Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gloomy Sunday

What I'm listening to on this rainy Sunday...



At least the weather has given me an excuse not to get out of bed, see what's new on Pinterest, catch up on fashion blogs and drool over food gawker (I found a delicious looking recipe for curried potato salad which I made last night, and is ready for tasting today).

On a brighter note, a sequence of sunny photos starring:
Tomas & Agatha










And now time for some MUCH overdue, MAJOR spring cleaning! Ciao!

Friday, October 5, 2012

El Galpon

El Galpon is an organic market in the Chacarita neighborhood of Buenos Aires. I discovered it one day on Facebook, and could not have been more delighted. In the United States, my mom cooks all things natural and organic. In my hometown, you can find organic food either at an organic market or most big supermarkets have their own organic section. When I came to Buenos Aires, I did not expect to find organic options at the supermarket, nor was I about to try TOO hard to search for special organic stores as organic food is so expensive and for that reason, it is definitely not a staple of a normal 25 year-old's diet.

After I discovered El Galpon online, I decided that Tomas and I should go to check it out, not necessarily to buy anything, but for the earthy experience. This market is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so one Saturday morning we headed over to Chacarita with Tomas' parents. It was a little difficult to find---not many people seem to know about. I'm not sure whether that is because organic food is not as high in demand here or because the market is hidden behind a train station, next to the old abandoned train cars. Really could be either one. Maybe the abandoned train cars turn some people away. To me, it's art...with people living inside.

It is a tiny market....very quaint, but they have everything you could possibly need or want that's organic. From cheeses and meats, to fruits and vegetables, breads, spices, pastas and even beauty products. There is also a cafe at the market where you have the option to eat either inside or out. We sat inside and I had a pizzita integral c/ queso, rucula, y tomate (small whole grain pizza with cheese, arugula and tomato). I felt so healthy eating it, washing it down with my fresh squeezed ginger lemonade. Then I went on to eat a chorizo sandwich for dinner. Hey, you win some, you lose some. At least it was organic chorizo! Which by the way, if you have never tried a chorizo sandwich before, you are missing out on one of the greatest joys of life.

We have made some delicious dinners from ingredients we have bought at El Galpon, and as far as prices go it is really not that expensive! Tomas and I have been back a couple of times since we discovered it. It's a nice way to spend a Saturday morning and is only a short subway ride away.

In case any of you were wondering, El Galpon means "the barn." And indeed this market does have a "barn" feel to it.  And lots of people with unwashed hair, but I am in no place to judge. To my knowledge, dry shampoo has still not made it's way south of the equator.

"The Barn"


the scene

frolicking down the cobblestones with my reusable shopping bag

I got a backpack a couple of months ago. I use it everyday.
Doesn't it look great in pictures?

Cooking the mini chorizos...

...with a side of shiitake mushrooms.

The final product: a delicious choripan (chorizo sandwich) with the
traditional chimichurri sauce.

For breakfast, some organic vanilla yogurt
in an old fashioned milk bottle.
(I made the pic black and white to really
give it that 50's feel).

...and the next weekend, we picked up these extra large chicken wings
and doused them in some Frank's Red Hot, thanks to my parents.

I know the key to Tomas' heart.

Until next time,
Chrystin



Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's been going on these days...

This week was especially great as it was my 25th birthday on Wednesday, and the first day of Spring on Friday. And here, the first day of Spring is a big deal. It's hard to NOT know that it's the first day of Spring as most of the men you see walking down the street are carrying bouquets of flowers for their special lady friends.  Not to mention, every male acquaintance you run into wishes you "Feliz Primavera!" I guess chivalry isn't dead.

The first day of spring also happens to coincide with "Dia del Estudiante" here. Yes, students have their own holiday and had off from school on the first day of Spring to enjoy the outdoors. Needless to say there were plenty of delinquents running around unsupervised on Friday afternoon. And people here try to tell me that Argentina and the United States have the same amount of holidays. Does anyone remember having a "students' day" back in school? 

