Saturday, November 20, 2010

relaxed & easy

our day went well - still having beautiful warm to hot sunny weather.  we walked from the hotel to Recoleta for lunch at El Sanjuanino, an empanada place we knew from our last visit.  it's still great- we had a selection of empanadas - each picking a favorite after tasting more than a dozen.  GA and I liked the Napolitana (tomatoes, queso and rucola) and the boys favored the meat stuff ones... although the queso y cepolla ones also were in the running (cheese and onions)

after lunch we walked for a while and then decided to head towards the Palermo neighborhood.  we were dropped off near the zoo and CBGB wanted to visit the Evita Museum which was cool with us - we sat at a cafe nearby called Josefina.  we had drinks and ice cream and later CBGB came to join us.  GA ordered the flan she had been wanting for a couple of days and said it was fabulous. 

the afternoon was already getting away from us when we headed toward the Japanese Garden but it turned out to not take up too much of our time - it was limited in space and not particularly Japanese other than the red bridge in the center and the koi in the small lake.

we took a cab home to our hotel and relaxed before dinner.  we had reserved at Tomo I and found it to be a lovely meal.  we ordered the all inclusive menu.  we all chose similarly, starting with the shrimp and avocado napoleon, following with a lovely trout with almonds in a light lemon sauce with spinach for three of us and Phil had the pork shoulder.  we all had the chocolate dessert. 

the place was lovely and the service perfectly unobtrusive yet attentive.  Tomo I was well worth the slightly steep price. 

we made a plan to meet in the morning.  we intend to try using the subway to get to the Sunday market in San Telmo.  I will report on that adventure later LOL.

new territory

yesterday we took the fast ferry to a new country for all of us- Uruguay!  the check in process was quite streamlined and we did the passport control and immigration for both countries before you get on the boat and then when you disembark you just leave the boat.  after we arrived we rented a golf cart to get around the area of Colonia del Sacramento.  it is a UNESCO world heritage site and only an hour across the Rio Plato from BA.

we first drove to the end of the area along the beaches and stopped at a Sheraton to ask for a recommendation for a lunch place along the beach.  while there we saw another holiday card opportunity for CBGB (Chuck & Georgia) so we took a few photos

then we stopped at an abandoned and crumbling bull ring which was once part of a vast resort entertainment complex with a casino.

on to lunch!  where we all tried chivitos the national dish of Uruguay.which we enjoyed with some white wine from Uruguay.

then we headed into the old town (centro historico) to see the sites

amazingly beautiful jacarandas are in bloom right now and also the bougainvillea.

we saw lots of old cars which have become a sort of symbol for the town.   we toured the town, stopped for a drink in the shade to relax and found a bar with some Beatles memorabilia on the wall inside.

after that - more touring until we decided to dine very leisurely and then head back to the ferry a bit early. 

it was a long day and CBGB took the opportunity to nap on the hour long trip back to BA

we all agreed we were happy to have done the trip but none of us thought we would ever make it back to Uruguay again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a quick note

busy day of city sight seeing.  so will make this a quick entry.  we did a city tour this morning and got the feel for where everything was.  among the stops was LaBoca - home of the Boca Juniors! 

there we did so pre-work for the Bavol holiday card

later we visited Recoleta home of world renown dog walkers 

and then we had a scrumptious lunch at Lola in Recoleta - with a table outside where we had lunch with wine and beverages and three courses for $25 each!

then back to hotel and planned for dinner much later at our favorite place in BA Cabanas Las Lilas.  thanks Johnny Apple! it is the home of big meat!

see you tomorrow! in URUGUAY!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

we have arrived

so after the usual delays we arrived later than expected but got ourselves here- met GA & Chuck at 1 PM to get some lunch at Filo- fabulous pizza and some good inexpensive wine.  my husband, Phil, crashed during lunch having failed to sleep on the plane, so we went back to the hotel for a nap.  we later met Chuck & GA for dinner and went to a lovely seafood place called Dora

along the way we ran into some pirates (I must be a magnet for them- LOL) and here is a photo of GA with some of the Pirates- and then Phil, Chuck & GA in front of the restaurant Dora.

