Tag Archive: travel

  1. City Guide: Mendocino, California

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    One of my favorite things about living in the Bay Area is being only a few hours’ drive away from some truly magical places. Getting away for a long weekend isn’t quite as easy with a baby (though we certainly aren’t cutting travel out of our lives; we’ve just accepted that it’s a little more complicated). Before Neko joined our world, we decided to go on a little escape — a ‘babymoon’ as we decided to call it — to Mendocino, California. It’s an artsy, ocean-side town that’s quite picturesque and I would imagine a good place to write a novel or work on your painting.

    I treated Matt to a birthday getaway to nearby Sea Ranch a few years ago, and we thought that the area was the perfect destination for a lazy, relaxing weekend before our life as a family of two would be a memory. Since Neko was due in the winter and I knew the last month or two weren’t ideal for travel, we decided to head up there in the Fall. I took Friday off from work, we packed up the car and headed North, making a stop in Geyserville and having lunch at one of our favorite places, Diavola Pizzeria.

    Mendocino is located right on the ocean, but the drive in (if you’re heading up from San Francisco) takes you through some beautiful Redwood forests. As you make your way towards the charming town, you pass a bevy of wineries and a few small towns that make the drive feel like a part of the adventure. We got a room at the Glendeven Inn, and made few plans other than making sure we got a reservation for one of their popular farm-to-table dinners. We each brought a book that we could read on our porch as we watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, Scrabble for nights by the fire, and some walking shoes. Since I was pretty heavily pregnant, we kept our walks/hikes pretty low-key, and instead chose to spend our time reminiscing about life pre-baby and our hopes and dreams for the future.

    We made our way into downtown Mendocino for dinner and a few picnic provisions (including a loaf of incredible bread from Cafe Beaujolais that we picked up at the local supermarket) and otherwise enjoyed the Glendeven Inn property, a few coastal walks, and glasses of wine at Glendeven’s Wine Bar[n] (DRY soda for me!).

    As expected, the weekend was refreshing and rejuvenating. If you’re visiting San Francisco, or live in the Bay Area and have never checked out Mendocino and surrounding areas, I would highly recommend making a weekend of it and taking some detours along the way. Below is my list of recommendations. I hope you enjoy them! If you have any to add, please leave them in the comments. I look forward to my next trip to Mendocino.

    Stay
    Sea Ranch Lodge: A beautiful hotel right on the coast. There are some well-paved trails leading from its property that weave along the coastline. Rooms are modern and cozy. For a real splurge, get an ocean view room.
    Glendeven Inn: We were so happy to discover this hotel after reading this old New York Times article on Mendocino. From the incredibly cozy rooms to the delicious breakfast and dinner, this is definitely the place to stop if you’re into the whole farm-to-table thing. Walk through the property garden and enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the wine bar. The llamas and chickens that live on the property add bonus charm (you even get chicken feed in your room so you can feed the chickens).

    Eat
    Cafe Beaujolais: A real special-occasion restaurant in downtown Mendocino. Make a reservation here for a celebratory dinner. Be sure to enjoy the bread, which you can also purchase at the local market (we bought several loaves to enjoy back in our hotel and on our drive home).
    Mendocino Cafe: A casual spot in downtown Mendocino that’s great for dinner or lunch and has a lovely outdoor patio for when the weather’s nice.

    Detours
    Anderesen Valley Brewing Company: If you’re driving South from Mendocino and enjoy craft beers, you may consider stopping at this popular, casual brewery.
    Diavola Pizzeria: If you’re driving North from San Francisco, Geyserville is a worthwhile stop. This little town’s strip is nothing more than a fabulous tasting room and a few noteworthy restaurants. Among them, this pizza place is a true gem. I’d venture to say it makes the best pizza in the Bay. I recommend getting their house-made sausage on your pie, and trying the charcuterie plate.
    Navarro Vineyards: On your way to Mendocino or on the drive home, you may want to check out this family-owned winery. With plenty of picnic tables and sprawling views, it’s a great place for a picnic. They also serve non-alcoholic Gewürztraminer, a fabulous option for non-drinkers and kids.

  2. A Small Request…

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    Photo credit: The lovely Stephanie Hua of rockin’ blog Lick My Spoon.

    I couldn’t be more excited about our upcoming trip to Sicily. I love when nighttime reading is a travel guide. I can go to sleep thinking about all of the places I’ll see, the tasty food I’ll eat, the photos I’ll take, and that incredible feeling of everything around you being absolutely brand new. It’s like being born! Ok, not to sound too dramatic, but traveling is my absolute favorite thing in the world (probably tied with cooking and eating!) so a trip on the horizon means a lot of planning and anticipation.

