Category Archive for South America
Obelisk, ob-la-da. It’s time for part two of my travels in Buenos Aires, Argentina!
The city is divided into 48 barrios, or neighborhoods — each with its own vibe. Of course, we concentrated on the coolest and most creative areas, as you saw in my first post about Palermo and Recoleta cemetery.
This time, we’ll sight-see in San Telmo, Puerto Madero and La Boca.
The Argentinian capital city has a retro feel to it, in part to the colonial architecture and spirit of Eva Peron. Inspired, I put together a classic 1950s meets street style outfit of the day.
Line Friends’ Brown bear is one of my favorite cute characters (but obviously, nobody tops Miffy the bunny). I was pleased to find the emotion-less bear on the back of this Chocoolate bomber jacket. (It was drizzling a bit, so please excuse the frizzy hair.)
I’m standing in Puerto Madero, a waterfront area of Buenos Aires that has undergone recent development. There are pristine gardens and sleek, modern buildings overlooking the water. All of Puerto Madero’s streets are named after women, and the Puente de la Mujer (Women’s Bridge) is designed by neofuturist “starchitect” Santiago Calatrava.
My cross and fishnet tights are Lip Service, from Salemonster,
Close-up on my Ghoul Gang t-shirt from Unique Vintage. Hail the original queens of Halloween: the Bride of Frankenstein, Lily Munster, Elvira, and Morticia Addams! As a fan of classic horror films, this is a Gothic girl gang that I’d join in a heartbeat.
Buenos Aires is home to the widest street in the world, 9 de Julio Avenue. It’s over 300 feet wide, and named after Argentina’s Independence Day (in 1816).
This Egyptian-style monument, “Obelisco de Buenos Aires,” is the symbol of Buenos Aires. The obelisk is located in the Plaza de la República, intersected by 9 de Julio. It was quite the challenge to run into the wide street and vogue for photos before the traffic lights changed… but worth it, for these shots!
Argentina is of course famous for its beef. Instead of the crowded traditional steakhouses, I went to La Carniceria in Palermo. This cozy, hip restaurant takes reservations for two dinner seatings, and has a hidden glass panel door for a members-only feel.
I enjoyed sitting at the bar and watching the chefs stoke the fires, while sipping on a refreshing gin and tonic flavored with fresh huacatay (Peruvian black mint).
La Carnicería’s owners Pedro Peña and Germán Sitz put a modern spin on traditional steakhouse dishes. We whetted our appetites with a warm, smoked provolone cheese. One of their specialities, sweetbreads, were a delightful surprise: caramelized and on top of cornbread. A glass of malbec (Argentine red wine) was the perfect accompaniment.
The main event were these generous, fire-grilled cuts of grass fed beef. The steaks had wonderful smoky flavors, and came with chimichuri dip.
At La Carniceria, the creations change depending on what’s fresh and available. Small, ripe plums with cream made up the perfect seasonal dessert. A delightful meal, from start to finish.
On another day, we explored the colorful district of La Boca. As you can see from this mural, the 90s are forever here.
La Boca is a working class barrio (neighborhood) that has been brightened by street artists. The main alley, Caminito, is surrounded by rainbow-painted zinc houses, theaters, tango dancers, and walls of art.
Look up at the balconies, and you’ll find statues of Argentina’s most famous residents. Mafalda, the cute cartoon girl, stands next to a national football player. On another ledge, Eva Peron waves her arm at passersby. (Recall that I visited the Peron Peron theme restaurant in her honor.)
La Boca’s Caminito was originally developed by a local artist, Benito Quinquela Martín. In 1960, he painted the dilapidated buildings and set up a performance space, which turned these cobblestone streets into an art hub. Today, you’ll find plenty of studios amidst these colorful structures.
Parts of La Boca feel rather touristy, with lots of gift shops. However, if you wander the side streets and railroad area, you’ll find uncrowded alleys with striking artwork.
