Ten Tips For Surviving The Next Corte de Luz

With electrical usage way up and insufficient power generation to handle the demand, rolling power outages are the order of the day in Buenos Aires. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the next outage:

– First of all, control your energy consumption. The hospital and elderly home down the street need the power a lot more then you need to run the air conditioner at 18 degrees.

-It’s not a bad idea to acclimate yourself in advance to using the stairs for when their is no elevator. If you live on the twelfth floor, take the stairs a couple of times a week and build up those great calf muscles.

– Security can be an issue when the power goes out. Be aware of your surroundings and be careful who you let in the building.

– Depending on the size of the tanks on the roof of your building. Once the power goes out you may soon run out of running water. Prepare yourself by keeping as many containers of water as possible handy. No need to generate more trash by buying bottled water if you are only going to use it for washing dishes, flushing toilet, etc. Just save any old plastic bottles, tupperware, old coffee jars, etc. and fill ’em up and put ’em under the sink.

– Fill the bidet in order to have water to flush the toilet

– A watering can for plants can provide a sorely-needed shower in desperate circumstances, especially if you have a friend to help you pour.

– Fill several tupperware containers with water and freeze them to preserve your food. Leave some in the freezer and move some to the fridge when the power goes out to keep your food cold.

– Put your flashlight with extra batteries in a specific place by the door and remember to put it back whenever you use it.  Avoid candles, the fire department is busy enough this time of year.

-Plan on travel delays. Porteños are very vocal in their disapproval of power outages. Don’t be surprised to find burning piles of garbage piled up in intersections of affected areas.

-Don’t forget about any elderly or disabled people who may live in your building. Drop by and make sure they are ok. Offer to help carrying groceries or water up the stairs if you are able-bodied.

-Relax. Carry on. It should be back in a few hours.

Photo Source: parabuenosaires.com

Top 5 Argentine Craft Beer Pubs

Article by Claire McKeever.

When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I have to say that my go to drink was a glass of Malbec.  However, on closer inspection, I’ve been so impressed by the selection of artisan/craft beer on offer, and the inviting pubs it’s served in, that a well brewed pint has often been just as appealing (especially a honey based one).

Even after Oktoberfest has ended, you don’t need an excuse to share a few beers and enjoy some of Buenos Aires’ best locally brewed craft beer:

A new kid on the block, Otra Vuelta keeps it simple with a selection of two artisan beers on tap and a fridge full of honey, light, dark and even smoked based brews (local and international). It may be light on pint choices but its ski-lodge esque interior, friendly staff, excellent happy hour and complimentary snacks (a very important part of the craft beer experience) keeps me coming back for more.

  • Gurrachaga 1324, Palermo.
  • Happy Hour 18:00-21:30.
  • Opening hours: 18:00 – 14:00.

A popular chain of artisan beer pubs, Antares has spread its wings for very good reason. With a wide selection on tap, happy hour and locations across the city (as well as across Argentina), it’s often a good choice if you’re wanting a decent beer and lively atmosphere. There have been times I’ve visited when doors have closed due to limited capacity (especially during happy hour) so make sure you make it in good time to get your order in.

  • Las Canitas, Palermo (Armenia 1477) & San Telmo (Bolivar 491).

Source: Buller Pub

If you find yourself in Recoleta and in need of something exciting to quench your thirst after all that sightseeing then I would recommend this place. Its beer garden, very cool ¼ pint tastings and the fact it is all made in-house makes it a real treat. Rest assured you can also order a ‘proper’ pint if that’s what you’re after. There’s also a base in ‘microcentro’ but unless you want to nestle a pint amidst lots of office workers then you’re best to stick to the Recoleta version.

  • Presidente Roberto M. Ortiz 1827, Recoleta / Paraguay 428, Microcentro (city centre).
  • Happy Hour 6-8pm.
  • Weekdays open from 12:00 / Saturday from 21:00.

