After a morning of exploring fashionable Palermo Viejo, we conclude our day at Argentina's oldest polo club.
January 16, 2009
Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo, one of BA's oldest barrios, is the place to be on Sunday. That's when one of the city’s few Spanish-style plazas is taken over by antique dealers and buyers.
At the corner Plaza Dorrego Bar, we push our way to the lone empty table and order a matambre and queso (flank steak with provolone) sandwich that would make the best Philly cheesesteak sandwich recoil in shame.
Never mind “where’s the beef?” (answer: everywhere), the more important question is: what’s the beef? Since it’s not uncommon to partake of the sacred cow twice a day in BA, there are a host of cuts and organs we’re relatively unfamiliar with. But we’re game to try them all, including the chinchulin (chitterlings). The best part is the meat is cooked a la parilla—laid out on an adjustable grill and slow cooked over wood or charcoal, or al asador, where the meat is hung on cross-poles over a pit of glowing embers, just the way the gauchos like it.
We’ll come back to this bar later for the 50-cents-a-glass Malbec, served every hour, happy or otherwise.
In the meantime, there’s haggling to be done, at least with the outside vendors. The shops along Humberto 1 are more traditional, carrying antique gaucho belts, saddles, and Yerba Mate gourds covered in ornate silver. These dealers, unwilling to concede to the devaluation that occurred in 2002 that subsequently made BA such a bargain for us now, have maintained their pricing in US dollars (in 2002 their currency was pegged to ours).
Tonight, we dine at La Brigada, an old-fashioned parrilla in the neighborhood. The meat is so tender you can cut it with a spoon. In fact, that’s how the waiter removes it from the bone.
This is my idea of a steak out. What's yours?