The plane landed safely from Sao Paulo at the beautiful Buenos Aires airport.
This was the first time in South America for both Maria, my wife, and myself.
The area we are staying in is similar to Greenwich Village, bohemian and graffiti laden walls amongst the numerous large, impressive antique shops and steak houses that occupy every corner.
It was Sunday, the day SanTelmo shines.
The street was alive.
After an hour of wandering through the market, we see a sign that La Scala de San Telmo is serving food. We enter a spacious room, full of paintings and a Steinway piano.
Neatly tucked away under the arches, so, not to spoil the décor, is a ‘mom and pop’, in this case plus a son, food vendor.
Empanadas that look like quiche tarts are covering the counter.
Our antennas focus in.
We order four to share, two with creole, spiced meat, a zucchini and a spinach and cheese empanada. Add a bottle of water with gas, I say to the young son.
Within five minutes, we are both in-love with the food. We inquire when will you be open, so, we can buy more?
He suggests a bus (55 cents) and directs us.
The shops are closed.
This is Sunday, the day of rest and the day the locals watch soccer on television.
BOCA Juniors play tonight.
We duck into the ‘Nacional Museo de Belles Artes’ (free) and join the crowds,
viewing two of my favorite artists, Monet and Renoir.
We also see Van Gogh, Dali and Monet.
Buenos Aires is alive with art.
We sit inside.
It is 43F (5C), raining and windy.
La Biela is opposite the mythical 18th century gum-tree, the Church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar and the cemetery of the ‘Recoleta monks’.
Maria, café con leche and three croissants, me, a large Argentine Brandy, Reserva San Juan.
The waiter brings our order, pours boiling water into my snifter, pours it out and then pours in the brandy.
For thirty pesos ($5), I was in heaven.
We people watch and realize that we are part of history.
La Biela has that reputation.
It is a truly magical experience.
We have tickets for an 8:30pm dinner and Tango show, arranged for us by our Argentinean wine friend, Nora Favelukes.
Owner Juan Fabbri’s son, Christian greets us and joins us at the table.
The waitress pours three glasses of Chandon Champagne.
We toast Carlos Gardel and this beautiful theater.
After a few minutes, shrimp from Patagonia are placed in-front of us, with two glasses of Rutini Sauvignon Blanc 2011.
The pairing works well.
Our eyes light up.
Our glasses are refilled and our order for a main course is taken.
When in Buenos Aires, eat steak, my mentor Bill Marsano tells me.
It is grass-fed and tastes magnificent.
I order a steak and so does my wife.
We finish a glass before the steaks are served.
We are lost in the world of Carlos Gardel and never want to come back!