Pass me the Malbec and serve me some steak - Bidmead's back in Buenos Aires!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sometimes the best things are last minute, like my impromptu and completely spontaneous decision to head back to my beloved Buenos Aires on a stop home from Colombia. I spent a year living in the Argentine capital while studying Spanish at Leeds and since my departure two years ago I have always been keen to come back.

Somewhere in the North of Argentina, two years ago
Despite having always liked food, I have Argentina to thank for really turning a like into a love. While opinions on Argentine food are mixed - "their pizza sucks!", "what the fuck is a milanesa?" and "do they have to put dulce de leche in eveeeerything?!", food in this country plays a big part in its history and culture.

The Argentine asado (barbecue) is much more than just a meal. The slow cooking meat, friends gathered together sipping on red wine and nibbling on chorizo sandwiches, awaiting the various cuts of beef, pork and whatever other goodness they have grilling on the parilla...the whole experience is enough to make a vegetarian eat meat just to be a part of this culturally important (and above all delicious), meaty affair.

BA - it's good to be back!

For my first night back in the city what better dinner option than a whole asado in one plate? We headed to La Hormiga in Palermo, which is part of a group of restaurants in the city that offer great food at great prices - other recommended restaurants in this group are Las Cabras (mainly meat) and Cumana (regional cuisine). This mixed parilla dish from La Hormiga is a great way to get the asado experience while dinging out in a restaurant. Featuring a juicy bife de chorizo, grilled veggies, squash mash and some tasty grilled provoleta (typical Argentine cheese), this is a dish that has it all. One to share, it was the perfect welcome back into Buenos Aires.

Looking to relive all my favorite foodie moments in the city, the next night I returned to El Nono Amigo, a tiny deli on the corner of where I used to live. El Nono serves some seriously good picadas (mixed platters with cured meat and cheese), but this place became a favourite for me due to its empanandas, different from any others I had tried in the city.

If I could marry an empananda...artichoke, it's you and me all the way.
Just check out the selection! Of course the Argentine classics of carne and jamon y queso will inevitably feature, but look to the far more interesting aubergine and artichoke options and you'll see why I am such a fan. Cooked al horno, I prefer these beige bundles of goodness far more than the fried Colombian equivalent. I'm sorry Colombia...I still love you, I promise.

Aubergine, meat and artichoke empanandas. Not a boring old ham and cheese option in sight!
What better way to wash down these tasty empanadas than with a bottle of Malbec? Back at one of my favourite places, with my artichoke empananadas and bottle of red, I felt truly back in the bosom of my old home.

Not the first bottle of my 10 day trip, and ceeeeertainly not the last!
By no means the end of my foodie adventures back in Arg, be prepared for many a steak and new blog post to come! Peruvian lunches with hearty (literally) dishes abound, smoked and fried chicken wings in a meat feast that touch my soul and some exciting new steak house discoveries feature in my food-filled and fun packed ten day trip back to BA. So keep reading and stay tuned, as this is just the beginning!

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