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Living Well on the Cheap: Quick Picks from Buenos Aires

January 5th, 2010 No comments

The sister of a friend contacted me recently looking for tips for her upcoming visit (as she puts it, “I like touristy things but my friend and I (who will be there for 2 weeks with me) are more interested in good food, good wine, good people and dancing!”).

Armed with both hindsight and fond recollection, I came up with the following.  Bear in mind that the exchange rate during my visit was about 3.8 Argentine pesos to the US dollar, so to get dollars the mental math is just to divide by four, then add a little more.

  • The Japanese botanical gardens.  5 or 8 pesos well spent and the weather should be great for leisurely wandering about (hopefully not too hot!).  The restaurant there has primo sushi.
  • Practica X tango dancing.  Ten pesos gets you in for great dance every Tuesday night with a great crowd geared towards more relaxed tango practice, complete with a lesson at the start.  http://practicax.net/ for complete details.
  • Ricoleta fair on Sundays.  Right on the grounds surrounding the famous Ricoleta cemetery, it has tons of stands featuring artesian crafts and more importantly great crowds of people laying about on the lawn, enjoying yerba mate and often live music.  Try the “pan rellenos caliente” being peddled about, a hot tasty snack of stuffed bread for just 8 pesos.
  • Freddo helado.  Ice cream that is kinda ritzy at 15 or so pesos a cone, but well worth it.  My favorite cone combo is the regular chocolate and the regular dolce du leche.
  • If you’re in to meat, parrilla (Argentine-style grilled meats) can be found all over.  One superb experience I can recommend is at a restaurant called Miranda.  50 pesos gets you an amazing beef tenderloin (lomo).
  • Duck your head into any bakeries (patesseries) that have nummy things on display.  I highly recommend anything with dolce du leche in it, especially the churros.

The other day I paid about 7 bucks for a so-so steak at the local King Soopers.  It made me appreciate and miss places like Miranda and Roberto’s meat counter.

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