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Daniel Shumski

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Posts posted by Daniel Shumski

  1. So for three summers, I've worked for an heirloom fruit farm, mostly at Chicago farmers markets, but also on the farm in Southwestern Michigan.

    Back when I was a market customer, I always asked myself what it would be like to work on the other side of the table. So last season I decided to keep a blog and tell the story.

    The short answer: difficult but fun, with incredible quantities of free fruit.

    The longer answer is on my blog: Fruit Slinger.

  2. Thanks for the tip. I paid a visit today and this place is a good resource. I got a half-kilo loaf of the country bread and it's definitely a step above the endless sea of mediocre mignones.

    I also noticed they had some good-looking biscotti. I almost got some but wanted an excuse to go back, so I left them for next time.

    I would still love to find a bakery that produces a baguette in the style of, say, Fairway in NYC, the Red Hen Bakery in Chicago or La Brea Bakery in L.A. (and now beyond). I am not holding up any of these breads as the ultimate, but they're definitely representative of a type of bread I have yet to see here.

    Any tips on this would be most appreciated.

    Meanwhile, let me pass along the info for another source for pan de campo: El Pequeño Mercado on Vera at Julián Álvarez (along with Masamadre es con M and Providencia) sells a good pan de campo that is similar to the one sold at La Pompeya. The bread is not made on site. It's made at either Providencia (Cabrera 5995) or Masamadre (Olleros 3891), both unpretenscious places worth a visit in their own right.

    El Pequeño Mercado also has a very small selection of olive oil, cheese and wine.

  3. Thank you. I stop by that area a few times a month -- that whole neighborhood is great for finding things (spices, produce, etc.) that are not easily found in other places in the city -- esp. not all in one place.

    Usually I go to Casa China @ Arribenos 2257. In fact, two days ago I was there and I picked up my first fresh passion fruit. Tart and pricey but interesting.

    I'll have to stop by 2163 next time I'm over there. Thanks for the rec.

    -daniel

  4. I have to agree: Seafood does not come naturally to this city. It's not uncommon to see a breaded filet of "merluza" (hake) on some restaurant menus, but anything beyond that requires a little more hunting.

    I'm speaking mostly of places that aren't on the top end. I have heard good things about Oviedo, mentioned earlier in the thread, but I can't exactly make it a regular lunch or dinner spot.

    I lived in Spain for a little bit and enjoyed the appreciation for seafood there. Most recently I lived in Chicago which although far from the ocean has such a vibrant food scene that good seafood was relatively easy to come by. So the relative lack of fish here has been an adjustment. As noted above, Argentina has had a lot of immigration. The Italian immigration shows up in the food and the Spanish immigration does too, BUT this does not seem to extend to a seafood tradition. Oh well.

    Peruvian restaurants are indeed a good bet for some seafood and I can recommend one I found to be solid. It's called Status, and it's in what I would call the Congreso area. The service was friendly, the prices were reasonable. I went for lunch on a weekday and there were very few people there, I'm not sure what the scene would be like at other times.

    I had the ceviche and a side of potatoes in a creamy sauce. I'm not a Peruvian cuisine expert, so I can't go into how it might compare to other places, but I enjoyed my meal.

    As another seafood aside, fish markets aren't too difficult to find. In my experience, the selection can be limited but that said, I've been able to get some very fresh fish. The only problem I had was deciding what the hell it is I was buying. My Spanish is good, but I've decided a lot of these critters don't exist in the States, so the names just aren't going to mean much to me. A little trial and error -- and asking the fishmonger for tips -- helps, though.

    I also sometimes make use of a few web sites that have the scientific names of fish found in Argentina, and then cross-reference those with a site that gives English common names for scientific names of fish. [Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands to contemplate fish names].

    My favorite fish market is on Corrientes between Estado de Israel and Lambare. [They also sell Jewish breads: challah, etc.] They have a good selection of prepared fish foods, too: seafood salads, etc.

