Greetings from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world! We are in a veritable winter wonderland here and are having a terrific time...well, at least until we leave at 5:30 tomorrow morning for the all-day bus trip to Chile.
Anyway, we had trouble getting online in the last couple of towns, so we are way behind on blogging again. I have been tasked with catching you up with all of the tasty foods we've been eating lately, and oh boy, there are lots.
Buenos Aires, Part 1
Our visit to BA took place in two parts, the bread in the sandwich around our meaty (literally) trip to Uruguay.
One of the first places we visited in BA was the famous Cafe Torino, a 100+ year old cafe in the center of the city. Beautiful.
And the hot chocolate and churros--yum!!
Andy's favorite thing about Argentina has to be that, instead of vanilla and chocolate, the soft ice cream flavors at McDonald's here are vanilla and dulce de leche. And, in BA, we found cones for 2 pesos, or 50 cents. He had many.
Good Activia flavors here, too. This one's pear and kiwi, one of my favorites so far.
While I enjoyed my Activia, Andy enjoyed this triangular meat pie.
On our second day in BA, we went to take a healthful walk through the protected marshland park. I started off pretty healthily with some fresh-squeezed orange juice from a street vendor in the San Telmo neighborhood.
But then we came upon a kind of street fair...and of course someone had to try the apple-filled pastry...
...and a choripan, (grilled chorizo sausage sandwich)...
(An Andy's-eye-view of the choripan)
...and a slice of membrillo pie. Membrillo is a quince paste.
I thought I liked quince, but actually I don't like membrillo so much, and it is a very popular filling here. Luckily, there is usually also a dulce de leche option. Like these white chocolate iced, dulce filled churros we got later that day, 6 for less than $2 US.
The healthy eating continued into Uruguay the next day. When we arrived in the Montevideo bus station in the morning, it was pouring rain outside, and we had left our rain gear in BA, so we decided to kill a bit of time until the rain let up and get something to eat.
Then Andy found whole dulce de leche filled pies for US$4...breakfast! Yes, we ate the whole thing.
For lunch, we decided to splash out on a meatfest at the traditional Mercado del Puerto. It was kind of touristy and we probably overpaid for Uruguay, but it was still pretty cheap by US standards and the atmosphere was fun inside the market.
We started with chorizo.
Then Andy got some steak cut and I got a rib cut. Look how much meat they gave me!
Happy couple at the meatery.
(It was actually soon after these excesses that I decided to go vegetarian for a while, so I haven't eaten any meat in almost a week. We'll see how long this lasts, as South America is definitely not the easiest place to eat veg, but I am trying.)
As you may have read, Uruguay is obsessed with all cow products, not just meat. So of course we had to try some ice cream. Ice cream is sold by the kilo here, and Andy has determined that 1/2 kilo is the closest denomination to his traditional pint serving size, but I think it is bigger.
Uruguay has well-known dairy collective called Conaprole, and I picked up one of their yogurts to try. Stupidly, I didn't try it til we were on the ferry back to Argentina, where of course I haven't been able to find it since. It was very creamy and delicious, the best yogurt I have had yet in South America!
BA, Part 2
Not far from the ferry drop-off point in the La Boca section of Buenos Aires, we found a man grilling these disks of bread on the street. We were cold, and they were warm and salty and cheap (50 cents) so we got one.
A bit further on in the San Telmo market we found phyllo dough pastries filled with, you guessed it, dulce de leche!
The next day, we splashed out on ice cream at Freddo, a fancy and expensive local chain. Here you see banana, cinnamon, and dulce de leche flavors. Really fantastic, worth the $7 per half kilo in my opinion, though Andy kinda choked on the price.
We were sad to leave BA, where we also enjoyed a couple of cheap dinners out (one of which was an all you can eat buffet of pizza, pasta, salad, and empanadas for less than $5 per person). But we had to start eating our way south into Patagonia!
The local bakery in our first stop, Puerto Madryn, had these tasty jam-filled triangles, which we had for breakfast the first day. The second morning, we got dulce de leche filled donutty things at the same place.
Oh, here is a glamour shot of the Paraguayan peanut butter we've been eating on the beach our whale-watching tour left from on the Peninsula Valdez. It's all gone now and we are peanut butterless, never found any in Argentina.
This one is for Aunt Judy--look, I am eating seafood! Octopus, I think, which is caught locally there, and a little fish fillet that was also tasty. This was at another all-you-can-eat place, a higher-end one in Puerto Madryn that cost a whopping $10 per person for salad, pasta bar, seafood, and parilla (the ubiquitous Argentine mixed grill--at this place, you could get lamb, beef, and sausage).
Our hotel in Puerto Madryn actually had a kitchen we could use, so on our last nightt here, we cooked a meal for the first time since we came on this trip. Yes, kind of pathetic that it took that long, but really we haven't stayed at many places with kitchens.
We made whole wheat pasta with chickpeas, spinach, mushrooms, and a lot of garlic. Healthiest meal we had had in some time. The spinach and garlic were really cheap here; everything else cost about as much as it would at a US grocery store.
Side story: We actually made the same exact dish last night in Ushuaia, where we are staying at Familia Velasquez, a B&B that is basically just an (incredibly sweet) elderly gentleman's house--we sleep in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and he makes us tea and toasts us bread in the morning.
We are his first tourists of the season, and he speaks no English but he complimented me on my Spanish and I do my best to make converstaion with him, so we think he likes us. Anyway, we had a lot of extra pasta last night so I offered him some for his dinner and he partook. He told us that he liked it and said that it was a "different kind of meal" for him, because when he has pasta it is usually with meat. Yes, a meal without meat really is a foreign concept here. OK, end side story.
Did you know that a bunch of people from Wales came over to Patagonia a century or so ago and tried to set up a colony there? No joke. Apparently, they maintained their language for several generations, but it's dying out now.
In the small town of Gaiman, though, not far from Puerto Madryn and its neighborhing city, Trelew, there are a whole bunch of Welsh teahouses, where they will serve you a traditional British high tea. Our book called it an "excessive" amount of food, so of course we had to go. We chose Plas y Coed, the oldest teahouse, and were not disappointed.
Well, I wasn't disappointed, anyway. Apparently, it takes a lot more than two scones and six cakes apiece to qualify as excessive in Andy's book.
Here is a sweet called an alfajor. It is like cake with a layer of dulce de leche inside, all covered in chocolate. We don't think they are very good, but maybe that's because the only ones we've tried are the prepackaged ones we've gotten for free as snacks on long-haul bus rides...
Down here in Ushuaia, there is no real street food, so we have to eat the snow.
Ushuaia is where I finally bought a packet of Rocklets, the Argentine knockoff of peanut M&Ms. Pretty tasty for half the price of real M&Ms.
We're off to Chile tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have a whole new country's worth of foods to report on soon!