Travellers come to see these corrugated-iron shanty houses, which used to house immigrants. The rainbow paint gives them a modern feeling.
If you’re interested in Buenos Aires street art, I recommend that you also walk around the hipster district Palermo (see this post for info).
Before leaving La Boca, take a moment to see the multicolored walkway by Riachuelo River. Buenos Aires is a great city for exploring by foot.
Finally, you can’t miss San Telmo market. Every Sunday, this barrio transforms into a vivacious street fair with over 250 stalls.
The weekend bazaar is one of the best places to find antiques, local goods, handmade jewelry — and of course, cute memorabilia featuring Mafalda. San Telmo also has a permanent market area that you can visit any day of the week, which mainly sells food.
San Telmo’s open-air market spans many streets. I saw crafts made from cassette tapes, sugar skull cat statues, wind-up toys, coffee stalls… you name it.
The market is a great place to snack on Argentinian food. I ate warm empanadas, and tried local-style pizza (it’s uniquely gooey and delicious in Buenos Aires).
My hair color and undercut are by Chad Mitchell Evans at Kore Salon Vancouver.
I hope you enjoyed my travel guide to Buenos Aires’ hippest attractions. (If you missed Part 1 of my Argentina adventures, see the post here).
What’s coming up next? I’m heading to two familiar countries in Asia, as well as a new destination. All shall be revealed soon!
Sailor Moon ring from Sapphire Studios & tattoo stickers! Santiago hipster district Lastarria, De Patio restaurant.
“Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!” As a Sailor Moon fan since the 1990s, I’m delighted with my new Sapphire Studios Prism ring — from their Sailor Moon jewelry collection!
Read on for three summer outfits featuring my current favorite designers. We’ll also explore the coolest restaurant and neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, where I recently spent a few days.
Altogether now, let’s sing: “Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Never running from a real fight. She is the one named Sailor Moon!”
I’m sure many of you adore the 90s Japanese manga and anime series, which follows the intergalactic adventures of a schoolgirl and her friends. They transform into the fierce Sailor Soldiers (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter), who fight to “right wrongs and triumph over evil.”
Inspired by this universe, Sapphire Studios released a luxurious Sailor Moon jewelry collection. The designs include a crescent-shaped floral necklace, and this Prism ring based on the “moon crisis” heart compact in the series.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, Sapphire Studios Design produces fine jewelry for those who love alternative, vintage, Goth and Japanese influences (much like myself). Everything is individually crafted with exquisite crystals and gemstones — these are accessories to treasure, and the quality shines through.
I loved unboxing my Prism ring, which came in this elegant case and velvet ring holder. As you can see, this isn’t “cosplay” or “costume” jewelry. Sapphire Studios makes high-end works of art, which extends to the package presentation.
The Sailor Moon ring is a fabulous statement, yet comfortable and subtle enough to wear daily, with all types of outfits. In tribute to Usagi / Serena, I put my hair in “odango” buns, and wore a crescent moon temporary tattoo from Capumon (more about them below). My dress is Liz Lisa x My Melody; it’s currently for sale on my Depop shop.
My cut-out lace black capelet is by Pheren Couture, creator of dark and decadent luxury accessories. Pheren makes earrings, chokers and other hand-sewn fashion with inspirations from fantasy, history, and Gothic aesthetics. In love with how the material drapes and shimmers, featuring a high collar and wings over the shoulders.
In addition to the Sailor Moon collection, Sapphire Studios has jewelry for men and women based on Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdon Hearts, Death Note and other Jpop favorites. They are especially known for their alternative engagement rings, and skull series (I own the black and crystals “Aphrodite” ring, as you can see in the back.)
Sapphire Studios even lets you design your own ring, or customize one according to your preferences and budget. Each is made to order, in the size and specifications that you choose. My Sailor Moon ring, for example, can be made with a rose gold, silver or yellow gold band, and with various diamonds or accent stones (opal, blue topaz, pink sapphire).
