Thursday, April 08, 2010

Our Parrilla Party in Buenos Aires

Parrilla Party

Before Dylan and I arrived to Buenos Aires, our friends in Brazil warned us about Argentine beef. "If you like steak in Brazil, wait 'til you get to Argentina. You will eat A LOT of beef."

In our week in Buenos Aires, Dylan and I ate at a parrilla at least once a day. Sickening, I know. We didn't anticipate eating so much beef, but once we had our first bite of an Argentine grass-fed cow, it was over...we were addicted.

During our intense study of grass-fed beef, I present our Parrilla Report.

Order - Ojo de Bife (rib eye) and Bife de Chorizo (sirloin strip steak) are the parrillas most popular cuts. Ojo de bife seemed to be the choice among travelers while the bife de chorizo seemed to be a local preference. Both are great cuts. We also recommend ordering chorizo (meat sausage) and making your own choripan (chorizo sandwiches) tableside. Dylan and I also fell in love with morcilla (blood sausages), pig's blood, ground up pork, and offals. Yes, yes and YES!

Doneness - Medium-rare is what we usually request here in the States. Medium-rare is what we requested in Argentina. This is not what we got. Argentine's love their meats a punto (medium) to bien cocida (medium well). So when we asked for medio hecho or medio jugoso (medium-rare) our steaks would arrive bloody dripping rare while other times our steaks were medium-well to umm...GREY. Dylan and I got used to sending our steaks back. Do not hesitate sending your steak back, especially at a nice parrilla. I actually think printing out a picture of a steak with your preferred doneness will do the trick. Someone design a Steak Doneness Pocket Guide!

Share - Steaks in Argentina are huge in portion. Share. Save the rest of your stomach space for dulce de leche gelato and empanadas when you walk around afterwards.

Salt - We noticed that Argentine's like their steaks lightly salted. We suggest enjoying your first few bites of grassy beef without adding extra salt or dunking it into your chimichurri. Savor the grass the cows were able to enjoy.

Cost - A grass-fed steak at a parrilla in Buenos Aires will range from $5 - $20 USD, depending on whether you're dining at a local neighborhood parrilla or at one of the high-end parrillas. You can literally afford to eat steak at least once a day. Just make sure you walk it off or make out in the park like the Porteños (people hailing from Buenos Aires) do.

Best Parrilla - Don't ask. Each parrilla offers really different experiences. We found our favorite parrilla at the end of our trip when we finally received a perfect medium-rare steak...without us sending the steak back. To us, that was a miracle. Our advice in finding your favorite parrilla, enjoy each steak along the way.

La Cabrera

Just blocks away from our hostel, it was inevitable that we'd stumble upon Buenos Aires' most talked about parrilla, La Cabrera.

La Cabrera

La Cabrera

La Cabrera

La Cabrera

La Cabrera

La Cabrera is known as a great parrilla but is also known for their amazing spread, because it is HUGE. Like Koreatown panchan (side dishes) HUGE. From clockwise: whipped sweet potatoes, eggplant caponata, zucchini, pickled onions in tomato sauce, potato purée, sweet pickled garlic cloves.

PAPAS CRIOLLAS con huevos revueltos Spanish cut fries with scrambled eggs

La Cabrera

La Cabrera

And here is our ONE order of Ojo de Bife (rib-eye) along with white beans two ways, creamy endives and baby potatoes. Yes, that's one order.

After sending our steak back two times to get our desired doneness, we were really happy with our grilled steak. I love the scent of grass in this Argentine steak and the marbled fat interspersed with the meat.

Club Eros

When our good friend Anne from TunaToast heard we were heading to Buenos Aires for our honeymoon, she quickly recommended that we head over to Club Eros for what seemed to be her favorite parrilla in the city.

When Dylan and I walked into Club Eros, we immediately fell in love with the place. Club Eros is an old fashioned neighborhood joint with fluorescent lighting, aging locals, rickety tables and an indoor futbol field. Just our style.

Club Eros

Club Eros

Dylan used to play soccer. He likes to mention that he was really good. So that's what he tells me. When I dared him to go and play with some pre-teens and they pretty much kicked his ass. My husband is adorable.

Club Eros

Club Eros

The quality of the bife de chorizo at Club Eros wasn't as great as the fancier steakhouses, but for $4.50 USD, we weren't complaining. It still was grass-fed beef which was a lot tastier than steaks we have in the US, especially for $4.50. I can taste the happiness in these cows. I can taste that they lived a good life.

