BA TIDBITS MARCH/APRIL 2010
Nine weeks in BA and the time has whizzed by! This is our second trip (1st one: 10 weeks) in 14 months and we remain a LIVE BILLBOARD for all things Argentina.
I log on to TA at least once/day and am grateful for the info on free concerts, performances and events from Silvia and others. I get the BA Herald on Weds. & Fri. for the GET OUT section and receive timely info from batravelguide.com .With my mastering of the GUIA T,combined with www.comoviajo.com,taking buses everywhere is a cinch!
We are “museum freaks” and continue to enjoy them although MALBA still remains a disappointment for us. Went to the FORTABAT Museum in Puerto Madero a few weeks ago and find this private collection definitely worthwhile, if you have the time.
Really responded to CHACARITA Cemetery. It was the day before Easter and families were cleaning & leaving flowers. Since it’s “off the beaten track”, unless one is here for a period of time, RECOLETA it is! There are free tours at Chacarita the 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month at 11 AM. These tours are cancelled if raining.
Went up to the roof of PALACIO BAROLO on a clear and sunny March afternoon and the view was terrific. Tried the same thing in April and the door to the roof was CLOSED. SO…..you really may have to take the “tour” on a Monday or Thursday afternoon.
BORGES CENTER & TANGO: The only tango shows we have gone to are the ones here. Last year and this. BIEN DE TANGO in March was entertaining & BsAs PASION de TANGO is currently on the agenda and that was wonderful as well. For 50 pesos/pp it can’t be beat!
EL ATENEO SPLENDID…….quite the bookstore! You’ve got to see it.
Finally got to meet Fernando with SAFARI DELTA. It was a gorgeous March day and guide, Killian spent 4 hours guiding this motorized dinghy though at least ¼ of the Delta. Another memorable activity. Fernando can be contacted by phone: 54-11-4745-9821 or cell: 15-5111-0619. His e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Originally got the info on Fernando on this forum. This was our 3rd activity on the Delta. We REALLY like it up there.
Following several posts from marniewdc, we booked 2 nights in San Antonio de Areco (SADA) in early April @ Paradores Draghi. (PD). Room charge at PD is currently $ARS275/nite and we had the triple room. The triple room is spacious, but really needs a remodeling. The smaller doubles look like they have been redone. Really responded to the quiet of SADA and the constantly chirping birds. Adored our long bike rides, friendly people & good food. Maria, Valeria and Marta at PD are responsive and caring to any of your wants. The grounds at PD are lovely. We ate at Almacen Ramos & La Costa Reyes. When we return ,La Esquina de Merti and El Ancla is on my list of restaurants. DO NOT miss the chocolate factory: La Olla de Cobre down the street. We did NOT spend time at an estancia….did that in Calafate last year and still. The 2+ days/2 nights were perfect. Took the Chevallier bus from Retiro there & then back. The LAS LILAS MUSEO with the works of F. Molino Campos is worth every moment of your time. The PD is booked a year in advance for the November FIESTA DE LA TRADICION. The whole Draghi family is a delight (don’t miss the museum at PD) and this was a delicious 2 day respite.
As for RESTAURANTS------and I certainly don’t want to start a “food fight”…….IMHO: EL CUARTITO is still #1 for Fugazetta Pizza. Grande: 52 pesos + drinks + tip. It’s always the same routine: we say Grande…..the waiter says chico. We say Grande and then take half home for leftovers. YUM!
