We just did a video of a trip from exit 91 off of I95 to Noah's thanks to Chris Andrews. Just click on the picture.
During March we re-formatted our Lunch, Dinner and Bar menus in order to present a wider selection of your favorites along with our ever changing specials.
In addition to our food offerings, we have some new liquors and Martinis. We brought back from Guatemala the Ron Zacapa 23 year Centenario Rum which is world famous, and though not inexpensive, it is a top quality sipping rum. Stop in and try it. We will be serving our Mojitos as soon as the fresh mint starts growing and Victor, our bartender, is always willing to make a custom-designed Martini for the adventurous.
So, yes, we have changed a few things, some major. For example, we were able to lower our entree prices by no longer including a salad. We know that some of you prefer an appetizer and sometimes want to forgo the salad, anyway. Let us know what you think?
We are all looking forward to the Spring/Summer season. The warmer weather means more selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, more fresh fish choices, home grown mint for our Mojitos and of course, Max's organic fresh tomatoes for our Greek Salads.
We are continuing our monthly Art Openings at Noah's, the first Monday of each month. There are lots of new artists and shows signed up for this year. Debbie Papp has taken over the running of Noah's Art and she is committed to keeping the shows interesting and in line with the ambience of Noah's. John Papp will be one of the artists hanging his works for the months of July and August. His photography of Stonington Borough shorelines and the harbor is popular with residents and toursists. The show for this opening will be on August 3rd from 6-8pm as a combination Art Show and celebration of 30 years in business. There will be light snacks and a cash bar and all are welcome.
Our chef, Jamie Fowler will compete again for the third year to defend his title of "Iron Chef". This year's competition will again be held at the Enders Island Estate on June 12th.
May is a busy month at Noah's with all the graduation celebrations and Mother's Day--YES-- you may make reservations for Mother's Day and we encourage you to do so, it is a BUSY day. Stonington does not have a Memorial Day parade, but Noah's is open on that Monday, May 25th and closed the next day, Tuesday May 26th. Stonington DOES have a parade on July 4th, this year it is on Saturday. This parade has grown every year with adults, children, babies, pets, bands, bikes, wagons, and even floats!! Anyone can march, so be sure not to miss this really fun event. It usually starts at the Park around 11am.
What happened to Fall? It came and went in a flurry of great weather, our German menu with Spaten Octoberfest on tap and transition into Winter comfort foods, holiday decorations and the Stonington Stroll, which was December 5th.
Coming up on the holidays, here are our holiday hours: we are open Xmas Eve Day until 3pm. We are closed all day Dec. 25th. We open again the 26th at 7:45am and serve our regular hours all weekend. We are open New Year's Eve and recommend reservations. Jamie our chef, will be creating some interesting appetizers and entrees for that evening. We are OPEN New Year's Day at 7:45am and will be serving our BRUNCH menu until 3pm. It is the same menu we serve on Sundays, so breakfast items are available until 3pm for you late sleepers and you can get your Bloody Marys at 9am because it is a Thursday!!! Those crazy blue laws......
On Wednesdays you can come in and have a glass of our house wine, a Chardonnay, a Merlot or a White Zin for $4.00 a glass. We will continue this through the Winter and early Spring. Jamie is also doing pasta specials on Wed nights with a house salad for $9.95.
2009 is an exciting year for us. Noah's will celebrate it's 30th anniversary on August 10th 2009. Yes, we have been in business for 30 years under the same ownership! So we decided to go back to our beginnings and dust off all those old travel prints we had hanging on our walls. We are going to rehang them on January 5th 2009 and they will be for sale.for $30.00 each or, you can put a sealed bid on the one or ones you like and at the end of the month, the highest bidder owns the print. We thought this would be a fun way to reminisce about our beginning and to clean out our attic! Some of our customers may remember The Night Scotsman or Tribune Tower, Touraine and many others. So come join us for the opening on Jan 5th from 6-8pm and check out the "Art", have a glass of wine and schmooze. In February, Jude will be hanging her beautiful, one of a kind quilts. I would like to continue to have new and interesting shows on the first Monday of each month. It will be up to the artist of the month whether they will have a "cocktail opening".