The level of detail is wonderful, as you can see from the crescent moon and ribbon design on the sides. “In the name of the moon,” I encourage you to see more from Sapphire Studios.
I’m sure you are curious about my Sailor Moon forehead decal… These are temporary tattoos by Capumon! Take “a trip to Nemesis” and wear the Black Moon Clan’s symbol (the upside-down one). Or choose Crystal Tokyo, and join the squad with a golden shimmering crescent.
These Sailor Moon tattoo stickers are a must-have for any fan. Each package contains 56 moons — perfect to share with friends. It’s easy to put on the tattoos: just cut out the 1 x 1 moon, remove the plastic back, and press it to your skin for 15-30 seconds with a warm, damp towel. I’ll be wearing these all the time, thanks to Capumon — be sure to check them out, and they ship orders worldwide.
And now, another summertime outfit. Popular in the 1990s, slip dresses are perfect for warm weather days. This red silk slip dress is by Print All Over Me, designed by gentlethrills — how about that roaring jaguar and animal print pattern!
My black boater straw hat is by Lack of Color; shop more from them below:
I’m all about holographic space-age materials, and can’t get enough of these Irregular Choice boots. Love the reflective silver leather, with black ribbon laces and a zipper up the sides. I think these ankle boots are made for walking on the moon.
I have been fond of Irregular Choice’s fanciful footwear for over a decade now. They have quirky collaborations with Disney, Toy Story, Star Wars and more, as you can see below (click the images for details)…
Photos of Outfit #2 by my first mate Naomi Rubin, who is currently releasing a weekly comic, Moonsprout Station. It’s “a queer fantasy comic about growing community and relationships while exploring and studying a world full of islands floating in the sky,” rendered in compelling watercolors and linework.
I reunited with her at the VanCAF (Vancouver Comic Arts Festival). We have more Pirate adventures coming soon in Asia… stay tuned to see what we’re up to next.
Close-up on my Gothic enamel pins, from Life Club. These accessories are the perfect way to decorate a leather jacket (or any item of clothing), and the mottos speak to my inner emo kid. Damage and Joy, Sad Lifestyle, Never Smile… you got that right.
Chaos is Me (in the shape of a coffin). Misery is All the Rage. It’s safe to say that UK-based Life Club rocks! These enamel pins come in gold or silver edging, and they have tons of designs with rock, metal and Goth themes / words / shapes.
Outfit #3 brings us to Santiago, Chile. My black-white-red color scheme matched well with my chic Wimdu apartment rental. I enjoyed staying in a local’s area of Santiago, right across from Ecuador subway station and surrounded by grocery stores (I picked up sardines and avocados, of course). It was easy to book this flat using Wimdu’s site, and communicate with the kind host Beatriz. Plus, the WiFi and all amenities were included for a far lower rate than if we had gotten a hotel.
I didn’t have too much time to spend in the Chilean capital, so I headed straight to Barrio Lastarria. As you can see, it’s known as the youth / hipster / art district of Santiago. This is a great neighborhood for strolling and people-watching, and there’s plenty to do here (street food, bars, theaters, art installations).
(All Chile photos by Joey Wong.)
Attack of the lobster-aliens! La Starria is a colorful area with unexpected murals, and small markets where locals sell organic and handmade products.
– My Japanese top is by Underground England (if you can read katakana, you’ll know that it says Post Punk).
– My Girardi Meredith hold-up knee socks are from UK Tights.
Just like Anthony Bourdain (RIP), I’m all about finding cheap and local eats wherever I go. LaStarria is full of tasty and creative food, for a handful of Chilean pesos.
Locals adore the gelato from Emporio La Rosa (I got scoops of berry and dark chocolate). I also tried the new Buffalo Waffles, a genius waffle wrap with cheddar and vegetables inside.
