Saturday, March 14, 2009

Argentina: Steak and Wine Indulgence

Argentina is heaven if you LOVE meat, specifically beef. From the quality, and variety of meat, the knowledge of local Argentinian in selecting and cooking their piece of meat to perfection, to the variety of compliments for their steak and Argentinian BBQ sauce that supplement the steak and enhance its taste.

Restaurants I've been and recommend.

La Cabrera (Palermo)

Fantastic restaurant if you want to treat yourself with a delicious meal and have a fantastic time with your friends/travel mates. The service was great and you won't believe the variety of supplements that comes with the piece of steak you order. To be honest, I have better steak but the experience was worth every penny.
Avg spending: $100 p include wine

On Defensa - I'm trying to remember the name (San Telmo)
Great value. ONLY for Asado. The other steak were not cook with skill. Service wasn't great. It is a popular and busy place.
Avg spending: $20 p include beer

Know your meat:

Asado de Tira - BBQ beef ribs (so good.....)
Bife De Chorizo - If you are looking for the best steak on the menu, go for this. There's another version with fat but I can't remember what they call it in Spanish.
Ojo De Bife
Bife De Pobre (?) - Poor Man's Beef.

I don't know why Argentinian love to cut their meat to very thin piece in the super market and in most of the resturant. Unlike the big thick piece of beef we are accustom to in North America. We have to go through so much trouble to tell them to cut us bigger piece when we cook on our own in hostels (which is often the case...we rather spent moreo on the beef). On avg., for 3 piece of reg 10 oz T-bone steak, it cost $20 p in total.

Buenos Aires

Option Beside Hostels

2/3 Stars Hotels
When I want to travel cheap, logically hostels would be the option that pop up to mind. However, when traveling with 3 or more people, 2-3 stars hotels might work out to be cheaper.

Vacation Rental
The price was RIDICULOUS! During Carnival, when we checked 4 months before we planned to arrive at Rio, a lot of the Hostels with cheaper rate were all booked up. The cheapest rate I found was $75 US per person per night. In South America, $75 US per person per night!!!!! Outrageous.

I started looking alternate options. I checked craiglist, vacation home websites etc. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning when I email to inquire. Plus, I heard a lot of scams renting from these sources. We found a few great rentals with reasonable prices on Vaction Rental website

I rented from Carlos (owner of Property #30705). He and his family was fantastic. Beside the place was comfortable (with clean bathroom, furnished kitchen, and fridge) and as described, he provided us with a free cell phone to use (which was gave us so much convenience), his family gave us recommendation where to go and offer 24/7 help whenever we need, and his sister even took us to a concert.

The place was $800 US for 8 days during Carnaval without a/c and you need to pay $200 US deposit and get it back when you check out.

  • Don't pay cash/debit/check -If you are considering finding accomodation online, make sure you don't pay them cash/check/debit. Carlos has PayPal set up. Since credit card usually protect you from fraud if you pay with credit cards, I paid with my credit card through PayPal.
  • Ask for a receipt
  • Search online to see if there are fraud report with the website and the owner you are renting from online
  • Ask for reference
  • Call their contact to see if it exist

Though there weren't young traveller to hang out or chat with nor in-house crazy party.
It turned out to be FANTASTIC.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Where to Shop in South America: Argentina vs. Brazil Leathers

Ladies. DO NOT miss out on the Brazilian leather products. They have some HOT shoes and great purses for very economical price. I so regret that I didn't buy more pairs.

I've heard that both Argentian and Brazilian leather products are famous. From my experience, Brazilian leather products have higher quality and economical price. The purse and shoes I bought in Argentina was OK but relatively much more expensive. So, my advice is, go crazy shopping for those pumps in Brazil.

  • Dumond in Rio and Brasilia, Brazil. They got some crazy pumps. Love that shop.
  • Mr. Cat has some pretty affordable purses
Rio Shopping locations:
  • Leblon Shopping Center and around that area
  • Barra Shopping Center
Buenos Aires:
  • Pulmero District around the Soreno Plaza: funky and trendy shops

How many Sun Set did I see in South America?

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