Just a reminder: YES, we are open in February. Even though for many years, we did close for the month, when we put our bar in 5 years ago, we decided not to close in February. So, even though John and I like to get away to a warm country for a few weeks in February -discover new wines, take amazing photos (Guatemala this time) our staff and partner, Stan Schwartz, will be here to take good care of you.
Mid August and it seems like our pancakes are so good, even I can't get one, the griddle is always so full!!
It doesn't seem possible Labor Day will be here in 3 weeks! But there is lots of excitement about that; Noah's will be hosting an "Employee Art Show" on Tuesday Sept 2nd from 6-8pm. The restaurant is actually closed that day for business because we ARE OPEN ON MONDAY, LABOR DAY. So, we take Tuesday to recover. That evening, the 2nd, from 6-8pm we invite everyone; family, friends, general public to come to the opening night of the show for free wine, beer and hor d' houvres and to view the works of our talented employees. All the art on display will be for sale. If you are in town, please join us for a night of fun and celebration.
We are in full season here at Noah's!
Mojitos are back with all the fresh mint from Debbie's garden. Max and Uli are delivering beautiful tomatoes and basil daily from their Hillsdale Farm in Rhode Island. Our Greek salads are back on the menu with imported Feta cheese and Olive Oil. We use the basil to make our own Pesto. Strawberry-Rhubarb crisps are a hot dessert item until the Rhubarb goes to seed and is out of season. Key lime pie is back on the dessert list most of the time, after popular demand. But the Pavlovas are the hottest item, especially after our review in the Providence Journal.
Friday is the 4th of July and of course, the annual Parade at 10am. Everyone is invited to march, along with pets, children, babies, bicycles .....each year the Parade grows and one never can decide whether to be a participant or a spectator! If you are planning on coming to dinner now, it is a good idea to make a reservation. Saturday night is the busiest and it is difficult to find a table in the dining room without a reservation. Weeknights are not quite as busy. This is pretty typical until after Labor Day.Just call and ask to reserve a table.
Jamie, our chef, has just won his second Iron Chef competition!! He has participated two years in a row. This year it was held on beautiful Enders Island in Mystic, overlooking Fishers Island Sound. This year's secret ingredient was monkfish. Can he claim the prize three years is a row? It is a wonderful charity event for the local homeless center and was a sold out event.
There is so much to look forward to in the Borough during the summer. One can tour the village on foot easily. There is public access to the water, beautiful historic homes, gardens, shops, the oldest lighthouse in New England, and of course great seafood, desserts and cocktails at Noah's.
The village fair on the town green is always the first Saturday in August. This year it will be August 2nd. There are tables of arts, crafts, jewelry, homebaked goods, flowers, and games for the children. This fair has been going on for as long as I can remember and as kids, we couldn't wait for the day.
Finally! Spring is here, the Borough is coming alive with flowers, tourists, regulars returning from their winter vacations, boats appearing in the harbor.....this is a great time to visit the Borough and Noah's, before it is too busy and the wait without a reservation is over an hour!!
Jamie, the head chef, Dave, Linda, Yul and Roger have been doing a great job cooking three meals a day. You will find some new and interesting items on the dinner menu, but recognize many of our old and favorite stand-bys.
May is a busy month at Noah's. Many folks come to celebrate graduations with their families ( we are proud to say two of our daughters, Katie and Laura will graduate this May!) Conn college families love Noah's and we welcome them all the weekend of the 17th and 18th of May. Make your reservations, it will be busy!!
Mothers' Day is always bustling at Noah's. We are taking reservations now for Sunday brunch or dinner. Call early as we book up fast for this special day for Mom.
Memorial Day the Borough has a parade, usually around 11am and everyone comes for breakfast first or lunch after the parade and we serve dinner too. THIS IS ONE OF THE MONDAYS WE ARE OPEN. We close the next day, Tuesday the 27th.
June is a little quieter actually, and the big events are the Off Soundings race to Block Island and the Stonington Garden Club tours on the weekend of June 25 and 26th.
Hope to see you this Spring and Summer.
Fall is quieter and more relaxed in the Village. The days are still warm enough to shop, stroll the streets and stop in for lunch, a glass of wine or an appetizer. Noah's serves food all day!
