The Last Supper, Argentine Style

Friday night saw my friends and I head out for what was to be my final dinner in Buenos Aires before departing the following day. We headed to Parrilla Peña, a traditional Argentine style restaurant that I’d been wanting to try since the year before when my dad and I had tried to visit only to find it to be closed.

This time, however, we were in luck. We were greeted by what I would describe as ‘proper waiters’, older men who made you feel 100% at home. Kind of like you were being welcomed into someone’s house. Upon seating we were brought bread and empanadas along with our wine, red of course.

Being five of us we opted to share starters, the classic proveleta being a top priority. Grilled cheese, yes please.

wer

Being the brave person that I am I also ordered the morcilla, the blood sausage, something even my Argentine friend was hesitant over. Though I used to be incredibly fearful of all things offal (vegetarian haggis right here) I first tried morcilla last year at a friend’s party not knowing what it was. I was happily a fan and upon discovering the ingredients decided to continue living in my denial. By the end of our starters everyone had tried a bit, to varying degrees of satisfaction…

morcilla

Then came the pièce de résistance… My true true love, bife de chorizo. I always order it jugoso (medium rare) and this one was just pure perfection. Argentines don’t put much seasoning on their steaks as, to be honest, it isn’t really necessary. Typically it will be popped on the parrilla (grill) with just a little salt and nothing else. You can then add your own sauces as you wish but I find less is most definitely more.

bife de chorizo

Finally, we ended our meal with something sweet to share. Flan in Argentina is basically a creme caramel and they can be hit or miss with some being quite bland. This was most definitely a big hit and came with a very generous dollop of dulce de leche to liven things up even more.

flan parilla peña

Without a doubt Parrilla Peña was one of the best parrillas I’ve ever eaten at in Buenos Aires, if not the best. And all at a very reasonable price too, definitely not a typical tourist trap.

Argentina – you did me proud. Hasta la próxima… 

sunset Buenos Aires skyline

How do you avoid tourist traps when abroad? What’s your favourite meal you’ve eaten overseas?

Rewind: July

Darn all you organised people getting your July review posts up on 31st July like you’re meant to. Apparently all sense of efficiency has gone out the window for me these past few days. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m about to move halfway around the world again come to think of it. Details.

rewind july

Work Life

At the start of the month I said “I want to be sat on my flight home on 1st August knowing that I have worked my butt off this month and put everything out there that I possibly can.” and I can happily say that I have achieved that. The people I have met this month have just been outstanding. I have been so touched by their warmth and generosity, and their willingness to speak with me and share their experiences. It truly has been inspirational.

My aim with Spanish was to quit berating myself and I think I finally have. To be quite frank, I have been rather surprised by my Spanish this month. I’ve conducted 11 interviews in Spanish, attended talks and workshops, written a poem and made new friends. Talk about progress.

Blogging

I would have liked to have written more about the magic that is Buenos Aires, to share it better with you guys but to be honest I just haven’t really had the time. Too much living going on.

Fitness Shizzle

The self-critic in me wants to say something negative here but they can pipe down. Instead, I think this went okay. I CrossFitted three times a week and did a long run (gradually increasing in distance) once per week and I’m good with that. Trying to do anymore just got me stressed out, which brings me on to…

Self-Love

*Ahem* so having every Sunday off didn’t quiiiite go to plan. I may be a bit of an overworker but I did try and cut myself some slack and when things were getting to me (like trying to squeeze in an extra workout) I let it slide. And funnily enough nobody died so that was good.

Fun Stuff

Oh my gosh where to begin? I say it time and time again but I am so in love with this city, and this country. Something felt different from my time here last year, like something had shifted. I think coming in at a higher level of Spanish I felt more connected, with everything really. And that really helped. I was able to communicate far more freely and with more confidence, I knew my way around the culture and many of the habits of people who live here and was able to adjust right back into the rhythm of the city, whilst keeping that little bit of me.

