Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

February 24, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 2:59 pm

Buenos Aires saw its best days over a century ago. The city is energetically moving into the 21st century, in parallel with Europe. Malbec united both cities for us.

When we landed in BA to begin this trip, we did the planned tour of the city’s famous sites. But we finished in a steak house, where Sarah declared that the recommended Malbec was the best she’d ever tasted. It was, indeed, smooth, free of sharp edges or acidez, earthy, full, and pleasant in the nose.

Returning after the Antarctica experience, we hooked up with a couple from the ship, and toured the grand opera house, Teatro Colon. It was built in 1908, when Argentina was ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is a masterpiece of Italian marble, custom brass fittings, and Spanish velvet, financed by Argentine beef. It still ranks as one of the world’s best opera houses. The Costume Designer found spectacular creations and we all marveled at the ornate details.





Our empassioned guide explained how the busts of Wagner and Verdi, reputed enemies in life, were placed opposite so they’d be forced to recognize each other for eternity (the expected lifespan of the Teatro Colon). But the Argentineans, soft-hearted beneath, allowed the two to look away from each other.


For the opera lovers back home, here’s the Teatro’s recognition of the creator of “The Elixer of Love.”


Stalking the greatest short story writer of the 20th century, we came to the 150 year old Gran Café Tortoni. Too early for Malbec. We settled for a Don Pedro – ice cream, walnuts, and whiskey.


I paid a reverent visit.


We made plans with the couple to have as typical an Argentinean dinner as possible: a parillada in Palermo Soho that evening. Malbec, surely, would attend.

Getting from downtown to Palermo was like an acid trip between 1858 and 2014.





We kept our stomachs empty, waiting.



The big dinner looming.

“Hey! There’s a white Malbec on the wine menu. What’s that?”

No one (not even the guy the others stared at just because he speaks a little Spanish) knew what ‘Blanc de Malbec’ was. But we all knew the aromatic, full, Argentinean taste associated with the name. So, of course, we ordered a bottle.

The waiter, a proud and distinguished gentleman proficient in his occupation for at least 40 years, said:

not   “como no

not   “por supuesto

but   “Blanc de Que?”

Apparently, it had rarely been ordered in this very busy, very popular parillada. We added a bottle of what he recommended as his best red Malbec, as well.

Then, the food. A groaning table. I saw no vegetables available, so I ordered chicken. Just to balance out the beef and bacon.


They actually did provide some green beans, delicately arranged in a thimble.

Stuffed, groaning as much as the table of Argentinean wood had been, we somehow ordered dessert.

The Blanc de Malbec was interesting. But, order the red.

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