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Caballito – The Middle of the City

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Explore Buenos Aires

The geographic center of Buenos Aires is Caballito, a charming neighborhood with large green spaces, and well served by the Subte. Although it’s not on the top of the normal tourist itinerary, this barrio has enough highlights to make it worth a trip.

Centenario Buenos Aires

We began our excursion at the perfectly round Parque Centenario, designed by master urban planner Carlos Thays (also responsible for the Jardín Botánico). Though the park looked cool enough, we happened to arrive at the same time as a massive thunderstorm, and sought shelter in the Natural History Museum.

Nature History Museum

Along with approximately 39,403 screeching Argentinian rugrats, we drip-dried while looking at fossils, animal replicas and fish. The focus was on on native Argentine fossils and dinosaurs, such as the giant glyptodon, and it was fascinating to see the differences between prehistoric life here, versus in the USA. Their prehistoric monsters seem cuter, somehow. Though we hadn’t planned on a visit, the museum was a fun place to escape the rain. But if you’re allergic to children, you might want to stay away.

Once the downpour ceased, we walked along Avenida Rivadavia, a boisterous shopping street. It was a nice alternative to the more famous and ultra-touristy shopping zones in Retiro, with stores of comparable quality. And it was relieving to be surrounded by Argentines who weren’t continually shoving Tango Show fliers into our faces. We walked past the Parque Rivadavia, and browsed the offers at a second-hand book market. I bought an old Superman comic for a few pesos, and then sat down for a drink in El Coleccionista, a bar notable which still serves as a meeting place for different groups of collectors.

Book Market Buenos Aires

Fully rested, we ventured onto the other side of Calle Rivadavia and into the Mercado del Progreso. Behind its wonderful art deco facade is a lively goods and produce market, which has been a staple of the neighborhood since 1889. It was cool but we didn’t spend much time inside; the day was getting late, and we didn’t want to miss out on an historic tram ride.

The Tranvía Histórico de Caballito offers free trips around a small section of the neighborhood. Until 1963, trams had been one of the primary modes of transportation in Buenos Aires, linking the city’s 48 barrios to one another. Out-of-use tracks are still visible in between the cobblestones of many of the older streets, and the Asociación de Amigos del Tranvía seeks to remember this history by operating one last route. It’s a fun ride; a quick 20-minute trip into the romantic past.

Tram Ride Buenos Aires

The tram skirts around a section of Caballito known as the Barrio Inglés, long one of Buenos Aires’ most fashionable residential areas. The small area occupies just a few blocks, and has somehow survived intact into the present day. Built in the late 1800s as homes for British train executives, the Georgian- and Victorian-style houses are gorgeous, and cost a small fortune. This is one of those areas in Buenos Aires where vigilant security guards will watch your movements carefully.

Enjoy our pictures of Caballito! We’re making an effort to explore some of the less well-charted areas of Buenos Aires… if there are other great neighborhoods which not many tourists get to see, let us know!

Ducks
Stone Beast
Bird Argentina
Bird Collection
Flamingo
Insect Collection
See Stern
Skull
Blubber Beast
Simon Bolivar Buenos Aires
Lady and Sons
Beer Snack
Qiulmes
Market Buenos Aires
Malinesas
Market Caballito
Tracks Buenos Aires
Yellow Tram
Old Tram Buenos Aires
Tourist Tramway
Tramway Argentina
Tramway
Tramway Historico
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April 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm Comments (4)

The Barfy Burger and Other Random Pictures

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Pictures were taken with this camera

Barfy Burger

“Well, I just don’t know why our burger brand don’t seem to be catching on English-speaking countries!” Ha… I have to confess, I was tempted to try one! Buenos Aires is full of fun little oddities, some of which I hope to capture in my photography. Enjoy another set of Pukey Pictures!

Buenos Aires
Transformers Buenos Aires
Roboter House
House of a Million Eyes
Best Empananda
Buenos Aires
Glücks Tropfen
Buenos Aires Market
Sad Playground
Wave Building
Sport Buenos Aires
Running Evita Peron
Tunnel of Light
University Buenos Aires
Walking Tour Buenos Aires
Pegasus Buenos Aires
Lady Boots Buenos Aires
Design House Buenos Aires
Dream House Buenos Aires
Fine Line
Buenos Aires Architecture
Cat Walk
La Moderna
Buenos Aires Radio
Corrientes Buenos Aires

Places to stay in Buenos Aires

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April 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm Comments (4)

Il Matterello – Italian Dining in La Boca

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Incredible Pasta Recipes

Calle Martín Rodriguez in La Boca is the rough-and-tumble kind of street you’d normally want to avoid after sunset. But there’s one very good reason to set those concerns aside for one night: Il Matterello.

Italian Family

When you take your table, it’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of a working-class neighborhood. Il Matterello is all elegance, but manages to retain a casual atmosphere. The staff is friendly, and goes out of their way to make you feel like family. Before leading us to our seats, the greeter asked where we were from, and took us over to a huge map of Italy to point out Matterello (it’s near Venice). The restaurant has become an institution in La Boca, well-respected by critics and popular with the locals.

