So my brother decided that we needed to celebrate our 40th birthday by visiting Buenos Aires. For me, I saw this as an incredible opportunity to explore a city that has recently become an international foodie destination. I also needed an excuse to practice my Spanish -- and what better opportunity than to read menus and speak to people in restaurants? This and several successive blogposts will detail my culinary adventures large and small in this exciting city.
After settling in to the apartment in Recoleta, we decided we needed a quick bite in the neighborhood, then an afternoon nap. I was hoping for street foood, or some equivalent of Argentine fast food -- there were billboards for the McDonald's Angus burger on the highway from the airport into the city -- but who knew what we would find locally?
Three blocks away, we found our first conquest, Rigoletto Cafe.
Rigoletto Cafe, Rodriguez Pena 1291
At 2:30 in the afternoon, this would be considered late for lunch in the U.S., but the restaurant was bustling with businesspeople, thirtysomething couples, and the Argentine version of The Ladies Who Lunch. No English spoken here -- nor on the menus -- so I ordered a recognizable "ravioli" for my brother and the very first chicken dish listed in the "Aves" section of the menu. We also asked for a small green salad as an appetizer. Below are the main courses:
The ravioli was "heavenly," according to Sean -- it went so fast, I didn't have a chance to have a sample. The chicken had a nice sear -- you can see the light-brown crust at the top of the plate -- and the cream sauce didn't have that pasty-roux aftertaste. The vegetables you see are actually a substitution for rice -- an interesting mix of onions, peppers, mushrooms, and red cabbage. Mixed with the almond cream sauce of the chicken, it was outstanding.
Sean's ravioli lunch special came with a choice of postre, or dessert. Sean chose the Brownie with Ice Cream, which we thought was a little too Chili's- or TGIF-sounding for Buenos Aires, but here is what arrived at the table next:
It turned out to be an individual molten chocolate cake, which does seem to be on menus everywhere these days, but according to Sean, it was divine.
No coffee for us, as we needed to take a nap after a long day of traveling and unpacking. On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at the Buenos Aires equivalent of a New York City bodega, in hopes of picking up some quick items for the apartment. To my surprise, there are Doritos in Argentina.
Not quite as thick as Doritos in the U.S., but still the same powdery cheese flavor!
Next up: my first Bistec de Lomo, at the pest parrilla in Buenos Aires.