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Dulce de Leche

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Get your Dulce de Leche fix here

Take a jar of sweetened milk and add sugar. Then slowly heat it over the course of a couple hours, stirring almost constantly. Your hard work will be rewarded with a portion of dulce de leche, a thick caramel-colored substance wildly popular in Argentina.

Dulce the Leche

Good luck trying to find peanut butter on the shelves of an Argentine supermarket, but even the most useless market is stacked with rows and rows of dulce de leche. People spread it on bread, put it in between cookies to make alfajores, work it into ice cream, and even consume it by the spoonful, straight from the jar.

It tastes … sweet. That’s a really uncreative description, I know, but there’s no better way to describe dulce de leche. It’s the essence of sweetness, condensed to its most pure form. It’s the sweetness world’s gold standard. Cut a little girl, and neither sugar nor spice, but thick dulce de leche will drip slowly from her open wound.

Argentina lays claim to the invention of dulce de leche, but so does every other Latin American country; it’s popular all over the continent. Personally, I can stomach about one bite of the stuff, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll find a gooey lifelong friend in dulce de leche.

Wine Tasting in Buenos Aires

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April 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm Comments (4)

Sebastián Rivas of Amici Miei

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Incredible Pasta Recipes

One of San Telmo’s most popular spots is Italian restaurant Amici Miei, where tourists and locals congregate in equal numbers to enjoy handmade pasta and a balcony view over Plaza Dorrego. We recently got to meet its owner and top chef, Sebastián Rivas.

Sebastian Rivas Proia

Sebastián perfected the art of Italian cooking while living and working in Parma, and decided to open his own restaurant upon returning to Argentina. He was lucky to find an excellent space in San Telmo. Four years ago, when the restaurant opened, San Telmo wasn’t all that touristy or popular, and Amici Miei has benefited greatly from the neighborhood’s recent resurgence. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the restaurant’s classically elaborated pasta, made with imported Italian products and served with a modern flair, is excellent.

The restaurant itself is unpretentious, adorned with a few paintings from local artists, and with perfect light spilling through the windows during the evening hours. An open window into the kitchen permits observation of the cooks stretching, pulling and cutting the pasta. Sebastián invited us inside, so we could watch him throw together some of his signature dishes, such as black truffle risotto with mushroom sauce. We had a few spoonfuls — it was unbelievable, and I kept waiting for him to leave us alone in the kitchen, so I could shovel the entire bowl into my mouth.

The plates he prepared were all classic Italian recipes with unique touches. For example, he serves the rotolo, a traditional rolled-up pasta, with three kinds of basil: fried, dried and liquefied. This fusion of the time-honored and modern is what Sebastián aims for at Amici Miei, along with a friendly atmosphere (the restaurant’s name means “My Friends”). He comes out of the kitchen to visit with guests, and there’s often live music on weekend nights.

Many of the restaurants on Plaza Dorrego are tourist traps, leeching off the popular Sunday flea market, but Amici Miei certainly isn’t one of those. Watching Sebastián at work in his kitchen was a fun experience; with a small staff and a head chef who’s clearly intent on serving high-quality food, this restaurant is worth a look.

Amici Miei’s Website
Defensa 1040
Tel: 11.4362.5562 (Reservations recommended on weekends)
Location on our Buenos Aires Restaurant Map

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March 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm Comments (2)

A Sixteen Course Feast at La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar

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Haute Cuisine Books

Make sure your mind is open and taste buds in fine working order before you sit down at La Vineria de Guaterio Bolivar, on Calle Bolivar in San Telmo. Dinner is a set menu, with sixteen highly creative dishes served over the course of three hours.

Restaurant San Telmo

And I do mean creative. How else to describe lamb tongue pate wrapped in pumpkin slices? Or frozen salmon balls? Or olive oil emulsions and meat topped with foam? We were continuously amazed; each of the sixteen courses set in front of us was a tiny marvel, some tastier than others, some more clever, but all unique. Every time our waiter (who resembled a handsome version of Borat) would approach our table with a new tray, I’d get a little fidgety. Nervously excited about what I was about to consume.

After setting down each carefully arranged plate, the waiter explained the ingredients, a bit about the preparation and concept, and how to go about eating the dish, which was not always as straightforward as put-fork-in-mouth. He also served wines; the menu allows you to sample Argentine wines appropriate to the food you’re eating. We had delicious whites with the appetizers, dry reds with the meatier dishes and sweet wines with dessert.

This wasn’t so much “dinner” as a cultural experience. Jürgen and I are in no way gourmets, closer to McDonald’s than Michelin, but we really loved our meal at La Vineria de Gualterio Bolívar. Though each of the plates was tiny, we left full and satisfied. The set menu is pricey, but definitely fair given the extraordinary amount of creativity in the food and the attention of the staff.

The restaurant is small and well-known, so make reservations if you want to go, and show up promptly at 9pm. All the guests are served at the same, so that the cooks can fully concentrate on one dish at a time.

La Vineria de Gulaterio Bolívar
Bolívar 865
Location on our BA Map
Tel: 11 4361 4709

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Hotels Buenos Aires
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February 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm Comments (5)

Status – Peruvian Restaurant

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Peruvian Cook Books

“You’re right! That is totally Russell Brand! I don’t know, maybe he’s here for a movie premiere? He’s going outside for a smoke, I’m going to follow him!”

I returned about 30 seconds later. It totally wasn’t Russell Brand enjoying a meal in the popular Peruvian restaurant Status with us, just a hip porteño doing a good job of capturing his look. With the distraction gone, we could get back to concentrating on our incredible food.

Peruvian Restaurant

There are a number of Peruvian restaurants in Buenos Aires, but the one which came most frequently recommended to us was Status, near the Plaza Congresos. With huge portions, an unpretentious atmosphere, Russell Brand lookalikes, and unbeatable prices, it’s easy to see why so many people love it. The best sign: it’s frequented by Buenos Aires’ sizable Peruvian population.

Although the most popular plate is the ceviche (raw fish), I went for the carapulcra: a flavorful beef and potato stew with garlic and other spices served with rice. Love. The amount of food was tremendous, and we were glad not to have ordered appetizers, though we did save room for dessert: Suspiro de limeña, The Lima Woman’s Sigh, made of dulce de leche with a topping of meringue.

If we ever choose to live in Peru for 91 days, a huge reason will be because of the cuisine. A blend of European, Asian and indigenous foods, which is unlike any other country’s. Status is a great place to try it out.

Virrey Cevallos 178
Tel: 4382-8531
Location on our BA Map

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Status Buenos Aires
Peruvian Bread
Carapulcra
Arroz Con Pollo
Papas-Huancaina
Suspiro de limeña
Peru Buenos Aires
Peruvian
Russel Brand
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February 15, 2011 at 12:12 am Comments (2)
Dulce de Leche
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