    We’ll be renting a car and driving around the island for two weeks and I was wondering: have you been? Do you have any recommendations for us? Where should we visit? Where should we stay? What should we eat? What Sicilian slang should we learn beforehand?

    Time to brush up on my italiano, amici!

  3. Ace Hotel & Swim Club: Palm Springs, A Weekend Away

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    A few weekends ago, Matt and I decided to pack up our car and make the 8 1/2 hour drive to the desert of Palm Springs. Unlike our usual travels, this trip wasn’t meant to take us on a range of adventures with a packed itinerary. Our intention was to step back from our day-to-day routine and go someplace where we could wind down and feel re-energized. More, we had been hoping to do something most people who run websites and startups do: have an offsite meeting. Knock our heads together and brainstorm away from our couch and our kitchen table. Far from the fog of our neighborhood. Tucked away in a place both restorative and relaxing. This place turned out to be the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.

    I had first read about the Ace on Joanna’s blog and had been hooked on the idea of a little sojourn there ever since. Matt and I are big fans of the Ace, having hung out both at the Ace in Portland and New York. We like the company’s cool/hip/minimalist aesthetic and their appreciation of good coffee (hello, Stumptown!) not to mention, the fact that these folks take their music seriously (more on that later). I knew that the Ace in Palm Springs would inevitably be a place where we could just hang out, without worrying about sight-seeing or missing out on the action around.

    When we arrived, sweaty and tired, we immediately dropped off our bags, changed into our bathing suits and watched the sun set over the mountains as we laid on two lounge chairs by the pool, sipping our drinks. I brought along a little notebook that I carried around from our room to the pool and the various ‘public’ sitting areas around the premises. We’d spend an hour or two talking about Turntable Kitchen: how far we’ve come and where we want to go, then take a break to read and dive back into it an hour or so later.

    Our room itself was insane, with an attached fireplace patio where we ate our breakfast, drank coffee and/or wine, and strategized about the future of the site, the Pairings Box, and more things to come. One of the coolest parts of our room, and what drew us to the Ace in the first place, was our in-room turntable, which comes standard in some (but not all) of the Ace rooms. A stack of records — mostly old classics — accompanied the system, but truth be told, we brought a stack of our own. We listened to Jorge Ben, Beirut, Al Green, David Bowie, Rhye in our room, and let the music flow out into the patio. Hotels of the world pay attention: having a turntable in your hotel room is possibly the best thing ever. If we had any complaints about the in-room turntable, it’s that the selection of records was hardly exciting for a music fan and could use an update with some new vinyl.

    Aside from the turntable, we found cool elements like bathroom amenities from small Northwest producers, a well-stocked bar (which we didn’t tap into) and a wide selection of movies (which we didn’t watch). Instead, we indulged ourselves in the tasty food throughout the weekend. We ate our breakfast on the patio (at no extra charge for the room service), which was inventive and delicious. One night, we enjoyed a hearty dinner of brisket burgers and crispy fries alongside the lit-up pool, and for lunch, we ate and drank poolside as a DJ spun tunes. The hand-crafted cocktails were simply delicious.

    If you were to wonder what sort of entertainment you’d get at the Ace, you would need look no further than the bar, which became an all-out raging dance party roughly around 11 pm. On Friday night, they have indie rock bands entertain the crowd. While we were there, Abe Vigoda and Dunes performed.

    All in all, it was one of the most refreshing weekends I’ve (we’ve) had in a while. Creativity can sometimes be stifled by too much routine and thinking outside of the box often requires stepping out of the box. So thank you, Ace Hotel, for allowing us to step out of our box and light a few fires*.

    *The Ace Hotel & Swim Club kindly provided us with a discounted room and an upgrade to their fireplace patio room so that we could check out the in-room turntable experience and share it with you.