Anyway, some pics from the week:

Agatha, the party animal

My beautiful necklace from Tomas

Celebrating my birthday with Tomas & Agatha

My birthday present to myself.
I just can't get enough of the brightly colored & patterned leggings
I see all over Buenos Aires.

From my parents: The most lovely cookbooks I have ever laid eyes on.
But would you expect anything less from Laduree?

From my parents: I plan to eat birthday cake off of this plate for years to come.

A white enamel purse I found at a vintage boutique near my house.

"Feliz Primavera" flowers from Tomas.

Our mini jungle we are growing on the balcony.
I hope to fill up the rest by the end of Spring.

Stay tuned for my next post on our new discovery: El Galpon!

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm back!

It's taken me a while to get back to my blog. It's just one of those things where you gotta keep pushing along, because once you stop it's very difficult to go back. Kind of like the gym, which, excluding my brief April workout phase, haven't been to in easily 3 years. Not to mention I have a wedding in, give or take, four months. 

Times flies when you are back and forth between hemispheres and have no idea what time, day or season it is. If you really want to feel this confusing bi-hemisphere lifestyle in full effect, try visiting Argentina during Christmas time. As much as I hate the snow, I'll take it if it means I can enjoy a traditional (traditional from my view point) Christmas season, it's radius (meaning the day after Thanksgiving up until New Year's Day), and all the the things that go with it, including not feeling weird listening to "Let it Snow" in December.

Actually, I remember back in June we had a few cold days here... 40s...cold for Buenos Aires, and I thought, "Soon I'll be listening to Christmas music! I can't wait!" This is the bi-hemisphere confusion that I am referring to.

While that was not supposed to be the subject of my post today, my fingers have a mind of their own and that's what they decided to type.

Happy Weekend to everyone! Enjoy the last days of summer as I look forward to the warm weather that spring brings! Muahaha!

I leave you with one of my favorite music videos:



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brightening up Invierno

While winter in Buenos Aires isn't especially cold (today it's 63 degrees), the days can be pretty dreary. I've always been a fan of color, and I tend to especially seek it out during these "blah" times.

Mini rainbow bouquet

I bought the flowers above about one month ago. I couldn't believe that such itty bitty flowers (about the size of my pinky nail) could exist in such amazing colors! The girl at the flower stand told me they were real, and I believed her.  She must have seen me coming from a mile away. As it turns out, these are not live flowers as they look the same as they did the day I bought them one month ago. At least I'm getting my money's worth. To this day I still have no idea whether they are fake, whether they are real, dried flowers that are painted, or whether they are magical (at certain times they seem to be more open or closed). I guess I will never know.  Building a mystery.


Nice pose

Doesn't it look like I've got some sort of bright idea?

The photos above are from when Tomas and I went to the Feria de Puro Diseño. When you entered the expo, they had this huge colorful light screen that was constantly changing.  Reminded me of Lite-Brite on a GIGANTIC scale.

Glass decanter I found at a nearby bazaar.

I had to snag both of the colors.

I didn't think we would have any use for these bottles, but they were so pretty and you couldn't beat the price- --about $9 each! Turns out we might be using them, as Tomas wants to have a mini bar area in the living room. 


My weekly flower bouquet.

I like to pick up flowers once a week to keep on the dining table. They really seem to brighten up the space and most importantly, they make me happy. Thanks for this week's dose, Tomas!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Foodie Things

I would like to preface this post with: Don't judge me. Below are weeks worth of food photos (we didn't just eat this in one weekend.).

Tomas and I seem to make it our mission to try the newest, best & most different kinds of food in Buenos Aires. In the past few weeks, I've really taken an interest in trying new recipes and visiting restaurants we've never been to before. This week we were supposed to attend the Taste Buenos Aires event and try foods from over thirty different restaurants, but unfortunately we forgot to go. On the bright side, we're probably a few lbs. or kilos lighter. I am actually really hungry as I write this post (that's what I get for trying to eat a salad for lunch), and it is probably not the best idea to write about food now, but I am trying to be productive today and "one blog post" is on my punch list.