This time it felt more like home. I loved my apartment, having my own space and a super comfortable bed kicked last year’s foam mattress’s butt. Zero expectations = incredible results. I can’t believe how settled I’ve felt in just one month here, and how much I am already yearning to return…

Highlights?

South Beach Miami

Standing with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean off South Beach, Miami and wondering how the hell I got to live such an incredible life.

Rosario Argentina

Venturing to Rosario for the world’s longest meeting…

La Noche de San Juan La Boca

Weekends Argentine style, with burning structures and theatre in the street, clubs open till well beyond dawn and secret bars waiting for you to go exploring.

rooftop skyline Buenos Aires

rooftop skyline Buenos Aires

Getting my favourite skyline back.

Ninina Bakery

Rediscovering one of my favourite cafés and featuring on their Instagram (sometimes it’s the little things).

steak

This.

Revolutionary Bar

My research taking me to inspirational places with inspirational places, like this Che Guevara bar.

Birkin Buenos Aires

Revisiting the place where I first had the idea for my Masters dissertation, the idea that brought me back here.

bosques buenos aires

Running round my favourite place in the world, in the beautiful winter sunshine.

So so lucky, and so so grateful.

How was your July? Did you set any goals?

Making My Heart Sing

Technically this is Tuesday’s post coming to you a little later this week as life got in the way of me wanting to sit down and write. So it seems kind of perfect to instead link up with Amanda for some Thinking Out Loud instead.

These last few years my intention and goal in life has been to do the things that make my heart sing, that feeling where you are so full of joy that you could burst and life is this magical waves that you never want to stop riding. I find this in all different ways from doing the things I love, and Tuesday saw my heart singing all day long.

I started out by hitting up CrossFit for a cheeky sweat sesh, one of the best starts to the day without doubt. After some strength work the WOD went like this:

EMOM for 10 minutes – 8 Overhead Lunges & 8 Pendlay Rows // EMOM for 7 minutes – 12 Kettlebell Around the Head Passes & 15 Kettlebell Swings (Russian) // Cue an elegant sweat mess. Perfection.

CrossFit Buenos Aires Kasten(Let’s ignore my dodgy squat position mmm’kay? Photo credit to Kasten CrossFit)

I’ve come to realise that I feel best when pushing my limits. Physical or mental, I’m not one to keep things ticking over. I’ve learnt that I need CrossFit in my life as I need to push my body on a regular basis. I’ve learnt that I crave travel to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. And I’ve learnt that I need to continue pursuing education or my mind becomes unsettled. Hopefully I shall keep on learning.

So I think that’s why I loved this day so much, after pushing myself physically I turned to stretching my mental limits as I had two interviews lined up for my research project for my dissertation – the whole reason I am here in Argentina, sadly I’m not on holiday. Bummer.

And these interviews went wonderfully. I’ve done a fair few now so definitely feel more confident in myself in conducting them and (it’s not often I say this) I was bloody proud of myself. There I was halfway around the world conducting interviews in a foreign language and having a pretty intellectual conversation with two absolutely wonderful women.

Pushing Limits… (Photo credit)

After the second interview I headed over to a women’s rights workshop I’ve been attending on Tuesday nights here. These time the class was quite participatory instead of the usual guest speaker. I mean, we had to write a poem. In Spanish. I’m sorry, what now?

But I did it! And not only did I do it but when the facilitator asked for volunteers to read out their poems my f*** it attitude kicked in and I put myself forward. So there I was, reading my poem. Outloud. In Spanish. Talk about progress, right?

I just can’t put into words how much I love this city, and this country. You can have totally shitty days (*ahem* Monday) and then, without expecting it, you have the most amazing experience the next. Life here pushes your limit constantly, there is no letting up. You can choose to sink or swim, and I, my friends, most certainly swam that day. And it was awesome.

I rounded things out by walking home from the bus to the soundtrack of Jessie Ware and trying to resist the urge to bust some moves on my own in the street. My heart was more than singing, it was bloody dancing.

How do you make your heart sing?