  4. City Guide: Salta and Tilcara (Argentina)

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    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    I’ve saved the best for last. We loved Buenos Aires and Mendoza, but we LOVED Salta and the surrounding regions. From the moment we stepped off our double decker AndesMar bus (on which we spent 17 hours watching ridiculous straight-to-DVD movies, slept, played bingo, and drank unnecessarily bad wine), we kind of fell for it. Once I’d had a chance to rub myself down with anti-bug spray (which I really, really did not need at this time of year), I felt so relaxed and at home.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    We stayed at Bloomers B&B, which was utterly charming, full of character, and delivered the best breakfasts we’d had over the course of the entire trip. Day one was a selection of pastries, dulce de leche, cayote jam, orange juice and baked mozzarella and tomatoes on English muffins. Day two was the same except with a delicious banana-filled crepe. Not only were the hosts as laid-back as San Diego surfers, they stocked us with a bottle of champagne and let us keep our things in the hotel for the night that we stayed up in Tilcara. More, they hooked us up with David (dalemartinez00 [at] hotmail [dot] com), personal tour guide extraordinaire.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    Being one that has often lived in fear of tour groups and guided excursions, I hesitated about hiring a driver that would also be a tour guide, but once we met David, we knew that we would not only get to see a lot more places, but also learn a lot. For example: if you want to sell a car in Salta, all you need to do is put an empty jug/container on the roof of the car — people will know it is for sale. Also, Salinas Grandes are the third largest salt flats in the world. And Fili Helado is the best ice cream place in town (stat!) — more on that later.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon
    There was a before David–when we strolled the streets and immediately came across Salta’s regional sweets —little cracker-like cookies topped with dulce de leche and covered in a sugar glaze. We also went to Doña Salta, a packed restaurant where waiters were elaborately dressed and we had our first tamales. I really, really, really, wanted to try the regional dish of humitas (something similar to tamales, made with corn), but it seemed that no restaurant had them (corn was out of season). I settled for tamales…everywhere we went. Just a short walk from our hotel, we found Miles pizzeria. The tiny little place served not only delicious pizza, but a range of empanadas that were immediately thrown into an oven in a clay bowl. The empanadas in Salta are served with a spicy sauce (we’ll call it mild for anyone who likes Mexican food), and that sauce was all I needed to be able to continue eating at least 1 empanada every single day that I was in Argentina.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon
    David took us up to Tilcara, as planned, where we stayed at Cerro Chico, in our own little cabin with a view of the endless mountains, the night sky, and a patio with lounge chairs AND a cast iron wood-burning stove that kept us warm through the night. No words could describe the French owner that used to work on an oil rig before moving to Tilcara to build his hotel — you’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    The drive to Tilcara from Salta is well-worth the actual stay — the mountains begin to change colors along the way, displaying all sorts of rainbow shades as a result of mineral deposits in the rock (another little David factoid). We embarked upon an ambitious hike down from our hotel to the center of town, ending in the central square where we guzzled cold Torrontes, and chowed on a quinoia tortilla (an omelet of sorts), more tamales and empanadas filled with cheese and quinoa. I loved how popular quinoa was here and consumed an unfathomable amount of it in one day (I also had quinoa and vegetable soup for dinner at El Patio). I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this first restaurant (blame it on heatstroke and my first encounter with a llama), but if you are in the market square, look for the restaurant with the yellow walls (we think the cross is at Rivadavia and Lavalle —maybe A La Payla?).

    We spent the evening casually strolling and drinking wine as we watched the stars. The next day, we hit up Purmamarca, where the glorious seven-colored mountain stood before us. We marveled and looked at it from all angles and directions before having quite the fancy lunch at Los Morteros–fancy considering the tiny town of Purmamarca and the exquisitely modern design of the place. The adobe brick homes topped with cardone (cactus) roofs beguiled us everywhere we went.

    We drove up the mountains, to the highest point, and further still to a lake of salt (Salinas Grandes) and back down to beautiful Salta. After dinner, we took a cab out to La Casona del Molino, a traditional peña where everyone is invited (should they dare) to join in on playing the guitar, drums, and belt out folksy tunes (you’re in for a treat on Musical Pairings). A big black spider fell on Matt, but we didn’t care. We were mesmerized by the singing and the atmosphere at this restaurant, which lied on the outskirts of town, in a quiet neighborhood.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    On our last day in Salta, before we had to head back to Buenos Aires, all I kept thinking about was how I never really wanted to get on that plane. We popped into Fili, upon David’s recommendation, and the elderly gentleman made us try every flavor of ice cream, kindly insisting on dulce de leche and bombones (truffle). After we finished our cups, he gave us another — ‘on the house.’ I nearly melted.

    When I go to bed at night, I dream of Salta. And I’ll probably keep dreaming of it for many weeks and months to come.

