Category Archives: Food

Mendoza, Argentina wine tasting with Anuva Wines

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an Anuva Wines tasting to sample some of Mendoza’s finest grapes. Dan Karlin, one of the personalities behind the previously blogged-about BA Cast, invited me to the event, which was held at the sweetly French Rendez-Vous Hotel in Palermo Hollywood.

Five other Americans traveling through Buenos Aires were also present for the tasting, and we were all seated together at a table, filled with Anuva wine glasses and large, triangular white plates holding tapas to accompany the wine. The number was perfect; everyone had a chance to converse with each other, chatting about their travels, impressions of Buenos Aires and just how much they loved the wines we were trying.

The tasting was relaxed and informative, and something I am sure any wine lover would enjoy, whether he or she were a budding connoisseur or didn’t know a word of wine vocabulary. We tried each of the wines, by smelling and discussing first, tasting it and sharing our feedback, then trying each accompanied with the food pairings. Our host Sarah offered explanations and guidance, and we learned about Argentine history and along the way. I have visited vineyards in Mendoza and picked up a bit about Argentina in my 11 months in Buenos Aires, and I still learned quite a bit of new information about the country and its wines. (For example: The devastating Argentine economic crisis in 2001 actually helped propel the country’s wines into the global market.)

I expected the wines to be excellent, as they were, but what really impressed me was the food pairings. I had not expected food other than palate-cleansing crackers, also which were provided, and I walked in to a full, beautifully plated spread of thoughtful food accompaniments. While tourists stopping in Buenos Aires and attending a tasting might find, for example, the Persicco sorbets served delicious, I appreciated knowing that it really was the best of Buenos Aires and Argentina we were consuming.

Below is a detailed list of the five wine and traditional tapas food pairings at the tasting I attended. If you notice, as far as Malbecs go, we only tried a blend. The reasoning? Many people already identify Argentina with excellent Malbecs, Sarah said, while people are less aware of the other quality wines the Mendoza region produces, and that is what Anuva Wines is focused on showcasing.

  1. Hom Espumante sparkling wine + a modified Waldorf salad on crackers
  2. Carinae Torrontés + two Persicco fruit sorbets, orange-peach and frutiera
  3. Mairena Bonarda + a traditional picada with a slice of Fontina, Romanito and salamin and longaniza meats
  4. San Gimignano Syrah Roble + a beef empanada, carne cortada a cuchillo from La Fidanzata
  5. Caluna Blend + two Aguila dark chocolates, one from Ecuador and the other from Costa de Marfil

Anuva Wines is not run by sommeliers, rather just individuals who love Argentina, Argentine wines and want to share that with others. In the end, I think it all works to their advantage and makes for a thoughtful, fun 1.5 hours of enjoying wines without any pretension. I highly recommend attending the Anuva Wines tasting, for those of you visiting Buenos Aires (especially if you do not have a chance to make it to Mendoza) as well as those staying long-term.

In addition to tastings, Anuva Wines also sells its select Argentine wines online, (available for purchase in the U.S. at very affordable prices) runs a wine club and stocks a number of establishments in the U.S. with top Argentine wines. Cheers to that!

Karina

Casa Felix in Buenos Aires

The next photo feature installment of a Buenos Aires closed-door restaurant is Casa Felix, run by husband and wife team, Diego (from Argentina) and Sanra (from the U.S.). The pair craft pescatarian menus, a rarity in Buenos Aires, and use local, fresh products, many of which come from their personal garden.

Says Sanra in my Buenos Aires closed-door restaurants BBC article: “Our main objective has always been to conduct culinary investigations, look for and document interesting lesser known foodstuffs and present them in our South American-inspired cuisine.”

Diego and Sanra of Casa Felix with their newborn

From the back patio of Casa Felix

Homemade bread and white bean spread, photo snapped by my friend K. Josephson

Casa Felix menu for the evening

First course, "autumn locro"

Exotic mushroom empanada appetizer

Calamari shepherd's pie with red pepper and aguaribay sauce, shaved fennel

Dessert, phyllo-wrapped "warm vigilante" with quince and cheese

Artwork on the back patio of Diego and Sanra's home, Casa Felix

To see photos from Casa Mun, click here, or here to read the original TKGO post about the piece.

Karina

Casa Mun in Buenos Aires

One of the closed-door restaurants featured in my BBC travel piece, Casa Mun, is a relative newcomer to the scene. Chef Mun served his first dinner in March, and has been filling his Saturday evening reservations since then. I have so far been twice and have plans to return this coming Saturday to indulge in Mun’s perfected Asian fusion cuisine. (Yes, it’s that good.) Below are photos from my first two meals at Casa Mun.