The food was outstanding. I had spinach raviolis stuffed with herbs and Juergen had the tagliatelle verdi, following a beautiful salad. All the plates were excellent; the pasta is prepared fresh in Il Matterello’s open kitchen, and the sauces were rich and delicious. With a long list of sauces to choose from, you can mix and match them with whatever pasta you want… I just asked the waiter for his recommendation. We saved room at the end for homemade tiramisu.

Il Matterello is just a couple blocks away from the Boca Juniors stadium. The dining area is small, so reservations are recommended on most nights. If you’re in La Boca and looking for a great meal away from the tourist-oriented taverns of El Caminito, you won’t be disappointed with Il Matterello.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Italian Breads
Fresh Pasta
Buenos Aires Restaurant
Pasta Buenos Aires
Fresh Cheese
Italian Salad
Pasta Verde
Ravioli
Ravioloy Focus
Tiramisu
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March 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm Comment (1)

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)

Pizzería Banchero in La Boca

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Another great pizza place in Buenos Aires: El Cuartito

“Hey, what do you feel like eating?” Every time I’ve been asked that, every single time during the course of my entire life, the answer has been “pizza”. Even when it was 8am. Even when I was 18 months old. It’s the only honest response: there are other things I should eat, things which might even taste better. But pizza is what I want to eat. Always.

Serving Pizza

So you’re asking me what I want to eat? Well, I know we just had pizza last night, but there’s another famous pizzeria right across the road, there. We really should try it out. Everyone says we should try it out. Don’t look at me like that; it’s totally coincidence that we happened to end up in front of Pizzería Banchero at lunch time. I totally didn’t plan that.

Banchero is a classic spot in La Boca, established in 1932 by Juan Banchero, the son of a Genoese baker who had emigrated here at the turn of the century, along with thousands of his countrymen. The restaurant quickly became a hit, and a couple branches have even opened elsewhere in the city. It’s immediately apparent why Banchero is so loved among porteños — the prices are great, the atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and the pizzas are astounding. We ordered a fugazza, made with a crunchy, airy crust and topped with onions and mountains of cheese. Delicious. Plus, the service was great; our impeccably-dressed Paraguayan waiter was as friendly as could be, taking time to explain the pizzas to us and make recommendations.

If you’re in La Boca, and have survived the tourist hordes of El Caminito, treat yourself to a great pizza in a time-honored joint that locals love: Pizzería Banchero. And don’t worry about all that cheese. Diets are for later, and firm bellies are over-rated, anyway. That’s what I keep telling myself, as we continue to tick Buenos Aires’ “must-eat” pizzerías off our list.

Pizzería Banchero
Suárez 396 y Brown
Tel: 4301-1406
Location on our BA Map
The Art of Making Pizza

Pizzzaria Banchero
Pizza La Boca
Pizza Waiter
Fanta Buenos Aires
Beer Snack
Fugazza Pizza
Fugazza
Cheesy Pizza
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March 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm Comments (0)

Buenos Aires Vice

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Learn To Tango

Buenos Aires Vice

I can see why so many movies and advertisements are produced in Buenos Aires. Set up the camera in a certain angle and location and you can shoot scenes representing spots from all around the world. I would have never guessed that this ad supposedly shot during the La Tomatina in Buñol was actually filmed in San Telmo!

Another set of random Buenos Aires pictures:

Architecture Buenos Aires
Messy
Walking Tours Buenos Aires
Santiago-de-Liniers
Main Street Buenos Aires
Theater Corrientes
Buenos Aires Paintings
The Dude
Musical Bird
Music Park
One Happy Dog
Awesome House Buenos Aires
Art Photography
Thinking about Granny
Selling Friuits
Tree Hugger
Waiting Alone
Love Handle
Filete San Telmo
Green Icicle
Baby Pigeon
Dog Walker
Awesome San Telmo
Buenos Aires 1945
San Telmo
Mafalda
Mafalda Friend

Buenos Aires Hotels

Mafalda Comics
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February 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm Comments (0)

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

Spoon Buenos Aires
vineria-de-gualterio-boliva
Waiter Buenos Aires
San Telmo Salad
Little Food Treasure
Delicatessen
Pulpo Buenos Aires
Pate
Haute Cuisine
Beef San Telmo
Haute Cuisine Dessert
High End Dessert

Restaurant Recommendations in Oviedo, Spain

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

Buenos Aires’ Notable Bars – El Federal

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Coffee Culture

One of the best parts of moving to a new city is deciding upon your favorite new bar, the place you plan on haunting with a disturbingly constant presence. Buenos Aires has assisted newcomers on this all-important quest by honoring 60 bars and cafés with the distinction of Bar Notable.

