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La Poesía – A Great Place to Read, Drink and Relax

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Classic: Read some Borges at La Poesía

With its shelves stacked with books, soda bottles and photographs from years past, La Poesía is a bar beautiful enough to truly deserve its name.

La Poesia

The café was originally opened in 1982, to celebrate the end of the military dictatorship and provide a place for Buenos Aires’ intellectuals, authors and poets to congregate and discuss their renascent democracy. It was immediately popular, especially known for its sessions of Poesía Lunfarda, but the bar was closed after just six years. In 2008, the same couple who own Bar Federal restored the Poseía to life and helped reestablish it as a staple of the San Telmo scene.

I was in the place all the time, usually with a book. It has an atmosphere conducive to reading, with tango music playing softly in the background and a good selection of drinks. Unfortunately, the wait staff isn’t always the friendliest. One girl in particular always greeted my arrival with a frown and an attitude; I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I’d done to her. And once, a waitress directed me to a table with a power outlet, watched me set up my computer, provided me with the Wifi code, then took my order. The internet didn’t work and when I pointed that out, she was like, “Yeah. It’s been out all day”. But, couldn’t you tell I wanted to use it? I even asked you for the access key! “Yeah. Well, you never asked me if the internet worked“.

Regardless of the occasionally brusque service, there’s plenty to enjoy at La Poesía. Leave your computer at home, and take a book. A book of poetry, if you must.

La Poesía
Chile 502
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Coffee Culture

Bar Notable
Books Poesia
Cans
Cooking Cook
Facturas Buenos Aires
Salami Buenos Aires
Side Eye
Malinesa Sandwich Poesia
Cafe Con Leche
Hotels San Telmo
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May 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm Comments (2)

Abuela Pan – Bread and Healthy Eating, Granny-Style

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Vegetarian Cookbooks

Towards the end of our time in Buenos Aires, with too many great restaurants left to visit, we went on a binge. Parrillas, pizzerías, cafés, morning, noon and night. “Jürgen”, I said during our last meal, pork grease dripping repulsively off my chin. “This is getting disgusting. Tomorrow, let’s heat something healthy.” Abuela Pan, your time had come.

Abuela Pan San Telmo

A tiny restaurant on Calle Bolivar in San Telmo, Abuela Pan serves up wholesome, vegetarian lunches every day. There are just a few tables in the dining room, so it’s recommendable to show up early. In a city filled to the brim with beef and pizza, a healthy meat-free alternative is a breath of fresh air, and unsurprisingly, Abuela Pan fills up quick.

For $26 (US$6.50), you get a choice between three meals which differ daily. Abuela Pan prides itself on cooking without chemicals, trans-fats or frying. Their bread is freshly baked every day and prepared with organic flour. For my main course, I ordered raviolis filled with basil and mozzarella, and Jürgen got a rice-burger. The portions were large, everything was delicious, and we both felt pleasantly full afterwards. And we’d finally done something healthy for ourselves, which clearly justified a few more trips to the parrilla.

Even if you’re not in the mood for a whole meal, stop in for their wonderful fresh breads sold behind the counter. Loaves like theirs are difficult to find in Buenos Aires.

Abuela Pan
Bolivar 707
Tel: 4361-4936
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Gaucho Stories

Bread Pan
Fresh Bread
Pumkin Spread
Veggie Ravioli
Veggie Burger
Man Reading Newspaper
Bistro Buenos Aires
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May 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm Comments (4)

Yrurtia’s Canto al Trabajo

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Oviedo Blog

I’ll remember Roger Yrurtia for two things. One: for having a last name so ridiculously intimidating that I won’t even try to pronounce it. And, two: for his gorgeous sculpture called Canto al Trabajo (“Song to Work”).

Canto Al Trabajo

This statue, in the middle of a little tree-filled park between the lanes of Paseo Colón, is a stirring tribute to the spirit of industry. Commissioned in 1905, it shows a diverse swath of people pulling a massive stone along the ground — children, women, men; Argentina.