Especially on weekends, you’ll hear music wherever you walk in Barrio LaStarria. We came across flamboyant dancers in the streets, a slightly annoying clown-mime, and these electronic DJs at an outdoor public lounge.
What else is there to do in LaStarria? Browse the alternative boutiques, which sell kawaii cute and rock / Goth fashion. And enjoy the urban art all around. In addition to these giant wall paintings, I encountered a moving lights installation that anyone could enter for free.
I was pleasantly surprised by the hip artwork I found in Santiago. You may recall that I also went to the vibrant street art city of Valparaiso. The takeaway: Chile is one cool country.
We wrapped up our Santiago trip with the most creative meal I’ve had in a long time. I heard rave reviews about a young restaurant, De Patio, and was keen to experience it for myself. It took a while to locate the hidden entrance (barely-marked large wooden doors), which opened up to a spacious, modern interior with a courtyard. We sat the bar counter in front of the open kitchen, and watched Chef Benjamin Nast work his magic.
(DePatio restaurant address: Av Vitacura 3520, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile)
Chef Benjamin Nast has an impressive resume — he worked in top restaurants in Chile, Paris, and Barcelona (at the Michelin-starred Dos Palillos owned by Albert Raurich, the former executive chef El Bulli). In 2017, he opened up De Patio in Vitacura, to highlight Chilean products along with Asian flavors and techniques.
Sit at the counter, and let him surprise you with an 8 or 12 course menu. Everything he creates is daring and artistic; delicious without being pretentious. Our first taste was an eye-opener: snails from the garden with soy shitake mushrooms, tapioca, and flowers.
We enjoyed chatting with the tattooed Chef Benjamin. He explained that De Patio Restaurante’s circular logo is inspired by Woody Woodpecker, “the crazy bird” — and spoke passionately about how the team experiments to make surprising dishes from seasonal ingredients.
It was a treat to watch Chef Benjamin prepare each plate in front of us, while The Doors and Janis Joplin howled from the speakers. Between plates, I sipped on the perfect healing drink made just for me: a pisco sour with eucalyptus, honey, ginger and lemon.
Above: zucchini noodles, clam, picked cucumber, almonds and grated avocado — wow.
He showcased his finesse for Japanese cooking with a shabu shabu: fresh fish, scallops and still-moving prawns in a delicious dashi broth.
Dessert was once again a feast for the eyes and tastebuds. Above is a refreshing cucumber granita and strawberry coulis with freeze-dried vodka jelly. He also served up crispy potato ice cream sandwiches with thyme, whiskey, toffee, egg — we ate them so fast that there aren’t any photos!
Cheers to Chef Benjamin Nast for the outstanding omakase that breaks the conventions of gourmet cuisine. As he writes in De Patio’s manifesto: “What matters most is making delicious food that is both simple and provocative. We believe in tradition as well as contradiction. We love food and are constantly searching for freedom.”
The fun team at De Patio is constantly changing up the menu, and their passion is infectious. Prices are extremely reasonable, and I’m certain that the restaurant will be racking up more awards — so be sure to go, when you’re in Santiago.
Thanks to LATAM Airlines for letting me bring these “only in South America” stories to you. We still have more from Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo to come, as well as the isle of stone-faced aliens… If you missed the previous posts, come take a look at the S. America category here.
And for more summer style inspiration, check out the images below >>
I haven’t yet made it to outer space… but Easter Island is as close as it gets to visiting an alien land!
I wanted to stay in a hotel that captured this interplanetary feeling, so I checked into Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa. If you’re looking for luxurious, culture-inspired lodging in the isle of the moai 🗿, then this is the place for you.
To my delight, even the rooms looked like spaceship pods!
My crossbody purse is this East/West by Strathberry. See more of their styles below:
While you don’t quite need a spaceship to arrive at Easter Island, this isn’t an easy destination to access. “Isla de Pascua” is located 2300 miles from Chile, in the middle of the ocean and surrounded by nothing.
