Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Food and sex 2 (In Buenos Aires)

Getting the right companion, securing a VIP table, being seen, are as much fun as the food, especially when you are not in a Michelin 5 star restaurant. Since I had no dinner dates, I spent most of my meals at my kitchenette.

Recoleta has a few supermarket chains within walking distance, which are about the best looking supermarkets in the world. The checkers have brilliant white uniform shirts, looked like flight attendants, but younger, who would admire your purchase and smile at you. I heard that during the currency crisis, they are all taken over by some foreign power (not USA). If I knew that they all deliver your purchase to your apartment, I would have tried harder to get a more spacious (and cheaper) apartment. I suppose they will deliver to your hotel room, but it's a bit awkward and I don't need that much things in a hotel.

The small kitchenette shouldn't be a problem for me. Raw fish need no cooking! However, the only fresh fish available there were big fat farm salmon. Just like most large chains in the world, the seafood department looked good, but for really good stuff you have to go to specialty shops like Trader Joe's. Also, Argentineans are certainly not big on seafood, as I realize later. There aren't that much Japanese and seafood restaurants around town.

No raw fish, no big deal. So I looked for big juicy steak that can be eaten rare, or in my case, bloody. To my surprise, I couldn't find any! Then I recalled that for beef importing countries, top steak house will use steak from (1) a region in Japan (2) Argentina. The Argentina climate and glass were the reasons the Europeans bring themselves and their cattle. I was puzzled.

I am even more puzzled when I find out that Argentineans still consumes the most beef in the world per capita. Some eat steak for breakfast so their export only ranked third in the world I think. It's true that you can't prepare steak at home as good as at restaurants. Also, you can't use insane heat in barbecues in small apartments. So perhaps they don't cook steak at home.

Perhaps they couldn't afford it? They do have armed guards in drugs and cosmetics stores, because these are rather expensive items. You have to put all bags in lockers before you can go inside. Whenever you go through toll roads, you can see men holding long rifles at their shoulders, aiming and ready to shoot anybody who wouldn't pay. On the way from the airport to town, I think I saw high rise ghost towns.

When I looked closer, I found beef cut like thin bacon. Are Argentineans that poor? Even in Recoleta? Or they will never think of cooking steak at home? Maybe really they eat beef for breakfast, just as some eat bacon. At first I used the little toaster to grill the beef. It was very good. Then I thought of shabu shabu - Japanese boiled beef. It was the best shabu shabu that I ever had. Perhaps you should try that in a Japanese restaurant when you are in Buenos Aires.

Looking at their vegetables in the supermarkets, you would think that Argentineans are big vegetarians, rather than number one in beef consumption. But to go with shabu shabu, nothing beat their spinach, delicate as baby spinach. One dip in the boiling water and you get intense flavor without the need for any spice or source.

With full continental European (ie, minus the big island) traditions, the bread didn't disappoint, even in supermarkets. So I didn't need a kitchenette after all, just a small pot of boiling water, and a little soy source. I had a very healthy diet, virtually fat free, high protein, high energy, easy to digest. I couldn't have enough of it, day after day, sex after sex.

Just like bread, Argentina must have good wine, and you can find it in the supermarkets too. I picked the top bottles of red from the supermarket and it turned out to be a good investment. The gorgeous checkers looked at me as if they wanted to follow me home. Spotting an open bottle on the table, my companions would stay longer for a glass or two, or even helped themselves.

(Part one is here.)

2 comments:

The English Courtesan said...

Oooooh, I love Buenos Aires! I stayed there a couple of years ago and thought it was fabulous - such an intriguing mixture of European colonial and hot-blooded Latin-American.

As a vegetarian, I didn't share your hunt for a steak but I do remember fabulous fruit at breakfast and splendid afternoon teas...mmm...

Livvy xxx

The Player said...

There's also the feeling of replacing the population of a dense, bustling Asian city with Europeans.

mmm... I couldn't help noticing the gorgeous well dressed security guards and waiters too.