Monthly Archives: March 2016

Exploring Buenos Aires

Every year Carl heads to Argentina for a week of guy bonding and fishing. This year on a quick change of plans from visiting Brazil,  my friend, Yu Sian and I had to switch to a visit to Buenos Aires which crossed over two days with Carl.

We all arrive in BA in the early morning and proceeded to The Alvear Palace Hotel  on Alvear Street. The hotel is the old grand Dame of famous hotels. They had rooms ready for us so we got unpacked and ready to head out. When the other fishing guys arrived we walked 2 blocks to Fervor Restaurant. Fervor is a white table cloth restaurant like when working people use to lunch. They serve a couple of fish choices and meat of a every kind, shishka bobs with 3 different types of meat. We had a fried cheese to start with a side of roasted red peppers drizzled with just the right amount of olive oil.and of course a nice bottle of wine.

The men went back to the hotel and we headed out to tour the famous cemetery where Evita is buried. On the way back to the hotel we stopped for amazing ice cream at Volta across the park from the cemetery.  We needed a rest to get ready for the big steak dinner. The men wanted to have the big steaks that Argentina is famous for, so off we went to Don Julio,, the steaks are big enough to share along with a wonderful plate of heirloom tomatoes. When you do not have a reservation for dinner until after 8:30pm it is hard to go to bed at 1 am.

We went to the Soho area the next morning to walk, explore, and shop, this area is a young energized group of streets still in transition. There were fun restaurants and stores of every kind. One thing you realize is the trend that fringe and platform shoes are in, covered with a poncho of some kind. After wandering the streets and a stop for coffee it was already time for lunch. We grabbed a cab and headed across town to The San Telmo area and “La Brigada” the meat centric restaurant famous for all the soccer memoribilia. The walls and even the ceiling are covered with photos and signed jerseys. The servers all love to cut your meat with a spoon to show how tender their meat is. We shared a beet salad, octopus starter, filet with a blood sausage side. We had no room for dessert but watch others around us share wonderful looking dishes.

We had to do a little shopping before going back to the hotel for a well deserved rest. First stop was for a pair of lizard shoes from Rossi and Caruso, they have several stores in the city and this one is behind our hotel so an easy stop. The next stop was “Arandu”, Ayacucho 1920 street. This store is 3 floors of beautiful leather goods, polo clothes and paraphernalia for the sport, old rugs and saddles.  Worth the visit.

If you want a light lunch there is a very good local empanadas restaurant behind the hotel called, El Sanjuanino. This is a funky place with $2.00 empanadas while you sit in old booths and drink a beer.

Dinner was a change of pace with reservations at a small French restaurant called “Roux”, Pena 2300, The place seats about 36 guests upstairs with a small private room downstairs. The menu is simple, but every dish is cooked to perfection.  I had the roast goat, one of the other guests had the pork belly and someone had the duck breast. We had a excellent waitress,she spoke perfect English that helped us order the sides and of course a couple of desserts to share. Love the dulce de leche! This restaurant has 2 seating so you can come at  8:30 or 10:30pm but be sure to make reservations this is a great choice for lunch or dinner.

Each day we would just start walking and explore each unique area of Buenos Aires. You can take the yellow tour bus that allows you to get off anytime wander the area and then catch the next bus 15 minutes later, you can use the pass for 24 hours.  We toured the Latin American art, MALBA, then walked on to the Japanese Gardens, not worth the visit.

Dinner this evening is at “Tegui”, Costa Rica 5852, behind the plain graffiti painted door. I love the feeling of this space from the moment you enter the  door you are handed a glass of champagne and taken to your table. The kitchen is in the back of the space and the open concept allows you to watch the magic take place. The 10 courses offer all the food groups, starting with tomatoe, scallop, sweetbreads, veal cheeks, and several other courses before the fresh cherries and ending with chocolate 4 ways. We did not do the pairing of wine with each course, but ordered a couple of glasses of wine for the diverse meal.

We really became tourists when we took the yellow bus and got off at the El Boco area with the bright painted houses and buildings. There are several antique stores, dancers doing the Tango  with music blasting in the street.

