Thursday, December 22, 2011

Green Eat

Green eat (Reconquista 690) calls itself a cafe and minimarket, but in my opinion it's more like a lunchtime lounge, with an environment that invites you to have a snack or drink and settle in for a while. With dozens of places to sit, a myriad of healthy snacks and drinks, plus wifi and power outlets, you'll want to take advantage.
It caters specifically to the business crowd, which means unfortunately limited hours, Monday - Friday 8am - 7pm. However, the upside of this is a wide selection of high quality food and and quick service. Emphasis is on the quality, and their company motto is not only posted on the wall throughout the restaurant but also on food packing in amended forms. "In green eat rich and healthy goes from the hand. Every day we select the best ingredients to make our foods. We think that own recipes reflect our style, and that what's fresh is always better, we only offer what we made today." They also don't use artificial flavors or preservatives, just plain good food.
The restaurant is on a mainly pedestrian street, so the patio and outdoor seating is actually somewhere you want to sit; during lunchtime on nice days it's always full. There are also two stories of indoor seating, the back half of the first floor and an upstairs. There are booths, tables and high top counters to accommodate everyone from lone diners to business meetings.
 
All the food is prepared in to go packages, which are clear so you can see what's inside. There's no ordering (except coffee), so just browse as long as you need to make a decision (good luck), grab your meal and bring it to the register to check out. 
For fresh summer options there are a variety of salads including strictly veggie as well as those with proteins like chicken or salmon; a mixed sushi and side salad box; and around a dozen types of cold sandwiches - chicken, turkey, ham and veggie with a variety of cheeses and toppings on either bread or baguette. Hot offerings are wok with veggies or meat and also hot sandwiches. Full lunches are between A$20 and A$40. 
For those seeking something smaller, there are snack sized offerings including single serve desserts like cheesecakes, veggie packs, granola and more.
I recommend the creamy, light and fluffy, with a touch of lemon cheesecake topped with actual berries! There's a cute little individually sized one, but hell if you're day warrants it, take the family sized one. A little bird told me, "the grey days...." "are always prettier after a piece of cake. 
They also have a unique selection of flavored waters, made with fruit and spices. Something super great about the restaurant is that all meals are served with required sauces (from salad dressing to soy sauce) and the appropriate utensils, so even if you can't stick around, you can still relax knowing in you have everything you need to enjoy at your desk. 
 {Fresh strawberries and pineapple}
{Sushi to go complete with soy sauce, wasabi, ginger and chopsticks}
{Sushi box: 4 pieces of salmon sashimi, 2 pieces each of tuna and avocado; and tuna, cream cheese and salmon; and a side salad with lettuce, mushrooms, red cabbage and tomatoes}
{Lemon, mint, cedron (a South American herb) and green apple flavored water}
One of my favorites is the the turkey sandwich on wheat bread. The bread is hearty but airy, with a chewy crust that isn't too hard to bite. It's sliced turkey breast stacked with lettuce, tomato and mozzarella. The most recent time I had it they took it one more step delicious and topped with off with basil mayonnaise.
The great environment and amazing food makes green eat a go-to spot for a day of working and snacking, or workday lunching.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Terrazas

Terazzas del Este (4700 Sarmiento), known simply as Terazzas is a club unmatched by any other in Buenos Aires. With 10 bars and 4 dance floors, plus various hallways and smaller spaces, it's a labyrinth of dance floors, drinks and music. It's open on Wednesdays for after office from 7 pm until 1:30 and Saturdays from 12:30 until 7 am. The exclusive hours ensure that it's always full of Buenos Aires' most fashionable and best partyers.
The space inside is more or less divided into three distinct areas. The reggaeton space, is often the fullest with wall to wall dancers, and thus also the hardest to get a drink at. Private tables and ample bar access, are features of the darker and calmer pop area, where people pass through getting drinks or take a rest from dancing on low walls which double as benches. The house and electronic room is a kaleidoscope of room-vibrating music and flashing lights, frequented by the whistle blowing and nonstop dancing.
Outside lush green landscaping dances with the river breeze alongside club goers who never stop. Other people cool off, smoking and drinking at various tables or get a change of scenery in the airy gazebo decorated by hanging vines.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reencuentro