Casa Mun communal seating

 

Vegetable tempura

Chilean salmon sashimi, maki sushi, California rolls

Fiery fish tacos

Korean Bibimbap

Torta Alfajor Rogel

Karina

Closed-Door Restaurants in Buenos Aires

Last Friday my BBC Travel article International cuisine in Buenos Aires’ puerta cerradas came out. For the piece, I had the can-you-even-call-this-work task of attending each of the four closed-door restaurants I featured and chatting with some of the best chefs in town. I excerpted the introduction below, and soon I will be posting photographs from each of my meals (a course will not be missed!) at the four closed-door spots.

Photos I took at Casa Mun, used to accompany the BBC article

Featured Restaurants

Casa Mun

Casa Felix

Cocina Sunae

Casa Saltshaker

BBC Travel story:

Casa Mun’s two tables were each set for eight people, a pair of sturdy, bamboo chopsticks resting diagonally across the square porcelain plates imported from China. Soft light from the candle centrepieces played off the deep red walls of the Buenos Aires loft, and dinner guests filled the communal dining tables, chatting with new acquaintances. As they sipped the last of their welcome reception champagne, a chef emerged from the adjacent kitchen, bowls of steaming Chinese wonton soup in his hands. Aromas of the impending five-course Asian meal had been wafting through the room since the guests arrived.

Karina

Give Blood, Eat Dessert

Check out our guest post!

Our friends at Sip N Sizzle, a new NYC food & reviews blog, reached out to us for a guest post. Inspired by the 30 flyers the New York Blood Center sent me in the last 2 months, I explain my three favorite places (and desserts) to refuel after giving blood. One catch: No cupcakes allowed! We all know where to get those…

Check it out here: Top Places to Get Sugar After Giving Blood in NYC

Tara

Hog Heaven: The Big Apple BBQ Block Party

You know you’ve been spoiled when you have to shower twice before the smell of barbecue smoke begins to subside.

Madison Square Park turned into a literal pork steam bath this weekend for the 9th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party. New York institutions like Blue Smoke, Pappy’s and Hill Country had crowds lined up to suck on four ribs or a pulled pork sandwich for $8.

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Everywhere, people were eating. They slurp down ribs on stairways, brisket while leaning against walls, pork sandwiches sitting in the park, and whole hog standing in lines for more whole hog. Picnic tables and impromptu beer gardens line the Madison Avenue side of the park, and bluegrass bands rotate playing sets. [Below, a favorite: The Crooners.]

What makes the Big Apple BBQ unique is its attendance. All ages, backgrounds and personalities make their way here. Unlike some festivals, where everyone seems to have the same interests, the only thing bringing this crowd together is a love for meat. …But I’m sure the 75-degree weather didn’t hurt.

Tara

Visiting El Calafate and Perito Moreno

One of Argentina’s Patagonian gems is El Calafate, a charming town of about 10,000 permanent residents (according to our chatty taxi driver) in Santa Cruz Province. El Calafate reminded me of a ski town, but instead of skiing, it’s is hiking: hiking on ice, in fact.

El Calafate from the Hotel Edenia, by Karina

View of Perito Moreno from the airplane, by Karina

El Calafate is beloved tourist destination because of its proximity to Los Glaciares Nacional Park, which contains Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most visited glaciers in the park. An elaborate set of bridges allow tourists to walk near the glacier and view the vast and striking ice formation from different angles. The real adventure to be had, though, is hiking the glacier, crampons strapped on and the whole deal.

"Mini Trekking" on Perito Moreno, by Karina

Perito Moreno from the bridges, by Karina

My mom and I participated in the glacier hiking tour (“Mini Trekking”) through Hielo y Aventura, which I highly, highly recommend it. The tour takes trekkers on, up and across a good portion of the glacier, and it is phenomenal.

If you travel to El Calafate, you are going to see Perito Moreno glacier, as that’s the biggest draw. In my (strong) opinion, go all the way with your trip and spring for the ice trekking tour, because climbing on such an impressive natural wonders is really unlike anything else.

The Mini Trekking tour ended with whiskey and alfajores

Also recommended in El Calafate

Eating at La Tablita, where everyone will direct you anyway. It’s the nicest dining spot in town, with delicious, no-nonsense Argentine fare (meats and pastas) perfect for the chilly Calafate temperatures. It gets crowded, so make reservations! Also, don’t miss the lamb cooking on a glassed-in spit by the kitchen.

Staying at Hotel Edenia. The simply decorated but very comfortable hotel (heated bathroom floors!) is a little outside town on the opposite side of the bay, which makes for some spectacular views of the town and surrounding mountains.

Visiting the hiker’s dream town of  El Chalten. (You can read more about El Chalten and see photos in the next post.)

If you’re interested in seeing more photos of Arctic wonders or reading about what it’s like to go even farther south, check out Tara’s posts about her trip to Antarctica.

Karina