We had great success with our Octoberfest menu and our Spaten Octoberfest on tap all during October. Now we will switch to a French Bistro Menu. We will be serving daily specials like: Choucroute Garni, Liver and Onions. Coq au Vin, Beouf Bourguignonne and others, along with a special priced glass of recommended wine. Debbie and John traveled for three weeks through France in June and came back with some interesting ideas for wines to add to our list. We really enjoyed the wines of the Bordeaux and Burgundy areas... who wouldn't?
With the holiday season approaching, we would like to give you some dates to remember: The Stonington Stroll sponsered by the SBMA will be held on December 7th. It tends to be a busy night, so if you plan to stop in for dinner after the Stroll, we suggest a reservation.
We are closed, as always on Thanksgiving Day, but open the remainder of the weekend. We are closed all day December 24th and 25th. For the New Year holiday this year a few changes: even though we are usually closed on Mondays, we WILL BE OPEN for the 31st, all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We strongly suggest reservations for dinner. January 1st, we WILL be open, serving our brunch menu until 3pm and then our dinner menu at 5pm. On Wednesday, Jan 2nd, we WILL BE CLOSED, for a day of rest for our staff.
Here are some photos of 3 of Linda's desserts.
This is the place where we'll keep you posted on the latest goings on at Noah's Restaurant.
May 20th, 2006
I'm posting details of our Argentina trip with the most recent events first.
I received a link from a friend that gives a rather humorous introduction to travel and dining in Argentina that resonates with some of our experiences.Check it out for a good laugh: Argentina on Two Steaks a Day
April 3rd Mon.
Notes from Debbie:
It has been almost three weeks since we returned. We are slowly catching up and getting ready for our busy Spring/Summer season. John has been busy researching and testing new fish recipes. Asparagus season is upon us. Ane we will be serving a new Argentinean inspired Hearts of Palm Salad.
Meanwhile, I have been planting flowers on the deck so we will have them for our vases and outside planters. Carissa is sanding and varnishing our tables and booths. We also have some new runners for the booths and are doing a makeover of the restrooms.
Trow Cottrell is in charge of hanging our next Art Show. As some of you know, M. Thomas, a Stonington fixture for many years, passed away. She had been in charge of Noah's Art for 25 years.
March 18th Sat.
Debbie's notes from Hotel Porteros de los Funes:
Well, here we are on the last leg of our journey. We left our B&B this morning at 9:30am and arrived here in the foothills of San Luis around 1pm. This is a lakeside hotel and resort. When we drove up to it,we looked at each other, laughed and said, "Holy Smokes!" All the rooms overlook the lake and mountains to our Northwest, and we are in the Brazil Suite. John has his tripod on the balcony hoping to see and photogragh the Southern Cross, if we can find it. He figured out how to hook up to the internet directly from our room, clever man. When we arrived, we were hungry, so went to the dining room, also overlooking the decks, pool and lake. We had an incredible arrugula and sun-dried tomato salad with a Parmesean-like cheese with a bottle of La Linda Voigner, which was perfect with the salad. But by the time our entrees of: pasta, (for me) ,with basil and almond butter and for John, you guessed...more beef.. came, we needed more wine so ordered a bottle of Rutini 2002 Malbec/Cabernet blend. Wow,( I just took a taste so I could remember it ). It is gutsy, dry, nice balance in the fruit, and a little tannin. This is our first Rutini and we seem to be leaning more towards the blends now, at the end of our trip. I am looking forward to our dinner around 11pm or so, because I saw Trout on the menu and I am longing for some fresh fish. We have decided to stay here for two nights and then on Monday make the very long drive to the airport, or close to it, in BA.
March 12-16 Photos
Hi Res Photo of Aconcagua Only for high speed internet.
March 16th From John : We are enjoying a few peaceful days here at the just 6 month old B&B, Lares de Chacras . The tranquility has been an opportunity to reflect on the politics and current events in South America. I know I am straying from our food related mission but there are reasons why a two pound Porterhouse steak costs $7.00 in a restaurant here. Two articles resonate with my experiences. If you are interested check them out: Latin America's Leftist Shift: Hopes and Challenges and the book: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Pro and Con.
March 14th From Debbie and John:
We left Mendoza three days ago on a quest to get as close as possible to Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Our trip into the highest part of the Andes took us on Route 7 all the way to the Chilean border. The mountain desert scenery along the road was spectacular. We arrived late Sunday afternoon at Cerro Aconcagua. We climbed up a few hundred feet and John took some photos in the late afternoon light. The sun sets here at about 8:15pm. We stayed at some nice, mostly empty hotels since the climbing season is almost over and skiing will not start until it snows. But there was still plenty of great food and wine.
