How do I love Buenos Aires? Let me count the ways. On our first trip (13 years ago) Brandon and I so loved the city that we made plans to return six months later. On our second trip, we got engaged, while on a side trip to Santiago during a month-long stay. At the end of that trip, I implored Brandon to stay. Always the practical one, I was willing to leave it all behind for a life of steak and wine, tango and polo…until Brandon soberly reminded me that we needed to finish law school. We’ve been a few times since then, but never for longer than a week. When we started planning our year-long adventure, we knew that Buenos Aires deserved more that a few weeks. So we rented an apartment in Palermo for two months. As usual, BA did not disappoint.
We kicked off our stay with a few nights at the Park Hyatt, where we joined their New Year’s Eve celebration. It was a great time.
I was so excited to learn that two of my college girlfriends were in town at the same time. We had dinner at La Cabrera, one of the classic Buenos Aires steakhouses, and a girls’ night at one of my favorites, Victoria Brown. A secret bar with with a cafe front, Victoria Brown is a true speakeasy, complete with creative drinks.
Good friends of ours from back home in Los Angeles (who love BA as much as we do), recommended the new steakhouse in Palermo, La Carniceria. They were so right. I went a total of three times during our two months. I also became a fixture at the chef’s casual sister restaurant, Chori, which happened to be a two block walk from our apartment. La Carniceria has a smoked provoleta that will change your life. I love the traditional grilled provoleta, but smoking it just takes it to another level. The ribeye is heavenly. I still crave it, months later. Chori has the best chorizo sandwiches in the city, hands down. It also becomes a neighborhood hangout on nights and weekends, sometimes with a resident DJ.
I love BA’s Chinatown, and on this visit I managed to find a tiny Koreatown. The food at Una Cancion Coreana was so good. I loved the spicy soup and kimchi, as well as the scallion pancake. It really is a small world…I talked to the owner and found out her mom lives in LA.
Another new find was Floreria Atlantico. One of the 50 best bars in the world, Floreria is cool (you enter through a florist’s shop facade and come into the bar through a “secret” door) yet refreshingly unpretentious. The bartenders are amazing. They come up with the best custom drinks based on a few characteristics. The drink menu is also great, if you’re not feeling adventurous. Honorable mention goes to Verne Cocktail Club, suggested by my friend Denise. In addition to an adorable drink menu, they have a great selection of cocktails from around the world. Doppelgänger is a newer bar in San Telmo. The drinks are good, but unusually pricey. On a a non-alcoholic note, there was a great juice place around the corner from us. We stopped at the Factory almost every morning to get our greens and fruit in…before days filled with steak, pasta, and copious amounts of wine.
I always love the empanadas. Beef and ricotta with ham are my usual favorites. En La Cocina was great for no-nonsense empanadas. For the famed milanese, I had to try Don Ignacio. The “king of milanesas” clearly knew what he was doing.
For brunch, we tried Cafe Crespin. Brunch for two included poached eggs with ham and hollandaise, hash browns, an English muffin, and an arugula salad. All were delicious.
On our last day, we had brunch with Denise at the Four Seasons restaurant, Elena. It was phenomenal. We used to brunch at the Alvear Palace, but their brunch pales in comparison. Elena’s brunch literally had everything. Seafood, pasta, steak, gelato…you name it, it was there and scrumptious. If it wasn’t out, you just had to ask. The brunch was inclusive of a half bottle of champagne. The service was impeccable. My only regret is that we didn’t go earlier, because we probably would have been there every Sunday.
I’m ready to go back to Buenos Aires as soon as possible. Until then, my taste buds will have to settle for pictures.