Las Cortaderas and Siamo Nel Forno

Lourdes, my dear portena wife, and I have made a point of trying new restaurants recently and sharing this news with you. One is a place that I frequent for cafe con leche (like a latte but less sophisticated) and medialunas called Las Cortaderas. First, their medialunas are FANTASTIC but expensive. Why fantastic? Just the right amount of crunch on the ends, glaze on top, buttery taste and chewiness in the middle. YES!

But when we went to Cortaderas for dinner… yikes. There was nothing special. Thank god for the 20% discount with the La Nacion Club card (that we take everywhere). I had a bife de lomo with papas a la crema, which could even be described as dry. She had the mushroom risotto which could have been described as colored rice. Yep… not much doing here.

However… Siamo Nel Forno, which my friend Allie Lazar has talked up on the show quite a bit during the Pizza Wars of Buenos Aires, was surprisingly good. Other friends of ours from San Telmo Loft asked us to join and also talked up the quality, “differentness” and “focus on crust” – whatever that means.

And lo and behold… the crust was awesome.

Don’t get me wrong… this is one arena where Fernando, my pinko porteno partner and I agree: there is no such thing as too much cheese and Guerrin and La Mezzetta have quite possibly the best pizza on earth (and certainly in Buenos Aires).

But Siamo Nel Forno, in Palermo Hollywood, was a nice change. Cooked in a wood oven, with a thin, doughy crust and a modest amount of sauce and cheese, I was surprised by its charm and quality. Combine that with a nice ambiance and decent service… if you bring your 20% off La Nacion Club card its actually a good value.

We also tried the calzone with ricotta, mozarella and sausage. It had zip, full flavor, and even spice… again made with the floury chewy dough.

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Fer’s New York Notes, part 1

Siempre estamos hablando de expats en Buenos Aires, y de como soy el local…así que me dieron ganas de darle una vuelta y empezar a ser un poco yo el extranjero: voy a compartir algunas observaciones de mi viaje a Nueva York en 2010.

We are always talking on the show about expats in Buenos Aires, with me being the local…so I felt like turning things a bit upside down and start being the foreigner myself a little: I’ll be sharing some observations and notes I took last year during my trip to New York

En esta edición, algo sobre las porciones: qué exageradas. Y encima, te advierten que capaz que te quedás con hambre, como nos pasó a mi mujer Li y a mí, en un TGI Friday’s, a una cuadra de Grand Central. Nos pedimos una Caesar Salad para los dos, como entrada, y la moza nos advirtió que la porción era “para uno”. El plato que llego a la mesa parecía una fuente de la que servir a varios platos, como si fuera la ensalada para un asado de seis personas.

In this edition, let me just say something about portions: they are an exageration. And not only that: waiters warn you that you may end up feeling hungry after eating them. That is what happened to my wife Li and myself, at a TGI Friday’s one block away from Grand Central. We ordered a Caesar Salad for the two of us, as a starter, and the waitress told us it wasn’t enough for two people. We dared to ignore her, and the dish that was brought to the table was comparable to a salad bowl that would accompany a six-people asado in Argentina.

No tengo fotos de la ensalada, pero sí poseo evidencia de una taza de café negro gigantesca, en Junior’s de Times Square. Estaba frío para cuando llegué a la mitad de esa bañadera. I don’t have pictures of the salad, but I do have evidence of some massive portions in NY, a troll-sized cup of black coffee at Junior’s in Times Square.  I have to say the coffee was cold for my taste by the time I had drank half of that bathtub.

Y de un sandwich de salame en Katz’s, que solo pudimos comer una mitad entre los dos. El resto me lo tuve que llevar y terminarlo al otro día. And I have a photograph of a salami sandwich at Katz’s. Only half of it could be eaten between the two of us. The rest I had to take away and deal with it the following day.

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Cheat Sheet for Episode 7, Season 2

Slutwalk:Marcha de las Putas. This is the origin of it. Lemi: One of the organizers of the BA chapter of it, which took place on August 19, 2011, starting at the Obelisk square, through the Parliament area.

Ashley Baldwin (UK) and Sharon Haywood (Canada), appeared on an episode 20 of Season 1 to promote an event called Endangered Species.
Piropos Ashley mentions“Sos un Angel que se cayo del Cielo”: “You’re an angel that fell from the sky”

“Hola flaca, qué linda que sos”: “Hi, girl, you’re so beautiful”.

PIROPEADOR Disculpá, señorita, tenés novio. ASHLEY estoy casada PIROPEADOR ah, perdón sos muy linda:  Sorry Miss, you have a boyfriend…no, I am married…I am sorry, you are very beautiful.

“¿Ni un pete me das??”: Not even a blowjob for me?

Adrian Bono   Journalist at the Buenos Aires Herald and the Argentina Independent publications
Simon Kofoed British political blogger
Electoral vs. Popular Votes.   Argentina had electoral votes until the Constitutional reform of 1994, that introduced direct vote…many analists pointed out that a result of that was the predominance of the Greater Buenos Aires area in elections, the population is 9 million people. Almost 25% of the total of the country.Macri… Daniel is speaking about the incumbent Buenos Aires City Mayor

Expanish Spanish School is one of our sponsors.

“Qué se yo”, says Leslie, which means literally what do I know, but in this context is more like what do I care.

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Get Massive Discounts on Restaurants

And I mean MASSIVE!

On the link below, you can see that there are coupons that go up to 50% off certain restaurants around town. Then there are some that give 40% off and tons and tons that give 30% or 25%.