This place is pretty magical. I must admit it is lacking when it comes to offering as wide a selection as other artisan beer locations across the city (at least when I’ve visited as half the menu hasn’t been available) but the fact you’re sat in the middle of trees and fairy lights makes it quite special. It’s definitely worth a visit and again, you’ll find another great happy hour if you’re wanting to grab a bargain.

  • Malabia 1401, Palermo.
  • Opening hours 18:00 until …

It’s no surprise that an Irish inspired pub makes it on my list. What I love about Breoghan’s is not only the selection of own-brewed beers but also the authentic surroundings; its bricked walls, wine barrels used as tables and old school seating making you feel like you’re in a ‘real’ pub. Happy hour is more unofficial and signalled with a bell so hopefully you’ll not miss on that.

  • Bolivar 860, San Telmo.
  • Opening hours: 18:00 until …

Searching for the Perfect Bondiola

Bondiola is a particular cut of pork, unique in its dimensions and presentation, that can be found at any typical restaurant in Buenos Aires.  Taken from  the shoulder and neck, its nearest North American equivalent would be the Boston Butt, but porteños usually don’t cook it as an entire roast like the yanquis. You can find bondiola in  fiambre (lunchmeat) form or ready for the asador at your local carniceria.

The sandwich de bondiola, with luscious, thick slices of  pork and salsa criolla or chimichurri or even barbacoa (if your tastes lie that way) is one of the flavors you can’t miss when you come to Buenos Aires.   Head down to Costanera Sur in Puerto Madero to sample this reasonably priced delicacy made by a professional. With an array of fresh veggies and salsas to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Order it completo  if you want them to add ham, cheese and a fried egg on top of all that delicious pork. Your vegetarian friends can order a provoleta sandwich if they are unfortunate enough to be trying to eat in BA.

For the gourmet experience, try the bondiola rellena at your favorite BA steakhouse. Imagine tender, exquisite pork stuffed with plums, mushrooms, or even bacon if you are a glutton for porkishment. The bondiola mechada con panceta at La Cabrera comes highly recommended, if not a little pricy. No matter how you slice it, bondiola is a savory delight you can’t pass up when you visit Buenos Aires.

My favorite wine tastings in Buenos Aires

I have been to a few wine tastings in Buenos Aires (in the Palermo Soho area) over the years and here are my three favorites. In general, these tastings last about 2 hours.


The space is very private (there is no sign out front, you have to sign up to get the address) with an almost VIP feeling, the room is very large and elegant with many nicely set tables, elegant furnishings, posh bathrooms, and a large wraparound terrace. This is priciest wine tasting on my list, but if you don’t mind spending the money it is definitely worth it.

At the tasting we tried 5 wines (1 sparkling wine, 1 white, 1 rosé, and 2 reds) of generous pours and I was offered refills on 2 glasses. Plus, each wine had its own food pairing, starting with canapés (topped with spreads, herbs, nuts and fruits) for the sparkling wine; then mini sorbet cups (mango and strawberry) for the white wine; then a “picada” (platter) that included salami, several very nice cheeses, pickled eggplant, bread, crackers and a couple of spreads served with the rosé wine; followed by a traditional beef empanada to accompany the first red wine (Bonarda) and then delicious dark chocolate truffles to accompany the Malbec. You probably won’t find such an elaborate, elegant and well-planned out wine and food pairing option in Buenos Aires (where each food pairing has been carefully selected to complement the flavor of the wine) which is probably one of the reasons it’s more expensive. Also, the sommelier was a native English speaker (from England) with a degree in wine and lots of charisma. She taught us a lot about wine, and I even learned the history of Malbec wine and where it comes from (hint: France) for the first time after years of living in Argentina and going to wine tastings. Something unique about Anuva is that the sommelier works for Anuva wines, not for a specific bodega, so they select wines from several different bodegas for the tasting.

They do tastings every afternoon/early evening except for Sundays, and have lots of space and seating (they told me that in high season they could have up to 50 people or more at a tasting!) so booking won’t be a problem as long as you reserve in advance, and you will definitely have your own seat and place setting.


