“No hay pirata sin vicio,
ni tesoro sin desperdicio.
A mar revuelto,
ganancia de filibusteros.
Los piratas de ojo tapado,
dueños de las islas
y de los mares amos.”
(my translation, with no rhyming: There is no pirate without vice nor treasure without loss. A churning sea is the buccaneer’s profit. The pirates with covered eye are owners of the islands and lords of the seas.)
– from the Barbaroja brewery menu
Belén de Escobar – In a city nicknamed “the flower city”, I must admit I was hard-pressed to find any particularly interesting flower gardens. Yet, last Sunday, I headed to this small town to the northwest of Buenos Aires to checkout just exactly that. I have to get used to that on Sundays, things here are really closed up once you leave the capital – other than a few cafes near to the train station where I finally descended after nearly two hours of travel and two train lines – nothing was open. I’ll post a bit more about the various parks and monuments, since those are what I was able to see, in the next post, in the meantime, let’s jump to, more or less, the end of my wander, where, famished and thirsty… it was four in the afternoon and I’d had yet to eat or drink anything since my morning coffee… found me just outside of town trudging down Ruta 25 to number 2567 and the site of the BarbaRoja Brewery. I mean, as long as I was there, you know? I was just hoping that given their claim that it was a bit of a tourist attraction, and being across from the Temaiken Zoo (which I didn’t visit given the lateness in the day, opting to leave it for a day when Henry can join me – he loves zoos), it would be open. The brewery itself was not – closed up tighter than a crown cap – but, the restaurant, gift shop, and play area (several families taking advantage of a small basketball court, a soccer pitch, ping pong table and foosball table, all provided free to visitors), were in open for business.
If you go back a trio of years, I tasted through a half dozen of this brewery’s wares and liked several of them. In retrospect, I wish I’d had my notes with me, as I opted for a sampler tray – five of the beers were the same as what I’d sampled, and my notes pretty much stand on those. The sampler included the trigo, or wheat beer, a basic lager which I hadn’t tried and which was quite refreshing and good, the cloyingly sweet lemon beer, which I found borderline undrinkable this time, the negra, or black beer, still pretty overwhelmingly burnt tasting, the roja, which once again was my favorite, and the fruit beer, which, while it would work as I suggested with something spicy, peppery, I’m not so sure anymore – it seemed even sweeter this time than the lemon beer and didn’t work when paired up with the house pizza…
…which sounded far stranger than it turned out to be. Had I been thinking clearly, rather than being just ready to eat anything that wasn’t moving, I might have asked for the pizza “half and half” with one of the other choices – but as I’ve mentioned in the past – if someone is willing to put their name on an item as their signature dish – I’m generally up for giving it a shot – so the Pizza BarbaRoja it was. Sauerkraut and german sausage. Yeah, well, you hadn’t been out and about in the hot sun for close to five hours at that point, so you’ll just have to accept that it seemed like a good idea. And, it turned out to be pretty good. By no means the best pizza I’ve ever had, and unquestionably weird – but the crust was good, it was a white pizza, sans tomato sauce – just topped with a fairly good and not overly vinegary or sweet sauerkraut with bits of bacon in it, slices of german sausage, and a bit of mozzarella. I ate most of it and was happy. So there.