Argentina has had a troubled history, and the bulk of its problems came after this sculpture was created. In his homage to the working class, Yrurtia seems to have foreseen the spirit of cooperation and perseverance that normal Argentines would soon need to exhibit.

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Hostel Hotel Map Buenos Aires

Canto Al Trabajo Buenos Aires
Yrurtia
Mafalda San Telmo
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April 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm Comment (1)

San Telmo’s Market Hall

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Buenos Aires Map

Occupying a good chunk of the block sketched out by Estados Unidos, Defensa, Carlos Calvo and Bolivar, the Mercado de San Telmo is a place which locals and tourists visit in almost equal numbers. The latter to buy antiques and souvenirs, the former for their day-to-day groceries.

Telmo Dome

Since we precariously straddle the line between tourist and local, we use the mercado for both purposes. A number of veggie and meat stands compete for business in the center of the market, surrounded by antique shops that extend down long hallways. Prices for cool souvenirs, second-hand clothing and random trinkets are noticeably cheaper than at the Sunday antiques market. I picked up an old Carlos Gardel album for twelve pesos, and on that very day, saw the same album being sold for 60 outside.

The souvenir shops are a somewhat newer addition, capitalizing on San Telmo’s reputation as the best antiques hunting ground in the city, but the market has a history stretching back to 1897. It was inaugurated a couple decades after the Yellow Fever epidemic which devastated San Telmo, and the new center of commerce was greeted enthusiastically by residents. Ever since, the mercado has been an integral part of the neighborhood. In 2001, it was even declared a national historic monument.

When you go, take your wallet and take your time. It’s almost inconceivable that you’ll walk out without buying something. If you’re in the mood for meat, check out our favorite stand: Puesto 54. With incredible prices and friendly cleaver-wielding butchers always willing to explain the various cuts, it quickly became our go-to place for beef.

Mercado de San Telmo
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Buenos Aires Travel Guides

Shopping Buenos Aires
Mercado San Telmo
Butcher Buenos Aires
Cuts of Meat Argentina
Chorrizo Buenos Aires
Butcher
Antiques
Antiques Buenos Aires
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April 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm Comments (4)

The Trastienda Club (featuring The National)

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Listen to The National here

When I discovered that The National, one of my favorite bands, was playing in Buenos Aires, I immediately went to their website and bought tickets. Only after the transaction was complete, did I look up the club, and my already dangerously-high levels of giddiness went off the charts. Not only was the Trastienda Club a small venue that guaranteed a great view, it was also just around the block from our San Telmo apartment.

La Trastienda Club

The Trastienda Club turned out to be everything I could have hoped for. We had seats on the upper floor with a perfect view of the stage. I couldn’t believe that The National were playing such a small club, but I was happy about it. Midway through their set, the singer told people to stand up and come towards the stage. He’d had enough with the seated, restrained atmosphere of the crowd. And it turns out that the Trastienda Club functions just as well for raucous concerts complete with stage-diving, as for more contemplative, sit-down affairs.

Trastienda basically means “back room”. The building was constructed as an industry warehouse back in the late 19th century, and converted for use as a music club in 1993. For the past 18 years, it’s been presenting top-quality rock, jazz, blues and traditional music to the eager Porteño populace.

As would be the case with any venue, our perception of Trastienda was influenced by the quality of the show we were taking in. The National absolutely brought the house down, and I can’t imagine a more awesome place to have seen them. If you’re interested in seeing a show, make sure to check out the Trastienda’s website. Tickets are always fairly priced, and you’d have a hard time finding a better place to see a show.

La Trastienda Club
Balcarce 460
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

The National in Concert
The National
Matt Berninger
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April 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm Comments (3)

The Depto: A Temporary Home Away from Home

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We wrote about the San Telmo Loft in a previous post, but we also wanted to highlight another apartment which Angela and John offer, for vacations or short term rentals. The Depto, on Calle Defensa.

