Come to Buenos Aires and hopefully you'll enter the country on a rainy night. You'll head to where you're staying and the city will be nothing but green and pink neon, the looming silhouettes of European architecture and dark, slick streets seen through a blurry car window. Like any good traveler, your first stop should be for a decent meal. Above all things, Argentina will not disappoint your stomach.
I'll leave the details of Argentina's fascinatingly mixed and rocky history to the books. If you're traveling there, you should be reading far more scholarly sources than just your humble, barely-educated writers here at Travel Droppings.
While in Argentina, one thing I knew was that I was going to be doing a large portion of traveling through my mouth and my stomach.
When the Spaniards, French and Italians settled here, they brought with them their own unique tastes and flavors. It isn't taxing to find a pizza, a list of tapas, or Blood Sausage at any decent restaurant.
Without a doubt, I couldn't go anywhere without seeing it on a menu or in a storefront. They call it a pizza, but even upon first glance it should be recognized as the fat, slobbering Latin American cousin of it's Italian ancestor, likely the bastard half-brother of it's equally mongreled cousin, the American-Style pizza-hut-pizza.
In the many pizza-making establishments I visited, hoping to find one single bright spot in a country that has otherwise amazing food, the method was uniform. Call it a recipe, if you must..
1) Don't pre-cook the dough. Whatever you do, keep it soft and moist and as raw as possible. I want to taste them eggs.
2) Limited spread of tomato sauce on uncooked dough. Keep dough away from any heat that could possibly cook it even the slightest bit.
3) Now this is the most important part of all, so read what follows carefully; Smotherthefucker with cheese. Pile unto that uncooked dough with almost-yellow mozzarella, as thick and rubbery as it can be found it or genetically engineered.
4) Cook just enough to melt the cheese. That dough still wet? Good. Take it out of the oven, top it with olives or yellow peppers or whatever the hell is around, it doesn't matter because you should already be pretty inebriated on your chosen toxin by the time you eat the greasy little bastard.
Just how Mamacita used to make.
The Humble Empanada is not the pride of Buenos Aires, though it should be. I suppose that, like the portenos stuck living inside of their tiny apartments in a country where everyone else seems to live on either a ranch or a winery, or a ranch that produces wine on the side, they do their best work inside of a confined space.
You will read and hear many wise persons extolling the virtues of Argentina's incredible beef selection (more on that later) but the empanada is Buenos Aires little crusty secret.
It couldn't be more simple. Pocket of dough filled with any variety of meats and/or cheeses and/or vegetables. Done.
The most common are the Beef, which is excellent. Get it spicy if you can. Don't forget the caprese, which is tomato and mozzarella, two things that I wouldn't normally recommend eating in Argentina, but together inside of that little empanada, they couldn't be more perfect.
Empanadas are certainly not limited to Buenos Aires, though it was the only part of Argentina where I could find a multitude of companies selling them who also Deliver. Delivery Empanadas sounds like something out of my dreams, not to mention they come in a little cardboard box featuring depictions of the various empanada folds, representing it's secret contents. It's like a Christmas Present with meat or cheese in it.
There is something about the way that the edges of the Argentinean empanada are less browned than the top, reminiscent of all those Argentine Girls with the freckles just on their nose and cheeks. (grrrowl)
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