    Travel Guide: Salta and Tilcara: Part 3 of Our Honeymoon

    Eat

    El Patio: Lavalle 352 (Tilcara)
    Doña Salta: Cordoba N 36
    Miles Pizza and Empanadas: facing Vicente Lopez 129, walk left 2 blocks and turn left. Miles is an easy-to-miss tiny little joint on your right.
    Fili Helados: cross at Sarmiento and Gral. Guemes
    Los Morteros (Purmamarca): behind and to the left of the church
    La Casona del Molino: Luis Burela 1 (come around 10 for the music)

    Stay

    Bloomers B&B Vicente Lopez 129
    Cerro Chico (Tilcara): follow the road north of the city and follow the signs

    Musical Pairings: Atahualpa Yupanqui – Grandes Exitos

    Today concludes our Argentina coverage, and we are ending with one of the last and best places we explored during our vacation: Salta. Truly, Salta was amazing, and exceeded our every expectation. The Salta and Jujuy provinces are what you’d get if
    you were able to mash Sonoma, Nashville and Death Valley all in to one very safe, beautiful and extremely livable area. You have subtle, crisp and refreshing white wines (torrontes) from Cafayate, Cachi, and Valles Calchaquies. You have the heart of Argentina’s famous folklorica and center of easily discoverable music at the many peñas of Salta (such as at La Casona del Molina) where musicians gather and take turns playing guitar and singing traditional music throughout the night over bottles of cheap red wine and beer. And you have cactus, desert, salt flats and the beautiful, multi-colored mountains of the Andes in the northwest in Purmamarca, Tilcara and Salinas Grandes. There is no question in my mind that Salta should be a priority destination for any vacation to Argentina (and I highly recommend our guide David Alejandro Martinez if you are looking for a private driver and guide: dalemartinez00 {at} hotmail {dot} com). And since the Salta region is famous for its folklorica, I can’t imagine pairing any other genre with the area. Folklorica is extremely popular and also has a lot of history. I’ve not even scratched the surface in my experience with the music, but I can say without hesitation that I love the music of Atahualpa Yupanqui. I’ve already downloaded a few of his albums, and my favorite so far is Grandes Exitos.  –Matthew

  5. City Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

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    City Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

    After doing some big city touring in Buenos Aires, we jetted off on a plane to Mendoza, the heart and soul of Argentina’s wine country. We grounded ourselves at B&B Plazza Italia, an old home owned by a lovely couple. Located in the center of downtown Mendoza, the B&B definitely had a different vibe from the swanky hotels that we had been staying in before. Mercedes and Tito, the owners, were extremely gracious and welcoming, as was Cecelia. Breakfast was served in a formal dining room where all of the guests started their days with medialunas, ham, cheese, fresh orange juice and coffee.

    Unlike Buenos Aires, Mendoza had an older world charm. With four large squares in the center, and a huge park on the outskirts of the city, Mendoza had no shortage of greenery…or helado (ice cream) parlors, which seemed to be filled at all hours of the day. Being that Mendoza is the biggest wine producing region of the entire country, it naturally made sense that it would be where we would consume the most wine. We lazily lounged at cafes, alternating between drinking wine and strong coffee to fuel us through the evening. Our first meal, at a restaurant called Azafran, very nearly blew us away. Perhaps it was the warm weather, outdoor seating, freshly-baked cheesy bread, or amuse bouche of potato soup…Or, perhaps it was the Spanish tortilla. Or the fresh salad. Or pork. Everything looked gorgeous. And tasted gorgeous too. We weren’t in Buenos Aires anymore, but the food certainly did not drop down in quality.

    City Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

    We visited the wine regions of Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo, where some of the world’s best wines are produced. Mendoza, of course, is known for the smooth Malbec, and we had a lot of it. On our first excursion out of the city, we rode a bus to Maipu and hit up Coco Bikes. The nice folks there provided us with a map and suggested wineries (as well as a chocolate and liquor making business and an olive oil farm). We stopped by Carinae winery first, which proved to be our favorite winery on the tour. We rode and rode our bikes until we reached a little oasis quite frankly out of place in the very humble town of Maipu: Almacen del Sur. At the end of our path, a gate opened up and led us to a beautiful garden setup where we feasted on everything from lamb pie to chicken wings and every bevy of deliciousness from the delicatessen’s own garden. Before we returned our bikes, we popped over to A La Antigua, a small chocolate and liquor producer, where we sampled rose liquor and hazelnut dulce de leche (you bet I brought a jar home!)