Wohnung Buenos Aires

This place has one of the best locations in Buenos Aires: Defensa, in between Calle Chile and Independencia. It’s a great street, the home of the Sunday San Telmo Fair, and no more than a 10 minute walk from the Plaza de Mayo. Calle Defensa can be raucous, but the apartment is set way back in a huge complex, so you don’t get any street noise at all.

Best of all, the Depto is beautifully outfitted, with stylish furniture and wallpaper. High-speed internet, a fully-equipped kitchen, desks, DVD player… it’s the kind of temporary residence you can instantly feel at home in. Check out the pictures, and if you’re interested, get in touch with Angela and John to ask about availability.

San Telmo Loft’s Depto
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More Buenos Aires Accommadation

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April 11, 2011 at 11:35 pm Comments (5)

San Telmo’s Sunday Antiques Market

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How to Buy and Sell Antiques

On any day of the week, San Telmo is the best spot in Buenos Aires to go antiques-hunting. Dealers hawk everything from chandeliers to ancient books in shops which blanket the neighborhood. But the Sunday antiques market in Plaza Dorrego has become a phenomenon; all San Telmo comes out to party along with thousands of visitors in a celebration of curbside capitalism.

San Telmo Market Fair

Walking around the antique vendors’ stalls in Plaza Dorrego is a treat, even if you’re not planning on purchasing anything. Old soda bottles, copper cookware, matecitos, vintage telephones and collector matchboxes are just some of the treasures on offer. The prices are fairly high, but the quality is top-notch. Because there are more antique dealers in San Telmo than stalls at the market, a weekly lottery determines who gets the right to set up shop. Organizers are strict about their rules, which dictate that all actually be antiques, and that the owners be physically present at the stands.

The antique dealers are confined to the plaza, but shopping continues for at least six blocks down Calle Defensa, where artisans and craft-workers hock on the curb to sell their wares. We’ve found a number of great gifts here, including a hand-crafted teddy bear for a niece and individually designed t-shirts. And the prices are so good, you’d feel guilty about haggling. Tango bands play on the corners, and everyone’s hanging out and talking, drinking mate and bumping into friends.

Proceedings become more festive as the sun goes down and a group of bongo-drummers begins to parade up and down Defensa, encouraging onlookers to join in. I must not have any Brazilian blood in me, because I’ll never understand the whole bongo thing. Anyone can play bongo drums, and sound somewhat competent. You don’t actually need dreadlocks. But it doesn’t matter that bongos are relatively ridiculous, because man do the girls love them! Once those rhythms start, control goes out the window. So, guys, if you really want to impress the ladies, forget nice clothes and expensive cologne. Just grab a bongo drum, skip the shower, and throw on a ratty Bob Marley t-shirt.

Meters from the makeshift parade, a popular milonga gets underway around 9pm in the plaza. With great music and an ample floor filled with dancers of all skill levels, it’s the perfect place to show off your tango moves.

Plaza Dorrego on our Buenos Aires Map
Great Hostels in Buenos Aires

Soda Bottles
House Numbers
Pink Phone
Pink Silver
Angel San Telmo
Antique Market
Hang Girl
Argentina Pharmacy
Argentinian Bull
Bombillas
Boxing Gloves
COCK Fight
Foxes
Match Boxes
Pillow Angel
Pots and Pans
Sugar Spoon
Watches
Wooden Shoe
Tango San Telmo
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March 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (6)

Hotel in San Telmo: Babel

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Buenos Aires Travel Guides

Hotel Babel

We walk down Calle Balcarce all the time, and have often noticed the colorful sign of Hotel Babel. After doing some research, I’ve decided this is the hotel that I would choose for a short stay in San Telmo. Not necessarily For 91 Days… for a longer stay, it’s better to rent an apartment!

