Thursday, March 07, 2013

Fine dining

We find Buenos Aires to be very walkable and the streets are busy in the morning and late afternoon.  Many of the stores and restaurants are closed between 2 - 5pm and at 5 or so, traffic picks up.  Argentinians are like the Spanish, and enjoy their late nights with dinner at 9pm.

We walk 10 miles today starting with one of the world's greatest necropolises, Cementerio de Recoleto  14 acres of wide leafy avenues, narrow streets and small alleys. Among the 6,400 tombs and mausoleums, 70 are National Historic Monuments. The architecture is eclectic. It is like a city neighborhood.  Some crypts have 2 floors of basements holding up to 18 caskets each.   They stay in a family for generations but if they are sold, the caskets must be removed.  The crypts are airtight; occasionally one will leak and the bodies will decay giving off an odor.  We see how elaborate some of them are.

Eva Peron's tomb is a part of the Duarte family's tomb and no doubt the most visited since the movie Evita came out. After the cemetery tour, we walk through the Evita Peron museum dedicated to her history and then through the Musee de Belle Arts, the fine arts museum.  We sample Argentinian gelato, helado, which is more syrupy and custard like than Italian gelato,  and try to get wifi at Starbucks.  The weather report says 89 degrees but the breeze and clouds keep the air comfortable.  Recoleta has different feel than Palermo Soho where we are staying.  Void of graffiti, the area is upscale with modern hotels, touristy cafes and high end shopping. The streets are pretty empty and there are very few tourists, so the sidewalks are quiet, compared to the local daily activity of our hotel.  We see no evidence of "bird poop scam" or pick pocketing and begin to feel more at ease.  Day 2 with everything we own still intact!

Our greatest find of the day is a Fodors choice Las Pizarros Bistro on Thames and Charcas is around the corner and a few blocks from Esplendor Palermo Soho where we are staying.  Walking up to the building, you would never guess it was a restaurant.  When closed, the bars on the windows, no sign, and black heavy doors make it seem like a shuttered building.  It is by reservation only-doors are locked behind each guest that enters.  Many of the guests seem to know the chef and eachother. The menu appears on chalkboards hanging on the walls, and is always changing. Described as eclectic, the food is superbly prepared and delicious.  Small and intimate, the local chef visits and describes his preparation with us.  We start with rabbit, slow cooked for 7 hours then pan fried and shredded with leeks and zucchini. My pork loin sits on a bed of risotto and is accompanied by a nutty paste and an apricot chutney.  Ray's rib eye is a good cut and served on a bed if potatoes with beets and mushrooms.  The pear crumble tastes fresh and light.  Guests linger over wine and dessert, and we find this to be simply delightful.  We make plans to return the following day.


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