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1. Steak/Lomo

Parrillas are steakhouses in Buenos Aires, many with gauchos at the front cooking the meat on big open fires. We had a late dig in at Los Inmortales so I only ordered the “mini bif.” At it $8 seemed twice the size you’d be served for triple the price in Canada. Argentine beef is so wildly praised because they are free range and pampas fed giving it a wilder flavour.

2010-07-23 alfajores

2. Alfajore

The alfajore is the Argentinian twist on the Oreo – but much bigger. Basically it’s a butter cookie or shortbread sandwiched with dulce de leche filling.

Actually, dulce de leche itself is a treat to be tasted anywhere in latin america. It’s condensed milk sweeted into a caramel spread tate is used at breakfast the way we use peanut butter and then drizzled across every confection on the rest of the dessert menu.

3. Empanada

Empanadas are little hot pockets of goodness and make a great afternoon snack. We stopped at a cafe on Calle Florida and noshed on some for $2 each. Then, later that night for a bite we found them for $1.50. The menus we saw had them with ham and cheese, beef, vegetable, and caprese fillings. They are a great value for money and delicious little purses of flavour.

4. Malbec

Malbec is the grape du jour that is putting South American wines at the forefront of the world movement. The Norton DOC Malbec we were served at a banquet in Rio was rich and spicy and is a great tango partner for the lomo. Later, in Buenos Aires, we ordered a San Telmo Malbec that didn’t match the punch of the Norton bottle, but was still enjoyable at a mere $10 (menu price!) When we got home we picked up a Malbec from The Show. It was a little fruitier than the others and we couldnt decifer from the label if it was a wine that was made in California from imported juice or bottled in Mendoza and shipped north. Still worth a sip though!

sorrentinos at spell cafe in buenos aires

5. Sorrentinos

The Italian influence in Argentinian cuisine is unmistakable. Pizzas and pastas dance across every menu and the most local of them is the sorrentino. A cookie shaped ravioli, the stuffings are diverse. The ones I tucked into at Spell Cafe in Puerto Madero were drowning in cheesy white sauce and snuggled next to a pile of shrimp.

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6. Quilmes

Quilmes is a light blond beer found at cafes across Buenos Aires. I enjoyed ordering the 600cl bottle for just $5

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