    Finally, a seafood pet peeve: I have yet to come to terms with the prevalence of "krab" here. Kani-kama has taken over the city. (I know it's more economical than real crab, but I would just as soon see another fish entirely). Phew. Glad I got that off my chest.

    www.restaurantstatus.com.ar

    Virrey Cevallos 178 - Ciudad de Buenos Aires

    Tel: 4382-8531

    Good list of fish often seen in markets/on menus here:

    http://www.harengus.com/english/species.html

    . . . from which you can pull the scientific name and pop it in here:

    http://www.fishbase.org/search.cfm

    Hope this helps someone.

    -dan

  5. Hi-

    I can second the recommendation for Il Matterello, but would think twice about the desserts (go have ice cream at Persicco if you want dessert). I've been there twice and both times had truly fantastic appetizers and pasta.

    The first time I had as an appetizer ricotta croquettes, which had a taste of lemon to them. Very simple and very tasty. My main course was semolina fussili with putanesca sauce. The pasta was so good it would have been delicious without sauce. The sauce, though, was really something else! Very flavorful and with a very assertive anchovy flavor. Amazing.

    On the dessert menu were a few different kinds of tarts. I ordered pear because I knew they were in season. The pears, sadly, seemed to be from a can. It was disappointing, but I have to say that it did not really change my opinion of the place -- just taught me that I should look elsewhere for dessert. My dining companion got flan and it was fine.

    The second time I went, I had an eggplant, tomato and onion appetizer, and ricotta and vegetable ravioli with tomato sauce as an entree.

    My only other word of advice on this place is that both times I've gone, it seems to have been operating on an early schedule by local standards. For lunch, we showed up at 2.45pm and were told the kitchen was closing. For dinner, we got there about 10.15/10.30 and were the last ones to be seated -- everybody else was on dessert by that time.

    My other recommendation would be Bar Uriarte. I have not been to Sucre, but this is by the same owner(s), I believe. The food at Bar Uriarte was very good -- from what we ordered, the pizzas were the least successful item. Desserts here were excellent. I had a chocolate mousse with berry sauce and orange flan with almond cream resting in milk chocolate/cinnamon soup. I'm not a milk chocolate fan, but this was good.

    Hope you enjoy your trip. . .

  6. Hello-

    One of my challenges in moving to Buenos Aires has been finding reliably good, fresh produce. It's great to see so many corner produce stands with the fruits and vegetables so colorfully displayed. But, unfortunately, I've been burned by mediocre stuff too many times. A produce buyer for a local grocery store confirmed to me that much of the best that this country grows is for export.

    That, and the fact that back in Chicago I belonged to a CSA, drove me to seek out some alternatives to my neighborhood fruit stand.

    One place I came across (by asking the manager of Bio, a vegetarian restaurant in Palermo Hollywood that was good but overpriced) is called La Orgánica. Their number is 4911.7601. (I don't know if there is anyone there who speaks English, FWIW). They only do delivery. If you call, they will tell you what day of the week they deliver in your area. Then you can call the day before to put in your order, according to what is in season and available. Beyond produce, they have what you might call "pantry staples" -- organic flour, olive oil, etc. They also have bread, milk and some cheese. They deliver a catalog with your first order.

    My experience with them was very positive -- the fruit and vegetables were all top-notch. The basil came verdant and lovely with its roots still intact, the easier to keep it fresh in some water. The carrots came with the tops still on. The tangerines and oranges were ugly but delicious. Grapes and plums were excellent, too. I also ordered cucumbers, arugula and radicchio. Possibly something else I'm forgetting. My fridge looks like a greenhouse.

    The only "problem" is that the minimum order is 35 pesos -- which is a LOT of produce for, say, one or two people. But you can fill out the order with the pantry staples -- or just prepare to eat a LOT of produce (I was sort of used to this idea, having been inundated with CSA produce in the past).

    This is my first post. I'm hoping my little bit of legwork here helps someone and takes some of the mystery out of getting hold of good organic ingredients -- or just good ingredients period -- in Buenos Aires.

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