Oh and the third thing you need to know about BA is that drinks are fucking stiff and me gusta! A vodka and Speed (clearly, it’s an energy drink) set me back for 35 pesos (around $AUD 9) but there was about 70% vodka and 20% ice and 10% Speed. So after two of those, I was bouncing around like a rocket. The club I ended up in was called KmZero. Drag Queen show, camp audience, you get the drill. Thank god I didn’t have to put up with the drag show for too long and before I knew it they had cleared up the tables and chairs and turned the centre of the venue to a dance floor. 4:30am rolled around much quicker than I thought it would and I started to feel the exhaustion from the travel so I stumbled out of the club and hailed a cab home. Not a bad effort for a Tuesday night.
So, today is the big day. First thing you should know about Buenos Aires is that it’s in developing country. The second thing you should know about Buenos Aires is that traffic keeps to the right. The first trait is pretty self-explanatory once you’ve landed in del aeorpuerto (Ezeiza). The building is no more than a shed with conveyor belts. The second fact becomes more prominent as you’re leaving del aeropuerto. It somehow reminds me of rural Southern China because of bare brick -walled two-storey private condos. It a far cry from the beautiful, arty and cultural centre of South America which I have read so much about. At this point, I have a suspicion that the Buenos Aires I had in mind is completely different to the one I am about to experience.
Check in was breeze and the representative from Buenos Aires Habitat spoke fairly good English and was very generous with local knowledge – he even mapped out the local grocery stores for me – bless him. After freshening up, which included washing my face, brushing the teeth and disinfecting my mouth with a big gulp of my home-made lychee vodka (yes, I took a flask of it with me), I wandered out onto the streets. You know a decent gourmet store when you see it and just so it happens, it is at my doorstep. Tepenade, prosciutto wrapped in macadamia nuts marinated in olive oil, prosciutto wrapped with aged parmagiano marinated in olive oil, marinated bocchinis, the list just goes on. Instant food orgasm!
Aimless wander through Palermo for the rest of the afternoon, took a recess back in the apartment and decided to stroll down Avenida Santa Fe in search of a decent eatery to indulge my stomach. In a true Porteno fashion, I rock up to Duero at 11pm and asked for a table for 1. But even so it proved to be too difficult to understand for the waiter in his late 50s. Fair enough, now I regret procrastinating when I was supposed to learn Spanish. With a bit of body language, pointing and saying “si si” to questions I do not comprehendo, the outcome was a bife de chorizo (a scott fillet), which is bang-on what I order. Hurray to lonely planet. Succulent, tender, juicy and fucking ginormous pretty much sums up this meal very well. To compliment this meal, I have a Las Amosas Malbec. A bit on the sweet side but compliments the sweet juicy bife de chorizo perfectly. Their latte on the other hand, is yet to be desired. Watery like a long black and has a layer of cold foam floating top of the glass. Scheizer it is. I certainly hope that I’ll find a decent coffee shop in BA, otherwise my poor KeepCup will feel unloved. (Yes, even a KeepCup needs a holiday from Rhodes.)
Local time now is 1:10am. I am pretty stuffed and is in no mood to sleep. According to my trusty Time Out BA Guide, a number of bars have just opened their doors for business. Vampires that they are the Portenos. So off I go to hit the clubs on a Tuesday night. We shall see.
How could I have lived for so long without a bucket list? I was inspired by my work colleague M a while back to start jotting down a check-list of things I must do before I die. Although it may seem to some people that I am timing my own death, I can assure my dearest family and friends that it is every growing. In fact, I think I am pretty much on right path to immortality judging by the rate of expansion of my Bucket List.
So far, my list has been fairly travel and food-oriented, a list of for the hedonists. In 3 weeks from next Tuesday, I’ll be reunited with my best friend Cloria and put ticks against some of the items on this list of mine. As Evita Peron (played by Madonna) sung, “I wanna be a part of BA, Buenos Aires, Big Apple.” Buenos Aires, here I come.
My heart is wrapped in Clover after catching up with my friend L today. No, I haven’t fallen in love with my friend; yes, Clover is a cafe.
Walking into this place, I felt really soothed and calm which was exactly the vibe I needed on a Sunday. There was a long bench table which seats around 10 people in the middle of this charming little establishment but we chose a cute table for two with a rustic wooden table top. As the menu was being examine, I could feel my mouth salivating which was a good sign. Their fruit platter with Greek honey yoghurt sounded amazing and it would probably do me good but I ended up settling with a hearty lamb osso bucco in a hot pot and I am glad I did! The flavours were so rich and tense but well balanced with herbs. Meat on the osso bucco was just falling off the bones. It arrived with sour dough which was perfect for soaking up every last drop of this amazing creation. L ordered a French toast with maple syrup, strawberries and dusted icing sugar, which she gobbed down in a flash. Clearly it was a sign of satisfaction.
As a true foodie, I am always on the hunt for brunch restaurants. So on this raining Anzac Monday when most of Crown St was closed, I was relieved to find out that Lemon was open for business.
Like a typical Crown St cafe, the outside of this joint is fitted out with two canopies. Even on a rainy day like this, the two outside tables barely covered the canopies were chronically popular. When I eventually stepped inside the restaurant, this cosy little joint boasts a retro and bohemian diner-like atmosphere which is quite a refreshing change from all its glossy high-calibre neighbours.