Now, feast your eyes on these:

Spicy Seafood Pasta
The spicy seafood pasta was pretty amazing. We picked up fresh pasta from the pasta store down the street, Al Buen Tallarin (The Good Noodle) and instead of using scallops like the recipe called for, we used clams (clams are much cheaper than scallops here). The nice thing about this pasta is that you can make it as spicy as you want. Obviously, Tomas and I added more spice than the recipe called for, chopping up some dried jalapeños from one of our three pepper plants. Unfortunately, all three plants are dead now, but we harvested enough peppers in the warmer weather to last us through the winter. This pasta is really easy to make & very hard to mess up. You can find the recipe for this pasta here (Blog: Crispy Bits & Burnt Ends).

Cinnamon Loaf
This baked delight was great while it lasted...Tomas and I ate half a loaf in one day, and the other half was later snagged by Tucu. This was really simple to make, as the ingredients were basic things you keep in your fridge or pantry. Really great as a breakfast or snack bread. You can find the recipe here (Blog: Food For a Hungry Soul). PS- The recipe says to bake for one hour, but my bread only took about 40 minutes, so be sure to check on it regularly.

Grilled Cheese & Pear Sandwich w/ Honey
This is one of my own creations. Can you tell? I used mozzarella cheese because that is what I had in the refrigerator, but this would probably also taste great with brie. The pears are thinly sliced, and the honey is added on top of the sandwich after it is cooked. This could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Banana Biscotti (for DOGS!)
While these biscotti cookies are made from completely edible ingredients, I wouldn't recommend eating them yourself because they lack flavor, according to Tomas. Yes, he tried them. Agatha loves banana so I figured these would be a hit. It is two weeks later now, and the biscotti cookies are long gone. My only complaint about these is that they turned out VERY hard. Not sure if this is on account of the recipe, or if I kept them in the oven for too long. You can find this recipe, along with a lot of other dog treat recipes at Bullwrinkle.com.


Food made by other people/establishments:
Dulce de leche filled donut from Magic Donuts.
The donuts from Magic Donuts in Buenos Aires are the best in town, although it's not hard to win that title since they might be the only ones in town. These donuts are the closest I've seen to American donuts in Buenos Aires. They have lots to choose from including, sugar, glazed, icing, or filled. The filled ones are superior, including fillings of dulce de leche, chocolate, cream, raspberry, and lemon custard. I discovered this place when I first moved to Buenos Aires on one of my exploring walks, but at the time I didn't realize how close it was to our apartment. I now know that is it a breezy four blocks. They also offer iced coffee, which is an added bonus.

Lamb Brochette @ Sarkis.
There used to be a time when I didn't eat baby animals (i.e. lamb or veal). Then I moved to Buenos Aires and that went out the window. After hearing so many rave reviews about Sarkis, an Arabic/Armenian restaurant, Tomas and I decided to go one Saturday night. The place opens at 8pm, and if you don't get there by 8:05pm, be prepared to wait in an hour (or more) long line outside. We started out with small plates to share including hummus, roasted red peppers, stuffed grape leaves, some kind of bean dish and some kind of rice dish. I wish I knew the actual names of the dishes. Anyone have any knowledge of Arabic/Armenian food? I would love to learn what those plate are actually called. Also, I apologize for not having any pictures of those plates. They were just THAT appetizing that I couldn't wait to take photos and then eat. After the starters, we probably could've have called it a night. We were SO full. But, we powered through and shared the lamb brochette, which was nothing short of excellent. For five starter plates, an entree, a bottle of wine, and water: $180 pesos. You can't beat that. 

Empanadas from our spot: El Imperio del Sabor
These are the best empanadas (canastita style) you will ever eat. And you never get tired of them. I know this from experience.


Are you sick of food by now? Thinking of skipping dinner? Or did I just make you more hungry, and want to come visit & eat with me in Buenos Aires?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bracelet Binge

Recently I've been browsing fashion blogs and doing some online "window" shopping, and can't help but notice all the fun jewelry that's out now. I keep forgetting that it's almost summer back in the US, while in Argentina, the cold weather keeps making me think that Christmas is on its way.