On the corner of Armenia and Cabrera sits Reencuentro, a parilla libre (free grill). Unfortunately the libre doesn't mean cost free, but it does mean limit free. Yes, that's all you can eat, grilled to order meat accompanied by all you can eat sides for A$70-75  That's less than U$D20!
The restaurant (conveniently located on the same block as the gym -- or not) has a good enough ambiance,  fairly plain though bright, clean and upscale. There are outdoor tables, covered by an awning, as well as two stories of indoor seating. The first floor allows you a view of the grill, while the upstairs offers a view of Palermo's bustling streets. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday through Thursday parilla libre is A$70, weekends and holidays it's A$75 and for kids its A$40. Ordering is available in both a la carte or libre options.
Parilla libre includes all you can eat from appetizer to dessert, so it's really a no brainer if you ask me. The first thing served are fried beef empanadas. Baked are obviously healthier, but the fried are oh so good, a mix of seasoned group beef and minced vegetables inside a crispy dough pocket. Then comes Argentina's other favorite app, provoleta (fried provolone cheese), with a crispy Italian seasoned outside and a heart of gooey melted cheese.
The main event offers 16 different types of meat including beef, pork and chicken. The side options are french fries and tortilla (Spanish style like quiche not Mexican style like flat bread) with potato or vegetables, plus build your own salad from 17 options of various base greens and vegetables. Salad is up to 4 choices per salad, but as many salads as you want. If that sounds to good to be true, let me top it off. All you can eat pasta. There are 8 types of pasta, from ravioli to gnocchi with 14 types of sauce. Yes, heaven.
The salads here are unbelievably fresh and good quality. I think we ended up with eating 3 or 4. For meat we tried asado de costilla and bife de chorizo. The meat was good but not great quality. It was a little bland (no salt and black pepper syndrome), but it was good quality and tender. The bife de chorizo was the better of the two. The best part of all though, was the pasta. I chose vegetable ravioli with pink sauce. It was perfection. The raviolis were amply stuffed yet cooked without bursting, and covered with creamy tomato sauce which was seasoned to perfection, hearty but still light tasting with pieces of tomato and onion.
My advice, is chow down on appetizers, pasta and salad, with just a piece of meat or two to compliment.
asado de novilla
bife de chorizo

Roadside Parilla

Health Food Way

Beef, cheese and red wine are an indisputably heavenly combo of sophisticated and savory native Argentine indulgences, the ideal spread for when you're looking to feast like a king. But if you're looking for something on the lighter side there are milanesas with french fries or empanadas. Not sounding so light? What about pizza or pasta? Sometimes it feels like your living as the infinite house guest to that family member who never stops feeding you, refusal or not. It can be downright difficult to find a gourmet salad, a veggie stacked sandwich or a real fruit smoothie around the city. That is except for health food way.
This unofficially named (aka by yours truly) area in the Centro is the one place where you can chow down nearly guilt free to your healthful heart's delight. On Reconquista, between Lavalle and Paraguay there is a huge selection of fresh food restaurants. Most cater to the professional crowd, offering a variety of quick preparation or prepackage meals. The usual spread is salad, sandwiches, sides, smoothies, snacks and a few hot options like paninis or wok. Most have both outdoor and indoor seating and WiFi. Individual reviews to follow. But if you're looking for a repose from the heavy, fried and filling, I recommend you feast your eyes on this. (The restaurants are in order from Lavalle to Paraguay.)
Pura Vida
 Establecimiento General de Cafe
 Open Kitchen
 Green eat
 Mineral
 Suckewer
Smartdeli

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Colonia, Uruguay: Patrimonio

Colonia is inundated with dozens of beyond cute eateries. From traditional parilla, to Italian and seafood. It's definitely hard to pick just one, (Is it really so ridiculous to eat 3 or 4 lunch in one afternoon?) but I did it and ended up at Patrimonio. It's a riverside restaurant/lounge/bar with an amazing ambiance. Specials listed on brightly colored chalkboards outside draw diners in.
Inside the restaurant has three different spaces with three different ambiances. The room that you enter into first is a tiki-themed lounge area. Here a bar is along one wall, a white leather loveseat is along the opposite and a variety of plush and high top seating fill out the rest of the space. No good lounge is complete without entertainment, so of course there is flat screen TVs for the passive as well as pinball and Foosball for the active players.
The next room is a more nautically themed dining room. Floor to ceiling windows at the far end of the room provide a grand view of the river, while a kitchen with an open door provides another type of viewing experience. A variety of artwork and some innovative ladder shelving are other interesting tidbits.
Out back is the best seat in the house. A huge patio and a deck built around trees offer a panoramic view of the river and neighboring marina. There are quite a few tables to accommodate both sun and shade lovers, all with  a refreshing breeze off the river. There's also a pair of lounge chairs at the top of the boat ramp, for those who want to kickback and soak in the sun and soothing sound of water lapping land. There's also an outdoor stage for nighttime live music performances. During the day a mixed but relaxed soundtrack completes the mood.
Like any good waterfront spot they have great cocktails. I unfortunately don't know what this one was called, but flash them this picture and try to get the same thing. It was something icy, with a fusion of orange and other flavors -- delish! Plus they had really delicious bread to snack on while you sip.
For eats, I had a mixed parilla which had been advertised on the boards out front. The chicken was really delicious, but the meat wasn't great. (I didn't eat anything with pork so no comment on those elements.) I don't know if in searching for a cheap parilla I got what I paid for, but it definitely wasn't top grade. The cut was rather fatty, and the meat was more chewy than tender. The fact that they don't grill with salt and pepper (nearly anywhere) doesn't help cover up a sub par meat. Next time I'll opt for seafood, or the multicolor chicken which was recommended in a tourist magazine. Though I didn't love the meat, someone else sure did.
All in all, the place was super cool. I think the bad food was due to a bad choice and I'd definitely give it a second chance. Even if your not willing to take the risk, you should at least stop by for a waterside cocktail. Though I didn't experience it myself, I suspect a nighttime visit would be even better.