Friday, August 31, 2007

Havanna Alfajores: A Childhood Favorite Recreated Argentine Style....

Havanna Alfajores
When I was three or four I remember being obsessed with Moon Pies. You know those big cookie sandwiches with marshmallow in the middle of two grahm cracker cookies covered with chocolate. Nasty, I know.

We'll I've found a respectable alternative that I have now become addicted to—Alfajores. They are yet another beloved sweet of Argentines. The best ones are made by Havanna and can be found all over Buenos Aires. Havanna has their own branded cafés all over town and kiosks in every mall.

These wonderful disks of gold have dulce de leche in the center of two of the lightest most delicious cookies and then the whole thing is wrapped in chocolate. ummmmmm. However, they are not for the faint of heart. They are like eating an explosion of sugar that is best washed down with the strong espresso they serve here.

I know what our friends and family are getting this Christmas. That is, if I don't eat them all before I can ship them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Argentine Paradox: How Can They Eat This Well, Yet be So Thin!

Ok.... We have been here almost five days and from best we can gather, here is the daily intake of the average porteño.

  1. Breakfast: start with cured ham, cheese, a few pastries and a few shots of espresso.

  2. Lunch: Salad, hearty pasta, Vino, more café, more pastries.

  3. Afternoon: more café, a few more pastries

  4. Early Evening (6 to 7): Tapas ( little plates of food), more pastries and of course mas café.

  5. Dinner: Late Evening (starts between 9:30 and 11:00 - even on weeknights!) Steak and wine. And we are talking massive amounts of the the best beef in the world.

The paradox? After all that food, how come porteños are so thin! There are no fat people in Buenos Aires. At least none that we have come across. Yet look at what they eat. How can that be!

Atkins folks will point out that they eat little else on their plates except the beef. Yet that is only for dinner. Every time they sit down for café, there is some sort of fattening sweet involved.

Others will point out that there are no processed foods in the porteño's diet. I have to admit that I have yet to eat anything that ADM or Monsanto has had a hold of. It has all been whole foods made from the freshest ingredients. Even the few Cokes and Sprites we have let the kids have are made from sugar and not corn syrup.

Are we in heaven? Can it be true that we can eat all this wonderful food (and I can't describe in words just how good the food is) and loose weight at the same time?

We'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This Ain't no Barnes and Noble

This is No Barnes and Nobel: El Ateneo Bookstore

El Ateneo is one of the most wonderful bookstores in the world. It is housed in a famous Buenos Aires theater that was built around 1919. The theater was known as the place to see the famous Tango artists of the day. Later, the theater was converted into the first movie house with sound in Buenos Aires.

Look close at the stage. It is now the cafe. It is a wonderful place to hang out, especially on a cold and rainy day like today.

This is No Barnes and Nobel:  El Ateneo

Check out the wonderful detail on the ceiling that was painted by Orlandi. The ceiling murals are said to celebrate the end of Wold War I.

El Ateneo Ceiling Detail

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Finding An Apartment

Our Temporary View in Buenos Aires

We have barely landed, but we are consumed with pressure to find a place to live. But where? A house in the suburbs, or an apartment in town where all the action is?

The point of picking up and moving from our suburban home in Dallas/Fort Worth was to experience something completely different. So buying anything aproaching a "house" like back home is out of the question. We want to experience the living in a large metropolis. Outside of a few cities like New York, Chicago or San Francisco, most people in the US don't get that chance.

In Fort Worth and Dallas where we are from, they are starting to build thriving downtown living spaces. However, it is still the exception not the rule for most people to live "downtown". We are going to try it.... Yes, with children. A few people here have suggested the city is not for children. We'll see. They suggest moving to gated communities to the north. But how can the children experience a culture walled off from everything else?

No. A classic high rise in a quite residential neighborhood is exactly what we need. My wife and I fancy the middle one in the picture above.

Leaving Texas....

Don't know why we did it, but we did. My wife and I have picked up our family and moved to Buenos Aires. We promised our daughter it would only be for a year.... we'll see.

I'm Leaving Texas for a While

So what made us pickup, sell everything we own, and move to the otherside of the world where they don't even speak the same language? I wish I could answer that. A sense of adventure? Maybe. I mid-life crisis? Could be.

The fact was we were frightened into it. We were about to buy a new house in Arlington when my wife was filled with a sense of panic. If we bought a new house in Arlington, we would be stuck there for a good part of the rest of our lives. At least until my son graduated from high school. We had the whole world to explore. Why wait. Why deny our children the opportunity of a lifetime to learn a new culture and language. Why wait until we were "retired" and too old to enjoy the world.

So as we were about to pick up the phone to call our real estate agent and buy the house, my wife randomly said, "Wait! Why don't we move to Buenos Aires." Without hesitation I replied, "OK. Lets make it happen!"

That was the beginning of June. Less than three months later, we are sitting here in Buenos Aires as I write this post. So I invite you all to come along with us through this blog as we try and share our experiences, both good and bad.