Cooking Classes at Fuego

Fuego Buenos Aires

One of the reasons I love this city is its uncanny ability to draw you in, seducing you with its hidden gems, stunning architecture, and nostalgic romance, among so many other qualities. In spite of the chaos, the stress of the hustle, and the feeling that the city might actually be out to break our spirits just for fun, there’s a redeeming quality that can be found around almost every corner – if you know where to look.

Life has been hectic lately, working long hours and weekends, rushing around just to get the basic things done, and I’m often left at the end of the day feeling like a deflated little party balloon. However, when I rang the buzzer and took the old-school lift up to Fuego for a Korean cooking class the other day, all of that noise melted away as the magic of Buenos Aires reveled herself to me yet again. Continue reading

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Review: Delhi Masala

Delhi Masala Anyone that knows me knows that I have a serious addiction to Indian food. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve craved spicy, aromatic curries and fluffy basmati rice. My first stop en route home from the airport once I touch down on US soil is our local Indian restaurant that I’ve been going to since I was in elementary school. (Side note: The owner’s children are probably going to some pretty fancy colleges thanks to my dedicated investment in their business. Moving on.)

Therefore, moving to Buenos Aires was a shock in the sense that the availability of Indian restaurants went from what felt like infinity to just a handful. Way back in 2007 I remember going to Tandoor on its first night in business, actually. Good times. Since then, slowly but surely there has been steady growth of classic, no-frills and authentic curry spots that have been able to sate the beast within me, also known as my murderous desire to eat Indian on a weekly basis. Warning: Indian food does not photograph well (duh). Sorry I’m not sorry.

Naan-senseLiving just one block away from Bengal, I was very spoiled to become close with the head chef there; he’d always indulge my obsession with spice and make sure my dish was always “nivel extranjero” instead of “nivel porteño.” He’s a good man. What makes him an AWESOME man is that in recent years he’s branched out and opened up several restaurants of his own – all thanks to the help of his family members that he brings over from India to help run the show. I’m hoping they’ll adopt me one day.

This is a lot of build up for one lousy review, but it was necessary. Delhi Masala, located right in the heart of hippie dippie San Telmo nightlife, is pretty much the only place I’ll go for a curry these days. An incredible range of dishes (so far they’re the only ones who do mattar paneer … and extremely well), the typical tacky-kitsch atmosphere of bright overhead lights and lots of little elephants strung everywhere and overall authentic flavors make this my favorite Indian restaurant in Buenos Aires.

Mattar Paneer You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, but if you’re really hungry I would skip the appetizers and head for the mains (the samosas are quite good though). Dal, prawn tikka masala, mattar paneer, aloo gobi, vindaloo, korma … I have to stop myself before I drool all over everything. Great range of vegetarian dishes and a whole section dedicated to briyani. Yay! Sopping up those sauces with hot buttery naan is so delicious it should be illegal. Actually, I’d totally brave the wilds of Fuerte Apache or some other scary barrio if it meant I could get my hands on whatever magic is coming out of Mohammed’s kitchen. True story. Portions are generous, waiters understand the diners’ need for truly spicy food, and they even offer house-brewed cerveza to wash it all down. Remember that in BA, you have to order the rice separately from you main dish – kind of a drag but not the biggest deal.

Before you pass out in a heavenly food coma, try to give dessert a whirl. The pistachio ice cream is super rich and at the same time refreshing, though you might need an Uvasal after all is said and done if you’re anything like me. (For clarity: If you’re anything like me you will order three mains between two people and stuff yourselves to the brim with naan and basmati rice just for good measure. So basically you probably have more self control and better judgment than I do.)

The best bit of all of this? Delhi Masala accepts Club La Nación meaning your meal will be at least 20% cheaper every night of the week – 50% off on Tuesdays! Who doesn’t love a bargain in this inflation-ridden town? Just me? Don’t be shy. Pinching pennies is the new extravagance. Or not?

No matter the day of the week, the place tends to fill up, so either head there on the earlier end or call ahead to reserve if you want to be sure. They also do take out if you prefer to smother yourself in tikka masala in the privacy of your own home. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No judgment here.

So if you’ve been craving a good curry and haven’t found the right spot, are looking for a new place, or have never even had Indian food because you were raised in a barn … Mosey on down to Delhi Masala and prepare for a camino de ida. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Delhi Masala
Defensa 714, San Telmo
Open for Lunch & Dinner
4300-3790
Discount with Club La Nación
Take Out & Delivery

Final Photo Credit: Via Resto 

Food Porn Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Its hot, and I am happy at home enjoying a cold beer to kick off the weekend. I also realized it’s been a while since I cooked a solid meal that doesn’t rely on pasta or empanada dough to get things rolling. So, I’m tempting myself with this easy and spicy coconut rice & shrimp dish that I stumbled upon this morning. Quick, zesty, and won’t require too much time over a hot stove – works for me! If only I could find limes in this damn town … Even the Bolivian women that sell hot peppers and fresh cherries on the corner are letting me down! I hope you have a lovely weekend spent in the shade of a patio umbrella as you sip a cocktail poolside.