    City Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

    The next day, we hired a driver through our hotel (Gennaro, who did not speak English, but was nonetheless happy to communicate with me in my Italo-Spanglish). He took us to Lujan, where we visited Alta Vista winery and marveled at the snow-covered Andes that surrounded us seemingly on all sides. The air was crisp, and the wines warmed us up in the best way possible. We asked Gennaro to take us to some good empanadas. He made good on his promise and took us to a working-class tented restaurant where jugs of wine sat on every tarp-covered table and stumps of wood covered with cow skins served as our seats. Plate after plate of hot, flaky-doughed beef empanadas seemed to emerge every five minutes. Seemingly, that is only how long it took us to devour them!

    Back in Mendoza, we feasted on chorizo and steak at unpretentious La Barra, where the owner, dressed in jeans, a button down shirt and a newsie cap made his rounds and tended to his outdoor grill. We slept well these nights. Before leaving, we took a long drive with Gennaro out to Uspallata, a border town with Chile, where we admired the mountain-flanked road, the horses, and the terrain. The road that leads to Chile. I took hundreds of pictures of mountains during these days. From every angle. Rocks and more glorious rocks.

    City Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

    We had a soft spot for Mendoza by that point. We were learning that the bakeries would be closed at 2 pm and despite forecasts of rain, the sun shown endlessly on us.

    Eat

    Azafran: Av Sarmiento 765
    La Barra: Av Belgrano 1086
    Almacen del Sur: Zanichelli 709 (Maipu) –set menu; come hungry
    Amazing empanadas place in Lujan: this will be hard to find but it is somewhere between Alta Vista and the road that leads to Catena Zapata. Should be on the same road, as far as I remember

    Stay
    B&B Plazza Italia: Montevideo 685; 54 (261) 4234219

    Musical Pairings: Gustavo Cerati – Bocanada

    Welcome back to Argentina week on eating/sf! Today Kasey is posting her Mendoza wrap-up from our honeymoon. We found Mendoza and the surrounding areas (including Maipu and Lujan) to be enchanting, beautiful, youthful, and sensual. We enjoyed delicious meals at Azafran, La Barra, Casa 3, and Almacen del Sur (all highly recommended). We rode bikes in Maipu and visited artisan chocolate makers and olive oil farms. We drank glass after glass of fantastic wines at Carinae Wines (my favorite), Di Tommaso, Viña del Cerno, Alta Vista (my second favorite), Archaval Ferrer, and Catena Zapata. Parque General San Martin and Plaza Indepencia bustle with life and youthful energy on the weekends. And although he hails from Buenos Aires, I’ve selected Gustavo Cerati’ 1999 album Bocanada as my Musical Pairing for the Mendoza post. Sensual, indulgent, and engaging, Bocanada just seems like the perfect aural accompaniment to meandering around from top notch restaurant to winery to large, beautiful parks. Head over to Musical Pairings to read more and sample some tracks. –Matthew

  6. City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Why, hello. Hello! It’s been quite the September. On Saturday, September 12, 2009, Matt and I got married. At a beautiful private estate called Casa Vecchia. It was a rough morning–it rained. There was thunder. There was lightening. And then the skies parted, and it was a beautiful sunny day. More on the wedding next week. In the meantime, we’re diving into one of the most wonderful, amazing, adventurous, and gluttonous trips I have ever taken in my life. My honeymoon, of course! We spent 15 days traveling across Argentina–from Buenos Aires, to Mendoza, Salta and the surrounding regions…and back to Buenos Aires. We’ll spend this week filling you in on our wonderful gastronomic adventures…starting with one of the most gastronomic cities in South America–and the world, in my opinion, at least.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We ate steak, and lots of it. We ate empanadas, and lots of them. We chomped on homemade pastas, breads, alfajores, croissants (or rather, medialunas, as they are called in Argentina), and just straight up dulce de leche by the spoonful. Armed with Lonely Planet, as well as printed restaurant reviews from The New York Times, Matt Bites and the Paupered Chef, we felt like we had a pretty good idea of how to please our stomachs.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We began our stay at hands down the most incredible hotel I have ever stayed in in my life: Casa Calma. A ‘wellness hotel,’ Casa Calma served us breakfast in bed and infused mineral water. They spoiled us with a hot tub and a sauna in our room, and the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We hit the main tourist joint that everybody seems to recommend, La Cabrera, and were not disappointed by the myriad of little dishes filled with sides and sauces. We hadn’t yet learned to order all steaks jugoso, or bloody. The chorizo was more than memorable, but our ojo was less so. From then on, we stuck with lomo. We both agreed that lomo and chorizo were the best cuts of steak.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We indulged ourselves in alfajores (always covered in chocolate) from every confiteria that we could find. As all Argentines, we had a snack every afternoon and sampled the city’s sweets. Disappointed to learn that Havanna (the equivalent of Starbucks or Peets) was on numerous occasions hailed to us as having ‘the best’ alfajores, we stuck to small bakeries. Let me tell you, Havanna alfajores did not even hold a candle.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    While we stayed in the Retiro, we ended up spending a lot of time (unsurprisingly) in Palermo, where we checked out Bar 6–a cafe/bar with a cool artsy interior and great food. We also feasted in style at Tegui (I was told no photos by the staff). Our six course tasting menu plus wine pairings included things like buffalo rib eye with red wine, horseradih, bread budding and foie gras as well as veal brain tartlet with shallot ice cream, raw ham and a puff pastry crust (don’t ask!), as well as the famous Torrontes white wine. The creamy goat cheese with strawberry sorbet was out of this world… as was the rest of the meal.