We had grilled Kid and Rib Eye yesterday for lunch, and lots of beer; we were really thirsty after walking around the National Park of Cerro Aconcagua for a couple of hours. The mountain was still a long way from us since we were at 10,000 feet and the mountain top is 22,000. It takes two days with an overnight at a mountain camp to even get to to the spot for the classic photo of the mountain. John will be posting some photos of this incredible mountain and its foothills. Last night we stayed at the Gran Uspallata Hotel, which must have been quite the place in its hay-day. Now it is a little tired, but with lovely grounds... more photos ?
Today, Tuesday, we found by good luck and networking, a lovely B&B called Lares de Chacras in Chacras De Coria, a small town between Mendoza to the north and Lujan de Cuyo to the south. It is in quite an upscale town. Our B&B has very nice rooms, large and modern bathrooms , a pool, hot tub, nice patios, and a beautiful lounge. Breakfast is included and there is internet, in fact tomorrow, they are supposed to have each room hooked up!! We may NEVER leave here.
We had an early light lunch today. John had a perfectly grilled 1/2 chicken and I had a huge sandwich of grilled Lomo (Tenderloin), cheese, ham, fried egg, lettuce and tomato, which I could not finish. We had two liters of beer $1.50 each and a coffee. It cost us $10.00, American.
Of course, after I stated that there is never any pepper on the tables.... the last three restaurants had white pepper shakers...who knows? But once again, my "carry the tissue" hint came in handy! Actually the stereotypes of the first two weeks are starting to wear thin. The last two steaks that John ordered were served very rare. The TBone turned out to be a two pound 2 inch thick Porterhouse for $7.00 American. Porterhouses work well for us because John gets the Strip side and I get the Tenderloin. The Bife de Chorizo John ordered in Uspallata came medium rare and John never even specified how he wanted it cooked. So it is an over simplification to say they always cook the hell out of their meat. Also the meat has been quite tender lately. I must confess that we both have taken a liking to their grass fed beef and the real wood barbecue cooking method. We both love the barbecued Kid. They serve a rack of ribs grilled crispy on the outside with a little lemon squeezed on it.
All this does not bode very well for our quest for recipe and menu ideas for Noah's. Wood grilled hormone free, ultra fresh, grass fed beef and rack of baby goat is never going to happen in the States. One goal of travel can be to develop respect for other ways of doing things. I don't think their food can honestly be exported./translated/recreated. We just need to be thankful for our own local specials like the fresh Flounder Michael filets for us daily at Seawell fish market. Amen.
March 11th, A few words from John:
Driving in Argentina has been fun. The primary goal on the road is to move traffic and if you cooperate with them their system really rocks. Fist of all, lanes are merely guidelines. Since the cars are small, three cars can, as needed fit into two lanes. We are driving a VW Gol which is a Golf without the "f". So a stopped car, blocking a lane, hardly slows traffic since the other cars merely weave themselves into an extra lane. It is sort of like the way they dance the tango. Two people become one on the dance floor. Two cars become one on the road, mystically each taking three quarters of a lane. Secondly, most intersections do not have stop signs or traffic lights. You drive very quickly into the intersection avoiding cross traffic, pedestrians on crosswalks, and motor cyclists. One driver slows his car minimally which cues the other driver to speed his car up and pass first. In this way, the car on the left yields to the car on the right at the last possible instant. Traffic really moves. Thirdly, outside of the cities, on the major roads there isn't much traffic at all. So a 2 lane highway through the flat straight roads of the Pampas is more like an effective 4 lane since there is so little oncoming traffic. In addition, because trucks have a 50 mph speed limit and cars 80 mph limit; it is possibly to blow by multiple trucks in one fell swoop. But there is a Catch 22 to traffic suddenly occupying both directions of a two lane highway. We almost learned this the hard way in the Andes on route 7, the road to Santiago, Chile. When you make a right hand turn onto a two way highway you look to the left to make sure there is no traffic in your lane. This is common sense. But why look to the right? I only look to the right immediately as I enter the highway. But suppose you turn right and there is an oncoming passing car in your lane? You are dead meat. And finally on the plus side, drivers have no ego problems yielding the right of way as long a traffic moves. Considering the intensity of the driving we have not seen much rude behavior. We did observe a few fingers waved here and there, three 18 wheelers in the ditch, and one of our cab drivers almost squeeze a motorcyclist passing to his right into a just opened parked car door. At the next light the motorcyclist pretty calmly explained to the cab driver that he almost killed him. I personally didn't think the cyclist would make it.
