Tag Archives: Soups

{ Faux Pho }

After my first Pho experience, I became a pho feign. I simply can’t get enough of the stuff–it’s the epitome of comfort food and even better its super healthy for you! Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have an awesome Vietnamese restaurant  (Pho & Beyond) close to my home in Philly so I can get my pho fix there, but finding Vietnamese food in Argentina has been quite a challenge. There is one good place called Green Bamboo, serving up tasty Asian inspired dishes including pho, but it is not authentic and it comes at a rather steep price (almost 90 Arg pesos per bowl….totally not in my budget these days!). As a result, I have decided to experiment with making my own Pho, which I will be the first to admit is really faux pho….the real stuff requires a lot more ingredients and whole lot more cooking time.

This being said, my imitation version still gives the unique flavors of the traditional pho broth and the hearty satisfaction of beef soup. Remember though, this soup is all about the garnishes so don’t skimp on those ingredients!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons star anise seeds (or 1 whole star anise)
  • 1 3″-4″ cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2-3 cups of mixed mushrooms, chopped (oyster, baby bella, crimini, shitaki)
  • 1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 package of thick rice noodles, cooked out
  • 1 pound of eye round steak, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts, sliced chilis, fresh basil leaves, sliced scallion, and lime wedges for garnish

{ To Make Pho } Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onion (cut side down), crushed garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant–approx. 3-4 minutes.

Add the water, bouillon cubes, star anise, and cinnamon stick, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a small handheld strainer, skim the seeds and cinnamon pieces out of the stock (you can also remove the garlic and ginger if they are not resting at the bottom of the pot).

Add the mushrooms and sliced chiles, and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the scallion and season with kosher salt, according to taste. Remove from heat.

Add the sliced beef to the soup and stir to combine (the beef should cook through almost instantly, if it has been sliced thinly enough).

Divide rice noodles among bowls and ladle broth into each bowl. Garnish the soup with basil, bean sprouts, lime juice, scallion, and sliced chiles. If you like spicy, then add a dash of Sriracha sauce!

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Sugar Bar ****

Costa Rica 4619 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Palermo SOHO
(+54) 11.4831.3276

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Those of you that know me, know that my favorite spot in Miami was a place called Greenstreet. It was a bar by night, an amazing cafe for lunch and dinner, and the best brunch spot in South Florida on the weekends. Today, I am thrilled because I have finally found the Greenstreet of Buenos Aires–Sugar Bar. It is owned by American entrepreneur, Martin Frankel, who has managed to bring a small piece of the US bar/culinary culture to Argentina. And on behalf of all us expats, thank you, Mr. Frankel.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love eating traditional Argentine food (parrilla, milanesa, empanadas, ect…) but man do I miss thick juicy burgers, spicy chicken wings, and club sandwiches sometimes. Sugar Bar offers all of these aforementioned menu items, serving each dish with a glorious variety of American condiments. For example, The Blue Cheese Burger made with 200 grams of freshly ground beef, grilled portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and creamy blue cheese spread served with a side of fried potato wedges (44 pesos). The quality of the beef is absolutely amazing (which goes pretty much without saying in Argentina), but the topping combination takes the burger to the next level. The blue cheese adds a nice bite to the earthy flavor of the portobello mushrooms, and the french fries (which are more like steak fries) are also greasy finger-licking good.

If you’re in the mood to get a little messy, I suggest the chicken wings at Sugar Bar (available in buffalo, spicy buffalo, and terryaki). They compete on the same level as the wings at Casa Bar and The Alamo, although I must admit that I still think Casa Bar takes the prize for the best wings. That being said, these are pretty damn good  too. They just have a thicker, more non-traditional, flour coating on them than Casa Bar and they aren’t as spicy. None-the-less, I enjoy them with my liter of beer almost every night I go there.

If your not into eating wings off the bone but still want the buffalo flavor, I recommend trying the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is boneless grilled chicken breast smothered in buffalo sauce, topped with a crispy fried onion ring, lettuce, and tomato, served with a side of creamy blue cheese spread and heaping of fried potato wedges (42 pesos). I have never tried this dish myself, but I saw my friends get it for lunch the other day and they went crazy for it. The onion ring looked divine and the blue cheese was mild and whipped into a very light, spreadable consistency.