An Ode to Coffee

Guys, I think I’m addicted. I have more photos of coffee on my phone than I care to admit, I have to exercise some serious self control to avoiding Instagramming them all. I wouldn’t want anyone to imagine that I spend 90% of my study time in a café, coffee in hand, would I now? Oh wait… I do.

latte art

coffee

latte art

There is just something so comforting about it though. Not only am I out of the house and free from distractions, I am typically surrounded by other people also on dates with their laptops (it’s my longest relationship to date #stillgoingstrong) pushing me to work hard too.

I also have a dear, dear cup of joy by my side.

It’s always there when I need it.

A warm hug on a cold gloomy day.

A kick up the butt of sweet strong caffeine when I most need it.

A cold refreshing iced brew to ease some of the summer heat.

A moment to pause, and take a second to just sit and be.

A cup of comfort to hold onto as I rush about my busy day.

A new blend to try, a new favourite to find.

Oh coffee, how I love you so.

Mildly stupid and sarcastic blog posts aside, are you a coffee fan? Or one of those strange people who *gasp* only drinks tea?? I’m sorry but I’m not sure we can be friends… 

How to Survive a Body Confidence Crisis

So it turns out enjoying all the culinary delights that Buenos Aires has to offer catches up on you after a while. Combine this with feeling rather crappy the past few days and the hormonal delights of being a woman and it’s no surprise that me and my body fell out yesterday. Big time.

Back in the day this would have led me to a huge panic, cue self loathing and food fears. Luckily, I’ve come a hell of a long way since then (although, I must be honest, there are still moments). Within just an hour or so I was feeling heaps better about myself, so I thought I’d share some of my best tips and tricks with you.

1. Give your body some TLC

Take a long hot shower and the time to properly wash and dry your hair. It’s so simple but so so refreshing when you’re feeling like crap, trust me.

2. Stand in front of the mirror

Yeah, I admit this isn’t exactly what you want to do when feeling completely rubbish. But take a deep breath and try and do it anyways. Clothed or unclothed, stand and look at yourself. What can this magical body do for you? Do your legs help you run the miles that make you feel so good? Do your arms bash out those pull-ups like a boss? (Mine don’t, yet.) Do your hands coordinate themselves for you to play the piano that you love? Does your stomach allow you to laugh with your family at those stupid moments? Your body is more than you first see, so much more.

3. Get your feel-good outfit out

There’s nothing quite like some clean fresh clothes to boost your mood. After completing steps 1 & 2 yesterday I cracked out my denim shirt for a double denim combo, popped on my hoops and covered myself in perfume, oh and pulled a weird face. Much better.

feel good outfit

4. Nourish your body

I know one of the main reasons I was feeling crappy was a bit too much dulce de leche lovin’ and a bit too little veggie munchin’ (reason #1239013 why I’ll never be a poet). I’m not saying give up the treats full stop, I personally believe that mentally banning any foods isn’t healthy at all, but instead dose up on more of the good stuff. Try and keep treats as just that, treats. Something to be celebrated. The rest of the time plant power rules.

vegan salad

Also, do be reassured that I 100% intend on continuing to enjoy some treats during my last week in Argentina. Yes please.

5. Treat yo’self

Pick something that will make you feel good and splash out and go for it. Maybe a facial or a massage if you can afford it. Maybe some time spent doing your nails at home or catching up on a film or two. Maybe just cancelling your plans for a bit of you time and nothingness. That’s okay you know. And 100% acceptable.

6. Celebrate what you love

Do what makes you feel like you. Run, sing, lift some weights, dance, paint, draw, write, blog, cook, build something. Just do what makes you feel good.

7. Don’t be afraid to talk to ask for help

For years I went through a roller-coaster cycle of binging and self-loathing, I was a mess. When I finally plucked up the courage to get myself the most wonderful health coach I didn’t realise quite how much my life was going to change for the better, how much better I’d feel on all levels.

Whether it’s a coach you want or just to open up with a friend, remember that you are able to. We are all human, we all have problems.