On our way to Mendoza from Cordoba we crossed some mountains on the Ruta de las Altas Cumbres and had a chance to see and photograph some Condors at the Parque nacianal de la Quebrada del Condorito. I hope we see more.
I also am learning more about the meat. Entrecot was a New York Strip Steak which came once thick and another time butterflied. Bife Chorizo was a Rib Eye or Del Monico.Though by another translation it could mean "Prize Cut Steak" which could be almost any good cut. Lomo is Tenderloin. Metambre is Flank. And Assada Costilla which is best described here:
The heart of the asado is the beef ribs which are cut differently in Argentina than in the United States. In the U.S., beef ribs are often cut into one or two bone sections like pork ribs, but in Argentina our butchers cut across the ribs so that meat forms long ribbons with a little round piece of bone every few inches. Whole Article
Here are some photos.
March 11th, A few words from Debbie: According to our travel "bible," The Rough Guide to Argentina, we have traveled over 1000km to reach Mendoza. (Side point from me, John. A British traveler sitting in the lobby across from me just made an unsolicited comment that the Rough Guides are the best. He said that they have an excellent guide to Greece.)We arrived yesterday afternoon and after a nearly perfect job of reading our maps and guiding John through the city, we arrived at our hotel of choice, The Aconcagua, named after the mountain which is the highest peak outside the Himalayas. It is a four star hotel,with nice rooms, large pool and terrace, etc etc breakfast and parking included all for about $70.00 a night! You just can't beat the prices. We were hungry, so set out to find lunch and ended up at a nice outdoor cafe, La Florencia, where we had a "light" lunch : seltzer, a bottle of 2004 Salentein Malbec which was WONDERFUL, nice balance, concentrated up front fruit,and dry; it was a bit pricey at $15.00 but worth it! I (Debbie) convinced John to share the grilled goat. It was so tender and delicious with a flavor similar to lamb but not quite as strong. We also had a salad, and do I love these salads; they put everything in an ensalada mixta completa: fresh beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, egg, celery, sprouts, lettuce; each place seems to have some different ingredients but most everywhere there are onions, tomatoes, and fresh beets! Yummy. OH and then coffee and a shared dessert; figs and nuts in a very sweet simple syrup sauce. That folks, is a typical light lunch, otherwise we would have had two entrees and two desserts.
Anyway, I just wanted to add some interesting tidbits of information and observations for those of you who travel or who are amused by these things:
First of all you NEED small coins and bills. You need them for tipping at restaurants, the bellboys, the guys who run up and wash your windshield at the stop lights, for a bottle of water,whatever.. and you can never seem to have enough small denominations :so every time you go through a toll station on the road, GIVE THEM A BIG BILL! They have all the $ 2 pesos!
Next, there is NEVER any pepper on the tables, anywhere. You have to ask for it and then they bring a pepper mill and add the pepper for you... I love pepper, so I am tempted to bring my own pepper shaker along next time.
The women and young girls here are mostly beautiful with very shapely figures. They definitely dress to show off their shapes. They all wear very tight jeans, pants, or capris and NEVER wear shorts in public especially in the cities. Even in their jeans in the 85-90 degree temperatures, they looked "dressed up". They wear heeled sandals, nice tops, lots of jewelry and dress to be noticed. Too bad they smoke a lot while walking down the streets.
And lastly, every hotel, cabana, etc., no matter how humble, has a bidet in the bathroom... very European. (There are MANY descendants here of Italian and Spanish origin). However, one should always carry tissues, especially when going into public restrooms. I have been in the cleanest, most functional bathrooms, only to discover there is NO toilet paper or hand towels!!