Hotel Babel is perfectly located on a quiet street parallel to La Defensa (where San Telmo’s Sunday fair takes place) and just a few minutes away from Plaza Dorrego, the neighborhood’s heart. Many of BA’s main attractions can be reached by foot and the location is well communicated by bus lines, at the nearby Paseo Colón.

A short walk also takes you to Puerto Madero and Costañera Sur nature reserve… perfect to jog off the extra pounds you might gained while gorging yourself on steaks, pizza, pasta and that famous porteño ice cream.

And Hotel Babel receives an extra thumbs-up for letting pets stay free!

More info about the hotel:

  • 24 hour security
  • Free Wifi
  • 24 hour Bar and Room Service
  • Safety Deposit Boxes
  • Laundry Service
  • Airport Transfers (In/Out)

Link: Book Hotel Babel here
Location of Hotel Babel on our Buenos Aires Map

Babel Buenos Aires
Hotel San Telmo
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March 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm Comment (1)

Lunch at Caseros, Another Wonderful Find in San Telmo

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Our Travel Insurance: World Nomads

San Telmo is at no loss for great restaurants, and we recently stumbled upon another: Caseros, on the street of the same name, near Parque Lezama.

Lunch Buenos Aires

The restaurant is almost clinically white. While choosing our table, we noticed that even most of the guests were dressed in white. But a feeling of warmth reigns in Caseros, and we immediately felt at home. The walls of the bar and kitchen were painted to resemble a ramshackle storefront from decades ago, and baskets full of eggplants and fruit were set on each table. The light color scheme and huge windows allowing in the sun made for a cheerful place to have a meal.

The menu is small, which is something I always appreciate, and our food was excellent. I chose the fish, and Jürgen had an incredible plate of beef, served with chunks of onion, pumpkin and potato. The portions were generous, and we loved every bite. Caseros is famous for its lemonade so, even though it makes an odd dessert, we finished our meal with a glass. Freshly squeezed, and served with mint leaves. Excellent.

We went to Caseros on a rainy, mid-week afternoon, and it was packed. I asked the waiter if it was always so popular, and he responded in the affirmative. Little wonder: with friendly service, great food, good prices and a quiet location next to the park, Caseros is tough to beat for a relaxed lunch in San Telmo.

Caseros
Caseros 486
Tel: 4307-4729
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Pasta Recipe

Caseros
Veggie Buenos Aires
Restaurant San Telmo
Thinking About Wine
Making Lemonade
Home Made Lemonade
Waiter Buenos Aires
Butter
Enselada Buenos Aires
Great Restaurant Buenos Aires
Pescado Argentina
Perfect Steak
Cafe Solo
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March 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm Comments (6)

The Face of Argentina

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Music from Buenos Aires

The Face of Argentina

Allow me to introduce Juan Carlos Balvidares, the “Caminante Argentino”, who’s been around the world, sharing his music beyond the borders of his native land. We met him in front of the Recoleta Cemetery, where he was performing. Finding out that I’m from Germany, he told me that he’s been there and also walked across the rest of the world, making money by playing his original songs on the streets. Usually, you can find him in front of the cemetery, but on Sundays you might run into him at the Antique Market in San Telmo. Visit his site to hear some of his music. And if you run into him on the streets, strike up a conversation! He’s more than happy to share his stories.

And here are some more random Buenos Aires pictures:

Buenos Aires Tower
Alley Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Street Art
Face of Buenos Aires
Che
Court Yard Jungle
San Telmo Secret
Wind Buenos Aires
Parking Buenos Aires
Old Timer
Old Timer Buenos Aires
Not Trusting
Drink And Drive
Twin Workers
Prison Store
San Telmo
Happy Cloud
Indian Restaurant Buenos Aires
Tiles Buenos Aires
Weird Art Buenos Aires
Bar San Telmo
Flower Power
Fresh Juice
Kiosk Boy
Woman For Sale
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March 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm Comments (0)

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La Poesa - A Great Place to Read, Drink and Relax
For 91 Days