8. Remember life is but a process

I know it sucks as we can be impatient folks but change doesn’t happen overnight. There is no miracle cure bar a lot of steady hard work (I literally typed steak not steady then, if only). Instead, take baby steps. Small and sometimes tentative but always moving forward. When you do fall down, you’ll be all the stronger when you get back up again.

Obviously different things work for different people, these are just what have helped me. Please do share your experiences below and always feel free to message me at cherriesandchisme@gmail.com if you fancy a chat. 

Living Alone

There is a scene in Eat Pray Love where Julia Roberts finds herself in Rome, completely alone. She is sat in her apartment, in a completely foreign country thousands of miles away from all she knows. And she repeats the words to herself, in Italian, “sono sola” / “I am alone”.

(Source)

I couldn’t help but be reminded of that moment when I arrived to my studio apartment here in Buenos Aires, completely and utterly sola.

They say everyone should live alone at some point in their life and although I only have a month to do so here – let’s be honest, I can hardly afford my own place at London prices – it is bloody empowering.

Yes I have my friends here, and I have managed to strike a semi-balance between being social and also occasionally a hermit as I throw myself head first into my dissertation writing and research. So I’m not alone all the time, not by any stretch of the imagination. But in my apartment, yes. And for now, it is pretty perfect.

I am to free to do what I want to. Wake when I want to, sleep when I’m ready. Make as much noise or be as quiet as I choose. I can work (or sometimes procrastinate) until the early hours. I can dress myself or stay in my pjs. I can be with my thoughts. There are no distractions, nobody to ask me about my day. Nobody to laugh with, to commiserate with. Just me, myself and I.

Instead I am forced to think things through, to really be content in my own company. I have to think things through, by myself, and really get to know what’s inside my head. There is no hiding. Just me, and my thoughts.

It’s probably not something I’d like to do forever but for now it is amazing. It sounds silly to say that something this simple can really make you grow as a person but I really believe it does, it strengthens you. You build your independence ever further, in a different way than you ever could when surrounded by other people. And that’s pretty magical.

Have you ever lived alone? Would you like to?

How to be a Country Chamelion

Life here in Argentina sure is somewhat different to back home in the UK. My usually (semi…) structured and organised routine flies out the window as I bombarded by new sights, sounds, a new style of living. And this is 100% welcome. What good is a routine if we don’t shake it up and reassess it once in a while?

Here people eat dinner at 9pm, go out at 2am and party till at 6am. Knock about 3 hours off each of those and that’s what I’m used to back home. Here food is the same but different, grain free snacks can be hard to find and sugar seems to creep into everything, even some of the smoothies. Here the day seems to start later and on weekends sleeping till the afternoon seems to be more than possible, especially after dancing until sunrise.

(Source)

I remember last year finding these changes overwhelming. I like my early nights, early starts and I am particular about what I eat. I noticed how on edge I felt with these habits becoming seemingly impossible. Now, I’ve learnt to take a different attitude to things.

I’ve learnt to let go, and to go with the flow. Let change wash over you and soak it all in, willingly and openly.

It took some time, and a little bit of practice but I’m getting there. It is possible to hold onto your integrity and still be you but also to adjust to the way of life of the country in which you find yourself.

Becoming a night owl

I’m never going to be the party girl I was once, going out on the regularly and staying up until the early hours. And you know what? I’m bloody glad I won’t be. That was a different time of my life to where I am now, and I’m all the better for it.

But what I will do, and what I do do here, is stay up later and adjust to the rhythm of the city. I typically eat dinner about 9pm and go to bed around midnight. I then wake up at 8am and instead of hitting up the 8am CrossFit class like I do back in London, I head to the 10am one before getting on with my day. Instead of the morning being the most efficient part of my day, I seem to find myself working better as the city quietens down a bit. I’ve gone from an early bird to a night owl. It’s kinda nice.

Ditching diets

Then there’s food. Oh food. I worked hard to get my diet into a pattern that make me feel best, the most alive and with the most energy. Here, many of things that make me feel that good aren’t available. Admittedly, I haven’t tried hugely hard to hunt them down as I’m only here for a month but nevertheless, they’re not so easily found. Rather than stressing about it (hardly healthy), I chose to let go. And whilst it’s something I do like to keep an eye on, I haven’t died yet. 