There are only two flights here, from Bora Bora or Santiago, on LATAM Airlines. I flew from Chile’s capital city, and the trip took six hours each way. (But it was well worth it, to see the stone-faced moai… and what a view from the window!)
After a smooth flight, we landed at Mataveri International Airport. It’s one of the smallest airports I’ve ever been to — the runway spans the entire vertical distance of the island.
(All photography Joey Wong).
As soon as we stepped outside, we felt the hot weather of the South Pacific. I’m glad I brought sunscreen in my carry-on backpack (this is one of the best sunscreens, with UVA protection). My dyed and patterned undercut also helped me keep me from overheating.
Disembarking is easy at Isla de Pascua airport… there’s only one counter and line. Be sure to purchase the $80 US National Park Ticket, or else you won’t be able to see the most impressive moai sites including Tongariki and Rano Raraku. You can purchase the park pass in USD or Chilean pesos (tip: check the current exchange rate to see which is cheaper).
Outside the airport, you’ll find staff members from various hotels and tour groups. We found the sign for Hangaroa Eco Village, and received a lei of flowers to wear around our necks, as well as a hearty “maeva!” (welcome!).
Easter Island is about the size of Manhattan, and our hotel is in the main city of Hanga Roa. It took only a 10-15 minute drive to reach these space-pods.
I was happy to kick back in one of best resorts in South America, according to Conde Nast Traveller.
The swimming pool beckoned, so I put on my Gottex Profile Sport DNA Bikini by UK Swimwear. I love the halter design, and rose gold on black accents. If you’re looking for the latest swimsuits and beachwear, there’s a fabulous selection on their website.
(See more of Gottex’s Gothic swimwear below, including laser cut Rococo styles):
The welcome wreath of flowers matched my pink hair and sunglasses. These glitter cat-eye sunglasses are by Irregular Choice. They create fabulous accessories and footwear, as you can see below…
Time to take a stroll around the hotel grounds. Established in 2012, Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa has the most luxurious accommodations on Easter Island. This five star resort features all-inclusive dining and one-per-day excursion packages, which take the stress out of planning.
The property is bursting with strange fruits and tall palms. From this convenient location, you can easily explore all the major sights on the island. (See my first post about my Easter Island moai tour).
Hangaroa Eco Resort’s architecture pays tribute to the village of Orongo (which I visited, as you can see here). The competitors of the birdman competition, Tangata Manu, lived in similar stone huts cut into the hillside.
The modern rooms let guests immerse themselves in the ancient Rapa Nui lifestyle. The design is inspired by traditional caves, with curving lines and organic materials including cypress wood and volcanic rock. I enjoyed soaking in the hand-made clay tub each day, and relaxing by the patio with an ocean view.
Love how this 75-room resort is integrated to its environment. Staying here, you feel as if you’re part of the culture and landscape of Easter Island.
Since I was in the land of the stone-faces, I got Easter Island gel nail art to match! Keiko Matsui, the brilliant nail artist and owner at Glam Nail Studio in Vancouver, drew these moai by hand with a tiny brush. She added sunset and galaxy backgrounds (since Easter Island may as well be in another dimension), gold and iridescent flakes, and metal oval rings.
Although most people come to Easter Island to see the moai, this is also a wonderful tropical destination for relaxing in warm weather. Guests can unwind at Hanga Roa Eco Village’s swimming pool and Manavai Spa, after a day of exploration.
In love with the clean lines and minimalist forms of Strathberry bags (this is mine). Find more of their purse designs below with a click:
Since Easter Island is basically in the middle of nowhere, it can be difficult to import foods, and restaurants tend to be expensive. Fortunately, Hangoroa Eco Village & Spa has several excellent dining options that can be included in the booking.
How fantastic is this ocean and mountain view? The open-air Poerava Restaurant offers a gourmet buffet at breakfast and dinner, with a wide selection of intercontinental and local specialties.