 We jumped back on the next bus and rode to the  area where the Sunday Antique fair was in full swing, in San Pedro Telmo area, a must do on any Sunday.  We headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest, since we had reservations at Faena hotel for the fun Tango show and dinner, expensive, but well  done.

After a busy week-end we took it easy the next day with a simple tour of the Opera house, wish we could he seen music on the stage or a ballet. If you are there during the season be sure to get tickets anything you see will be memorible.

Dinner was at a Peruvian  fusion restaurant back in the Palermo area. Osaka, Soler 5608, was a nice space with a good bar and open sushi counter. The menu was huge and trying to make a choice was difficult so our waiter helped us order. It was not one of our better meals, but the ceviche tasting was interesting.

It was our last day so we wanted to visit a couple of places on our list. The first was a kitchen store called Enseres, El Salvador 5986, a small space with  interesting tools and aprons. You have to ring the bell by the front door to enter. Then we walked 2 blocks to  a great new spot called La Mar, El Salvador  5986. This restaurant is part of a chain with several franchise owners around the world. The menu is also a Peruvian fusion concept, but much less expensive than the other concept. We met the owner Milias Rosenberg, he is young and has great energy for this beautiful restaurant. Eating lunch outside could not have been better. We shared several dishes, but the best was dessert, a suggestion of Milias, CACHANGA!!  Fresh fruit on top of a crisp is so good but, be sure to plan on sharing.

There is a new hotel in the neighborhood worth checking out. Casasur, Costa Rica 6032, this boutique hotel has a nice restaurant in the lobby and looked to have fun restaurant in the adjoining lobby, called “6”. This area is up and coming and will be a fun place to stay.

Go to Buenos Aires, it is a city with great energy!



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Chili Con Queso

When I was getting ready for the Super Bowl I started to dig though all my old recipes for this Chili Con Queso.  I called a chef friend,Corinne, to ask if she remembered the ingredients, since her version was always the best. Her answer was no she just said it changes every time. So with my scratched notes I set out to recreate my old go to version of Chili Con Queso.

Ingredients list

3/4 cup diced onions

1 package of Jimmy Dean Sausage

2 jalapeños roasted and peeled then diced

2 jalapeño fresh seeded and diced

3 cloves of garlic pressed

2 tlb. Butter

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups grated Colby or Monterey Jack cheese or combination of both

( 1/2 log of Velveeta dice,  if you do not want to use Velveeta you can add 1/2 cup of cream cheese and additional jack cheese)

2 tsp cumin

2 cups whole milk

1 4oz can of diced green chilies, drained

2 tlb Tabasco  or to taste 

1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with Mexican spices is good

Sauté the onions in the butter until soft then add garlic, jalapeños and sausage. Sauté until sausage I cooked and if there is extra fat drain off before adding cheese, milk, cumin. Stir over very low heat careful  not to let cheese burn. When cheese is melted add canned chilies, Tabasco and tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors. 

I made the dip early in the day and it reheated well. It also works in a fondue pot or electric pan that you can control the heat to very low tempeture. Serve with chips, salas and veggies for dipping.

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Swordfish with puttanesca sauce

I forget about swordfish and last night when I went to buy fish for dinner my fish guy said it was a perfect choice.  This recipe can also be used with Halibut, but the firmness of the swordfish is perfect.

Serves 6

6 tbsp of olive oil

6 swordfish steaks (about 5 to 6 oz. each and 1/2 inch thick) skin removed and salt and black pepper to taste

3 large cloves of garlic, fine mince

1/2 cup of thin sliced onion

4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, chop 

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped 

1/4 cup capers drained

3/4 cup oil cured black olives, pitted and chopped. You can use green olives if you would rather

3 cups of tomatoes, if you use fresh be sure to seed and chop. Using canned tomatoes, use whole tomatoes and crush them in your hand or chop. Drain and reserve liquid.

1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes or more to taste. 

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish 

4 tsp fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in skillet over high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper and add to skillet, flit once until brown and medium rare, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. 