Slowing the heck down

Anyone that’s been to London will know that it’s a city of “go go go”. Londoners walk faster, barge past people on the pavements, work themselves often into the ground and are pretty much always in a rush. That doesn’t go so well here.

Here, the bus will arrive when it wants to. Here, you might show up to a meeting to turn out it’s been delayed by a few hours. Here, when ready to pay your bill and leave the restaurant you may have to sit waving both arms in the area to get your waiter/waitress’s attention as they don’t want to rush you.

I’ll be honest, it used to downright piss me off. I mean, I wanted to leave the restaurant now so why wouldn’t I?! Now though, I’ve learnt that it’s okay to slow down a little. That I don’t have to earn a break, I should just take one because I enjoy it. Now that’s something I hope I will bring back to London with me.

The takeaway?

  1. Let go of your control and soak up your new surroundings
  2. Remember that you can still be you whilst immersing yourself in a new culture
  3. The key = balance. Always.

How do you adjust to a longer amount of time spent overseas? What would you add to this?

This Wonderful Life

So much has happened in these past few weeks it seems more than time to sit down and catch up on it all. I probably definitely  should be studying right now but when you’ve travelled through 3 continents in 30 hours, turned 24, taken a road trip for a 4-hour meeting and are back in the city that stole your heart… you kinda need to talk.

Taking the adventure

I was lucky enough to have a layover in Miami on my journey out here (to Buenos Aires if you’re new round here) and with the advice of these lovely fellows I figured out I had a good amount of time to head to South Beach and catch some sun, before winter began… I also got chatted up by some American guy who then wanted to offer me a lift to the airport #imgoodthanks

South Beach Miami

South Beach Miami

South Beach Miami

I could definitely get used to layovers like this. Note to self though: start carrying a bikini in your hand luggage. You never know when you might need it, even when heading to winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

It got me thinking though, my time in Miami wasn’t exactly cheap as a caught a cab to and from South Beach, I wasn’t exactly sure about the public transport and wanted to maximise all efficiency in the little time I had. But it was 100% worth the dollars spend. When else do I happen to pass through Miami? Not exactly often. I could have saved money and sat in the airport for the afternoon but how is that living? Prioritise your spending and don’t get too hung up on it. Take the adventure. Always.

Reunited

I arrived in a rather cold and grey Buenos Aires early the next day, absolutely pooped after 34 hours of travelling from my little London flat. After a day of napping and unpacking (I hate napping more than unpacking… yup) I was reunited with two of my favourite things – STEAK and Sara. Maybe not in that order, ha.

bife de chorizo steak

Bife de chorizo and malbec. Heaven on a table right there.

We had a year to catch up on and even in my tired slightly spaced out state we couldn’t stop talking. It was so lovely to see each other again, and I find it amazing how life has a way of working itself out. Two friends from Canada and the UK who met over a year ago in Argentina just happen to both be back there at the same time. Brilliance.

I was also reunited with another beauty… A glorious rooftop view of the city.

Buenos Aires rooftop

Buenos Aires rooftop

 

Work & Play

Life has been a mixture of work and play. Yes it’s not all sunshine and roses all the time, but that’s okay. I’ve realised (finally) that things don’t have to be perfect all the time and just because they’re not doesn’t mean that I’m ungrateful for this wonderful life. Sometimes this dissertation malarky is downright stressful. But it’s also incredibly interesting and I am meeting the most lovely fascinating people. The hospitality here is just amazing.

There’s been a good amount of fun too, from a night out till 5.30am #buenosairesstyle to coffee shops (a lot of coffee shops) to slightly more cultural adventures with La Noche de San Juan in La Boca…

La Noche de San Juan La Boca

Wow I missed this place. It is so funny to be back, in ways it feels like nothing has changed. The same views, the same cafés, all the same places, the same streets I love, the same vibe. Yet in many other ways things are so different. I feel so different. I didn’t really realise how much I have grown and changed in the last year until spending a couple of days back here again. I am more confident now, a stronger and better (I feel) person. I am more like me again and it’s pretty amazing.

