Good morning from Barrio Norte. Also known as Palermo Botánico. The invisible line between my neighborhood and adjoining neighborhoods is open to interpretation and negotiation. We are half a block from the Botanical Gardens:
Our apartment is awesome, though sadly lacking in Art.
Since I took that photo we moved the table up against the wall lengthwise to give us a small dance practice area. The living area:
Our landlady says the flowering trees at the front of the building have beautiful pink blossoms all spring! Jacarandas, I think she said. But this week has been downright cold, dipping into the upper 40s at night. Brrr!!! At least we’re not in Patagonia. This little balcony will be perfect for sipping those mango mojitos this Christmas!
And, not last or least either, the view of the street from the balcony. Despite being a low-key, residential street, Ugarteche can be pretty darn noisy! If we keep the tv tuned to the soccer channel it blends with the traffic and it all evolves into a pleasant white noise (what kind of evolution am I talking about? the backwards kind… i.e. almost everything since they invented petroleum products, gunpowder, and those darn computers).
Here’s where we cook. On the left is a window & to the right a pass-through to the dining area. The cooktop is gas, and there’s a real oven. The vent hood actually works, too, unlike the one at my ranch. That comes in real handy when you have a guy that is such a fabulous cook…
Across the street is an adorable French mansion flanked by 10-story apartments:
We walk everywhere! We don’t have a car or even bicycles. We take the subway to go downtown, and one of these days very soon we’re going to take a bus ride out to the Mataderos district where dwells the legendary tango shoe maker extraordinaire. Although all the walking we do is great exercise (as if we don’t get enough dancing Tango!) it is not without risk. Crosswalks are a target zone for humans. The few bike lanes we’ve seen offer no protection whatsoever from moving vehicles. Bicycle riders, motos, Vespas, strollers, little old ladies, no one’s safe! When you’re behind the wheel, you have the right! Homicidal taxi drivers are not to be trifled with, and anybody riding a bicycle must be a suicidal maniac! However when the traffic is backed up, like during rush hour, a bicycle could be transcendent.
Okay, let’s go straight to food. We have a great fruit & veggie place just around the corner.
Freshly made pasta is available in pasta shops with a variety of fillings. We bought a pound of fresh ricotta-stuffed rigatoni the other afternoon for only $3 (special of the day). Please note the empanadas on the upper shelf. Empanadas are really yummy too. Ben wants to take an empanada-making course here in Buenos Aires so that when we get back to California and he opens his café-restaurant, he can serve homemade empanadas along with fresh artisan bread and plenty of café cortados.
Here’s the young ravioli-maker caught in the act at El Raviolón, on the corner of French and Sanchez de Bustamonte:
To add to the amazing fresh food available within blocks of one’s apartment, there are also lots of delicatessans, this one is our favorite for its impeccable prosciutto imported from Italy and its faultless Serrano ham imported from Spain.
Sr. Benavidez looks like he could be Santa Claus or a biker from Sturgis, but even though he’s not smiling in the photo I swear he was a second before and the second after. He is friendly and likes to joke with his customers. He has a basket of fresh bread every day but Mondays (cause the panadería takes Sunday off); not just any ol’ bread, but really good artisan stone-hearth baked bread, from baguettes to pan integral (whole wheat) to ciabatta (my favorite Italian bread) and pan del campo (country style). They cure their own ham (it hangs from the ceiling) and also have wine, cheese, jams and condiments. Just walk in the door, the aroma is dazzling, and if you look hungry, they give you samples to help you make up your mind.
Like most shops, they are open in the morning, closed for lunch/siesta from 1 – 5 pm, and then open again till 9 or 10. Restaurants don’t open till 8 for dinner, and stay open well past midnight. You are never given the check until you ask for it… even at a streetside café. Relax, you’re in South America!
This gorgeous chili-pepper red facade is Guido’s, a restaurant & tapas bar. Unfortunately it wasn’t open when we walked by… way too early!
And you can’t escape medialunas to go with your coffee. They’re available everywhere.
I know this post is way too long but there are a few more pix that are begging to be flown. We came across this thrashed but apparently still running ’66 CHP cruiser on our scenic march to the Museo de Bellas Artes (a superb collection of art from medieval to post-modern and admission is free). The red & blue lights are mounted on the dash. Will the owner please contact me?
We also spent a few hours touring the Evita Museum. If you haven’t heard the Evita Perón history lesson, just download the Madonna-ized version. This historic home/orphanage is really something. Some of her shoes are on display, definitely a chick-attraction.
On one of our previous trips to Buenos Aires we had an apartment next door, and we kept telling each other we were going to check it out, but we never got around to it. Too busy with tango classes in the afternoons and milongas till 3 or 4 am. This time around, we’re taking it a bit more easy, and making time for some sight-seeing.