Return skillet to medium low heat. Add garlic, anchovies and onion cook until soft, about  3 minutes. Raise heat to medium add tomatoes, olives, Rosemary, capers, and reserved liquid. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, 8 minutes or so. 

Return swordfish to the pan and heat through add lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley. Divide fish between plates and cover with sauce. 

Love this with a small twist of pasta that you have dressed with olive oil. 

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Five days of skiing in the Aspen area

Since we spend most of our skiing days in Sun Valley for a change of pace we venture out to a new area with our ski group once a year. Our goal is to ski every other year in Europe and on the off year head to a U.S. Area. This year we decided to ski in the Aspen area, Snowmass and The highlands. We checked into The Little Nell Hotel, small boutique hotel sitting at the base of Aspen Mountain. 

  The rooms are lovely and many of them overlook the ski hill. We rented skies next door to the hotel and the guys that run the ski room at the hotel take care of your equipment each morning and afternoon after you finish skiing. The hotel has a great staff that will take care of your every need. There is a nice pool and jacuzzi along its a full service spa in the hotel. 

The village is full of high end shops and restaurants to suit everyone, we chose to have dinner at The Kitchen—970-300-4525. The feeling  of the open space is inviting, with the large open kitchen front and forward. The huge cooler as you enter holds massive pieces of prime beef, something they pride themselves in serving. Large stack of pink salt blocks are on the counter ready to be used to cook the beef or buffalo on and then to serve the customer. We shared several starters, including the deviled eggs with confit duck tongues garnish, the whole cauliflower is amazing.  Many of the dishes had a Moroccan flavor, including the tagine serve in the original vessel seen in Moroccan cuisine. Be sure to try the apple pie served in a small cast iron pan with the lattice crust.

The next morning the hotel car drove us to Snowmass, about 25 minute drive. This is a large spread out area with well groomed runs many different lifts and assorted terrain for all abilities. We made reservations at Gwyn’s, a restaurant on the mountain for lunch at 1:30. This restaurant has two sections and we chose the side with a seated dining and nice menu. The portions are large so it is great to share the salads and mains, desserts too.

That night we went to a Japanese restaurant called “Matsushia” a concept similar to a small Nobu type menu. We shared several things, but love the miso soup with clams to start and they did a good job on the tempura. Everything is an easy walk from the hotels, this was close to the famous Hotel Jerome.

The next day we went back to Snowmass and had lunch at another place on the mountain called “Sam’s” a true BBQ joint, once again the portions were huge, loved the sweet potato fries and baby back ribs with several BBQ sauces to try.

I had an excellent massage in the hotel after a little shopping in the village. It is always fun to buy new ski clothes in Aspen especially at a shop called Gorsuch. For dinner we went to an old standby called Pinon, it has been in Aspen for 26 years. They offer beautiful American fare, nice lamb chops, a couple of fish selections done to perfection. The noise level is low and the service and wine list are top.

The next day we went to The Highlands, about a 15 minute drive. This is a smaller mountain with steeper runs that flow easily down the mountain to the small village below.  For those that want a bigger challenge you can hike the Highland Bowl. You purchase a strap to attach your skies to your back and start your hour long hike up the steep snow steps to the edge of the bowl, put your skies back on and head down, best if the sun is shining and the winds are low. They had a great kids program in full swing with many smaller lifts and easy access for kids of all ages.  

We made reservations on the mountain at a crazy place called Cloud 9,that is made famous for the rough and wild parties that happen on the deck most afternoons when the sun is shining and the champagne is flowing. They have two settings one at noon and one at 2pm. They offer a set menu with 5 main course selections. I chose the fondue and it was terrible, taste like it was made from a powder mix and $50 at that.

We were invited to a friends place for a buffet dinner, we brought the wine, a nice break.

The last day we skied Aspen Mountain again, shared lunch at the bottom in the Ajax cafe, sitting in the sun and watching the people ski down to the gondola. Then it was time to fly back to Sun Valley and put our skies away for the season.

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