Buenos Aires

07/27/2009 § Leave a comment

So I’ve been terribly negligent of updating this blog. That’s what happens when I try to do two things at once. Shouldn’t have tried to do my regular blog posts and talk about our trip. It left me like the donkey who found himself equidistant between two carrots; unable to move at all.

And between a job I hate and trying to write a book and summer with all its usual distractions I have found little time to work on this blog. So until I allot some real time to craft a post I’m going to post some of my favorite pics from the trip. Here they are.

Me on a bus tour!

Me on a bus tour!

Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery

The Quixote.

The Quixote.

La Boca.

La Boca.

One of the best meals ever. Sweetbreads.

One of the best meals ever. Sweetbreads.

¡Superpancho!

¡Superpancho!

Taking the train to Tigre.

Taking the train to Tigre.

Waffles of the World.

Waffles of the World.

Lighter I bought for a few pesos.

Lighter I bought for a few pesos.

Another great meal.

Another great meal.

Last night out. Listening to traditional Tango. Drinking Quilmes. Photo courtesy of Peter.

Last night out. Listening to traditional Tango. Drinking Quilmes. Photo courtesy of Peter.

Only Jerks in the World to look for Brewpubs in Buenos Aires

06/17/2009 § Leave a comment

“We must be the only two jerks in the world to fly to Argentina and look for brewpubs.”

I said that to Gemma. At least in my memories I said it, while searching travel guides and internets for info. I think I probably said several times that we were the only two jerks to do “X” when we traveled. Guess it was my schtick…..and her’s also. She was the Laurel to my Hardy.

In any event, these two vaudeville stars did manage to find two brewpubs to enjoy in Buenos Aires. The first was called Cosssab. The second, Antares.

I believe it was our second or third evening that we did manage to make it out to Cossab. Cossab is situated in the West. It was on Carlos Calvo, which happened to be the same street as our B&B. We were initially excited about this, thinking we could maybe walk, and then realized it was about five miles to the West.

Gemma and I have no beef with walking five miles. We do it in our native land of Chicago and we even did it while we were there. But walking in the evening with a belly and head full of frothy South American beer was not a good idea…..so we took a cab.

Since nothing opens until 8 in Buenos Aires we waited outside for Peter to show up. The place was open but just, and we didn’t want to be the first jerks in the place. Especially because conversation would have been, ahem, strained to say the least. And I would have probably said something stupid like, “Quiero cerveza un chopp….” which is totally fine, but then since I would have wanted to say something else to showcase my stellar spanish skills I would have said “btw, estoy el diablo blanco.” And I would have thrown in the webspeak too. It was good Gemma was there to keep me in line.

Peter showed up about four minutes later and we went in. It was a dark pub. Beer cans and coasters covered the walls. We felt right at home. We took a seat by the window and waited for Paola and Arturo. Pao had been buying a space heater for the winter and Arturo had been sleeping, I think.

Cossab

Our friends arrived shortly after and we sampled their house beers, most of which, sadly, were unavailable. The blonde was good. The porter was good. I think those are the only ones that made an impression. The rest were drinkable but nothing exceptional. We ordered food.

They love pizza down in Buenos Aires but most of it is a strange sort of Frankenstien version of what we think of as pizza. Strange white cheese and whole green olives….sometimes raw onions thrown on top, &tc. We drank Stella and Quilmes and even some Guiness I believe. Arturo and I became better friends while chainsmoking all evening outside the front. We left at about 3 or 330am.

Outside Cossab. Left to Right: Me, Pao, Peter, Arturo.

Outside Cossab. Left to Right: Me, Pao, Peter, Arturo.

Smoking is technically banned in Buenos Aires bars but it is a loose sort of ban. Some bars just don’t care. Some are strict about the policy. Some specific rooms in certain bars are smoking rooms. Some upstairs areas are smoking if the place is big enough. Generally we just took a quick look around to see if others were smoking and if not we went outside.

The other brewpub we went to, Antares, was in Palermo. Palermo is a very nice area. It is filled with shops and fancy restaurants and lovely streets and beautiful homes and hotels. Antares is among the fancy places.

Antares Brewpub, Palermo.

Antares Brewpub, Palermo.

Gemma and I had wandered around Palermo all afternoon looking for a restaurant we had read about. We found it. It was closed and lots of people were inside cleaning intensely. Our hunger pulled us away too quick to discover what what had caused them to close for lunch. We wandered a bit. We were thrown. When our plans fail we often starve. Not due to lack of restaurants but due to indecision. Restaurants were everywhere we just had a hard time deciding. We found a traditional parrilla place that ended up being the best meat I had while there. Not the best meal. The best meat. I intend to write about our food on another post.

