Sep 04 2012
OK, I am a total liar. This is why you don’t write about a trip a year after it happened. We did crash immediately upon arriving at our hostel, BUT…not for good. We napped and then rallied. Why?
You should know two things:
- Argentina is known for having excellent steak.
- My husband loves many things, but especially, and in this order: the “specialty” food item of any place, the weirdest food on the menu (leading to an ongoing and unfortunate battle with Bangkok belly in Thailand), meat.
In fact, most of our trip-planning conversations leading up to our departure went something like this:
Brittany: Oh, I got a good recommendation for a steak restaurant in Buenos Aires.
Ben: AWESOME. Let’s go there.
Brittany: OK. Also, there’s a good market every Sunday in this neighborhood.
Ben: Cool. But do they have steak?
Brittany: Not sure. Oh and we should definitely [insert long and thoughtful list of fun stuff to do in Argentina].
Ben: …also STEAK.
So from the moment we stepped foot on Argentinian soil, Ben was counting down the seconds until we would eat at the renowned Parrilla La Cabrera. It was a day #1 priority. So although it would take an act of God to extract Ben from bed at home, and despite our overnight flight and all-day trek through BA, Ben set our alarm for 10:30pm that night to head out for a post-nap dinner.
We’d read that Argentinians eat late and that lines at La Cabrera can be long, but we figured showing up at 11:00 pm would ensure us a quick table.
Wrong. Upon our arrival (it was just a short walk from our hostel), we were informed that it would be at least an hour’s wait. However, to temper the inevitable inconvenience, La Cabrera sets out a tub of sweet white wine and champagne on ice on their stoop for all to enjoy while they wait. Restaurateurs take note: this is definitely a practice one should import.
As a quasi-tourist attraction, much of the waitstaff at La Cabrera speaks English, so the experience is easy. Once they called our name, we quickly found ourselves at a small table in the corner, and with surprising speed, had a bottle of red wine and an appetizer in front of us. Ben ordered the meat and a salad for the table, emphasizing that he wanted the steak cooked “medium rare,” or whatever the Spanish equivalent of that is.
The steak soon arrived on a wooden cutting board and I didn’t even have time to snap a picture before Ben attacked. You think I’m kidding:
I yelped and made him stop so I could take a photo. This was the best I got:
And this is where things sort of fell apart for Ben. The steak was overdone, and he spent a large portion of the meal bemoaning the fact that they would ruin such a nice cut of meat by overcooking it. Unfortunately, it was a trend in Argentina: they overcook their steaks (well, “overcook” by our standards). We ended up having only one steak in Argentina that was perfectly cooked and that was at the home of a cowboy in the countryside and only because, with the assistance of their live-in translator and guide, Ben emphasized the need for the cow to still be bleeding when he consumed it.
Bottom line: I thought La Cabrera was DELICIOUS. Ben was disappointed. While it’s not cheap, the prices are much less expensive than the nicest restaurants in our hometown. The wine was good, the bread was delicious, but learn an accurate Spanish translation of “medium rare” before you go.
Despite getting lost at 3am in a strange city on the way back to our hostel (a bit scary, that), we eventually made our way into bed for good. I’m not lying this time.