Club Eros

Pork doesn't get a lot of love in Argentina. It's really a shame because these pork chops were fantastic. Not sure if these chops were brined or if the flavor and tenderness comes from a free-range pig. Doesn't matter, chops were only $4.50 USD.

Club Eros

I'm not sure how many times we ate at Club Eros while we were in Buenos Aires, but we seem to make more friends as we went.

Club Eros

Dinner. Bife de chorizo steak, pork chops, fried eggs, fries and a bottle of Malbec wine for $14.85 USD. Hell to the yes.

Cabaña Las Lilas

A couple of locals suggested we head out to Puerto Madero for a nice stroll along the water. Little did we know that we were being sent to Buenos Aires' equivalent to the 3rd Street Promenade. Yikes.

Anyways, we ended up enjoying sitting out on the deck at Cabaña Las Lilas and staring at all the good looking Porteños wine and dine.

Cabaña Las Lilas

Huge wine list.

We decided to load up on Sangria instead.

Cabaña Las Lilas

Like La Cabrera, Las Lilas provides a nice spread of smoked salmon, roasted red peppers, olive caponata, roasted tomatoes, and provencal button mushrooms.

Here's my half of our ojo de bife. We had to send this baby back several times before our desired doneness was just right. They've got great quality grass fed beef at Cabaña Las Lilas. It helps that they have their own free-range ranch.

La Brigada is an old-fashioned parrilla with an insane amount of Boca Juniors and Argentine futbol memorabilia located in San Telmo.

La Brigada

When you look at a menu like this it's hard not to want to try everything. I wish they had small bites, especially with the steaks.

Criadilla. Look it up on the menu. Dylan wanted to order these. I'm not a big fan.

We ordered the Bife de Chorizo (sirloin steak), which ended up being Dylan's favorite cut. Unfortunately like the other parrillas, we had to send our steak back several times before it was just right. Steaks at La Brigada are standard, nothing stellar.

Amazed that we were actually losing weight in Argentina. We call it the Parrilla Diet. It works.

DIY Parrilla

After several days at our hostel, Dylan made friends with the owner and talked him into using their outdoor parrilla for a parrilla party.

DIY Parrilla

Going to local markets while traveling is what we call sight seeing. Markets in Buenos Aires are so much fun. The meat section alone is drool worthy. Tons of grass-fed beef for a fraction of what we have to pay for in the states. You'll even find Cabaña Las Lilas steaks.

DIY Parrilla

I loooooove morcilla (blood sausages).

DIY Parrilla

Don't forget the Serrano Jamon Lay's!

DIY Parrilla

Dylan loved looking at all the offals.

DIY Parrilla

Beef kidneys.

DIY Parrilla

Argentine's likes their steaks simple. Sal grueso (course salt) is all you really need.

DIY Parrilla

I want a parrilla in our backyard. This makes so much sense.

DIY Parrilla

DIY Parrilla

Dylan and I had an amazing time sitting under the stars and chowing down with the other travelers. We are always so thankful for meeting some of the coolest people from all around. Grilling steaks and sausages at the hostel was probably one of our favorite experiences in Buenos Aires. Sometimes a backyard bbq is the best way to bbq.

Don Julio

After a week of searching little did we know that our favorite parrilla was just around the corner from our hostel. Don Julio is a classic parrilla set in and old building on the corner of Guatemala and Gurruchaga in Palermo Soho.

Don Julio

Don Julio had great chorizo and morcilla with a nice crisp casing.

Dylan and I shared a bife de chorizo. Here's his.

Don Julio

Here's mine. Dylan and I were really shocked that we didn't have to send our steak back to readjust our desired doneness. Serious miracle! Our steak at Don Julio was so juicy and flavorful and had a nice amount of grassiness in each bite.

Don Julio also has a extensive wine list with wines ranging from $10-$300+. Dylan and I closed down the place drinking tons of wine while we enjoyed our last parrilla in Buenos Aires.

Don Julio

Book your ticket to Buenos Aires now and get yourself some Argentine beef.

La Cabrera Cabrera 5099 Palermo Soho

Club Eros Uriarte 1609 Palermo Soho

Cabaña Las Lilas Alicia Moreau de Justo 516 Puerto Madero

La Brigada Estados Unidos 465 San Telmo

Borges Design Hostel Paraguay 4539 Palermo Soho

Don Julio Guatemala 4691 Palermo Soho

*The exchange rate at the time we went was about 3.5 Argentine Peso = $1 USD. It's gone up to 3.87 Argentine Peso = $1 USD. GO!

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

we went to BA in '08 and ate at La Cabrera too! we loved the ojo de bife done jugoso and morcilla, mmmmm!