we had a wonderful meal of shrimp and jambon for starters and several amazing grilled fish dishes.  we dug in so quickly and were so convivial that I forgot until the end of the meal to take a photo.

the place was charming- hams drying from the ceiling and wine bottles lining the room-

we had a superb san felicien wine and later the waiter served us a lovely digestiva after the meal, which we liked so much we want to take a photo, to save the name for later. 

a stop on the way home at a bodega for water and we were back and ready to plan for tomorrow morning. 

we are taking a city tour for a half day to get oriented.  so lots more as we continue- we are already having a wonderful time catching up with our long time friends who live far enough away that we don't get to see them as frequently as we would like. 

by the way in Chuck's honor I had a shrimp dish serve with salsa de golf- LOL- since he won't get any golf in on this trip, we are trying to assuage his disappointment.  LOL

we are celebrating GA's birthday week and here is the loving couple from lunch-

Monday, November 15, 2010

short days

just this morning I got the sense we are about to start the hibernating season.  the yard is looking quite a bit less lush than it was just a few weeks back.  the trees in front of the houses on either side of us completely dropped their leaves in the last three days. 

seasons change and one of the things I like to do is to note where the yard has been over the last few months

here is a photo of the day I finished installing some river rock in a bed the squirrels dug up so regularly I had to find a better way of protecting the soil than the plain mulch they destroyed each day.

 and then I planted pots for the patio and I was quite happy with my handiwork for about six weeks but alas - with things that grow they are never static and the pots got to look a bit sorry and overspent. 

the hydrangea were late late late to the party- I didn't get a single bloom on my "Everlasting Summer" variety until August and even then they were not abundant.

but over all I was pleased with the way things looked-

we use the deck and patio quite a bit and I wanted them to be welcoming to our friends.  we had a number of good parties in the yard this summer.  a dozen of our work friends came for an afternoon and evening in July and we had the wine group for Memorial Day and out of town friends for Labor Day along with a couple of get-togethers for no particular reason. 

this is why we stay home in the summer- it is the best time of  the year to be in Chicago.

november is not one of our best months usually - although until a day ago it was wonderful- but that is why we are headed south for some sun- Buenos Aires here we come!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

streaming thoughts

led from my husband commenting last night that if I wanted to attract people to Paris I should pick more enticing photos than the ones I posted.  LOL- I was thinking from there about that photo I posted of the head in hand.  I think it is sort of a modern day "thinker" but it could just be a heavy day for the head and he had to hold himself in place with the hand... I guess the interpretations could go on and on - that's art after all... in the eye of the beholder (oh wait, that was beauty- wasn't it? -LOL)

anyway I started thinking about how the location is a lovely park on top of horrible dumpy dark mall underground where Les Halles (the main market in Paris) once stood.  what a loss to move a market to build a mall.   that took me to thinking how this is not an unique structure - we also saw the same thing- unattractive underground mall (well actually IMHO there is no such thing as an attractive mall underground or other wise, but I digress) in Moscow.

we had been staying at Le Meridien right across from Red Square and when we walked over we found there was a hidden mall under a quite lovely green space.  I don't have any photos of either of the malls, but I did capture a shot of some of the local "mall rats" in Moscow - probably not all that different from our own.

that led me to thinking that it is actually quite a nice thing to hide the malls someplace - especially in urban areas of some historic note.  last time we were in Paris and were walking home to our hotel in the 6th from the area of Les Halles where the head and hand sculpture is located, we came across this establishment which made me think of the Maltese Falcon or such.

and while I wouldn't quite consider it representative of Paris - it did have appeal for someone who read every Nancy Drew in grade school and then moved on to Marlowe and Spade and others of the hard boiled genre.

BTW- the smoked meat quest was quite successful and while we were at it we located some macarons that were amazingly French in style although the presentation was not quite as pictured below (from the last Paris trip in March)

we enjoyed them so much we will no doubt return for more in December as we are expecting guests from Europe and these would be a superb to serve with tea of coffee.