Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Café Rio, Argentine Style

Thank you, thank you, Bille.

The "Café Rio Pork" and "Creamy Tomatilla Salad Dressing" recipes you included in Stephanie's "Tried and True" recipe book saved the day ... and night ... and day ... AGAIN.

This is the second time I made these recipes, but the first time I made them in Argentina.

Sat. night we made this when we had friends over for dinner and it was sooooo good. The next day we brought some of the leftovers to another friend's house and enjoyed it again. And yesterday, Neil fed the Missionaries more leftovers for lunch. And then we had it again for dinner! The recipe makes lots. Yummy, yummy lots.

Making it was a bit of an adventure; looking up the lb. to kg. conversion; the translation for "pork shoulder," (apparently not "hombro de cerdo") -- and that was before we even got to the grocery store.

I panicked when I realized they, of course, don't have packets of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix. No worries, two bottles of Newman's Own Ranch Dressing (in the "International Foods" aisle, haha) worked.

Then, after looking in two stores, I couldn't find tomatillas! Neil swore he would not go to Chinatown with me, though I just KNOW they would have had them there; they have everything there!

So instead, I found tomatilla sauce ("Made in Mexico," also in the "Int'l Foods" aisle). I mixed that with the ranch dressing and other ingredients and I couldn't tell the difference from the sauce I made the first time, in the U.S., with all the right ingredients.

Then they didn't have pork shoulder, so they sold me what apparently was the tenderloin (after lots of gesturing, pointing to a diagram of beef cuts, and "butchered" (haha, get it?) Spanish).

And oh yeah, our crock pot was one of only two things that broke in the move. But a big pot on the gas stove worked just fine.

It turned out amazing.

Two of our Argentine friends who just moved back here from Utah, and one of the Missionaries, who is from Sandy, have been to Café Rio, and they said it tastes just like it. (Ironically, I've never been to Café Rio).

So thanks again, Bille (remember when I called you from the grocery store the first time I made this?), I can't recommend your recipe enough!

(Blog friends, maybe if you ask real nice, she'll share the recipe with you, too!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Things I Enjoy

There are some things I enjoy here that I would not have the means to "back home."

They include:

Ballet class for 1.5 hours, twice a week. There are only 2-4 of us total on any given night, so we get tons of personal attention and correction. My teacher is AMAZING; he dances in a company here. I'm learning so much, though I still suck. But I don't miss my Washington Ballet classes of 40 students.

Pilates once a week. They don't do mat Pilates here, they use the self-powered machines. Really nice, I'd never seen them before moving here. Again, 4 of us per class, so it's like having a personal trainer.

Massage at home once a week. I am so spoilt. A lady brings her table to my apt. for a 1-hr. treatment. This one I may need to forego, because I seriously feel too pampered. Is that possible?

****Housekeeper.**** This is my favorite thing that I will not be able to do without. I really hate cleaning. I am super lazy when it comes to my house. Sorry, but it's true. I'm not the "homemaking" type -- so why not hire someone who is? She does everything: floors, windows, watering plants (she takes them for a field trip to the balcony for the day, waters them, and brings them back inside!), bathrooms, laundry, IRONING, etc. She would grocery shop and cook, but we do that.

If we decide to expand our family, I have already set the terms that it would ONLY be under the condition that I have a housekeeper and a nanny. Unless Neil wants to nanny, which still fills the requirement. If this means we have to live somewhere where we can find domestic help affordably, so be it. So don't be jealous when we have six beautiful children, but we live in Timbuktu.

More Than Meets The Eye

We went to the late showing of "Transformers II" last night. Let me just say I looooove Transformers!!!

The first Transformers was sick; I saw it twice in the theatre at Potomac Yards in Arlington. I went to the midnight showing on opening night, with an audience of super-enthusiastic African Americans. It was awesome, lots of audience response -- applause, shouting, laughter, "Oh, no she di'ints!" etc. OK, maybe not the last one :) but you get what I'm saying.

Last night we went to Recoleta Village Cines, which have Ticketmaster-style assigned seating, the seats and aisles are wide and comfy and it's VERY CLEAN -- your shoes don't stick to the floor.

The movie was showing in the largest theatre they have, and it was full. So it made the experience in front of the BIG screen all the more fun -- especially when it got interactive ...