Additionally, Sugar Bar serves (drumroll, please) SOUP! All of you expats living here in Argentina know just how big of a deal this is! They have an amazing Chicken Noodle Soup that is packed with large chunks of all-white meat chicken and chopped vegetables (23 pesos). Clear broth soup is a rare find at a restaurant in Buenos Aires, and this one is New Jersey diner style! Delicious…

They also serve a hearty Black Bean Chili (25 pesos) and French Onion Soup topped with oven baked gyuere cheese (20 pesos). Anyone looking for a taste of American comfort food in Buenos Aires, should head to Sugar Bar!

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Greenstreet ****

Eggs Scrambled with Salsa served with Tomatoes and Toast

305.444.0244
3468 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove 33133

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When I wake up hung-over, there are two things that I always crave: (1) a large glass of ice water; and (2) an omlette from Greenstreet. In my opinion, Greenstreet serves the best all around (and most reasonably priced) breakfast in the Miami area. Of course there are incredible brunches at the Biltmore and various South Beach hotels, but those are like $60 per person and unfeasible for every day (for a college kid no less!). Greenstreet on the other hand, will only cost you about $10 for breakfast and it is incredible…the omlettes especially! They are 3 egg omlettes cooked to perfection (not runny) served with your choice of grits, tomatoes, or home fries. I don’t care if you are on a diet or don’t normally order potatoes, but you MUST try these home fries because they are the best I have EVER tasted! You also get your choice of a toasted French baguette (my personal favorite), English muffin, rye toast, or bagel. It is a very substantial amount of food for the price. However, the best part about Greenstreet is that breakfast is conveniently served every day until 2:45 in the afternoon, which allows me some time to sleep off my hangover. But for those of you who can’t kick the hangover before getting there, Greenstreet supposedly makes some of the best Bloody Marys to help beat it. I wouldn’t know personally because I’m not a Bloody Mary fan, but look around on a Saturday or Sunday morning and almost everyone is sipping either a coffee or Bloody Mary so they are popular.

If you find yourself getting to Greenstreet past the breakfast hour, don’t worry because they also have delicious salads. My favorite is the Roman Salad with spring mix, feta, and cherry tomatoes, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. I always ask for grilled jerk chicken on top too, which is really my favorite part of any salad I order there. The chicken is thinly sliced down on a diagonal and is always served warm. They have regular grilled chicken too, but I encourage you to get the jerk because the spice rub is so flavorful. Also, this is a restaurant that you don’t have to ask for dressing on the side because their salads are dressed to perfection…always.

Another one of my favorite things at Greenstreet are the chips with guacamole and salsa, which are great to start. The chips are homemade and lightly salted, and the guacamole has a terrific lemony flavor (there is always tension at the table when it comes down to who will eat the last few chips). For a hot entrée, the Mushroom Triangole is very good. It is mushroom filled ravoli served in a creamy porcini sauce…yumm! The Chicken Vegetable Tofu Stir-Fry is also awesome and a really unique spin on stir-fry because the sauce it not your typical brown soy based sauce, but instead a light curry flavored sauce. Just make sure that your hungry though because the portion is huge!! And last but not least, is the Zucchini Basil Soup which is a must try. It tastes like nothing that I have ever had before and the distinct flavor of basil is really light and fresh. It looks super creamy (as you can tell by the photo above) but surprisingly no cream or butter is used! Its a great healthy comfort food. Basically, the only thing that I would not order from Greenstreet is the Chicken Provencial because the tomato sauce is not very authentic or homemade tasting, but everything else that I have tried here has been great.

As for the atmosphere of the place, on a nice day it could not be better. Greenstreet has a lot of outdoor seating on a nice corner in Coconut Grove so it is prime for people watching and enjoying the weather. There are large umbrellas to provide shade and the tables are comfortable. The inside of the place is much smaller and feels more like a library or a study with the large bookcases that adorn the walls (its cozy), I prefer to sit outside so try to go on a nice day or night. BUT….if you want to sit outside on a nice Saturday or Sunday (especially for breakfast), be prepared to wait up to an hour for a table. Good things are worth the wait though!!!

If you do go at night you’ll find that Greenstreet also has a great bar scene, and they are known for the red velvet couches lining the sidewalk that bring the lounge atmosphere outdoors. The mojitos are great and all drinks are half off after 11, so it’s very cheap (like $5 a drink).

Overall, Greenstreet is one of my favorite places to go in Miami because you can stay all day there and have something going on (I once did stay for 8 hours straight with a group of friends, ordering breakfast, then drinks, and then lunch and it was a blast!!). Ohhh and on top of it all, the service is great so you cannot go wrong!!

Zucchini Basil Soup

Brownie a la Mode

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