We filled up on grilled fish, creamy grits, roast vegetables, ceviche… and tried one of each dessert!
How cute is this moai, wearing a chef’s hat? On another evening, we ate at the resort’s Kaloa Bistro, where you can order South American dishes a-la-carte. Can’t go wrong with fresh empanadas, Chilean red wine and steak.
Every evening, Hangaroa Eco Village brings together guests for a free sunset cocktail at Vaikoa Bar. The special drink that evening was a pisco sour (lemon, Chilean clear brandy, egg white, bitters). I was delighted by the design of the liqueur bottle: it’s shaped like a moai with a “pukao” hat as the screw-on cap!
This is my happy place… sipping a moai pisco sour, and taking in the radiant sunset over the volcanic rocks and ocean.
Easter Island is such a remote and bizarre place that you can’t help but connect with the people you meet here. We made a furry new friend by the cliffs…
… and chatted with other travellers. Everyone expressed their amazement at being on this far-away island filled with mysteries.
The sunset silhouettes called for an “utthita hasta padangusthasana” yoga pose (extended hand-to-big-toe asana).
Easter Island is truly unlike anywhere else on the planet. Now, I think the only thing that can top this experience is a trip to space.
A tree-pose and namaste to Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa, for a stay filled with warm memories.
And a big thank you to LATAM Airlines for making this long-awaited trip possible. You can book a roundtrip to Rapa Nui with them, flying from either Bora Bora or Santiago.
Aren’t the stone-faced statues fabulous? For more about them, see my Easter Island moai photos here.
I never buy travel souvenirs, as I’m a minimalist… but I couldn’t resist getting some t-shirts and mini moais. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, after all.
I was tempted to take home the giant head… but I settled for a bottle of pisco alcohol, in the shape of a googly-eyed moai.
🗿 Isn’t Easter Island a fascinating destination? There’s still one more story to come, from two of the most famous UNESCO sites here… stay tuned.
(PS: see more Goth bikinis and one-piece swimsuits like mine below!)
Goth Alternative Buenos Aires, Argentina! Recoleta Cemetery, Palermo street art, Eva Peron restaurant, La Cabrera.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina… The truth is, I had a spectacular time in Buenos Aires!
While exploring the South American city, I channeled Eva Peron’s style in a mid-century-style white dress. However, BA also has a hipster side, as you can see from the street art of the Palermo district.
Wouldn’t you like to see the coolest parts of Buenos Aires with me? Follow along as we dine at the Eva and Juan Peron themed restaurant, scout colorful murals, and indulge in steak and gelato.
(My ivory sweetheart dress is from Unique Vintage. Click the pics below for more of their gorgeous styles:)
And of course, this ghostly Goth paid a visit to Recoleta Cemetery — thanks to everyone who recommended the graveyard to me. Read on for Argentinian tales of the dead…. (All photography by Joey Wong.)
Buenos Aires is a beautiful city, with a European feeling: picture wide, tree-lined avenues and stately architecture. You can tell I was delighted to come to Argentina for the first time thanks to LATAM Airlines, which has many international flights to EZE (Ezeiza International Airport).
I’m wearing my new Alexander McQueen / McQ sunglasses from Sunglasses Shop. Love the tortoiseshell pattern on these chunky frames, which have a vintage feel that matches my outfit. If you’re looking for fabulous summer shades, Sunglasses Shop has tons of authentic, luxury glasses available at low prices on their site.
Buenos Aires is divided into various “barrios” or neighborhoods. One of the hippest barrios is Palermo, which consists of several sections: Hollywood, Soho and Viejo.
Spend time walking around Palermo, and you’ll run into cute boutiques, independent fashion, coffee shops, boutique hotels, bars… and lots of vibrant urban art.
Palermo’s rainbow backdrops were the perfect place to shoot outfit photos. I’m wearing this Unique Vintage 1950s champagne ivory swing dress, called the “Carole.” Inspired by 1950s style, this long champagne frock has an ivory lace overlay, and boned sweetheart bodice with spaghetti straps — and even side pockets!
