Buenos Aires – Jet lag apparently hit home for Maureen and she didn’t arise until late morning yesterday, by which time I was in class. We hooked up in the afternoon and took a wander into Palermo “Hollywood”, the fun-trendy area of Palermo. After a bit of wandering, neither of us having done much in the way of anything for breakfast, we spotted a cute little garden in front of the restaurant Cabernet, Jorge L. Borges, 1757. I’ve seen plenty of write-ups for their great winelist, but didn’t know much about their cuisine (which turns out to be described as de autor, or “from the author/composer”, i.e., we have whatever the chef feels like making. Despite warnings from the waiter that we were going to “freeze” in the winter air (it was roughly 68°F and climbing), we opted to sit in the sunshine in the garden. Several other folk wandered in during our lunch and started to sit outside as well, only to end up heading in with mutterings that could only be interpreted as references to our sanity.
The winelist is, indeed, amazing. It’s extensive, pretty comprehensive in regard to Argentinian wine, and other than some imported bottles, was not outrageously priced. Not inexpensive, but probably appropriate to a fine dining situation. The menu is also fairly extensive, and the types of cuisine ranged all over the globe. There’s a leaning towards the use of sweet sauces – several items incorporated honey, a couple coconut, and some fruit. I’m not going to go into great detail for each dish – they were all beautifully plated, and with one exception, outstanding. Service was impeccable. I’ll let the photos and menu descriptions speak to the experience. We also decided to have a bottle of wine, the 2003 Bodega del Fin del Mundo Pinot Noir (Winery at the End of the World), a winery I’ve mentioned before, but this is the first time I’ve seen this particular wine here. The wine is a big, rich, “new world” style Pinot. I doubt anyone would pick it as Argentine if tasted blind – leaning towards one of those lush Oregon styles. It’s got great body, length, and flavor, and was a perfect complement to a meal that meandered around the planet.
Smoked salmon and smoked trout on blini – yum!
Sauteed langoustine (really shrimp, not prawns) with a honey-sesame sauce – double yum!
A simple “green salad” on the side…
Coconut fried shrimp – not so exciting. Borderline flavorless, and way too much salad.
Squid ink pasta with salmon in a dill-cream sauce – absolutely delicious!
Panqueques (crepes) con dulce de leche – dulce de leche is sort of the national dessert down here. It’s caramelized sweetened-condensed milk. This had been lightened a bit and folded inside the crepes which were drizzled with chocolate syrup. Quite good, but not wow.
Coffee mousse in a cinnamon tuile cookie – the whole thing surrounded by a moat of coffee syrup. One of the best desserts I’ve had in BsAs so far!
We headed back to our separate abodes for naps… Dinner was light, a simple sauteed chicken breast and some watercress soup (which was simple, and excellent, if I do say so myself…).
3 leeks, trimmed and chopped
2 zucchini, diced (I used the globe ones)
2 large bunches of watercress, stemmed and washed
2 quarts of chicken stock
½ cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste
Saute the leeks in the butter and oil with a little salt until they are soft. Add the zucchini and continue cooking until also soft. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the watercress and cook for another 5 minutes. Just before serving, add the milk or cream and adjust the seasoning.