CENTRO VASCO FRANCES @ Moreno 1370 is highly recommended. The food the waiters, the prices are just right. No tourists either. Have been there twice and have been well fed & pleased each time. They serve lunch & dinner. I dream about the stuffed squid in ink sauce!Average bill: 126 pesos+tip (including 9 pesos/pp cubierto)
JUANA M @ 1535 Carlos Pellegrini @ Libertador.... As good as last year. Funky environment. Great salad bar (Look for the freshly fried eggplant) and terrific meat. We have never been sorry with the bife de chorizo or their lomo de bife and the wine prices are the most reasonable around. All locals. Highly recommended. Average bill: 102 pesos +tip (including 6.5 pesos/pp cubierto)
EL ESTABLO @ Paraguay 489: Excellent Parilla. Bife de chorizo mariposa superb! My kids had the T-bone steak….although pretty good….we thought ours was better AND it’s less costly. Have been there twice and the food is consistent. Had their salad with everything in it: great. And the sweet potato fries have been the best we’ve eaten. Tourists do come here, as there are several hotels in the n’hood. Do not let that turn you off, because the beef is superb. Highly recommended. Oh….we like the main floor DR vs. the upstairs. The upstairs has no personality. 9 pesos/pp cubierto.
TOMO 1 in the PanAmerican Hotel downtown. Great dining experience. THE BEST SERVICE and the set menu IS the best value. The set menu is presently 175 pesos/pp at lunch & 200 pesos/pp at dinner…..including a half bottle of fine wine/pp. I had the beef medallions in mustard sauce and DH had the pork tenderloin in blueberry sauce. THAT melted in your mouth. Our children ordered al a carte…..they were not impressed with their choices & it was costly. Highly recommended.
IMHO PAROLACCIA and LA DORITA both have excellent mediodia menus at a fixed price that remains the best lunch values in the city@ less than 40 pesos/pp.
Still like EL OBRERO in La Boca…..even though their prices have skyrocketed…….and had a wonderful dining experience at AZEMA in Palermo.Bill was 128 pesos(including 8 pesos/pp cubierto). LA PAYUCA was a good choice as it was a short walk from our apartment. Our favorite dish at LAS PIZZARRAS on Thames…..close to Plaza Italia ….is definitely the braised pork.. La Cabrera @ lunch satisfied our curiosity as to the pros and cons of this place. Glad we ate outside,because the interior is REALLY tight and tables so close together.
DON JULIO was a favorite last year. This time around the bife de chorizo looked perfect, but was tough and the potato tortilla was runny. The dulce de leche pancakes were also not up to par. DID have a fun evening though. We would NOT return to REENCUENTRO (interesting concept: tenedor libre, but you order off the menu & as much as you want.) Food very mediocre. Would also NOT return to SETTE BACCO…..food not memorable and service Unremarkable. 681 pesos for 5 people including a good bottle of wine.(10pesos/pp cubierto).
The TEA CONNECTION on Cervino across from Parolaccia has terrific teas and salads and take out at GARBIS on Cervino for hummus, chopped liver, tabbouli, etc. hit the spot. Ditto for meat empanadas @ NA SERAPIA and all empanadas @ DONA EULOGIA on castex/Salguero.
When we arrived at KENSHO they were closed and just didn’t make it back there. Also had EL ESTREBE,SARKIS,Dr. D’s hole in the wall: PUNTO y BANCA,La Cabrera Norte and ASTRID Y GASTON on my list….and it will wait for the NEXT trip. By the way, my daughter and son-in-law ate at Astrid y Gaston and said it was one of their top 10 meals ever!
By the way, we LOVED the MERCADO DEL PROGRESSO in Caballito(we are museum freaks AND market freaks….all over the world) and if we were living in BA there is NO doubt Allan and I would be on those LONG lines for our meat, fruit and vegetable purchases. Beautiful products!
On to more galavanting: FERIA MATADEROS was a must to have our visiting kids experience. The layout was a bit different this year….and still a wonderful Sunday afternoon. The SORTIJA took place at 3 PM and is always a great event and the street food is something we always look forward to. Last year, Allan and I took the train and cab one way and the #55 bus home to Plaza Italia. Our kids said NO WAY…..and so we taxied both ways. I was really surprised that the taxi drivers we hailed thought nothing of the distance, since we had heard stories of people wanting to go from Retiro to Palermo and got turned down. The biggest surprise of all was the consistent fare each way of 45 pesos including tip. I must admit the taxi ride was much more pleasurable.!!
DELTA-UNPLUGGED…….another fabulous Delta experience and one my son will remember for a long time. Ana and Ralph’s boat provide a comfort level for a day of touring the Delta and includes a memorable eating experience as well. Ralph does all the cooking and his rosti, butternut squash torte, chicken and beef are grand! Panacotta for dessert….delish. And the wine flowed! When we returned to their digs we had home-made ice cream that puts every helado joint in BA to shame! We even enjoyed the mate. We explored 45 km of the delta and also enjoyed the times that Ralph stopped, so we could enjoy the chirping birds and learn about the wildlife and flora from Ana. The day ended with a water taxi back to Tigre (15 min. vs. 45 on the bus boat) and then the trek back to Palermo….taking the train to Belgrano and then the #118 bus to Las Heras/Salguero.
All in all we’ve done 4 activities on the Delta and certainly 3 of them have their place. The first one…last year…..was the bus boat to Tres Bocas. We enjoyed it….but didn’t know any better. Also last year we spent a day with Rosanna @Deltaventura.. (info@deltaventura). We hiked, we ate, we relaxed and canoed. There was also horseback riding, if that is your interest. MOST enjoyable! And this year Fernando @ Safari Delta & Delta Unplugged. I’m not sure if Deltaventura and Delta Unplugged are year round activities, but Safari Delta IS. I would ENJOY revisiting all of them again…..and probably will……………but Delta Unplugged is definitely my #1 choice for exploring the delta. They do everything right!
Delta-unplugged: email@example.com www.delta-unplugged.com.ar
54-11-4728-3089 cell: 15-6750-1536
GALLERY NIGHT……the 4th Friday of the month……..began on 4/30/2010. As vibrant as it is in Boulder, Colorado. From what I understand, there will be Gallery Night in Palermo starting in June.
MUSEO DE LA POLICIA FEDERAL……@ San Martin 377 A hoot! They even do tours in Spanish.
CASA ROSADA tour: A MUST it is NOT. We were not impressed that we were able to stand on the same balcony as Evita!
Next time in BA: Museo del Hombre………Luis Perlotti Museo…….Palacio Paz……BarrioVilla de Voto
Spanish immersion classes……………..tango lessons………the Zoo……..ETC, ETC, ETC
FINDING APARTMENTS: The plan was to rent a 1BR/1BA apt for the first 32 nights and then go to a 2BR/2BA apt for 30 nights. My adult children were visiting for 12 days the second month. After MUCH time on all the rental sites, I booked 2 apartments in early December 2009 with bytArgentina. Alojargentina worked out extremely well last year, but I couldn’t get what I wanted this year. Of course, after I booked with bytARGENTINA, I began reading negative posts on this forum. I drove my rental contact NUTS and did not hesitate to read her the riot act regarding the comments. I can just imagine what she thought of me when one of my last questions was: Do I need coins for the dryer….how many….and how long is the cycle? My contact: Lorena Katz: Palermo@bytargentina.com
Two + weeks into our arrival, I get an e-mail telling us there were plumbing problems in the 2BR/2BA apt and we couldn’t plan on staying there, because no one had any idea what/when would be fixed in the 2nd bathroom. My stomach sank! My kids were coming in 3 weeks. When we looked at what was currently available to hold the 5 of us….nothing met with my approval.
After 72 hours of angst……Allan and I decided to stay in the 1BR McTorre. Luckily it was available for an additional month. We found a 2 BR/1+BA for the kids on Paunero close by.
I can tell you that bytArgentina rose to the occasion! They were extremely helpful and sympathetic…as was the owner of the apt with the plumbing problems. I sold real estate for 30 years….things happen….and at least it wasn’t closer in time….OR after the 5 of us moved in.
The customer service staff at bytArgentina was on the ball! The A/C in the 1 BR ap’t died….it was the motor….and it took a week for a new motor to be installed. The digital TV was not working properly…and the owner immediately had the cable company out. The water heater at Paunero needed servicing: it was done promptly…….and there was a cracked toilet seat in the ½ bath: replaced w/in hours. Both apartments were exactly like their photos….however the Paunero apt really needed a good scrubbing and although the square footage was 969sq ft. it was allocated poorly with at least 300 sq ft.laundry, storage, etc. The living area in the 2BR was not as spacious as the 1BR….but it did have location and it was only for 12 days. As it turns out, the gods were looking down on us. The 2BR/2BA ap’t for 5 definitely would have been too tight! All the 3BR apt’s that WERE acceptable were not available in Nov.2009.
A friend in Recoleta needed accommodations for visiting family and this HOT TIP may just work for you.! She rented an apartment at Apart Hotel TRIANON….Av. Callao (between Quintana & Alvear). The apartments are huge…….she took the smallest at 380 pesos/night. 3BRS/2BA, big kitchen, breakfast included. Tel number: (54-11)4812-3335.
RAMBLINGS: For Allan and myself, HOME is the neighborhood bordering Las Heras to Alcorta from Bulnes to Sarmiento. If we were purchasing an apt it would definitely be in this area. We spent a small amount of time looking at 2 apartments in Palermo Nuevo…over by DeMaria. Not only were they expensive AND poorly maintained (DUMPS)…and only 5 & 7 years old…..it’s quite not the n’hood we favor. I will be more proactive regarding apartment hunting. We know exactly what we want. If anyone wants to send me a private message regarding purchase, I’d welcome it.
While we don’t consider ourselves “city people” anymore, our kids understand the two of us being drawn to eclectic BA…….after all………WE grew up in New York…and they think we are going “back to out roots”. Life is pretty terrific when one’s PARADISE is Boulder, Colorado AND Buenos Aires, Argentina.
We loved the Book Fair and concerts at La Rural. We have become Sandra Mihanovich fans!! The march-April time frame allowed us to attend NUMEROUS free concerts and performances…….all extraordinary. Even galavanted to San Isidro for Bariloche Camerata.
With all of the museums at our fingertips in Palermo and Recoleta, it was a joy to constantly “pop in”.
The Equestrian March was wonderful…….the Slovenia Celebration was delightful.
We walked…….and walked…….and walked some more. The Palermo Parks……Las Heras park….Plaza Francia….and all the greenery in between.. Relaxing at the Diques in Puerto Madero. Spending an hour in Caminito. Discovering out of the way places in Belgrano……cafes in Boedo….Cabillito to Colegiales and beyond.
There is much that I have not covered……..but you get the gist of the love we have for BA. We returned home to Boulder on May 6th……..and already have had another snowstorm and a couple of days of rain. But the craft fairs have begun……….Farmer’s Market is bustling……..summer concerts planned………. and the hiking trails are waiting for us around Boulder and at Rocky Mountain National Park and beyond.I have also discovered some of my favorite Malbecs and Cabs very close to the prices we paid in BA!
After a great lunch at Juana M that included mollejas(another addiction)we left BA as tear-eyed as the first time around….we already miss the friends we made……..but plans for trip #3 can’t be far behind.
THE MOST AMAZING thing of all……and yes I almost dropped my teeth.:.the CLEANING of porta-potty’s in BA. The first time I saw it was at the Slovenia Celebration downtown and I thought it was just a one time occurrence. But it happened again at the concerts outside of La Rural during the Book Fair. In this land of dog poop everywhere…………there IS someone cleaning porta-potty’s. They were immaculate!!!!.
To access last year’s trip report: on the Web see below:
Abrazos to you all for your endless posts and help. The Buenos Aires Forum is such a vibrant,active group.
Stay healthy…….keep laughing…………and continue to enjoy all that Argentina and Buenos Aires have to offer.
Saludos, Ronnie G.