This past weekend I finally cracked, and went on a bit of a bracelet binge. First, I stopped at Avenida Santa Fe (the shopping area nearest to my apartment) and found these neon delights.



 The following day, Tomas and I went to Palermo to check out the Feria Puro Diseño. At this indoor expo you could find designers of all sorts, and everything from clothing to home decor. Some of the things were really interesting, while other seemed to be things that you could find at any mall, but here they were charging more money. My favorite part of the fair was the jewelry, where I picked up some more bracelets.
Peace, evil eyes, & a cross.

Wrap bracelet with charms.
These are very popular in Argentina now,
as are any bracelets adorned with fringe, pom poms or bows.



The peace sign and wrap bracelet are both from a store called Las Floridas.

A little more sophisticated...
This bracelet is from the designer Virginia Kuroski.
She also had some pretty amazing gigantic velvet bow headbands.

While I wouldn't say the $30 peso entrance fee to Puro Diseño was worth it (overall),  I did find the jewelry I was looking for.

In the cyber world, I've discovered two new jewelry sites:
Bauble Bar - Really cute accessories & affordable! They just introduced these "beach sets" which are themed (for example: Miami, Cape Cod, etc.) and for $80 you get a pair of alpargata shoes and three pieces of jewelry. 

Lowlita & you - I first saw these fun bracelets on the blog, Seams for a Desire. When I did some further research, I found that they only had a blog and a facebook page, and I didn't think it was possible to order any. Now (a few days later), they have just introduced their website! And, it looks like they will ship internationally!

Has anyone shopped these sites before? If you need a jewelry fix, I think these will do the trick!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Foodie Finde

Last week I saw a post on Facebook about the BA Underground Market. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I knew that I could expect to eat good food and discover interesting things (such as salsas, marmalades, and beer) to take home.


The Underground Market was only for one day, and we decided to go early since we had our nephew's birthday party in the evening. It took us a while to figure out where it was, as it was down a side street and inside an abandoned warehouse. If you did not know about the event in advance, you would have had no idea anything was going on inside the dark abandoned building. We even questioned if we were in the right place. The only proof was a small sign outside the door. Past the door was complete darkness.

To your average passer-by this is just an old warehouse...

But little does he know that through that doorway....
...up 3 flights of stairs...

...past old,

abandoned machinery...

...exists an oasis....

...full of people...

...who all share a love for food.
Smokey brisket and artesanal hot sauce from El Tejano.

Some more amazing hot sauce from our friends at Ya Ya Bean.

Lemon Verbena Lemonade
Don't judge a book by it's cover.
This tasted so delicious and so refreshing.

We then continued on to Simply Pickled where we had some
 yummy pickled chicken and vegetable sandwiches.
In case anyone was wondering, pickle in Spanish is still pickle
They just pronounce it as "peek-lay."

In pickle heaven.


Washing down my pickled chicken sandwich with a pickle martini.

Salsas and marmalades from El Palador.
We ended up taking home a jar of agridulce (sweet & sour).

Monopoly money really burns a whole in your pocket.
When we went back to buy more "Indy Bucks" there was a really
long line, so instead we went straight to the black market.
And with that...

....I was able to get dessert.
Mmm, Tres Leches Cake.

And finally, probably the best purchase of the day: La Milagrosa.
A spicy take on chimichurri sauce, with peppers imported from Mexico!

And now some photos of "the scene":


the band.


On our way out, there were even more peeps. I think the BA Underground
had a great turnout considering this is the first time.

Tomas and I had a BLAST at the BA Underground Food Market! We can't wait until the next one in September. Actually, we had such a great time that when we got home we googled "food markets in buenos aires" to see if there were any other food fests that we were missing. We could easily go to a food market every weekend, and not get tired of it. Well, we DID have success and found Taste, a FREE food event in Buenos Aires which lets you try food from over 30 different restaurants. We already reserved our tickets and will be going next week. Stay tuned!