Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thirty Cent Lunch

A quarter and a nickel, or about one peso--all ya need for a toasty empanada in Buenos Aires.

It was our first day out and about in Buenos Aires, and we were starving. A few blocks from our hotel, we wandered into a tiny neighborhood lunch spot, full of middle-aged guys. A glass case on the counter housed flaky empanadas, and various pie shaped items. The only Americans in sight, our non-existent Spanish got a few smiles, but we got our lunch--our first empanadas--and devoured them in a matter of minutes.

These tasty, portable pockets became our go-to lunch throughout our vacation--varying among the carne (beef), pollo (chicken) or jamon y queso (ham and cheese). Often the carne and pollo ones had some chopped hard-boiled egg as well. Crust quality varied, but for the price, you can't complain. The most expensive ones we ate were at Iguazu Falls National Park, a whopping two pesos each (about 60 cents).

Even the famed La Cupertina, a homey cafe in Palermo that's received accolades for the best empanadas in the city, doesn't charge more than 1.5 pesos. Their empanadotas, double-sized empanadas, went for a titch more. These wood oven-baked treats, representative of the Tucuman province of Argentina, deserve the praise; here the beef is hand chopped (not ground as in most we ate) and the sweet corn and cheese can't be beat. As the New York Times noted, you almost feel like apologizing when you pay.


Jill said...


connie said...

it's amazing something so wonderful can be so cheap! glad to hear you're enjoying it all!

Kate said...

Erin, your posts are divine!

Everything looks terrific! Now, tell me, was it strictly a food vacation or was there some other reason you went to Argentina?

Erin S. said...

Jill--yes they were!

Connie--I know, we were constantly pinching ourselves.

Kate--Not strictly a food vacation--though we did want to go somewhere with good food. We had some vouchers on TACA airlines that we had to use up before the end of the year, and BA is somewhere we've always thought of as enchanting--and it was!! We also took a side trip to Iguazu Falls National Park, on th border of Arg and Brazil--highly recommended!!

Anonymous said...

I could use food tips on B.A. open air farmers marts and Iguazu falls. any great off the beaten path food experiences greatly appreciated.
will be there in Jan '07. Have had many versions of the empanada but never out of the states. looking forward...
Thanks, joe

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