I could feel the crowd was almost as amped as the Potomac Yards crowd. When Optimus Prime made his first, blow-you-away screen debut, I was so excited, I started applauding. Everyone was stoked, but no one really joined in.


when Megan Fox made her first on-screen appearance looking like this,

the audience (or at least the males) erupted in unanimous, refined applause. We could've been at the Kennedy Center -- no catcalls, no comments -- just strong, appreciative applause, clearly in praise of the female form. Funny stuff. They also applauded at the end of the movie; a little more appropriate. I suppose Argentines live up to the Latin machismo thing, but they seem to have a bit of chivalry mixed in.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book Fair

I never posted about the BA book fair.

The Embassy participated in the Buenos Aires book fair, a three-week event with hundreds of booths in a convention center conveniently located next to the Embassy.

When I was asked to volunteer at the booth, I pictured a card table and a tri-fold display board.

Oh, no, no, no, was I wrong.

An architectural firm specializing in custom convention displays created this "Books to Movies" themed booth. All of the books on display had been adapted to movies. It was awesome to see the range of American authors and eras. Of course, there were also some very popular Obama books on display, too.

The booth is supposed to evoke film reels and even has flat screen displays on it.
The back of the booth:
The information desk:

The "charla" (conversation) area. Authors and speakers were scheduled every day; some spoke here:
And others spoke in a lecture hall, including featured Pulitzer Prize-winning Embassy guests Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain).

Pretty cool. I was impressed.


BEE-oh (noun)
1. A lovely natural foods restaurant in Buenos Aires.

Everything I've had is tasty. It has a light-filled, green atmosphere. Fresh flowers. Hand-made menu.

Here are pics from two separate outings there. If I haven't said it before, BA has the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G restaurants. They are very into creating atmosphere here. I wish I had been chronicling all my restaurant adventures from the start.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Little of the Everyday in Buenos Aires

Neil made coconut mochi for dessert when we had friends over a few weeks ago. It was excellent! It kinda looked like raw chicken, but it tasted awesome. We served it with mousse de maracuya (passionfruit) ice cream. Delicioso ... or, I should say, ono! The recipe is from a book my cousin's wife, Stephanie, compiled. (Don't mind the giant heads of cabbage-like things in a vase -- I couldn't resist!)

We live a few blocks from this school. I like the doorway.

The shopping here is INCREDIBLE. The stores themselves are pretty cool -- one of my favorite things is that the clothes are usually displayed by color, and they only have one or two of each item on the rack, which makes each store look like a haute couture boutique.

If you like a shirt you see in the "blue" section, but you want it in green, go look over at the green clothes and it's probably over there (rather than displaying all colors of the same shirt together, the way it's usually done in the U.S.). Like I said, they only have a few on display, and those are the floor models, you don't buy them.

If you decide you want to buy an item after trying it on, the salesperson goes to the back and gets a fresh one, still wrapped in the plastic shipping bag, and that's the one you buy.

This is an Ayres chain store, but it's one of the more architecturally interesting stores I've seen here.

Some of my friends and I went to this natural deli/market for lunch and it was really good. Outdoor seating is very common here. It's winter here in June -- as you can tell by the way people are dressed, it was a little cool to eat outside that day (sorry I captured that one guy with his finger in his nose).

I like the skylight ceiling.
This is a cafe near where I work. Neil met me for submarinos (chocolate bars melted in steamed milk) after work.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bill Clinton, aka My Boss' Husband

I went to hear Bill Clinton speak the other night.

OK, that's obviously not him. But my friends and I were so bored waiting for him to finally come on, that we amused ourselves with the thought that Bill has an Argentine body double.

I was so amused messing around with my camera, that when he finally DID come on, and I was sitting in the FIFTH ROW, my camera battery had died. Tragic.

Oh, well. Here are the pics I DO have from the night:

Getting out of the Embassy van at the Hilton, journalists were standing around with cameras. As we approached the turnstile, all the camera flashes went crazy -- I felt like a movie star!!!! My 3 seconds of fame!

Check it out http://www.clintonfoundation.org/

There was an inordinate number of balding men in black suits who attended the speech.

The speech itself was good, interesting and inspiring. It was pretty wild to be sitting there, looking at and listening to former President Clinton.

In other news, I have to post these pics of my adorable puppy. He is so sweet! The last pic has the kitty in it, too.