At a first glance, the menu appeared rather standard. Egg omelettes, Egg Benedict, just like usual suspects. But once the latte’s arrived and I re-gained my brain, I realised that their menu is pretty well thought out. I settled with Prosciutto Eggs, which came with a salsa paste resting on top of beautifully poached eggs, a slice so prosciutto and a bagel (pictured, bottom centre). Coffee was pretty decent too. So good that I had two. But the service was a let-down. As it was pouring down with rain, as I was walking into the cafe with an umbrella in my hand, a camp guy from behind the coffee machine cringed, snatched the umbrella from me and said grumpily “Oh my god, your umbrella’s dripping all over the floor. Someone’s bound to slip and guess who will have to pay the public indemnity?” I was appalled but decided to bite my tongue and just get on with the fucking breakfast coz I was bloody starving. Through out our meal, the same guy brought us food, drinks and cutlery without uttering a word.
It’s such a shame these days when I encounter restaurants with delicious food but lacks in friendly service, as after all food is only half of the experience. It won’t be my list of restaurants to go back to. No one should subject themselves to such appalling services and definitely not that early in the morning with an empty stomach and no energies to bite back. Just wouldn’t be fair.
yay nay for me.
Lemon Twist Cafe
393 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9380 5242
While I was watching a comedy show by Tom Gleeson a while back, he came up with a great joke. “What does an iPhone and a penis have in common? They’ve both fun to play with when you’re on your own but they are fucking rude to pull out at the dinner table.”
It was instant ROFL for me.
After a delightful brunch with my friend Kar Wing at Bird Cow Fish where she consoled me over the recent break up with P, we were walking back to my car to head off to Paddington for some retail therapy but we were distracted by the sparkles that emitted from a chic looking shop. So naturally we stopped and investigated. I was delighted to find out that the sparkles were no others but cupcakes. And my day was brightened straight away.
At $4.5 each, I was presented with a cupcake that was decorated in coconut shreds while my friend had a lavender and honey flavoured one. They were so precious that we were staring at our respective cupcakes for a good 10 mins, with folks in hands, contemplating on how to dissect these beauties without destroy them. But the truth was I couldn’t and my lust for these cupcakes to be inside me overpowered the admiration for their beauty.
My coconut cupcake was good but the clear winner was lavender and honey. It tasted so amazing that it just made all my worries go away when I closed my eyes and indulged in the soothing aromas of lavender. They were sweet but not too overpoweringly sweet. When you delicately dissected the cupcake with a folk, you could see real vanilla beans in the cupcake. I’ve always been a fan of cupcakes, but I have never lusted for cupcakes like these ones.
They also do a cupcake degustation course where you can sample an array of cupcakes. Green tea flavour will definitely be on my wishlist during the next visit.
Address: 132 Foveaux St, Surry Hills, Sydney
A work colleague of mine recommended me to visit a herbs specialist in Balmain called surprise surprise, Herbie’s. It has the most amazing collection of herbs. From medium spicy Spanish paprika powder, dried kaffir lime leaves, to green mango powder (a souring agent). But I am most impressed about the pre-mixed Indian spices to take home to recreate those classic Indian dishes at the comfort of your own home without the guilty feeling of using pre-made jar sauces. Even better, it has a recipe on the back of each pre-mixed dry curry packs. Simply brilliant.
The staff at the shop was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the use and orgins of herbs. We even exchanged some heart-felt culinary experience on how dried herbs differ fresh herbs. If I am not careful, I would easily spend all my hard-earned cash on these exotic babes.
Address: 745 Darling St, Rozelle NSW 2039.
I have always loved making apple and rhubarb crumbles. Nothing soothes that broken and beaten heart of mine like a good ol’ apple and rhubarb crumble. And considering how often I go on dates, you can imagine that this signature dessert of mine is a re-occurring theme (unlike all my lovers). While most apple and rhubarb crumbles you find out there are rather sweet and tarty, my apple crumbles also offers a spicy and invigorating blend of aromas. Best served hot straight out of the oven with chilled custard and vanilla bean ice cream.
For the filling:
Granny Smith Apple x 6
Rhubarb x 1 bunch
Brown Sugar x 5 to 6 table spoons (more if you have a sweet tooth :-0)
Cinnamon x 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg x 1 teaspoon
Clove x 0.5 teaspoon
And for the crumble:
Flour x 1 cup
Butter x 50g
Shreded coconut x 0.5 cup
Sliced almonds x 0.5 cup
Brown Sugar x 0.5 table spoon
Peel and dice apple. Chop Rhubarb. Stew apple dices with 2 tables spoons of brown sugar for 10 mins. Add in rhubarb and rest of brown sugar and stew for an additional 5 mins. Take the stew off the heat as the smaller chunks of rhubarb start to disintegrate. Taste for sweetness and transfer it to an oven dish.
Now on to the crumble. Mix the softened butter with flour, coconut shreds and almond slices. Massage it gently and sprinkle it onto the apple and rhubarb mixture. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of crumble. Fan bake 180 for 25 to 30 minute or until the crumble is golden. Serve while hot with chilled custard and vanilla bean ice cream. Orgasm guaranteed. Oh la la.
*For those who dare, add a teaspoon of ginger powder into the apple and rhubarb stew.