I also don’t have any of the ‘culture shock’ that I had last time, for want of a better phrase. I know the city, I understand (as much as one can…) how people here interact with each other and how things flow… And more than ever I can imagine myself living here…

We’ll end here for now, and catch up again soon.

Have you ever lived abroad? How do you feel when you go back to visit old places?

24 hours in Rosario, Argentina

Last Thursday afternoon saw Sara and I head to Retiro to catch a bus to Rosario, Argentina’s third largest city, a 4-hour journey away from the capital. Buenos Aires’ bus station is located slap bang next door to Villa 31, the city’s most famous shanty town essentially (for want of a better word). Thursday was the closest I had ever got to the Villa, a place where you have to be invited into. Some would say a city within a city, with its own rules. From our seats high up in the bus we had a strange sensation of watching a show, munching on our snacks, looking over into another world. It felt inappropriate somehow, almost a bit morbid. The sharp contrasts of this city will never cease to amaze me, I feel grateful for my life everyday.

This was the first bus I’d taken through Latin America since my time in Venezuela five years ago, and I’d forgotten just how much I love travelling overland through this magical continent. With Sara in charge of our soundtrack we watched the world pass by, accompanied by the musical statements of Calle 13. Soon day turned to dusk and the bus was surrounded by an orange firey glow as the sun bid us goodnight. We promptly nodded off to sleep, soon to wake up in our destination of Rosario.

After a quick cab ride to the hostel for a change and refresh we wandered over to La Estancia for dinner at the recommendation of one of the hostel staff. Upon entering we were encouraged to see that Messi had eaten there 3 times so decided it must be good. I should add, Rosario is the birth place of Messi, Che and the Argentine flag, amongst other greats. It was 9 de julio, Argentine Independence Day, so our choice of meal felt very apt.

La Estancia Rosario Cow skin lampshades and blue and white banners adorning the ceiling? Definitely in Argentina. 

We kicked things off with proveleta and oregano, one of my favourite things about parillas in this country. It is 100% acceptable to share half a circle of grilled cheese for a starter. Of course.

Proveleta

For my main I opted for the Vacio (the flank steak). It was my first time trying this cut off the recommendation of the waiter and I must admit, I wasn’t hugely impressed. It was a bit too fatty and too much like hard work to find the good bits, but maybe I’m just lazy.

vacio carne

The next day we were up bright and (semi) early ready for the meeting that had brought us to Rosario in the first place (all things must be educational between now and d-day, aka dissertation deadline). After a fail of a hostel breakfast (gluten free breakfasts are kind of tricky when the only option is pan) I picked up a granola bar at a dietética and nursed some much needed caffeine as we waited in a café around the corner from our meeting spot.

coffee

Four hours later we emerged from a fascinating meeting, albeit rather long #argentinaproblems and ready for a bit of tourism. What to do in Rosario? Go and see the bandera of course! The Argentine flag was created by Manuel Belgrano and first raised in Rosario in 1812. The National Flag Memorial was built on the spot some years later, and Belgrano was laid to rest in the crypt below. In a country as patriotic as Argentina, this is a proud place indeed.

monumento nacional a la bandera

monumento nacional a la bandera

monumento nacional a la bandera

 

monumento nacional a la bandera

monumento nacional a la bandera

monumento nacional a la bandera

monumento nacional a la bandera

As you can see it wasn’t exactly the clearest day, though Sara said she did feel rather at home, as it did rather feel like we were in Canada. Still, a little bit of tourist activity doesn’t go amiss and the fresh air was very much welcome before our bus journey back home.

Rosario is a strange city. I think it would be much better visited in summer and perhaps with local contacts to show you around, as otherwise it isn’t a hugely happening place… Although I admit, it sure is patriotic. But then, this is Argentina.

Is your country patriotic? Have you noticed places of sharp contrasts on your travels?

