Category Archives: Argentina

Goodbye Argentina and thanks.

As we leave Argentina there are so many things we are thankful to have been able to experience and that we know we are going to miss.

dulce de leche


yerba mate

new friends

steak

Buenos Aires

cheek kissing

Salta

empanadas

malbec

dog walkers

Mendoza

asados

alfajores


Most of all we’ll miss the Argentinian people who were always friendly, patient with my bad Spanish, helpful, and welcoming.   We’ll miss Argentina, but I know we’ll be back.

Next stop is Chicago to visit friends, family and attend our nephew Matt and his fiance Melissa’s wedding.  I’ve also challenged Jeff to a White Castle slider eating contest.   I’m pretty sure I know who’s going to win.

Mendoza to Buenos Aires -on the fancy bus

Normally a 13 hour overnight bus ride would fill me with dread. But in Argentina it’s something to look forward to, especially if you go first class.

A first class ticket on the bus line Cata gets you a  big seat, foot rest,  blanket, pillow, newspaper,  curtains to section off your seat and a personal tv.  You also get your own personal garbage bag which doesn’t sound like much unless your husband has a cold and is going through a lot of tissues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after the bus started out we got served this sandwhich with either water or coke. My first thought was, “Nice, but this is not going to hold me for 13 hours.”

Ham item #1

It turns out this was just the appetizer.  The second thing we were served was this plate of assorted mini ham sandwiches.

Ham items #2-#5. Guess what the empanada was filled with.... ham.

This course came with it’s own mini bottle of wine.

not bad for bus wine

Then came the main course,  breaded meat, potatoes all covered in ham.  It looks weird, but was strangely delicious.

Ham item #6 - ham covered meat and potatoes

We had the choice of coffee, tea, water or champagne with dessert.  It was so tempting to get champagne because when do you ever have the chance to drink champagne on a bus? But, I went with water.   I wasn’t sure how champagne would taste with flan.

bus flan - delicious

Then it was movie time. We had the choice between two different movies, both in English with Spanish subtitles.  Once the movie was over everyone pulled their curtains around their seats, lowered their seats back and put up their foot rests. The seat turned into a fully horizontal bed.

The best part besides the fully reclining seat, wine, and garbarge bag was that for the entire night the rest of the bus, all 18 other passengers were silent. No cell phones, talking, kids crying, nothing. Just pure silence.   We both actually got a pretty good night’s sleep considering we were on a bus.

The next morning we were served orange juice, coffee, and a plate of assorted cookies, no ham.    If we weren’t leaving Argentina tomorrow I’d take a few more buses. It was that much fun.  But, then again I do amuse easily.

 

 

 

 

Eating an entire cow (not in one sitting) part 10 – sweet breads, blood sausage (which is from a pig)


With less than a week left to go in Argentina, I realize there is no way I can do it.  I was very eager early on, but then as I ran out of the popular cuts and was left with lots of organs, I lost my appetite.   When faced with the choice at a restaurant – the best, most tender rib-eye steak you’ve ever had, or kidneys, it was not a hard choice.

I’m so not ruining this wine with something gross.

So, I continued to eat lots and lots of beef but stopped trying to eat all the parts.   I did recently add one new part of the cow to my list, and  a scary part of a pig.

First the pig, no it’s not a pig head.

Blood Sausage

I love sausage of all types. But, there is something disturbing to me about blood sausage, it’s not even the name or idea of blood sausage. It’s the color. Blood sausage is really dark, almost black. I think if it was bright red it wouldn’t be so disturbing.

these all look kind of gross

So when our friends Nati and Frankie came over for an asado (Argentinian barbecue) with blood sausage, I knew now was the time to try it.

Try it! All the cool people are eating it.

Jeff cooked it up and left it on the fire until it sort of split open.

Jeff: Is there really blood in it? Frankie: Yes, yes there is.
delicious!

And then I tried it. Here’s the thing, blood sausage is amazing!  It doesn’t taste like blood, it is soft and slightly sweet.   I’m not sure what it tastes like in other countries, but in Argentina, cooked over a wood fire, it’s incredible.

 

Mollejas

Mollejas are also known as sweetbreads or the thymus gland of a cow.    When our friend Leandro came over for an asado he brought all kinds of meat including mojellas.   One last  thing to add to my cow list.

 

I promise you, you will like them.


I have to admit, they didn’t look pretty raw.

Vegetarians – look away

He doused them with fresh squeezed lemon juice and salt.   Once on the grill they started to look better.

And then, when we actually ate them, they were really good.  The texture is a big weird, sort of spongy, but they taste great.

So, that’s it for the cow eating on this trip.   I plan to eat several more pieces of cow between now and when we go back to the US, but they will be my favorite cuts bife de chorizo and bife de lomo.   Not only will I not be eating an entire cow in one sitting, I won’t be eating an entire cow in one country. The rest of the parts will need to be eaten on other trips.

