Tag Archives: Beef

Satay Stir Fry Sauce *****

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When I am in need of a quick dinner, stir-fry is my go-to dish. I’ve always got an abundance of veggies in the fridge for my morning omelets, so I rarely even need to make a trip to the grocery store for ingredients. Plus, it doesn’t really matter what is in the dish (i.e. chicken, veggies, steak, tofu), because we all know the secret to an incredible stir-fry lies within the sauce.

Finding just the right sauce can be tricky though, which is why I am sharing this incredible recipe for Satay Stir Fry Sauce. It only requires a few ingredients and it makes just about anything taste amazing! The surprise ingredient is chucky peanut butter, which thickens the sauce and allows it to better adhere to the veggies and/or meat for a more flavor-packed bite. I love this sauce because it is just the right consistency and balance of Asian flavors—incorporating soy, orange, ginger, peanuts, and garlic.

Use this for vegetarian stir-fries with eggplant, mushrooms, onions, snow peas, and carrots served over rice or use it as a dressing/dipping sauce for grilled meat kabobs.

All you need is….

{ Ingredients for Satay Sauce }

  • 4 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 orange, juiced

{ To Make the Satay Sauce }

Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and stir until well combined. The peanut butter and honey should be dissolved.

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La Brigada ***

Estados Unidos 465
San Telmo, Buenos Aires
(+54) 11 4361.5557

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Lets face it, you’re going to get a good piece of steak no matter where you decide to eat in BA (I would honestly consider beef the cultural glue here…like music is to New Orleans). But if you’re on the hunt for the absolute best parrilla in terms of atmosphere, service, and quality of food–as most visiting tourists are–then you will certainly stumble across the name La Brigada at some point in your search (albeit be on Google, at  your hotel concierge, or local word of mouth).

Located in the heart of San Telmo and filled with gaucho/futbol memorabilia (all Boca, of course!), La Brigada is considered a major contender for the title of best parrilla in Buenos Aires, competing alongside Cabana las Lilas, Don Julio, and La Cabrera, just to name a few. One unique feature that has helped to set La Brigada apart from the rest, is that they serve the steak by cutting it with a spoon–a testament to its tenderness. Naturally, upon hearing word of this, I went to witness it myself!

The atmosphere of the place is very old-school, not dingy in any way, but broken in (as all well-loved things are). Images of cows and futbol players hang side-by-side on the walls, and crisp white linens and shiny crystal glasses adorn the tables. Upon entry, you will submit your senses to the heavenly and pungent aroma of steak, which will have you smacking your lips in anticipation of your meal. Cue the ordering frenzy!

My friends and I started our dinner off with a nice bottle of Rutini Malbec and then embarked on the delicious and abundant bread basket. Next we shared an order of Provoleta, which is a wedge of provolone cheese gilled in a cast iron skillet until it turns a delicious golden color at the edges. The provoleta was served nice and hot, and I thought it was very tasty. Although, I must admit I tend to like mine with a little more “umph.” You know, sautéed onions, peppers, and herbs (I acknowledge that it’s not traditional, but I am a modern and progressive 22-year old).

Next we ordered a simple Mixed Green Salad with Tomatoes and Onions, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. A salad is a salad, need I say more?

Now we get to the stuff that really matters…..the STEAK! My friend and I decided to share the whopping 30-ounce Baby Beef (mainly because this is the cut rumored to be served with a spoon…I’m a sucker for presentation) and it was enormous! Note: The portion below is on my half of the steak!

Unfortunately though, they did NOT cut it with a spoon. Not my meat, not no ones, which was a rather big disappointment. The quality of the beef, however, was incredible. It was a couple of inches thick, with just the right amount of marbled fat, and it was cooked to perfection. I asked for it medium and it actually came out medium (this is to say as American’s would define medium). I have found in Buenos Aires that they often overcook the meat, so to see red drippings on the plate when I finished was a refreshing change.

Two of my other friends ordered the Bife de Lomo in Peppercorn Sauce, which was an absolute disaster. The peppercorn sauce had some sort of metallic aftertaste (almost inedible) and the steak was completely overdone, despite their requests for medium-rare temperature. A french chef would have been appalled seeing a steak with absolutely no red hue. In fact, it was so bad that neither of them finished their meals. And it is this inconsistency between a fabulous steak and a horrendous steak that leaves La Brigada with just 3 out of 5 stars.

The Potatoes au Gratin (or shall i say, Batatas a Gratinada) were fantastic though!!! They were creamy, and cheesy, and probably my favorite part of the meal. They came as an unexpected complimentary side to the Bife de Lomo, but were large enough to share among the entire table. Likewise, the French Fries were also very tasty!

