Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Buenos Aires day 4 – colour, pasta, lime and hunks

Back to the roots

Argentina is, probably more than most other Latin American nations, an immigrants country. And where did many of these immigrants, especially Genovese ones, arrive to and settle in? The neighbourhood of La Boca, right by a river leading to Río de la Plata. A poor area, people had to use leftover paint to decorate their houses, which lead to different sides and sections having different colours. This in turn became a tradition and is one of the hallmarks of the area. 

We had a wonderful morning just walking around, looking at countless, colourful, stylized signs made in the local style ("fileteado"), trying to grasp the importance of football – and of the Boca Juniors team – to the local psyche, a bit annoyed we couldn't get tickets for a match at La Bombonera stadium, and making a huge effort not to fall for the many delicious and tempting grills around, as we had planned to go to a very special Italian place later.

What we did have, though, was our traditional café and medialuna at Café la Madrid, a really non-assuming traditional café on Caminito, one of the more popular streets of Boca.

Having a considerable immigrant background, this whole Boca walk was one really interesting experience for me.

I'll have a double dose of Suprematism, thanks

As we were about to leave the neighbourhood, we spotted this museum, the Fundación PROA, which just happened to have an exhibition solely devoted to Kazimir Malevich, the creator of the avant-garde Suprematist movement! You gotta love the art of this guy! I took too many photos, but here are just two of my favourite ones: Painterly Realism of a Peasant Woman in Two Dimensions, and the costumes for the Victory Over the Sun opera! Like, amazing, right?

At this point we were very visually satisfied, but we were beginning to feel pretty hungry! So we had one last small stroll by the colourful waterfront before we headed to a date with a dish I had been wanting to try for fifteen years!

When basic means perfect nom nom

The habib had been to Argentina over 15 years ago, remember? He used to tell me about this fantastic pasta he had had, with two different sauces, tons of spaghetti, and even more tons of parmigiano. It took us a bit to figure the name of the restaurant, but we found it! Bodegón Pippo! It made me so honestly happy to come to this place and finally have that mythic pasta plate!

Was it good? No. It was TOO good. Sure, it's as inelegant as it can get. But that's my kind of food, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Along with a glass of house wine. Because what best to accompany the house's signature pasta than with the house wine?

Full enough it felt like we wouldn't need to feed again in a couple of days, we went back home. But the walk home took us past this ice cream parlour – Bianca. And, I mean, it was right there, on our way home, right? And once again, we had a huge pile of ice cream on a tiny cone. And some of the best ice cream I've ever had, by the way. Mine was lime mousse (top) with lime sherbet (underneath). Pure glory. 

Sensuality for the feet, and a feast for the eyes

We still had one (or two) more things to do. That night at an area called Barrancas de Belgrano, at a kiosk, people gathered to dance tango. No professionals, just your average Porteño and Porteña (Buenos Aires people) dancing tango. It was fantastic, because you could not only enjoy the really good ones pulling off some really sensual dancing – there's something about dancing that close, that rigid, and that complex – but also because you could tell this served kind of the same function as a bar or club: people would meet strangers, interact a bit, dance a bit, measure the chemistry... It was a real joy to watch. 

Walking back from the kiosk to the subway station,  by the way, we spotted this alfajor shop (alfajores are a sort of like a cookie sandwich with dulce de leche in the middle). So timeless... 

And to finish a very log day, we went to a gay bar in the area called PEUTEO. Lots of fancy cocktails. Lots of good-looking men. But we were exhausted by then and, after a drink and having some eye candy, we went back home.

Four full days, plus the night we arrived, and there was still oh so much to see, do and eat!!!

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