Here’s another similar Unique Vintage white dress. Plus more styles from this retro-fashion brand below:
Argentina was once a wealthy Spanish colony, until its emancipation during the War of Independence (1810-18). Today, Buenos Aires remains a thriving cosmopolitan capital, nicknamed the “Paris of South America” for its world-class fashion, art and architecture.
(I spent the whole day walking around, so I paired my outfit with sparkly slip-on shoes.)
Buenos Aires is one of the most developed and easy-to-navigate cities in South America. Travellers love to come here to enjoy life to the fullest: tango dancing, leisurely meals, walks through elegant neighborhoods, and lots of red wine.
Close-up on my choker necklace by Reykjavik‘s Aurum by Guðbjörg. This Asterias design is inspired by the waves and natural forms of Iceland’s landscapes. I’m all about eye-catching jewelry that reminds me of my travels, so this is a personal favorite.
I paired my outfit with a headband and scarf from Tokyo, Japan (where I’ll be heading back soon). Always trying to be one of the birds and flying away…
A curtsy in front of one of my favorite murals, an eclectic collage by BA Paste Up.
The creative Palermo area is well worth a visit, for a peek at the youth / alt subcultures of Buenos Aires.
Now, for a darker destination… La Recoleta Cemetery, home to dramatic Gothic tombs. Don’t you love the Egyptian-looking one above?
Located in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta district, this famous graveyard is the final resting place of many notables, including Eva Perón, several presidents of Argentina, and Nobel Prize winners.
‘The woman in white” fit right in with these aristocratic mausoleums arranged in rows.
From these images, you can tell why Recoleta is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries.
Established in 1822, La Recoleta graveyard covers 14 acres. Many wealthy residents were buried here; their families put up elaborate marble mausoleums to “keep up with the Jones.” The architectural styles range (Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, Neo-Gothic), and the graves mostly are well-maintained.
These despairing angels, throwing themselves on the door of the dead… beautifully carved, and so Goth!
Arr, looks like a pirate be buried here. I was curious about these skulls and crossbones from 1875… but dead men tell no tales.
We arrived at Recoleta Cemetery as the sun was setting: the perfect golden hour for photos. Not long after, the custodian rang the bell to make sure everyone left before sundown… lest they be drained of blood by vampires, or something like that.
(Love how the top lace layer of my Unique Vintage dress captured the light. More designs from this retro vintage inspired designer below.)
We let the undead rest in peace, and walked on to our next destination…
… El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore. The name says it all: this is an exquisite 100-year-old theater that was converted into a book shop.
(On the right, do you see me up on the balcony, doing my best impression of Eva Peron giving her “final speech” to the people?)
Located in Barrio Norte, El Ateneo preserves the pomp of the former Grand Splendid Theater, which opened in 1919. The bookstore retains the gilded theatre booths, red velvet curtains over the stage, and Italian ceiling frescoes.
This venue has been at the heart of Buenos Aires’ entertainment industry over the years. In the earliest days, tango singers made recordings inside. The theatre became a cinema in the 1920s, and hosted the first “sound films” of Argentina. Today, the space is a wonderland for book lovers, and maintains the spirit of the Teatro Gran Splendid.
Buenos Aires’ food scene is also world-renown. The local specialty is, of course, Argentinian beef. Try the traditional “asado” or barbecue, or go to a “parrilla” (steakhouse) where the meat is cooked on metal grills by the same name.
I researched the best “parrillas” in Buenos Aires, and noticed that La Cabrera steakhouse had rave reviews. I arrived at the bright, rustic courtyard-style space in Palermo Viejo — and was greeted by the chef himself, Gastón Riveira!
