For a meat eater like myself, going to Argentina is like coming home. The sheer staggering variety and amount of meat on offer in every restaurant is incredible. It really is paradise., in other words it’s a veggies hell.
After 7 months of eating not too good and over cooked thin pieces of beef, our friend and kind sharer of his apartment to us. Gonzi. He took us to La Gran Parrilla del Plata. A small kinda cool parilla joint in the up and coming and less rough than it was San Telmo. You always know you are in for a good night as there is always a queue to the good places.
Gonzi being Gonzi is a less than patient person, but after countless little chats to the guys inside he managed to at least get us a glass of wine as a consolation for the wait. He did this before with us at another parilla in Palermo, but there we all got wine and small pieces of chorizo to munch on. Well Palermo is slightly more posh than San Telmo.
Finally we were shown to our seats, after 30 minutes of watching a guy trying to eat a steak the size of a small cow on his plate. He did a good job of getting our stomachs to rumbling point. As Gonzi is a regular here, and it had been an age since we last had a parilla or anything resembling well cooked meat. We decided to let him order for the three of us. But mainly because we were all quite drunk. The bottle back at his house went down too quickly on empty stomachs.
He was like a little kid in a sweet shop. Unchecked it would have been a stomach busting evening. Well it was anyhows, but much worse. It turned out he hadn’t been out for a while, work, work, work was the excuse. So we were a good excuse.
He ordered a whole grilled provolone cheese as a starter. The most famous of Argentina’s Italian cheeses. Crusty on the outside and soft and yummy inside, with that woody smell to it. Nothing beats cheese cooked over wood.
For the main course, we had ojo de bife, vacio and costillar. Or in English, a huge rib eye steak, done to medium rare perfection, a fatty yummy flank steak and a juicy rib of beef, so rare it was about to walk off before we all attacked it. With this came the mixed salad, onion, tomato and lettuce with a bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to lavish over it. The final thing he ordered was a bowl of rosemary potatoes. Heaven.
He did at one point ask the waiter to cancel the costillar but it was too late. We were in for a long session. The bottle of heavy Malbec, something I do not like to drink on it’s own but with half a cow to contend with. It went down like a dream.Several hours later, all plates wiped clean, wine emptied, coffees sipped and bill paid, we staggered out of the restaurant into the warm Argentinian night. Not sure if it was the wine that made us stagger or the fact that we had just put on at least several kilo’s. Anyhows we were in heaven. Meat heaven. This was going to be a very good six weeks.