Whoa! Where to start? As I have mentioned previously, I spent the major part of Las Navidades with most of my family and some friends (both old and new!), in Buenos Aires this past year. Let me just say, that my sons have threatened to move to BA…..that’s how great the experience was! The weather, the country, the people, the food…there really aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to explain how wonderful our experience was in the country where El Tango was born.
We arrived in Buenos Aires on the early afternoon of Christmas Eve, where we were met by friends Paul and Paula Scharff, who were spending the holidays with Paula’s family (they all live in BA). So as not to waste any time, they whisked us off to the El Mercado restaurant in the Faena+ Universe Hotel in the Puerto Madero section of BA( where the Scharffs keep a lovely apartment) where we enjoyed our first encounter with the Argentine marvel known as the empanada.
Empanada platter (left) and Beef Picadillo Empanada (right)
The Mercado Restaurant is very eclectically appointed with all elements of Argentine antiques, tchochtkes, and memorabilia.
We weren’t able to linger over our delicious merienda, as we had to prepare for our Christmas Eve celebrations that were to be hosted by Paula’s family at their “summer” getaway home. Paula’s sisters, as well as her aunt, Ana, all have homes at a rugby club called Olumi. Along with a group of lifelong friends, they share holidays, birthdays, and vacations on a common property. We were part of a party of 40 people that were expected!
I can’t remember the last time we were met with such warmth and hospitality by people we had never met before! Dinner was a communal effort between the party hosts, and what an effort it was! Since it is Spring/Summer in Buenos Aires for Christmas, it was an extensive cold buffet that included roast pork, grilled chicken, and to my surprise, Vitello Tonnato (Italian cuisine is prominently represented in Argentina)! Everyone was in a festive mood, and in no time at all the party was in full swing.
Those were just the highlights of the meal, if you can believe it! Dessert was another marvelous affair with these two gems featured:
After washing this delicious meal down with the Argentine version of sangria (made with hard cider) it was time to burn off some of the calories with some dancing and karaoke! I had the feeling that I was going to spend an incredibly wonderful week in sunny Buenos Aires!