Bar Federal

These places have been chosen for their long years of service, architectural flair, or famous patrons, and can officially advertise themselves as “Notable”. Most of them are found near the center of the sprawling city, and we’ve yet to visit one we haven’t been impressed by. That goes particularly for El Federal, on the corner of Peru and Carlos Calvo in San Telmo, which immediately established itself as a front-runner for the glorious title of my favorite bar.

Stepping inside El Federal is like stepping into back into the early 20th century, when Buenos Aires was in its golden age. The decoration is ornate, and well-stocked shelves hold antique soda bottles. The gorgeous wooden bar is over a hundred years old, and supports a large, fluidly carved arch, in which a defunct clock and stained glass are encased.

For being such a famous establishment in prime touristic real estate like San Telmo, the prices are amazingly reasonable. El Federal has a full menu, and we enjoyed everything we’ve tried; the plate of picadas (slices of meats and cheese) is an especially good choice. There’s both a smoking room and outdoor seating, but I always choose a table close to the bar, so that I can spend my time thirstily admiring the bottles of whiskey.

El Federal is the kind of place in which you’ll want to spend hours, and they don’t mind if you do. In fact, a small shelf of reading material is available in the corner. Digging into a well-worn copy of Borges’ Ficciones, with a strong cup of coffee on the wooden table in front of you, while the bustle of city life passes by in the window… that’s about as “bonarense” as you can get.

Location on our BA Map
List of Hostels in San Telmo

Entrada Bar Notable
Bar Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Cafe
Bar Notable San Telmo
Jugendstil Bar Notable
Alcohol
Soda Buenos Aires
Soda Bar
Peanut Basket
Medialunas
Breakfast Buenos Aires
Bar Notable Mirror
Bar Notable Lamp
Bares Notables
Bar Notable
San Telmo Bar Notable
Bar Notable Moderno
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February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm Comments (7)

The Metropolitan Cathedral

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A visit to the Cathedral in Oviedo, Spain

On one of our first days in Buenos Aires, we approached the dour neo-classical building on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Mayo without having any idea what it could be. My best guess was a courthouse, with those massive stone columns that evoke the Parthenon, and I was surprised to discover a cathedral behind the facade.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral has a history nearly as old as the city itself. The original wooden church was constructed in 1580, at the same time Juan de Garay founded Buenos Aires. Since then, it’s collapsed or been torn down seven times. The version recognizable today wasn’t finished until the late 19th century.

The artwork throughout the cathedral is beautiful, particularly the ceiling frescoes and the tiled mosaics on the floor. There are some pieces which date from colonial times, such as a 1670s wooden sculpture of the crucifixion. But most impressive is General José de San Martín’s mausoleum. Two guards stand vigilant, protecting the great general’s coffin which sits atop a large column in the center of the room. Martín is credited with the liberation of Argentina, Chile and Peru from Spain, and statues representing those three nations surround his memorial.

Signs at the cathedral’s entrance prohibit photography, but that rule is neither regarded nor enforced. Everyone and their mother was taking pictures; flashes going off all over the place. Although Argentinians identify almost exclusively as Catholic, the society is basically secular. Perhaps that’s why the Metropolitan Cathedral, where tourists greatly outnumber the faithful, feels more like an amusement park than the country’s most important place of worship.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Buenos Aires Egypt
Praying Buenos Aires
Holy Buenos Aires
Iglesia Buenos Aires
Dome Buenos Aires
Mausoleum Buenos Aires
Church Guard
Jose De San Martin
Cathedral Playa Mayo
Peru Urne
Godes
Cathedral Buenos Aires
Maria Jesus Buenos Aires
Maria Heart
Buenos Aires Tiles

Learn about Evita

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February 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm Comments (3)

Pedro Telmo – Good Cooking in San Telmo

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Great Pizza Recipes

We’ve been eating out a lot since we arrived, mainly at places which have come highly recommended by guidebooks or locals. Great parrillas, Peruvian cuisine, famous pizzerias. But that doesn’t mean we’re skipping the less well-known places entirely! This past week, after a long day of exploring the city, we sat down inside Pedro Telmo, on the western side of the San Telmo Market.

Madres Argenina

We ordered a couple empanadas, which were delicious, and also enjoyed their heartier meals, such as home-cooked lasagna and pizzas. With posters of Carlos Gardel and soccer teams on the walls, and wonderfully sweet ladies working both behind and in front of the bar, Pedro Telmo is the down-to-earth kind of establishment that abounds in Buenos Aires.

What’s your favorite neighborhood joint to get a quick bite, or take a short break?

Pedro Telmo on our Buenos Aires Map
Short Term Loft Rental in Buenos Aires

Pedro San Telmo
Cute Restaurant Buenos Aires
Charilie Chaplin Buenos Aires
Barrio San Telmo
San Telmo Kitchen
Medialunas
Horno San Telmo
Empanadas Fresca
Empanadas Pedro San Telmo
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February 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm Comments (3)

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Caballito - The Middle of the City
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