Leather and Beef
05.01.2010 - 08.01.2010 26 °C
The last few days have been very busy exploring this city. We have ranked this our top city of the trip so far. We have not spent alot of time in Europe yet, so this has a dab of Paris, Spain, North America and South America all spun together. It’s been a great city and we could easily spend a week here. We slept in the first morning (our bed reminds us of Sylvan Lake and it just sucked the life out of us) and caught up on emails, now that we can send from here. (for some reason, Brazil was blocking our emails). We found a harmony restaurant beside our hotel (not a hamburger joint like back in Waterloo) but served great salads for $5.00.
After our tummies were full, it was off to explore the city. We easily became tunnel rates and used the subway as our means of transportation. (the C line station is right beside our hotel and very handy). The first day we checked out the Palermo/Soho neighbourhood, where locals go to shop. This area was middle class and the shops were mostly liquidation centers, not what we were looking for. So we moved to Sante Fe Avenue and walked this street back to our hotel. There were some great stores along here, but we have been cautious of what we can pack with us.
Yesterday, we decided we would buy some leather and send a fed ex box back to Darcy (expect something in the next month buddy). As well, we have discovered we can actually dispose of some clothes. Even though we haven’t taken much with us, we can get away with less than earlier expected. So as I write this blog, Darwin is sorting through our clothes and packing our fedex box.
We wanted to research the leather shops before we purchased, so off to Murillo street where 15 discount leather shops are located. After this trip, we realized the leather shop our concierge recommended across the street from us (Sylvia y Mario) is excellent quality. So we went back there and Darwin has a new leather blazer and I bought a coat and belt made from Capybara. It is the world’s largest rodent and is excellent quality leather but very small hides to work with as these are much smaller animals than cows. I wanted something unique from Argentina so decided on this instead of their lovely floral leather.
We finally found Dwayne’s Starbuck mug as he requested and we also found maps of Chile/Mendoza for when we return in a week to tour the wine region.
We came back to the room and decided tonight was the night to try Argentina Beef. We have been walking around the city for over 5 hours and were starving. So the concierge recommended La Brigada. This is a local steakhouse in a small neighbourhood, not near the tourist warehouse or Florida neighbourhoods. So off we went, Darwin decked out in his new blazer and belt. La Brigada is a small restaurant with a great pianist in the main section of the bar (we had to tip him and request Don’t Cry for me Argentina like any tourist. It was worth it). The step at the bottom of the legs of the stools held up soccer balls between the four legs. These were all signed by various players and was a first for us to see. We asked the waiter to suggest a bottle of wine for us at $280 pesos ($70US) and he brought us a great Malbec that is supposedly the best with steak. When we looked at the bottle, we had to chuckle as it was an “O Fournier” vintage – a vineyard that Gord recommended we visit while in Mendozza. So it was meant to be a great meal and it was.....we ordered tenderloins with mushrooms and asked for some sliced tomatoes. At the table next to us, the group ordered a beef roast and indeed the waiter was carving the meat with a spoon – the legend of this restaurant according to our concierge. We could do this back in Alberta but what a great “bragging right”. We were famished and the meal did not disappoint. The steak was indeed delicious and definitely compares to our Alberta Beef. Our only minor disappointment was our waiter must have thought we were American, so medium rare was not really medium rare – but the meat was fantastic. We were full and fell asleep within minutes upon arriving back to our room.
Today we once again travelled via the subway and headed back to Playa de Mayo, where the pink palace is located (Presidential offices and where Eva Peron made her famous speech to Argentinians in the ‘40s). This is called the “A” line on their subway and is the only place you can ride the original cars from the early 1900’s. They were very cool and worth the trip down to the area.
We walked to the Calatrava Bridge and ventured across. This area is called Puerto Madero and is essentially their warehouse district. We laughed when we were informed this bridge was donated by the Hilton Hotel (to connect them to the main part of the city) and did not cost the taxpayers any money. After all the controversy over the same architect designing Calgary’s new Peace Bridge, why couldn’t we arrange this deal back in Calgary (oops is that my inner voice speaking).
Then off to find the Masonic Lodge which took us past the obelisk and the diamond district (Karen/Jeff not nearly as good as NYC). However Buenos Aires has the third largest number of Jews after Tel Aviv and NYC). The lodge is located in prime real estate area on General J. D. Peron Ave. But it was not open for Darwin to investigate. A few blocks away was the tango area, where you buy shoes, suits and dresses. But we could not find a women’s fedora for me to bring back. So that was a bit disappointing.
We then headed off to Ave Alvear (Beverly Hills of Buenos Aires) and checked out a few high end shops for some good shoes. However, we did not find anything we liked and were pooped, so ended up at a small cafe by Recoleta Cemetary, having an afternoon cocktail. We headed back to the hotel and enjoyed an hour by the pool relaxing and actually enjoying the books we brought along (yep Kev he actually knows the name of the book that he was going to read on the cruise before you arrived).
We have rated Buenos Aires our second favourite city after NYC. Even though we prefer rural areas, we could easily get accustomed to this city. If anyone is thinking of travelling here, the Plaza Marriott is very conveniently located in the heart of Florida Street (main shopping street) and close to the subway. But...these beds are the best and you definitely get a good night sleep after a long day.