Tuesday, July 20, 2010

that's more like it

While Chilean food is generally nothing to write home about in a positive way, I've been surprised to have come to Argentina and be disappointed in the food here. The produce is nowhere near as good as Chile, and the parrilla (which means "grill," but also doubles to refer to the specific restaurants here that have a parrilla and that's their thing) I ate at yesterday was just okay: the steak was done properly, but wasn't a quality cut.

There's a lot of stuff going on: I had a bumpy end of the semester, I haven't spent 24 hours at home since vacation started. And I had expectations of Argentina, from this fine essay, in ways that I never really have expectations of places I visit.

However, today I remembered that while I'm staying at a hostel, I have plenty of financial leeway to go eat nice food, and since that's why I came, I should go do that. So I asked the Internet, and the New York Times said Estancia La Florencia had entrees at "$36-60," which isn't something to do every day, but is certainly fine for desperately trying to have The Argentina Steak Experience. Off I went, at the culturally appropriate hour of 10pm.

To save the suspense:
  1. wow, that was really good;
  2. the prices on the Times website were in pesos, so divide by 4 to get dollars;
  3. eating a heavy dinner at 10pm is not a good idea for me, no matter what my host culture thinks.
You can't buy a glass of wine. You can only buy bottles. I got the Malbec Reserve, which was AR$28 instead of AR$24. I brought the 2/3-full bottle back to the hostel, where hopefully it will find a good home.

Knowing my limits, I ordered the 250g bife de lomo instead of the 480g bife de chorizo. I have no idea why they're called that, since they're both tenderloin.

The steak was perfect. I've had perfect steaks before, and this cheerily joins the ranks. The pepper cream sauce was also perfect, although its perfection clearly involved about half a stick of butter, but is that such a bad thing? The sliced potatoes were excellent, but were primarily vehicles for eating the sauce.

The total bill for the steak, wine, and tomato salad was AR$99, about US$25 before the tip.

Rather than trying a different place, I may just go back there again tomorrow night.

And, of course, dessert back at the hostel was the remainder of my 100g of gummi bears from the candy store.

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