After our Palermo shopping adventures, in which niether Gemma or I made a single purchase (again the indecision thing….it amazes me we got to South America!), we stopped at a bar. I got made fun of for ordering a “disco drink,” which I took to mean a girls drink.

Girl Drink

Girl Drink

It was tasty though, so whatever. And full of bourbon…which is why I got it. And honestly, you can only drink so much Quilmes.

Then we texted Arturo and headed to Antares. It was getting chilly but I wanted to sit outside to smoke. I got readdicted while there. Hard not to when the packs are 5 pesos; roughly $1.80.

Beer Flight.

Beer Flight.

Gemma and I sampled their two dark beers before Arturo showed up. When he arrived we got the flight. It was all good and we were, I think, all very impressed. The bar, which is one of five or six scattered about Argentina, was lovely. The decor and clientelle definetely reflected the neighborhood in which it was placed.

Antares Interior

Antares Interior

When we all got too cold we went in and had another pint. Draft beer is called “chopp” there. It was just the three of us and Arturo told us about his mother country Columbia. We would have loved to stay there all evening but it was Tuesday and we had a date with a dive bar and a traditional tango singer later. We met up with Pao and Peter enjoyed more Quilmes at our next bar which was not a brewpub but which merits it’s own post in the near future..

Arturo tells the gang a story.

Arturo tells the gang a story.

Return from South of the Equator

05/28/2009 § 1 Comment

Gemma and I have safely returned from the autumnal lands of South America. I have been working nonstop since our return but will continue with the saga of Orlando and Angelica soon. I have much to say regarding our trip and intend to write a fairly long entry with some photos; hopefully starting today.

We had a wonderful time visiting with our friends Peter, Poala, Arturo, and the millions of other folks who are down there. I learned a lot, drank a fair amount, and even picked up a few folktales I was unfamiliar with.

To tide you over here is a photo of a not-so-old folktale that is being produced for the stage in Buenos Aires. Alas, Gemma and I did not have time to see it; one of our many regrets. Too little time.

BA23

El Joven Frankenstein

South America and Charles Brockden Brown

05/07/2009 § Leave a comment

Charles_Brockden_Brown

Charles Brockden Brown.

I’m working non-stop until Gemma and I depart for Argentina. Therefore, those of you who are dying to know what happens next in the saga of Orlando and Angelica will have to wait until after we return on the 22nd.

We are also having a party tomorrow so posting on this blog won’t be happening.

I was planning on traveling south of the equator with Borges in my bag and maté dripping from my lips. I was looking forward to revisiting the crazy land of ideas that he created. However, I grew excited and read Ficciones recently and another short collection we have. So I don’t want to read them again and won’t be bringing Borges with on the plane. Visiting his old haunts and smoking at sidewalk cafes in San Telmo will have to suffice for me. This is probably for the best because I imagine every jerk on the plane will be reading him.

Instead of Borges I’ll be reading some Charles Brockden Brown on my trip. Specifically I’ll be reading Edgar Huntley; or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker. Picked it up for a buck! He has nothing to do with South America but I figure I’ll go down there representing the USA full force. I’ll probably write it up when I return. I will also be making a separate link with photos and musings on our trip.

¡Hasta luego boludos!

Far Corners of the Earth and 18 Blocks from Where I Live (also on the Earth).

03/10/2009 § Leave a comment

Ugh. Sorry with all this non-fairytale-related junk. After this I won’t post about anything different for a while. Promise.

So, Gemma and I are going to Buenos Aires soon. I’ve been dying to go to a different corner of the earth, as I don’t think the Northwest and Northeast count; since they are still the US, and as large as the US is, it is probably just one corner of earth. Are there four? How many corners altogether?

I haven’t ever come across any Argentinian folklore, so I’m excited to see if we come across any down there, or anything else along that vein in South America. Hopefully I’ll find some good editions of Borges and Cortázar. I’m looking forward to hanging out at Borges old haunts; coffee shops, bookstores, and the Biblioteca Nacional. If anyone of the handful of people who visit this blog have been to Argentina and have any recommendations about anything feel free to leave a comment. Mmm. Mate and matambre. Can’t wait.

Other items:

Publican. I bring up this restaurant because it’s not just a restaurant. It’s an epic assault on the senses. Pork Bellys, Pig Ears, Oysters, Belgian Beers… the list goes on and on.

Gemma took me to Publican for my birthday last week and it was, quite possibly, the best meal I’ve ever had. And I have been to several of the top restaurants here, so I don’t say that lightly. Thanks Gemma.

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