophied) muscles on the farm. We would have loved to have stayed longer than five days, but we had to be back in BsAs by Saturday morning for Lauren and Deirdre's arrival.

Inside the temple, where most of our classes took place. Ommmm shantiiiiii.

tai chi class

typical lunch: rice, salad, pureed sweet potatos, squash, spinach, and potatoes, fried whole-wheat chapati chips. yum.

Carlito working on the construction of a mud hut

tending the flower garden

Not bad, eh?

snack break

Rives and Susanne working the land

Our cozy bunk house

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Street Art

Buenos Aires has a thriving, prolific street art scene, the origins of which are often attributed to a backlash against the economic crisis that Argentina experienced in the early 2000s. The city's street art culture, bolstered by a lack of police interest in graffiti, provides constant, colorful entertainment on our long walks around the city.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Though food samples aren't as copious in South America as they are in, say, the Bowery Whole Foods, we do manage to track them down...
Crackers, jam with preserved lemons, spicy eggplant tapenade, and alfajores cookies at the San Telmo Sunday flea market. Boo yah!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Supertourists: Iguazu Falls, AR

On Monday we headed to Iguazu National Park with our friends Katie and Lea. We spent the day exploring the Iguazu Falls, which are taller than Niagra falls and twice as wide. Supertourism ensued.