Exchange rate is about $4 Argentinean pesos per Canadian dollar. Sorry if sometimes I use Canadian dollars and others American dollars, it is just to make you work a little bit but I have not mixed them up…
We tried two types: Blanca and Negra (big bottles, 970 cm3). Brian liked the Negra and I liked the Blanca, funny eh!
Blanca costs $5.74 Argentinean pesos and Negra costs $6.8 Argentinean pesos. If you do not bring the bottles then you have to pay a deposit of $2.5 Argentinean pesos per bottle which you will get back upon the return of the bottle. If you purchase beer at Wal-Mart then you will find a machine inside the store where you place the bottles, you get a ticket with the amount corresponding the number of bottles you placed in and then that ticket is delivered to the cashier in order to get new bottles or the money back.
El Patio de Jesus Maria is a beautiful restaurant in the area of Chacras de Coria with 10 years of experience. Its name takes you back to the province of Cordoba, to the location of Jesus Maria renowned for housing the largest Argentinean Customs Festival.
How was it? To give you an idea: Brian had tears in his eyes. This was a fantastic way to experience Argentinean meats, money well spent. Having such well prepared cuts of meat with local wines, quiet ambience and great company made for an emotional experience.
Here is what we got but there is a large selection of items depending on needs and budget.
**Parrillada for $110 Argentinean pesos- this is a great option to try a little or a lot of everything. It comes with an empanada criolla (criollo or criolla means Spanish born in America), chorizo, morcilla (cooked blood), achuras (entrails), various veal and pork cuts and a delicious drink at the end. They serve you meat until you say “STOP”.
**Wine: La Flor Malbec from Bodega Pulentas Estate for $50 Argentinean pesos: my favourite wine so far. Malbec suppose to be the grape that grows the best in Argentina; the flavour is soft but rich…
**Wine: Vistalba Cortec from Finca Bodega Carlos Pulenta for $68 Argentinean pesos: stronger than Malbec, it is a combination of Malbec and Cabernet; Brian preferred this one…
**Licor Limoncello or Lemoncello: to help digest all this food “El Patio” offers a little glass of some sweet and tasty liquor at the end of the feast included with the Parrillada. This is a new tradition here, Italian based.
Total Experience cost=$448 Argentinean pesos for three people… As I said, one of those experiences that you will remember for life!!!
Helados de Chacras, Chacras de Coria.
To complete the magical evening, Carlos took us to a wonderful ice cream shop called “Helados de Chacras” in Chacras de Coria (exclusive neighbourhood), near “El Patio”. We had a lot of ice cream and it was bursting with creamy flavour and settle fruity tones: Chocolate del Bosque (Chocolate of the forest), Sofia (speciality of the house), Coco quemado (fantastic “Burnt coconut”), Chocolate con almendras (Chocolate with almonds), Pistaches (Pistachio).
Prices? It was too late to pay attention… Argentineans like to eat late; we were having dessert by 1 am.
Family Reunion in Tupungato.
Tupungato is located 68 kilometres South from Mendoza. In a farm house nestled in a beautiful vineyard surrounded by the preamble of the Andes we enjoyed a traditional “Asado” with a wide selection of wines in a family setting, a real Argentinean experience.
The family knows how to prepare meat and we learned a lot about it. Also we were presented with simple and delicious desserts:
**Pastelito: typical criollo Argentinean pastry.
**Vigilante: a combination of cheese and dulce de batata (sweet potatoes’ hard jelly), I love this jelly in combination with the cheese… I love it!!!
**Yerba mate: mate is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, southern states of Brazil, South of Chile, the Bolivian Chaco, and to some extent, Syria and Lebanon. It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. At first I thought it was some kind of drug but it is not, it is like green tea and kids drink it. It is known to have positive effects in cholesterol levels. Tasty with sugar but alone is very bitter which Brian loves... ummm… Brian likes Dark (Negra) and Bitter (Amarga)… like his wife!!!
|No me gusta...|
Asado Camping Suizo.
Not in Suiza (Switzerland) for sure… In Argentina, in our camping we prepared a great “asado” with the Argentinean technique and ate it late just like Argentineans do… Brian loves this kind of cooking and he says it is a manly sport!!! Total price=$6.23 Argentinean pesos.
We are not sure if the dense cloud over Mendoza comes from the dust in the desert (all the trees have been planted by people), smog or smoke from all the people making asados, or a combination of all… If you are ever in our Finca you will understand what this discovery has done to our lives.
1) Prepare the meat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put it on the fire next to the corn.
2) Cut all veggies (except corn) in small pieces (Annette’s style… I love it).
3) Place all veggies in a container with the drained white beans but leave a little bit of the beans’ juice in the salad (just a little bit).
4) Condiment the salad with olive oil, mustard and salt.
5) Serve meat, corn with some butter and salad. Enjoy!!!
|I forgot to say we had green onions!!!|
|Finally good corn...|
Tour around Mendoza.
You can visit wineries by motorcycle but I would recommend a tour to eliminate the hassle of riding home tipsy,
especially here in Argentina where the moment between yellow and red in traffic lights is called Adrenaline. For $65 Argentinean pesos (price if you are staying at Camping Suizo) you get to visit a Finca, 2 Bodegas (2 wine factories out of 800) and 1 olive oil factory.
**Organic Finca “La Olivia”- 61 years producing a variety of products: almonds, apples, olives, lemons, plumbs, membrillos (a mix between apples and pears) and others, as well as products made with the items mentioned before liked jams, jellies and pastes. Remember, right now is Winter here so the finca is not running full throttle.
The best part of this finca was Acero, a huge rabbit, pet of the family; also the bird nests made out of clay by a particular kind of bird.
**Bodega Baudron, Maipu Mendoza- This bodega (wine factory, no viñedo=vineyard) has tasty wines but once again my favourite was Malbec. They also have a huge room for rent for any kind of event offering packages including food and beverages. Bottles in this bodega range from $10-$100 Argentinean pesos and empanadas are only $4 Argentinean pesos to go with your wine tasting.
Interesting facts: Since Mendoza is a desert very little water falls naturally so canals are very important as well as explosion of clouds with canyons (Russian technology).
Trapiche is the biggest bodega in Mendoza but we did not visit it.
Lavender is used around the vineyards to keep insects away.
|In case you are looking for a place to get married...|
|One for the road for $30 AR|
**PASRAI- Olive factory. Very interesting process and products. They have extra virgin oils and different products made with olives.
**Cavas de Don Arturo- A small bodega where I personally did not enjoy the wines but we had a nice tour in perfect English. Bottles go from $10-$100 Argentinean pesos and can only be purchased there.
|A little wine makes life longer, but a lot makes life bitter...|
With some leftovers we made a great salad for under $5 CAD. The chicken was cooked previously when we made the recipe called: Asado Camping Suizo in order to utilize the fire to the maximum.
Chicken asado (with mustard, olive oil and seasoning salt)
1) Cut chicken in small pieces as well as the veggies.
2) Mix everything in a container. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
3) Enjoy with crackers.
|"Camping Suizo" is awesome!!!|
Empanadas LA VENECIANA, comida hecha con amor (“food made with love” is their logo).
These are Carlos’ favourite empanadas in Mendoza. They were delicious; you can get 6 empanadas for $15 Argentinean pesos with meat, onions and egg inside.