Lujan Wine tasting – overdoing it in Lujan


When we planned a day of wine tasting in Lujan our goal was to taste a lot of wine.   We achieved our goal and learned the meaning of the saying, “too much of a good thing.”

Lujan is only thirty minutes from Mendoza, or ninety minutes if you get lost, end up in a traffic jam, get lost again, then end up behind a horse.

It's harder to pass a horse than you might think.

Our appointment (all wineries require appointments) with Kaiken was at 9:30.    We didn’t get there until 11:00 which is just as well. 9:30 am is a bit early for wine tasting, even for us.     There was already a tour scheduled, but they were super nice to let us tag along.

The first taste was straight from the tank. If I knew how much wine was coming later in the day, I would have skipped this one.

Tasting directly from the tank, sounds better than it is.

The following tastes were really good and plentiful.   Kaiken has some really great wines.

I must have already been tipsy at this point because I insisted we buy two Kaiken wine glasses.  I’m sure two fragile wine glasses won’t be too hard to pack in our already stuffed suitcases.

Just what we need in Seattle more wine glasses!

By this point it was good we had already agreed that Jeff would be the designated driver all day.   Jeff was completely sober before getting in the car, all day long.   The same could not be said for me as a passenger.

Next stop was Ruca Malen for a luxurious five course meal.  The lunch cost $100 US for both of us.    In Argentina that is a lot of money and for us on this trip it’s a lot.  We debated for days prior if we should do it or not.

 

You would think this was a government facility instead of a winery with the amount of security they had.  A security guard had to radio someone to confirm our reservations before opening the gate.

checking to make sure we're not....wine robbers?

Once we got there and saw the view, we didn’t have any doubts about lunch.

You know it’s going to be lavish when then menu of what you’ll be eating and drinking for the day is an entire page long.

this was all for lunch

Course #1 – corn soup served with chardonnay.  This was pretty good.  The wine was better than the soup.  I’m never crazy for soup where I need to floss afterward.

Course #2 – sweet potato and meat empanada with some kind of sauce, served on a fancy piece of wood, with a cute little shot glass of sauce. Served with a cabernet.   This was my favorite part of the meal. It was super good.

good presentation and delicous

Course #3 – honestly, by this point I had already had too much wine. They were pouring my 3rd glass, a syrah, while I was still on my 2nd.   At this point I wish I had remembered you don’t need to drink the entire glass.   Tasting is just fine, and chugging to catch up is not recommended.   The 3rd course was called a “creamy roasted aubergine croquette” also known as a giant french fry stuffed with eggplant.  I loved it, Jeff not so much.

 

Course #4 – they switched to larger glasses and larger pours at this point.   Our food was some kind of steak with a side of blueberries and stuff.   There were two glasses of wine with this course, both reds, both good.   At this point I had had so much wine that I didn’t even mind when I bit into a blueberry, a bug crawled out and onto my face.   Normally that would have caused a freakout on my part, but instead I just brushed it onto the ground and stomped on it.

steak, potato cakes with a bug filled blueberry garnish

Course #5 – OK this was the first course that I thought was stupid.   It was a glass of ice.   Pretty, but dumb.   Wine didn’t come with this course which was good because I needed the glass of ice break to catch up on the wines I was behind on.

could have skipped the glass of ice course

Course #6 – this dessert was awesome. It was some kind of white chocolate thing. It was served with champagne which I did not drink. By this time I realized it was time for me to stop drinking.

white chocolate desert
undrunk wine, sad really

Course #7 – finally, just coffee!   Some cookies and blobs of sweet stuff came with this course.

I think this dinner was supposed to take three leisurely hours.  We were so hungry going into it we somehow ate and drank everything in an hour. This was a mistake since we were not feeling so hot afterward.    They had some chairs outside the restaurant which I sat in to take in the view.   Later Jeff woke me up to tell me it was time to go.

Now this would have been a very good time to go home. But, when a rental car costs $100 a day, you have appointments at two more wineries,  and you are marathon wine tasters, you don’t let a little mid day hang over stop you.   As soon as we were rested and 100% sober, we were back to the car.

come on, we've got two more to go to.

Next stop was Lagarde.  Our appointment was at 3:00pm, but Jeff called them to tell them we would be late due to his wife being in a food coma.  They were nice enough to let us come at 4:00.

There was quite a lot of good wine to be tasted at Lagarde.

Our guide was super nice and happy to pour us as much as we wanted, but we had to cut her off.  That’s the first time I’ve actually liked the wine and had to beg NOT to try it.

And then it was off to yet another winery. Clos de Charcas.

We shared a tasting here which was a good move since even sharing was more than enough.

The outside patio was really nice and reminded us of some wineries in Washington State. Although, in Woodinville they don’t usually have to top their hedges with barbed wire.

barbed wire hedge

After this winery we went home and took a very very long nap.    Wine tasting in Lujan is really fun and I’m glad we did the fancy lunch. But, I wished we had taken our time with it and not visited four wineries in one day. I never thought I’d say it, but it was too much wine.

Was that way too much wine? Hell yes!