Dinner time is a special time. Here in Argentina, we prefer the traditional barbeque asado over most meals. There's quite a difference between the national asado...and it's North American counterpart: the cookout.
José - what time are we starting the asado?
Get here like three hours in advance. That way, we can drink and talk soccer while the fire burns.
Joe - when does the cookout start?
Burgers will be ready at 6:00.
Wow, José. What kind of firewood is that - alamo or quebracho?
Alamo. The good stuff - really enhances the flavor of the beef.
Joe, how much was that 40-lb bag of Kingsford charcoal?
I got it on sale. You wanna pass me the lighter fluid?
Your choice - we've got ribs, t-bone, sausage, and some tenderloin.
You want cheese on yours?
Of course, I'm having fun, but I will miss the local food as we return home to the United States. This week was highlighted with a special dinner at Azafrán, located along Emilio Civit - Mendoza's main street - overflowing with tourists and locals in the evening. The dinner was a gift from a good friend, and while gift cards do not exist down here, I was given a business card signed by the restaurant's wine manager...with a peso amount written next to his name.
The atmosphere is wonderful - a pleasant, yet rustic, establishment with just a handful of tables inside. Shelves stacked with spice jars line one wall, while dried flowers and garlic braids hang from the ceiling. Among the copper pots and pans are vintage photos of past Vendimia queens - those women voted as the official reinas of wine.
So, let's take a look at the menu...and get to the pictures!
Empanada Trio - Chorizo and Onion, Morsilla and Parmesan, Veal and Mushroom...with a side of diced cherry tomatoes
Almond Crusted Chicken Breast with Buffalo Mozzarella - Garnished with Pumpkin Bites Wrapped in Sautéed Zucchini
14 oz Prime Rib Eye - Served with Roasted Onion stuffed with Truffle Mashed Potatoes
White and Dark Chocolate Parfait - Served over a Brownie with Red Fruit Sauce
Dulce de Leche Creme Brulée - Served with Rice Pudding and a Stroke of Dulce de Leche
It was a wonderful night out on the town. In fact, the last time we ever had dinner reservations was for our sixth wedding anniversary...8 months ago!