The Argentine Asado
Walking down the streets of Buenos Aires can feel like you’re in a European City. This place was founded in the 1500s and colonized by the Spanish.
Spanish architecture was built to last, and made of stone and brick. That’s one of the big differences between Spanish colonies and British colonies. The British built with wood, so a lot of their buildings haven’t survived the years. But in places like Argentina, Peru, and Mexico, they still have entire city blocks with buildings that are hundreds of years old.
Now to me, the door knobs of these buildings are ancient, and people still use them like they’re not two-hundred-and-fifty years old. But I’m the only one fussing about doorknobs in the entire city, so I move on.
Buenos Aires smells like steak. Its roof tops, sweat the odor of a thousand barbeques.
I mentioned in the last podcast that the steak in Argentina is the best in the world. I know what you’re thinking, and yes they are better, than Trump Steaks.
Argentine cattle are grass-fed, and have thousands of acres of green pastures to roam on. Most of them come from northern Argentina in a place known as the Pampas region. Here, Cowboys, known as Gauchos, herd them on horseback, the old-fashion way.
Once a week, Argentines will have a big barbecue, known as Asado, it’s the name for both the cooking technique and event.
During an Asado, beef is slow cooked for hours on a homemade grill, right inside people’s homes. A lot of the homes here have courtyards inside of them, like a little yard, except it’s not in the front or the back, it’s right in the middle. They pair the steaks with wine and salad, maybe bread, but nobody really touches the bread.
I started going to an Asado every week, at a new place I found to live in Buenos Aires. It was in this guys’ house that was converted into kind of like a long term hostel. Inside were 8 small bedrooms that he rented out to foreigners. The rent was only 300 US Dollars a month,
The rooms were tiny, and came with a twin size bed, a desk, and a dim lamp. My room had a small window that looked out into the courtyard.
Every Thursday we had a big Asado, with all you can eat steak and wine for about 8 dollars. My favorite dish, was this thing called Matambre.
Matambre combines two Spanish words, 'mata,' which means to kill, and 'ambre,' which means hunger. So "matambre," means kill-hunger, and it's does exactly that. This dish is essentially a pizza, but instead of putting tomato sauce and cheese on dough, they put it on a round and thin slice of meat. After a few hours of slow cooking. It transforms into the best pizza you will ever eat.
I’d wander down narrow streets, run into smalls parks, China Town, the Japanese tea garden.
Wandering is how I came across the Recoleta Cemetary; one of the world’s most amazing cemeteries.
The Recoleta Cemetery takes up about 6 city blocks. Inside, the place is covered in marble carved statues of angels, crosses, and other sacred symbols. Built in the 1700s, the cities' most admired people are buried here. Including Eva Peron. Check out the podcast for more on Eva, and find out the incredible story behind what happened to her remains after she passed away.
You can get lost in the labyrinth of the Recoleta Cemetery. It's made up of narrow alleyways and corridors. This place is about four city blocks in size. I recommend going when it's raining to add to the eeriness.
It can get really quiet here. A lot of cats roam these parts too. I used to see them sleeping on top of coffins inside the mausoleums. They can sneak in because a lot of the glass doors are shattered. Most of the doors are made of a metal frame and a glass panel. This makes it easy to see that the mausoleums are deep and can go down two stories underground.
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