That's Ron said...

Wow! i hope to be so lucky n get a chance to visit south america one day!,food n football or soccer as u guys call it over there are the 2 Fs that i love... oh yes,..n my fiance too ;)

Anonymous said...


weezermonkey said...

After the Getty Center event tonight, I told my co-worker about your blog and Dylan's blog. They were my examples of blogs with food photographs that are art.

I can't wait for her to come see this post. :)

boody said...

ME GUSTA!!!! Jeez, make the food look SO delicious!!!! I need a steak now. Jeni + Dylan, so cute! hehe.

Oishii Eats said...

Anonymous...the word jugoso is such a tasty word!

That's Ron...if you go..don't forget to hit up Brazil at well. Food and football! you!

Thanks so much Weezermonkey. I actually had a hard time with these pictures from Dylan's Ricoh. I begged to bring our DSLR or even our SLR and D said no because he was worried about it being stolen in Brazil. :( I hate his Ricoh. (I hope he doesn't read this.)

Boody...tell your man that you want a honeymoon. :)

Gastronomer said...

Awwww yeeeaaaah! Cannot wait to gorge on steaks when I visit Buenos Aires. I can't even imagine how great it's going to be.

t r a n g said...

Hi Jenni, I have been following your blog for some time now, but never commented. Anyhoo, love it! I tell all my friends about yours and EatDrinkBeMerry's blog...and turns out we have a mutual friend...Nan! i love how in BA, people take naps after dinner before going out at 2am. What a life.

small caps said...

i've barely eaten all week. i'm starving now after reading this and am craving a steak :)

tristan said...

that looks awesome! i've always wanted to go to BA but now i have to. (oh, btw, i think you may have the exchange rates transposed...)

Oishii Eats said...

Gastronomer...when are you planning to go? Get ready to eat dinner at midnight and go to bed at 5am. I love BA.

Trang! Omg, you know Nan. She's one of my favorite people. I love her. Yes, I totally love the napstyle in BA.

Small Caps...are you feeling better? Want us to drop off a hanger? Better yet, why don't you come by this week for a McCall's dinner. have to go to BA. It's a great place to chill and then eat the night away. Thanks for the currency notice. Changed it. :)

hanny said...

i love this entry jeni! all the pics told a story! yum!!! all the meat looked so good!!!! :)

keiko said...

OMG this looks amazing Jeni! Glad you had a wonderful time, and yes I must book my ticket to BA soon! xx

Oishii Eats said...

Hanny...our butcher in Los Feliz carries Argentine grass-fed beef. We'll have to have you over for dinner!

Keiko...I'll meet you there!

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Oishii Eats,

This is such a beautiful post. And your pics are absolutely stunning as usual! :) Thanks for sharing about the wonderful beef in Buenos Aires. I wish the Grass-Fed Beef I consumed recently was anywhere near as amazing sounding as the Beef you had there. Thanks again.

HairyBerry said...

It has always been a dream of mine to spend my honeymoon in South America. If that really comes true, I hope to have an unforgettable parrilla experience like yours! This is really awesome. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Oishii Eats said...

Exile-Kiss...we love your gourmet hamburger post. I shared it will all my friends and they absolutely loved it! You'd love the quality and abundance of grass-fed beef in affordable too.

HairyBerry...We only had 3 weeks between Brazil and Argentina, but we really regret not taking more time off for other countries in the area. Buenos Aires is a nice, "safe" pit stop for great steaks, nightlife and an comfortable exchange rate. We'll have to meet you if we're ever in KL or Singapore!!!

Anonymous said...

o man your recent post made me want to go back to palermo soho! we practically did everything you did and eat everything as well!!! it's amazing all the meat we ate and I felt even more healthier than before I came. thanks for a bunch of beautiful food photos and a wonderful blog post :D

~ Char said...

Hello! I love the blog!!=) Im a fellow foodie...well beginner foodie lol (if theres such a thing?) fron London. And now im really hungry after reading some of your entries. =P


Oishii Eats said...

Anonymous...We loved Palermo Soho too. So nice to stroll around 4am and have the entire neighborhood up with you.

Thanks for reading Char! Foodies are always hungry!

Tammy Tu said...

I stumbled on your blogs (Eat, Drink and Be Merry) a year ago. Awesome stuff. There are so many blogs out there and I always enjoy reading yours! Looking forward to many more of your adventures!

Frank said...

Wowwww!!! La Cabrera looks amazing!
Is it very expensive! I really want to go there!
In the Galapagos incentives tours I had some meat, but that "parrilla" looks so great!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin