Thursday, April 5, 2012

A day in Buenos Aires

We began the day with a nice little breakfast at our hotel, the Bohemia Buenos Aires, then walked to Balcarce, passing murals like the one below

Mural on Balcarce
 to the Plaza de Mayo, where we passed the Casa Rosada, the president's residenceamd headed on into the square where we saw this small obelisk.

Mike and Jean wanted to do some shopping, so we walked up Calle Florida, one of the main shopping drags, and entered the Galerias Pacifico, a shopping mall built into an ornate old train station.
Entrance to the Galerias Pacifico

Inside the Galerias Pacifico
I picked up some alfajores to bring back for my colleagues at the office, while Mike found a cigar store where he could pick up some Cuban cigars.

The exteriors of the office buildings we passed were often quite ornate.
Upper floors of an office building along Calle Florida

The entrance of the building

The lobby seens from the entrance
Then we walked up to the Plaza San Martin where we saw this awesome ficus tree

Ficus tree in Plaza San Martin

and continued to the Recoleta Cemetary that was jammed with interesting mausoleums, including the Duarte family crypt including many testimonies to Eva Peron (not pictured).  This place was interesting itself that maybe it merits a separate blog post later on.

A particularly affecting monument to a teenaged girl with a poem from her father
Then we walked to a restaurant called Cumana, which served country fare from northern Argentina.  The most interesting dishes, which I hope to learn to make myself, were locro, a corn, bean, beef and pork stew, and a pastel de calabazas y lomo with caramelized onions and honey.

We visited the Museo National de Bellas Artes (not highly recommended) and then a mechanical flower in the  Plaza de las Naciones Unidas at the edge of the Recoleta barrio that opens with the daylight and closes at sundown.
Paul and Nancy with Floralis Generica
By this time, many of the crew were bushed and we headed back to our hotel to rest.  In the evening, we walked down to Avenida San Juan to eat at Cafe San Juan, an excellent restaurant.  The place was completely empty when we arrived, but it was booked up tight -- unless we ate either outside or at the bar.  The outside was a bit cool, and the traffic seemed noisy, so we opted to eat at the bar, from which we had front row seats to watch the kitchen crew preparing our meals and the meals for the rest of the room, which was full within 45 minutes.

The action in the tiny kitchen area
 The menu is written only on a chalkboard, but the dishes that particularly impressed were the garlic prawns, the bandiola cooked in malbec, fettucine with pesto and grilled zucchini, and stuffed partridge.  The dessert menu looked tempting but we were all too stuffed to eat any.

Bandiola braised in malbec

We finished the evening by walking back to Plaza Dorrego where we had drinks outside while listening to a jazz combo; when they took a break they were succeeded by a pair of electric blues musicians who set up impromptu on the other side of the plaza.

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