So far, we have been in Buenos Aries, Rosario, Cordoba and now Mendoza. We have tried about nine different Malbecs: Santa Julia 2005, Cuesta Del Madero a blend from San Telmo, which we loved; 2003 Finca Las Moras, 2004 Colon; 2003 Trapiche Coleccion Roble Malbec, loved this one too; La Linda 2004. As for the food, we have had Chicken, Pork, Goat ,Beef, Beef and Beef, Pasta -- I wanted to try the kidneys but haven't yet and I definitely didn't like the small grilled intestines,but no fish at all (we can have all the great fish we want in Stonington!)I leave it to John to go into more detail if he ever wakes up this am!
I think our plan is to leave tomorrow morning for Uspallata where Seven Years in Tibet was filmed. The scenery is supposed to be breath-taking. We will be able to get a good view of Cerro Aconcagua which is, as I mentioned ,22,840 feet high (Everest is 29,035 and Mt. McKinley 20,320 while Mt Blanc 15,771) and therefore, is the highest peak in both the western and southern hemispheres. So if the day is clear it should be quite awesome sight! We are hoping to find a quiet but nice estancia to stay at for 3-4 days and then we will head back to Buenos Aries for the long plane ride home.
March 8th: It is now 5 days later and we find ourselves at the Windsor Hotel in Cordoba, this hotel is not cozy. Our expansive room with matching windows overlooks a plaza and the facade of a typical neoclassical style church. We have learned a lot in the past days about the food here.
Our best meal was yesterday at a small restaurant in Oliva on highway 9 about 75 Kilometers from Cordoba. We had been driving for about 4 hours from Rosario through the Pampas. The Pampas is sort of like our agricultural Midwest. There is a huge farm machinery show going on at the moment called Feriagro Argentina. Check it out to get a feeling for mega-agriculture here. The exposition grounds seemed to take up a square mile and we passed trucks all day carrying every imaginable type of farm machinery. Anyway back to our best meal at "La Nonna". It was a reminder that good food takes good product, a good cook, and a good waiter.
March 3rd: Today it has been raining. So we went to the Plaza Palermo Viejo. The "Lonely Planet" guide calls the suburb of Palermo ground zero for innovative cuisine in Buenos Aires. We found a comfortable white leather sofa in a restaurant aptly named Meridian 58 after its longitude. We began with a bottle of 2004 La Linda Malbec from Mendoza. We thought we would just have some wine and watch the rain and the people, but when a great looking dish went by we pounced. It turned out to be Chop Suey, a dish long abused in North America with celery and corn starch. Fortunately the stir fried vegetables and chicken were lightly seasoned by a deft hand with soy sauce, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, and a mound of radish sprouts: simple, light, elegant. An attractive dessert followed, see the photos, along with cappuccino and a San Juan brandy.
March 3rd: Tango Time
I (Debbie) was determined that we had to see The Tango before we left the country! So I convinced John to go to a Tango club where the Portenos go to dance...not a Las Vegas type show, but more like the local Friday night dance club where you get a floor side table for the night, food and drinks, Salsa and Tango lessons all for??? we are still not sure of the price. Oh, let me mention, this all happens after 9pm... that was the beginning of the Salsa lessons. All the men lined up on one side with all the women opposite and we started with 1-2-3. Very Basic.....Anyway, after a while we got the basic step and rhythm down, or at least I did; John proclaims he has two left feet. The Portenos and most Latin and South American peoples LOVE to dance and it is a JOY to watch. This is a serious part of their culture: from little three year olds on the floor (at 11pm) to older couples in their 80's the floor was always crowded until they put "rock and roll" on, when everyone immediately got off the floor!! One did not have to have a partner either; men searched the crowd for any single woman who looked like she wanted to dance... and they all did, including me.. but the Tango was too complicated for us to attempt the group lesson and it was so crowded, I couldn't see the instructor, so we just watched. The reason to go to a milonga (Tango Hall) was not to "pick up" someone, IT WAS TO DANCE ---mostly the Tango. It was a bit strange to see 70 and 80 year old men asking 20 year old women to dance and we never saw anyone refuse an invitation! Then, there were the couples who REALLY knew all the intricate steps, turns and moves of the Tango. They flowed around the room in a circular pattern; the women following the mens' lead as they guided them through the steps: if you want to see the real Tango being danced and can't make it to Argentina, rent Tango Bar! We finally left the club at 2am and people were still coming in... no one but we Americans would be leaving before 6am!