WIAW – The Birthday Edition

Well here’s a turn up for the books, my first What I Ate Wednesday in yonks! I turned 24 on Sunday – thank you for the lovely birthday wishes on Instagram – and was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday here in Argentina for the second year in a row. I could get used to this that’s for sure. Needless to say I ate some epic food that day, so it’d be rude not to share surely?

 

I woke up around 8am to spend the most glorious chilled morning in bed. I mean, this was my view…

birthday morning Buenos Aires

I lazed around and finished my book (Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker, the first book I’ve read all year, I highly recommend it) whilst munching on a pre-brunch breakfast (essential on your birthday) of porridge complete with cocoa-coconut almond butter gifted to be by Cat before I left. She knows me well. I also added broken up chocolate, gifted to me by my dad. Because, duh.

porridge oatmeal

 

birthday cards

I was so touched to have such organised friends and family to send me cards before I left! It was pretty special to be halfway round the world and still receive such lovely messages.

Before long it was time to walk over to Ninina Bakery, one of my favourites from last year, to meet Sara for a wonderful birthday brunch. I had appointed her my chief Birthday Sidekick, aka we were going to spend the day eating our way round Buenos Aires together.

Brunch was delicious – a gruyère and prosciutto omelette for me, with a side of orange choice and drip coffee. Sara went for a cheese and ham croissant, with a kale juice. Perfection.

Ninina brunch

I always love the decor of Ninina. For me, a nice atmosphere really makes the meal and there the clean cut fresh design hits the nail on the head. It’s also compulsory to ogle the cakes afterwards…

Ninina Bakery Buenos Aires

Ninina Bakery Buenos Aires

We then caught the bus over to San Telmo to meet up with a few of Sara’s friends and spend the afternoon wandering the markets that fill La Defensa on weekends. The atmosphere there is always incredible, a little touristy perhaps but super fun nonetheless. A feast for the eyes, ears and nose with the smoke from sidewalk asados filling the air. Delicious.

coma mas pollo

Sorry veggie friends but I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of this… It translates as “eat more chicken”, kind of sums up Argentina. Ha!

Then the munchies hit just in time for us to head to Nonna Bianca for some wonderful helados. Being my birthday I opted for three flavours – dulce de leche granizado, white chocolate with almonds and dark chocolate. They were all amazing, the dark chocolate probably being my favourite. But what I wasn’t expecting was the sheer SIZE of the thing. I totally failed in finishing the thing, good job I had some very ‘supportive’ friends to help out.

Birthday helado

Birthday helado

After chatting away over our steadily melting ice creams it was time to bundle up warm again and head home to change before dinner. We just had time to stop in Plaza de Mayo on our way to the Subte (metro) and pop into the Cathedral to see the changing of the guard for the night.

plaza de mayo

cathedral buenos aires

A quick hour to change and breathe back at my apartment and I was ready to go again. Plus, always time to take a silly selfie to send back home.

birthday selfie

I met Sara again at Las Pizarras and we were joined by Isabella, one of my postgrad friends from London who just so happened to be in BsAs for the week. Isn’t it funny how life works out?

I chose the wine, and it wasn’t so great… Well it wasn’t bad but not the usual Argentine magic. Ooops. I’ll leave the selections to other people next time. The food, however, was epic as per.

Following the ice cream party earlier on in the day we opted for a starter and main, skipping dessert. Sara and I shared our starters – goats cheese mousse with beetroot and roasted veggie salad, and beef tartare. The goats cheese was just fabulous, the delicate melt in your mouth of the mousse combined with the earthy flavours of the veggies. Pure perfection in my eyes.

goats cheese mousse beef tartare

This was followed by braised veal cheeks with smoked sweet potato puree and cauliflower and broccoli. Again, the veal was just melt in your mouth good. Cue one very content birthday girl.

braised veal

Wow, what a day it was. I felt so lucky to have spent two birthdays in a row in this magical country, and to have such lovely people to share it with. I wonder what the next one will hold?

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Have you ever birthday-ed abroad?