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We also enjoyed some traditional, handmade pastas at Amici Miei (‘my friends’ in Italian) in San Telmo, the old, cobble stoned part of the city. Lunch on a rainy and cold day was at La Brigada. Covered in signed jerseys and packed with businessmen feasting on steaks, we got french fries and roasted red pepper as our simple sides to our perfectly cooked steaks (the best we had).

    City Guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    We were lucky to spend an extra few days in Buenos Aires at the tail end of our trip, staying at swanky Vain hotel in the Palermo district. Our first night back, we ate rabbit stew and pork dumplings at Las Pizarras (on Thames Street in Palermo Viejo), one of the most adorable restaurants I’ve ever been to. We checked out Don Julio, another traditional parilla. Our last meal, at a parilla called Miranda (in Palermo Hollywood) did not disappoint. Generous cuts of meat, inventive dishes like polenta with balsamic reduction, slow-roasted tomatoes and greens, were quite unexpected. Our final stop: Helena, a whimsical little cafe where we had our last glass of malbec and split our last chocolate covered alfajore.

    To say that Buenos Aires is not a world class eating city would be a travesty. From the most incredible steaks, to high-end fusion cuisine, delectable sweets, and cafes, confiterias and resto/bars to fuel you from morning to late, late at night (take note: Argentines do not sit down to dinner before 10 pm and restaurants open late accordingly), Buenos Aires is a foodie’s dream. It’s also a place to gain a few pounds, get lost, and get found. While big cities are certainly no representation of the broader population of a country, we found portenos (as the city’s inhabitants are called) to be friendly, helpful and warm. The city is New York on some serious caffeine. Buzzing until all hours of the night, filled with gorgeous historical building mixed in with some of the most cutting edge and modern designs. Split into ‘neighborhoods’ that each represent a different side of this amazingly diverse city. I am still in awe.

    Eat
    The majority of ‘hot’ restaurants are in the Palermo district. You can also get great eats in San Telmo. Empanadas, alfajores and pizza can all be found throughout the city.

    La Cabrera: Cabrera 5099 (Palermo)
    La Brigada: Bolivar 1008 (San Telmo)
    Miranda: Costa Rica 5602 (Palermo)
    Las Pizarras Bistro: Thames 2296 (Palermo)
    Helena: Nicaragua 4816 (Palermo)
    Bar 6: Armenia 1676 (Palermo)
    Amici Miei: Defensa 1072 (San Telmo)
    Tegui: Costa Rica 5852 (Palermo)
    Don Julio: Guat
    emala 4691
    (Palermo)

    Stay
    Casa Calma: Suipacha 1015; 54 11 5199 2800
    Vain Boutique Hotel: Thames 2226; 54 11 4776 8246

    *Click on the collage at the top to see it in full screen.

    Musical Pairings: Astor Piazzolla – Tango Para Una Ciudad

    Welcome to Argentina week on Musical Pairings. If you’ve read any of our posts last month, you know that Kasey and I were away on our honeymoon in Argentina. And in honor of our honeymoon, we are going to highlight food and music that we feel is representative of our experience in the three different regions of Argentina we visited: Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Salta. As you can imagine, we have a lot of great food and music to share from our adventures there. For my part, I searched far and wide to uncover as much great music in Argentina as I could. As Kasey can attest, I asked almost everyone I met about what music was popular in Argentina: cab drivers, guides, waiters, hotel staff, people I met on Twitter, people we met at the airport, and the people working in all of the shops we visited. “¿Quién es su músico preferido?” Head over to Musical Pairings‘ home for the full recap. –Matthew