Sight-seeing While Upside Down

Ten days in South America was a trip to an upside down part of the world, at least for people who live north of the Equator. It was June, which is the beginning of winter in Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina), yet the temperature was mostly in the 50s, 60s and high 40s (at night), great weather for sightseeing.

Santiago and Buenos Aries are much like other large cities, yet each has its own distinct personality. In brief, the first offers great Pisco Sours, a unique culture, and endless views of the snow-capped Andes Mountains, while the second seduces you with its cosmopolitan worldliness, gelato, and tango.

gelato at Freddo

Gelato at Freddo, a "don't miss" gelato shop in Argentina.

We walked as a form of transportation, deciding, without hesitation, that a distance of 3  or 4 miles was doable. And it was, in part because there was so much to see: parks filled with birds we’d never seen before, trees impossible to identify, and streets lined with buildings that topped out at six or eight stories, a people friendly streetscape- as opposed to the endless urban canyons in modern American cities.

empanada

Empanadas made with a variety of  fillings are popular in both Santiago and Buenos Aries.

Food is an important part of every travel experience. Minus the comfort of a familiar pantry and fridge, you need to search out a place to eat several times a day. Breakfast is included in the room rate in both Santiago and Buenos Aires. The buffets were similar to breakfast buffets in the United States, only different. Eggs were an option, along with cheese, bread, ham, fruit and sweets. No waffles, no pancakes, no oatmeal, and virtually no cold cereal.

I’m convinced you could travel anywhere in Europe and North or South America and eat nothing but pasta, pizza, hamburgers and fries. We skipped the last three, but we did eat a lot of very good pasta, along with a lot of very good risotto, seafood and fish. At this point, It's important to remember that South American food isn't Mexican food  gone South. Don't expect tacos or enchiladas unless you're in a Mexican restaurant or a restaurant with a varied menu.

flan with dulche de leech

flan with dulche de leche

rest-of-parilla

One side of the parilla (open hearth) in a restaurant in Colonia, Uruguay-a day trip from Buenos Aires. I can't imagine being the chef when it's 90-degrees F outside.

the other side of the papilla

the other side of the parilla in Colonia, Uruguay

 

pasta with seafood somewhere in Chile or Argentina

Pasta with seafood somewhere in Chile or Argentina. One night, we ordered pasta with seafood and risotto with seafood. Both were good.

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Eating in the food hall of the  350-store Parc Arauco mall in Santiago-It was Saturday, and the mall was very crowded. We actually had dinner in a restaurant adjacent to the mall. The food was great, and the Pisco Sours were terrific.

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a grocery in Argentina

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a reminder to recycle bottles at a mall in Buenos Aires

img_5917 publicizing  the adjacent food hall at the Parc Arauco -the mall was packed, and so were all the other malls we visited

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a market in Argentina

the swans with the red cluster at the start of their beaks

the swans with the bulbous red cluster on their beaks

the steak dinner at the Tango show.

The steak dinner at the Tango show. It was cooked as ordered.

Argentina is known for its beef, something I’m eating a lot more than I used to, for the simple reason that it tastes very good. Chicago, which is no slouch when it comes to beef, has some very good Argentinian restaurants, so I’ll leave that topic - along with several others- for another day.

So what was the best of the best? No contest… the tango show, complete with a steak and pasta dinner. Typical of Argentina, dinner didn’t begin until eight, and it was after eleven when we got back to the hotel. The cast got a standing ovation, and the chef should have received the same.

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Small Bites

Negroni Week

Ninety-plus bars in Chicago are participating in Negroni Week, a week-long (June 24-30) celebration of the 100th anniversary of the cocktail's debut. Various interpretations  of the famous cocktail are available, such as the Fernet Negroni (Ford's London Dry Gin, Campari, Dolin Vermouth Blanc, Cynar, Frenet) at Il Porcellino and A Man of La Mancha (Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin, Priot Natur Sweet Vermouth, Campari) at Mercat A La Planxa.

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Celebrating the Fourth

The 4th of July is National Barbecue Day, and Porkchop has a catering menu with lots of BBQ options  for picnics and home entertaining. Check out porkchopchicago.com, or info@chicagoporkchop.com

National French Fry Day is Saturday, July 13, and Red Fish Bleu Fish and Porkchop, both located in Hyde Park, will be serving spicy or regular hand-cut fries, in addition to sweet potato fries.

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Toasting the Fourth of July

To celebrate the holiday, Shore Club, a beachfront restaurant(1603 Lakeshore Drive)  with a seafood-forward, globally inspired menu, is featuring The Frozen ($14), a cocktail made with Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, and blue Frozignon.

Shore Club, 1603 N. Lakeshore Drive

At JoJo's Milk Bar, The Fourth of July Shake ($14) a has a vanilla, blueberry and raspberry base, a collar of vanilla icing paired with red, white and blue sprinkles, and a topper composed of a white chocolate twirler, a festive star cookie and a an oversized marshmallow coated with holiday-appropriate sprinkles.

JoJo's Milk Bar, 23 W. Hubbard Street

 

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