Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Going Out to Dinner...Or Not

So, the BF and I finally went out to dinner on Sunday night, after several failed attempts earlier in the month. Going out to dinner sounds so nice but then when the time comes to actually get up and get dressed, our resolve tends to falter. A few weeks ago we got back from soccer and had plans to go out, but were too tired so we just ordered empanadas instead.

But oh, such empanadas they were! We ordered from Pekín, my favorite empanada place in Buenos Aires, and they were so good that we ordered them again the next night…the BF now informs me that he doesn’t even want to look at an empanada.

Anyway, Pekín is a pizza place located on the corner of Honduras and Godoy Cruz in Palermo, but their empanadas are the star of the show. Actually, I’ve never tried the pizza so it might be good too, but we’re talking empanadas here, so hush. At 3.50 to 4 pesos a ‘nada, they aren’t the cheapest you’ll find, although they are certainly nowhere near the most expensive, especially with inflation. I discovered the place with Eli a few months ago when we were walking around Palermo looking for somewhere to get dinner…a pre-dinner snack, if you will.

As far as standard empanada choices go, the carne picante is actually picante, the cebolla y queso has more onion than cheese (as opposed to the cheese bombs you sometimes get from other places), and the spinach is tasty and rich with a few walnuts for a crunchy surprise.

But the best empanadas on the menu are the cordero (lamb), cantimpalo, and pancetta y ciruela (bacon and plum). Many menus don’t have cordero empanadas, and this one is particularly good. The meat is well cooked and juicy, and there is quite a lot of it packed into the little pastry wrapper. As for cantimpalo, I had never tried it until the BF saw it on the Pekín delivery flyer and ordered it. Oh, the food jealousy!

You know when you order something and then someone else orders something different and you try it and theirs is SO much better than what you ordered and you feel really sad and upset and wish you could order what they got, but it’s too late now? I get that a lot. Diner’s remorse. Like buyer’s remorse but with more calories.

Anyway, when we ordered the same empanadas the next night, I got myself TWO cantimpalos because they are just that good! Cantimpalo is an orange salami (if I remember what the BF told me correctly, I was focusing on the empanada) that tastes a lot like pepperoni. Anyway, the empanada is stuffed with chunks of this delicious pepperoni mixed with sauce and some cheese, and it is heaven. I’ve never seen it on another menu, so call Pekín asap and try it!

The last empanada is the panceta y ciruela, and I consider it the dessert empanada. Stuffed with a mixture of pork, bacon, and dried plums, this ‘nada is slightly sweet yet smoky, the perfect ending to the meal. I will end my ode to Pekín with the the loveliest 8 digits in the world: 4833-9600. Call them and order today.

Well. After rambling on about Pekín for several paragraphs, I have completely abandoned the original post about the restaurant we went to when we actually did manage to get out of the house. I guess I’ll come back to that later today…must do some work before Argentina plays Greece in their last game of the preliminary rounds!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mundial aka World Cup 2010!

Today is the first day of the 2010 World Cup, better known in Argentina as the Mundial. I'm pretty excited that I get to be here in BA for this World Cup (or at least the majority of it), considering Argentina's team features the best player in world, Lionel Messi. Hopefully he'll do his thing tomorrow in the team's first game against Nigeria.

I was informed by the BF that he wants to watch the game on a "pantalla gigante" aka big screen, so I think we're going to a local bar tomorrow at 11 am to cheer on the Selección. I'm also doing a kind of World Cup March Madness bracket with some people from the office, betting 20 pesos each week. My bracket so far is not doing well, considering I put Mexico beating South Africa in the first game (they tied). Oh well. No one else put that they would tie either, so HA.

In other news, I have hot water again, and it is GLORIOUS. I will never again take hot water for granted.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hot Water? What is that?

Since we're on the topic of anniversaries (well, I'm on the topic anyway), today marks my one month anniversary of NO HOT WATER. Yes, it has been one month since the hot water tank in my building broke and I made a joke about it taking three weeks to get a new one. Ha. I'm laughing.

Actually, the new tank is here, in the building. It arrived earlier this week and is sitting next to the elevator, taunting us all with it's promise of easy showering and painless dish-washing, the scoundrel. But, considering that this is Argentina, it could easily take another month to get the thing installed. And no, that is not a joke this time.

The sad thing is, it's standard. Things just take forever to get done in Argentina, and I'm sure there are is a vast array of opinions on the "why" of the matter, from vicious cultural stereotypes to the more apathetic "It's just like that." Personally, I don't really care why things are so slow here...I've just kind of accepted it and moved on. 

It helps, as I patiently watch my bathwater struggle to a boil on the stove-top, to think of others in the world who have never had hot water available with the turn of a tap and to remind myself of the all the good things that I have going for me in my life. Either that, or I pretend I'm a medieval princess.

"Accept it and move on" is such a harsh way to describe the process of adapting to a new culture and a new lifestyle, but it's pretty accurate when the person doing the adapting has chosen to be where they are. Since I am here voluntarily, I have chosen to live with the bad things about Argentina as well as the good things...to accept them and move on. 

Other things to which I have adapted in my (relatively) new Buenos Aires life:

-living without a microwave, car, air conditioning, clothes dryer, or hand mixer (what? I like to bake!)
-the absurd amount of salt that is dumped on to savory foods
-ditto the absurd amount of sugar that is ladled into anything that is even near the realm of sweet
-the mild temperature (50 is now cold)
-olives on my pizza
-having to wear real clothes when going to the supermarket...unfortunately for me, sweatpants and hoodies are NOT acceptable attire
-being stared at, commented on, and generally appraised by complete strangers
-the direct and interrogative nature of most Argentines
-the lack of vegetables in the Argentine diet
-the "late" schedule: eat lunch late, eat dinner late, go to bed late

*Disclaimer: Note that these are not complaints, merely differences to which I have adjusted. When I go back to the States at the end of June for my two-week visit, I fully intend to suffer reverse culture shock (more about plans for the visit later).

Anyway, my water has heated itself so I go now to bathe (laboriously) and then partake in the weekend's festivities, such that they are. I think I'm actually getting taken out to dinner this weekend, since the BF just got paid for last month. Joya!