The link above is part of a Guia Oleo promotion that I think goes on weekly, but my wife really knows more about it than me. You can contact her through her blog at:`

So we tried several new restaurants through this promotion. Our favorite was Aire Creacocina which is on Bonpland and Gorritti in Palermo Hollywood. What is refreshing about this place is that it has actual creations for food! Not just the same old parrilla and so forth. They have a fantastic lamb dish, a duck, a bondiola and my favorite was an appetizer with my favorite achura… mollejas (sweetbreads). But these were not mollejas a la parrilla which is the standard way to serve them.

These were mollejas al limon. The strong and think lemon sauce was poured over what looks to be stir fried vegetables and sweetbreads. Now that is an interesting combination of ingredients. So much so that I have already been back.

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The Dedo Problem: Fingers Are Not Toes

I was looking at my fingers (dedos) today and I started thinking about how hard it is to say “De de dedo” which is the Spanish equivalent of “D as in dog”.

Why is it that my toes (dedos) have the same word as fingers in Spanish? They clearly have different uses. I cannot type with my toes for example and I cannot run on my hands.

I do understand that they are essentially analagous extremities and have ultimately the same bone structure. I also understand that it is common and frequent to use the modifier “de pie” when referring to toes (“dedos de pie”). But this is not always the case.

“Me cayo en el dedo” says an Argentine. So what does that mean? Did something fall on your finger or on your toe?

Then I started thinking about whether there is an English equivalent to this so called “dedo” problem. There is no body part in English that is like this except for cheeks. And ironically cheeks in Spanish (nalgas) are also used for both the cheeks on your face and butt cheeks.

So why is it that these two appendages which clearly have different functions and uses got the same name?

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S2, Ep 7: The BA Slutwalk and Friendly-Unfriendly Piropos

We covered La Marcha de las Putas of Buenos Aires and took advantage of the ocassion to explore the issue of piropos (are they all  catcalls?), with organizer Veronica Lemi and activists Sharon Haywood and Ashley Baldwin.

Also: closing the topic of the month -Elections and Electoral Systems- we talk with guests Adrian Bono (journalist from the BA Herald and the Argentina Independent) and British political blogger Simon Kofoed. There’s something about electoral vs popular vote, and bland campaigning in Argentina.

And Argentina’s Public National Radio political commentator Hernan Brienza, with a piece on why practically nobody identifies himself in Argentina as a “conservative” or “right-winger”.

And more!


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Forced to be a Ballot Captain

El título puede desorientar, ya que se pensaría que me estoy refiriendo a mí (en la foto, presidiendo una mesa en las elecciones primarias del 14 de agosto pasado). En mi caso me ofrecí como voluntario para ejercer ese cargo.

Estoy hablando de los casos en los que los Presidentes de Mesa son seleccionados en el momento de los comicios, casi a la fuerza. Eso sucede cuando las autoridades designadas y notificadas mediante telegrama no se presentan el día de las elecciones. En ese caso, las fuerzas de seguridad que custodian la escuela en donde se vota, tienen el poder de obligar a cualquier ciudadano que se presente a votar a cumplir las funciones de Presidente de Mesa, para garantizar el derecho a voto a todos. En ningún caso puede quedar una mesa sin autoridades, ya que implicaría que unas cuatrocientas personas se quedaran sin votar.

Esto es algo que todo el mundo sabe, y es por eso que la mayoría de los votantes evitan ir temprano a sufragar. La mayoría se presentar alrededor del mediodía, antes o después de la hora del almuerzo.


The title might be misleading, and you may think I’m refering to myself (in the picture, I’m carrying out my duties as Ballot Captain in the August 14 elections). In my case I volunteered to do the 1-day job.

I’m referring to those cases in which Captains are picked on the spot, the day of the elections, practically by force. That happens when the  already appointed Captains –who are informed by telegram of their designation- fail to show up at the polling station they should be managing.

In that case, security forces in charge guarding the school and the electoral process, are entitled to randomly picked any citizen who comes to vote, and put that person in charge of a Mesa Electoral. You can’t refuse, as it’s a civic duty. The purpose of this is to guarantee the right to vote, as no station can be left without authorities, since that would mean that some 400 people wouldn’t be able to cast their vote.

And that’s the reason why most voters don’t go early to vote, so they are not forced to be Presidente de Mesa. The majority comes to vote around noon, before or after lunchtime.  



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Season 2, Episode 6: Mandatory vs. Voluntary Vote

A chamuyo session on voting, apathy, participation and Jesus riding a dinosaur.

With Adrian Bono, a journalist for The Buenos Aires Herald and the Argentina Independent.

And UK political blogger Simon Kofoed.

Plus a Spanglish Playground piece on more Spanish words to UN-learn in Buenos Aires.







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Rumination on Spanglish Culture

Am I of Spanglish culture now? Am I Argenamerican? Or is it Ameritino? On Monday Fer and I did some really fun songs, one of which you will hear tomorrow. It’s about mandatory voting vs. voluntary voting done to the beats of House of Pain.

Living in Argentina me salen unas palabras en Castellano pero siempre. And it’s that easy to go back and forth entre los dos idiomas. Start a sentence with one, y terminar con el otro.


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Season 2, Episode 5: Dan en el Cuarto Oscuro

Dan en el Cuarto Oscuro

Continuing with Elections and Electoral Systems, the topic of the month, we go with Daniel to vote for the first time in Argentina.

Also, former expat Lindsey Hoshaw provides via Skype from Boston a “Top 5 Things Americans love about Buenos Aires”

Spanglish Playground: Expressions to make excuses.


[button link=”″ type=”icon” icon=”paper”]The cheat sheet is available here! [/button]


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