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Photo Credit: What’s Gaby Cooking

Food Porn Friday

Of all the ethnic foods that I miss here in Buenos Aires, there is one cuisine that I often forget about – until a serious craving hits me. Ethiopian food definitely won’t win any contests for being photogenic, but it’s definitely one of my favorites due to its sheer flavor. Living in DC, I was surrounded by tons of Ethiopian restaurants – from the seedy spots that line 18th street in Adams Morgan to the finer establishments such as Zed’s in Georgetown – and never realized how I took them for granted. I woke up this morning with a serious need for doro wat,  chicken cooked in a deep red, smoky sauce and served with a couple of hard boiled eggs. It’s one of those dishes that I tried as a child and will never forget, for sure. So cozy up to some spongy injera bread have an excellent weekend!

Photo Credit: Kweschn Media

Review: NOLA Buenos Aires

I’m a huge fan of dinner parties. Intimate gatherings around a cozy table, with good food, good conversation, and good friends. Feeling even more at ease as the night wears on, as if I could just curl up on the couch and rest my eyes as a postprandial treat. However, I’m not always up for hosting and all that it entails – the prep time, the cleanup, the stressing over the menu. Which is why I am thrilled that Liza Puglia’s NOLA Buenos Aires has swept in to save the day – or night – for anyone who can sympathize with me. Continue reading

2nd Annual BA Chili Cookoff

Last Sunday, right before the glorious 4th of July holiday, the 2nd Annual BA Chili Cookoff took place at Maxim restaurant in Palermo Soho. Nearly 20 chefs were at the ready with their homespun spicy delights, about to be judged by tons (seriously I think there were 25+ of us?) of discerning and hungry judges. Organized by Dan Karlin, (the man behind Anuva wines and the BA Podcast) Frank Almeida (mastermind of Sugar & Spice) and Larry Rogers (El Tejano, the man who brought brisket to Buenos Aires), this year’s event was a great time. I loved having the chance to be a judge and even though I literally almost exploded from eating so much, thought it was pretty dandy to be able to get my paws on all of the chilis before the rest of the crowd was able to.

Judges were invited early, which was nice since the space literally exploded with people by later in the afternoon. The only thing I would have liked to change would have been the guidance (or lack thereof) in terms of judging – we were given a blank sheet and told to score on a 100-point scale. We weren’t allowed to discuss with other judges, either. Basically this meant that I didn’t think of something creative/logical like breaking down the points into flavor, spice level, and overall yumminess. Nope, not me. I literally just bolted out of the gate and starting eating and judging simultaneously. Woops. Not the most methodical or scientific approach, but in the end it just led to my giving perhaps overly generous scores – which was fine with me! (I also would have appreciated it if a glass of beer weren’t $25 pesos but that’s just a side note.)

My favorites were Craig Jull’s smoky, meaty and spicy chili (which won both Judges’ and Peoples’ Choice), Daniel Tunnard’s Indian-influenced batch, and Johnny Deutsch’s Patagonic lamb with hints of chocolate and espresso (he won it all). Not far behind was Paul Strobl’s chili which had a heavy French lilt and was full of wine – I liked that it was different. It’s so interesting to see how a general concept of a dish can be interpreted in so many ways. Overall, a great experience which I hope to repeat next year! Congratulations to everyone who participated and won, and thanks to the event organizers for letting us stuff our faces all in the name of being “official.”

Review: Taste! BsAs

Last week Buenos Aires Delivery & Guía Oleo teamed up to host the second installment of its gastro-centric event, Taste! BsAs – a night that showcased 25 local restaurants offering free food to all. Held at the auditorium above the BA Design center in Recoleta, the event was literally bursting at the seams with guests but was overall a great night.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a pre-event sneak peek & tasting with other bloggers, journalists and photographers – which turned out to be a serious blessing. Once the doors opened to the general public, things got a little crazy and having time to enjoy each stand wasn’t in the cards. It was so nice to try places I had never tried and even revisit some old favorites. I hope that next year they’ll have a space that is adequate for the thousands (literally! what a great turn-out) of attendees, which will make it a better experience for everyone. Other than that, Taste! BsAs was a super fun event and I’m already excited to see what’s in store for 2013 (what can I say, I like to plan ahead).

The Ya Ya Beaners were there with their La Boca Roja sauce, which never disappoints. Bonus for the mini tequila shots. (Also, sorry I broke a bottle of sauce because I am a spaz).

Taj Mahal never lets me down. Fluffy samosas, fresh nan, amazing sauces. Loved seeing them there.

NOLAChef Liza Puglia was serving up her famous red beans & rice. Could eat it for days.

La Fábrica del Taco had perhaps the most colorful and festive stand of the whole group.

Sushi had a strong representation, with nice colorful pieces from several restaurants.

I loved the Green Monster‘s table! Amazing veggie burgers with creative sauces. Me likey.

A bit blurry but … Atlanta Wing Factory cranked out quality wings (spicy and sweet).

My favorite? Nazca, serving up traditional Peruvian flavors. I need more ASAP!

Of all the dessert-y stands… Top It was the star. Love me some pomelo froyo.

Thanks to BA Delivery & Guía Oleo for a great event! I wanted to try the deep dish pizza as well as some other spots so let’s hope more restaurants will want to participate next year. Now I’m hungry …