My other friend (already a getting a little tired of beef), decided to order the Chicken Parmesan (or Milanesa Suprema Napolitana de Pollo). Given the size (which you can see below), she  was able to spare me a couple of bites and I thought it was delicious. I wouldn’t normally order chicken at a well known steakhouse, but I was impressed by the dish.

Last but not least, we ordered a Creme Brûlée  and round ofcafe con leches for dessert. The creme brûlée was spot on and a perfect way to end our meal.

Overall, I would be willing to give La Brigada another chance because half of the meal was great, but I do prefer La Cabrera and Cabana las Lilas as it stands right now (and I plan to try Don Julio this coming week to make my final judgement!).

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{ 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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The Office ***

Arevalo 3031
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(+54) 2050.3942

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“Yo tengo bajón.”

What does it mean?

In the words of the wise Kat Williams, it means, “I ain’t dead. I’m gonna wake up in 20 minutes, hungry enough to eat up everything in your house.”

I’m talking about the munchies. And you can imagine (being the foodie that I am) the level of munchies that I get. I’m not gonna lie, it gets a little out of control sometimes. It starts with a singular oreo and ends with a pizza covered in ranch dressing, a grease soaked bag from taco bell, a bowl of something chocolatey but not readily identifiable, and is that peanut butter I taste stuck to the roof of my mouth? My goodness the things I do to my poor belly between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am!

I have encountered a problem satisfying the munchies in Argentina though, because the best foods (and by that, I mean most gross and fattening) are American creations often unavailable here. There are no coco-puffs, no buffalo chicken wings, no bagel bites, no Tostito Hint o’ Limes, no pretzels, no double stuffed oreos, and if you really want peanut butter, you have to purchase it from a fancy wine and cheese shoppe for the steep price of about $80 pesos (thats 3 hours of my salary, to put that figure into perspective).

But as the munchies crept up on me the other night, I had an idea. I remembered hearing about a burger joint in Canitas, serving up ‘Yanqui-esk’ concoctions such as onion rings, chicken wings, juicy burgers, and quesadillas. I wanted anything fried, spicy, breaded, and fattening, and I wanted it ASAP. So my friends and I headed over to The Office for some proper Yanqui grub.

We started with an order of Buffalo Chicken Wings, which came with an intensely hot dipping sauce (not Frank’s Buffalo sauce of course, but still satisfyingly spicy). The wings themselves were good, although Casa Bar still takes the trophy for best wings in Bs As…they import the Franks Hot Sauce so they automatically win.

Then we got 2 large orders of cheese fries for the table to share, which were a nice taste of American comfort. They were crispy, well-salted, and came topped with a delicious variety of melted cheeses. Definitely hit the spot.

Next to arrive was the basket of onion rings! (I told you I get out of hand sometimes). These were FABULOUS! Actually, my favorite menu item from The Office, which is surprising since I normally don’t indulge in this fried delicacy (but then again, I consume a lot of things I wouldn’t even admit to eating sober, when I have the munchies!). They were piping hot, the batter was thick and crispy, and the mayo dip was absolutly perfect!

Now for the main course! I ordered the California Burger with ground beef, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, and honey mustard. Of course, this was served with even more french fries! Unfortunately, the burger patty itself was dry but the toppings and sauces compensated for this cooking error. Also note, I seemed to be the only one with an overcooked burger, so maybe this is a freak thing (I’ll find out, because I will go back!).

My friends also got the BBQ Bacon Burger with cheddar cheese, bbq sauce, and a large onion ring. It look monstrous and yummy, but I was not disappointed with my burger choice!

All in all, a good place for American expats to enjoy the foods they miss and crave and a great way for Portenos to sample some proper American grub.

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{ Food Porn – Asados en Argentina }

A look at what I have been grubbing on since my arrival in Argentina…. It’s okay to be jealous!

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Asado en Buenos Aires

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La Cocina *****

Pueyrredon 1508 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recoleta
(+54).4825.3171

 

La vida locro…

On the days when I don’t have time to sit down and eat half a cow for lunch, I find my way over to La Cocina located on Pueyrredon in Recoleta. This tiny, fast service restaurant only really offers two things; empanadas and locro. But they do both better than anyone else, and so the dinning room is always packed. Then again, this might have something to do with the fact that there are only 10 seats in the place…half of those being bar stools. None-the-less people are rushing in and out of this restaurant  all day to get their ribbon-tied empanada packages on the go. Ohh, and they use pink ribbon, which makes me happy…as if the empanada inside hadn’t already!

