The only clouds we want to see!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Naturally, not all lunches are Café Tortoni lunches. Nor would we want them all to be. We've always been pretty open minded about our choices of eating establishments- as long as you serve us good food at a fair price, you've got our seal of approval. In fact, it can be more of a kick for us to find that humble little hole in the wall that blows you away with its quality than to eat with the elite at the latest and greatest culinary shrine. And let's face it, either approach can be a bit of a crap shoot!
Confiteria Los Molinos looks like it's spent many a year on this corner of Avenida Santa Fe, one of Buenos Aires' most egalitarian shopping streets. It's got that blood red and forest green colour scheme that is so pervasive on storefronts and signage in this city, as well as the beautiful varnished woodwork that speaks of a more genteel age when proper joinery was the sign of a quality establishment. Inside, expansive windows and high ceilings with decoratively coffered ceilings and chandeliers suggest that this was once a place to see and be seen.
Unlike Café Tortoni, though, the tourists are not traipsing through Los Molinos with their cameras flashing. Times have changed and these days it is more of an everyman's cafe, serving hearty, abundant and affordable food to weary shoppers and local labourers. (Still, you've gotta love the "table service" of nibbles that arrives with your beverage and ahead of your meal...the crusts are still cut from the bread!)
We had decent Milanesas here, those schnitzels of veal or chicken that seem to fuel this town, along with the ubiquitous fries, and a generous botella of Quilmes.
Wrapped up with a coffee, it was the perfect respite before hopping back onto the avenue!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The Buenos Aires barrio of San Telmo is well known for being a centre for the buying and selling of antiques. Its Calle Defensa is lined with shops selling all manner of memorabilia from the city's golden age, and each Sunday it hosts a huge street fair where dozens and dozens of vendors hawk their goods.
In a quieter part of town, though, on the edges of bobo Palermo Hollywood and emerging Colegiales, the Mercado de las Pulgas sees a lot less traffic, and most of its patrons seem to be wholesale buyers. Yet everyone is welcome to browse and it's a fun couple of hours spent exploring aisles perfumed with paint stripper and lined with stalls crammed full of old furniture and bric-a-brac.
The Mercado de las Pulgas is more furniture focused than the shops of San Telmo. When we first visited five or six years ago there was an incredible bounty of pristine mid- century modernity awaiting the frugal and savvy buyer. We fantasized about renting a container and stuffing it full of immaculate teak credenzas and Scandinavian- style bent wood chairs that we would sell at incredible profits to a hungry North American market. It seems we weren't the only ones with that dream, and others apparently were able to make good on our shared vision, because there is a lot less of the good stuff here today than last time around!
There's still the odd ugly duckling from the 60s waiting to be rescued, though, as well as a few tons of beautiful solid late 19th and early 20th century wood and iron and spectacular Spanish- style chandeliers from the salons of this country's finest homes.
We also observed a trend in the market to constructing new furniture pieces from reclaimed wood. We saw numerous sideboards of a similar mid-century style but in various wood species and all in an unfinished state. Buyer beware, we say of these. As well, there were pieces composed of intricately assembled lumber cuts that looked like patchwork quilts, proudly showing off their repurposed heritage. Quirky, but not for everyone!
Finally, if you're a fan of welded filigree garden furniture this is the place for you. There is the odd piece with a Jetsons vibe and a plethora of the more expected Latin- flavoured chairs and tables, all just waiting to be funkified and placed nonchalantly on your deck where they'll let you're visitors know at a glance that you are a master of ironic good taste!
El Mercado de las Pulgas is located in Buenos Aires at the corner of Avenida Dorrego and Calle Conde.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Cafe Tortoni must surely be one of the most visited sites on the touristic itinerary of Buenos Aires. This is normally a disincentive for us to visit a place, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and join the hoards if a site is truly deserving of its noteriety. And in the case of Cafe Tortoni, one crack of the door convinced us that not only would we have to become one of the gawkers, but we would also have to part with whatever cash was necessary in order to literally drink in the atmosphere. Fortunately, it also happened to be close to lunch time so it was no great hardship to pull a couple of chairs to one of the storied tables.
The setting is a gloriously high room, with stained glass "skylights" and walls lined with mirrors and art. The tables, while intimately small, have comfortably generous leather- clad chairs. The space runs deep off the street, but is divided into more manageable zones by a long bar centered on the west wall. In the back are a trio of small salons available for more private functions.
The waiters, god bless them, were friendly and indulgent, and oh so traditional in their black vests, white aprons and their silver-haired suaveness!
What's more, the food was really good! We both indulged in steak (surprised?), Jay with a traditional Chorizo cut (not like the sausage), and Bee with sliced sirloin on a sandwich. The most amusing part of lunch was Jay's "Ensalada Rusa" (Russian Salad) which was in fact simply a half tomato laying a little shame-facedly beside the glorious slab of meat. A half bottle of good malbec was all that was required to complete the picture.
Here's the Wikipedia entry if you'd like a little more background.
Here's the Wikipedia entry if you'd like a little more background.
Apologies in advance for the following photo deluge. (Our mobile blogging apps don't permit us the usual editing options, otherwise we would have tastefully inserted images into the body of the text!) Just jump in and immerse yourselves in the glory of a storied bygone era!
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
Here's a cantadora we became familiar with a few years ago. Whenever we feel the need for a quick immersion into the spirit of Buenos Aires she's our go-to gal. Have a listen to "El corazon al sur"
By the way, we're blogging while away using our phones and ipad so some of the tools in our usual bag of tricks are not available. Hence no embedded version of today's video. You're gonna have to follow the link on your own! Enjoy!