March 2nd: We toured downtown Buenos Aires today. We experienced the crush of humanity on the subway ride in. Actually, it was no problem since the riders were all tolerant, cheerful, and respectful of each other. After touring the downtown for 5 hours, we needed lunch so we hunted for a restaurant called "El Obrero" (the worker) in a rough part of town called La Boca. I had to show the cab driver the street on my map. The restaurant was recommended by a fellow who flew on the same planes with us from Providence. He and his wife, an Argentinean, bought an apartment here and he assured us that we would find "comida tipica" at El Obrero. We also found the restaurant in a very helpful online guide to the restaurants of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately the guide wasn't helpful enough because El Obrero was closed. I still don't understand why "mediodia y noche" didn't apply to 3PM. So we asked our sympathetic cab driver to take us to a really good "big beef" place (My Spanish is not at its best yet). He dropped us off at Estilo Campo where we had a very enjoyable meal.
Estilo Campo is the quintessential upscale Argentinean steak house dripping with ambiance, complete with the "merry go round" style roasting pit, scads of committed professional waiters, and a full line of appetizers, wines, desserts, brandies and Cuban cigars. They take pride in actually selecting the beef that they serve. At our waiters recommendation we ordered the Asado al Asador (Roast on a Spit) and the Vacio al Asador (Flank Roasted on a Spit). It is going to take a while to adjust to the meat here. Last month there was a wonderful article by Richard O'Mara in the Christian Science Monitor, about understanding how they raise the beef. The article goes on to describe the different ways they cut the meat and of the asado (barbecue) and asador (barbecuer). We got the costilleta or meat near the short ribs. We would ordinarily consider this stew meat needing a long slow cooking process to break down the connective tissue. One thing, for certain, you have to cut it into small pieces. The flavor was good. In the photo you can see the concentrated outer layer of barbecued goodness. I would describe it as meatier than our beef. Oh well, I expect to explore these questions over the next three weeks of dining and make my peace with the Asado.
The wine we had with the meal was a generous Malbec, the 2004 Alamos from Catena, described very well in this review.
We completed the meal with a Chocolate Mousse that was very densely flavored, an espresso, and a generous warm glass of domestic brandy, Reserva San Juan, which I will have again.
I of course took some photos.
March 1st: This morning we landed in Buenos Aires at 10:30 AM: 13 hours after boarding in Providence. Time here is EST plus two hours. Buenos Aires is due south of Saint-Pierre, Newfoundland with a southern latitude that matches North Carolina. We flew in a very comfortable United Airlines Boeing 767. Economy seating was the most spacious I have ever experienced. I like the seating arrangement with window-2seats-aisle-3seats-aisle-2seats-window.
We are staying at a cozy Bed and Breakfast called Solar Soler in the suburb of Palermo Hollywood. Old, well pruned, Sycamores keep the streets cool and provide ambiance for the many restaurants. This is perfect outdoor dining weather and we found a nice table at La Pascana, on the bustling corner of Paraguay and Humbolt.
Serendipity rules when we travel, and so it came as no surprise that La Pascana's stated mission was to offer recovery from the hardships of the road. And that they did. Click here for photos of our meal. All that for $14.49 with tip.
La Pascana also has an interesting web site.
Hugo the owner of La Pascana recommended Bodega 52. Tonight we went there and had a great 2002 privately bottled Bodega 52 Malbec from Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza with a bruschetta, and mixed ham, salami, and cheese plate. We simply ordered the Picada Argentina for 2. Picada is an appetizer plate. There is a full listing of the items included in this Picada in Spanish on Bodega 52's web site. Here is a picture of the Picada and the Bar.
Next week...February 28th, Debbie and I (John) are going to Argentina for three weeks. We plan to keep you informed of our search for Malbecs, recipes, and hot spots as we travel across the center of the country from Buenos Aires to Mendoza. We may make our way to Santiago, Chile and Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. (How many more "U's" will fit in a country?)
Scratch Chile...too much driving from Mendoza.
Please check back in on a regular basis to see the latest.
Oh, by the way we just rented the movie "Tango Bar". It gave a history of the tango with mesmerizing footwork. My stereotype of the dance, sadly, was found in a cut from a Laural and Hardie move. Anyone ever hear "Hernando's Hideaway"? We have a lot to learn.
here are some winter pictures