If I had to chose my favorite empanadas from La Cocina (easier said than done), I would have to go with the Jamon y Ricotta (7 pesos) and the Carne Picante (7 pesos). The carne picante heads straight to the top of the list simply because it is spicy–a rare find in Argentina. I also like that it doesn’t have the egg in the meat filling, which is very typical of Argentine meat empanadas. On the other hand, the Jamon y Ricotta is perfect for breakfast, because the fluffy cheese seems to be whipped with egg. It’s the closest thing to an egg sandwich this many miles away from home!

If you’re craving more than a snack though, try a bowl of their hearty Locro–a thick stew made with beans, chorizo, ham, potato, and corn (27 pesos). It’s a stick to your ribs kind of lunch. A lunch, which is completely necessary in a country where they don’t eat dinner until 11 pm. I am still struggling with this concept because I prefer to eat like a baby–every two hours! If you like spicy, then ask for your locro picante and you’ll receive a generous drizzling of red hot chili oil on the top. It an experience for your taste buds.

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La Cholita *****

Rodriguez Peña 1165
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recoleta
11 4815 4506

I’ve only been in Buenos Aires for about three weeks now, but I am eating my way through this city at an almost unstoppable rate. Since I am currently living in a hostel, the kitchen situation is less than ideal (toaster oven = only oven), forcing me to venture out for about two meals a day. But hey, I’m not complaining!

I am doing the Buenos Aires food scene like a true Porteno, and getting in touch with my carnivorous side. It’s bife de lomo, bife de chorizo, vacio, morcilla, and salchicha for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ohh, and don’t forget the Malbec! I thought I would be sick of it by now, but something tells me I’ll develop gout before I tire out of this good steak and wine.

Unlike my previous travels this summer, which I treated like a vacation in terms of budget (aka no budget), I am now living in Buenos Aires–this is not a vacation. And since I will be working for pesos, I need to think of spending in pesos. Naturally, this equates to a budget.  I’ve pretty much eliminated every expense that is unrelated to eating and drinking (so no more new shoes or unnecessary beauty treatments), and I’ve begun exhaustively hunting for the best food deals in the city. But just because I am on a budget, doesn’t mean I am compromising the quality of my meals. I won’t give a restaurant a good review just because the food is dirt cheap. Personally, I’d rather eat Ramen Noodles at home 5 nights a week to enjoy 1 good meal out than a bunch of cheap meals.

Fortunately though, I have found La Cholita–an incredible parrilla in Recoleta with big portions and even better prices. I’ve dinner here at least twice a week since I have been in Buenos Aires because it truly is the best bang for your buck. I recommend the Provoleta Completa (28 pesos) to start, which is a cast iron skillet with baked provolone cheese, topped with onions, oregano, tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil. Baked cheese, need I say more? I also love the Salchicha Parrillera (14 pesos), which is a very flavorful grilled sausage wrapped in a coil and secured with a skewer. It is awesome, and doesn’t have the fatty texture of most other sausages. Both of these make great appetizers for the table to share, and I highly recommend sharing at parrillas because they are generous with the portions.

As far as meat goes, the Bife de Lomo (55 pesos) is my favorite because it is the most tender and the least fatty. The plate comes with two huge pieces of meat, a side of french fries, and mashed calabaza (which is a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin, in my opinion). I also like the Bife de Chorizo (53 pesos), again large enough to share, and served with the same sides.

If you aren’t in the mood for steak though, La Cholita also happens to have some of the best Chicken Quesadillas (32 pesos) that I have ever had. They come served with guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, a fresh side salad, and french fries. I was eery to order them at first (considering I was at a steak place), but they turned out to be amazing and I order them often. I also suggest the Suprema Milanga de Pollo Napolitana (36 pesos), which is an obnoxiously large piece of chicken fried to golden perfection, and then baked with tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella cheese. It is accompanied by a serving of french fries and it is a belly buster to finish.

If you are looking for something on the lighter side, a rather difficult task in Argentina, then I recommend the Ensalada la Cholita, which is a bed of mixed greens topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, diced peppers, and a large piece of chicken palliard.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to eat you way into a food coma, I suggest the Parrilla para Dos, which is an enormous sizzling hot-plate of mixed grilled meats. Here is a glimpse of what you will get:

Ohh, and the house wine is dirt cheap and a HUGE pour! So far this is my favorite casual dinner spot in Buenos Aires. Great steak, great prices, and big portions, and big pours.  Love it!

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