Chef Riveira opened La Cabrera in 2003. Today, he’s celebrated for his outstanding menu that offers over 25 highest-quality cuts of beef, sides and Argentine wines. He’s now also a cookbook author and has three restaurant locations in BA, as well as in Paraguay, the Philippines, Dubai, Brazil and Peru.
Our attentive server was great at explaining the various specials and cuts, and showed us a photo of the various “done-ness” to choose from. If you’re not big on meat, don’t worry — La Cabrera pays close attention to all its dishes, including vegetarian options and sides. We received a generous portion of caprese salad, with the freshest pesto, tomatoes and buffala. With a glass of local Malbec (red wine), it was the perfect start.
Here come the big guns. Tender short-ribs, and a spectacular Wagyu steak — one of the best in my lifetime so far. Many steakhouses overlook the side dishes, but not La Cabrera. The chimichurri green sauce, mustard and garlic dips, pureed squash, and mashed potatoes were total umami.
For another “only in Argentina” meal, make a reservation at Perón Perón resto bar (Address: Ángel Justiniano Carranza 2225, 1425 CABA, Argentina). This theme restaurant is dedicated to Juan Peron, President of Argentina three times in the mid-20th century, and his iconic wife Eva Peron — aka Evita.
Try to reserve the special table, right in front of this shrine to Eva Peron! She smiled above us as we ate, surrounded by photos, candles, and vintage memorabilia.
Eva Duarte rose from poverty to fame as a stage, radio, and film actress. She married Colonel Juan Perón and became the First Lady of Argentina upon his presidency. “Evita” is beloved for her dedication to labor rights and women’s suffrage, and a foundation that helped low-income and working class Argentines. When she died from cervical cancer at age 33, Eva Perón received the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress.
The menu at Peron Peron captures the spirit of their politics, with cocktails named “We are the resistance” and “Nestor is alive” — a delicious mix of cynar, ginger syrup, angostura, fresh lemon juice and mint. (The name is a reference to Néstor Carlos Kirchner, President of Argentina in the 2000s with a Peronist ideology.)
We were feeling a bit “beefed out,” so we began with my beloved sardines, flavored with paprika and vegetables.
For the main, we had a large and juicy portion of South American pacu, a freshwater fish related to the piranha. This rustic “meal of the people” paired perfectly with red Sangria (ginger syrup, fruit and Justicialist Party wine). The drink came in a pinguino jar, which was popular among the working class in the 1920s and 30s, and inspired by the penguins of the Patagonia region.
The menu stated: General Peron said it loud and clear… “When one is hungry, no bread is stale.” At Peron Peron, however, everything was a fresh as could be.
The restaurant isn’t a gimmicky tourist attraction — it’s a loving tribute to the Perons. All around, you can see paintings and photos: old headshots of Evita from her acting days, the couple waving from a parade car after winning the election.
Many groups of “Peronist” locals gather here to dine and chat politics. Twice a night, the restaurant broadcasts the “Marcha Peronista” song. Their supporters stand up, wave napkins around their heads, bang the tables and sing loudly to the refrain “Viva Peron!”
Stuffed and satisfied, I was glad to return to my Wimdu apartment rental. I had a superb stay in this local flat, which let me live like “one of the people” in Buenos Aires.
It was a breeze to book this apartment with Wimdu: the search engine pulled up available listings with photos and reviews, and this cute one caught my eye. I messaged with the owner, and easily picked up and returned the keys to the concierge at the lobby. I’m very glad I stayed here, as it was inexpensive and located centrally in San Telmo (I’ll show you stories from this district in the next post).
Let’s end on a sweet note, and a bonus food tip. Eat all the gelato, while you’re in Buenos Aires! The city is famous for its ice cream, which goes down especially well after a day of strolling under the sun. Locals told me one of the best gelaterias is Rapanui in Recoleta / Barrio Norte, and they were correct. I ordered a heavenly double scoop, and picked up dark chocolate to bring home as well.
Have you visited the city of Evita? What are your impressions of Buenos Aires so far?