A beautiful and quite large bodega that sells quality wines from all over Argentina, with a stylish interior and wine tastings every night. The tasting room has a high c-shaped glass table with stools around it that is right by a large window that faces the street (so everyone walking by can check you out during the tasting; meaning its not very private).

I’ve been to Lo de Joaquin a few times, and while the price is very reasonable, I’ve found that the tastings are hit or miss. But when they are good, they are very good and you definitely get your money’s worth (the wine tastings are a great deal here). Unlike Anuva Wines, Lo de Joaquin has a sommelier come from a specific bodega and do a tasting of wines from that bodega. For example, one time the sommelier, a french girl who was bilingual in English and Spanish and extremely knowledgeable about the bodega she worked for and wine in general, actually taught us a lot about wine and how to properly taste it. We were there for about 2 hours with her, and she was generous with the wine (we had a couple of refills on the 4 wines we tried). Another time, however, the sommelier didn’t speak any English, didn’t make any effort to speak clearly or slow down so that the foreigners could understand or so that the staff could translate, and she seemed like she was in a rush to get out of there (the tasting lasted about 30 minutes). Plus, we only tasted 3 wines, one small pour each, and they weren’t very good. But I have to admit that the staff made an effort to compensate for the disappointing tasting by bringing out a couple bottles from the bodega (including a nice reserve) for us to drink after the sommelier had left.

After the tastings the staff at Lo de Joaquin always bring out a modest meat and cheese “picada” (a few kinds of cheeses and salami) accompanied with crackers and bread and they let you hang around a bit (and encourage you to buy a bottle to drink there if you do so).

They do tastings most nights of the week and the table seats about 20 so booking isn’t a problem, just make sure you reserve in advance.


This is a very local wine tasting, so I’m not sure if it would be possible to go to a tasting in English; I haven’t heard of that option and the times I’ve gone it has always been in Spanish, the customers were argentines and foreigners (us) that live in Buenos Aires and speak Spanish well. But if you can speak Spanish this is definitely the most affordable tasting on this list (plus they let you use half as credit towards a bottle of wine from the tasting), and the food they offer is quite good, pours are quite generous (and you are usually offered a refill on every pour, sometimes more than one) and the sommeliers are knowledgeable (like with Lo de Joaquin they come from different bodegas around Argentina; meaning you’ll be trying wines from one specific bodega, and although my experiences have been good, it could be hit or miss because of this). The food they offer is usually potato wedges with guacamole, as well as a meat and cheese “picada” with an elegant bread and cracker basket.

The bodega is small (just one room) but has high ceilings so it doesn’t feel cramped. However, they just have one large table in the center with about 6 chairs and another small table near by with a few chairs, so it is likely that you will be standing for the tasting if there are a lot of people. Tastings are usually once a week (Thursdays or Fridays) and you have to book in advance.

Happy tasting!!


Conversation Nights with LV Studio

The very first week that I arrived here in Buenos Aires, about 7 months ago, I attended a conversation night at LV Studio. I was a little nervous and hesitant about going, but I figured that I needed to take a chance and try some new things in order to meet more people and really practice my Spanish.

    When I arrived there were two other people there, one young woman from Germany and another young man from Australia. The three of us had a great class with a very helpful teacher who had been born and raised in Buenos Aires and after we all went to dinner and to have some drinks. The three of us hit it off right away. Months later the guy from Australia returned to his home country and the woman from Germany and I continue to grab coffee occasionally or meet each other for a Saturday night drink. She has become one of my closest friends.

After a couple of months working for LV Studio as an English teacher, I was asked to teach the conversation nights. Now, I try to alternate. Some Friday nights I am the teacher for the English students and other nights, I participate as a student practicing her Spanish. However, I have found that no matter what role I find myself playing, I always enjoy myself. I find myself meeting some pretty awesome people from all over the world, enjoying a beer and learning a million new things (whether they be in English or Spanish).

There is always a friendly face to welcome any and all newcomers to Buenos Aires and always a good time waiting to be had.

If you haven’t ever tried a conversation night with LV Studio or if you’ve gone maybe once, but haven’t returned, I highly suggest that you try it. You never know who you’ll end up meeting.

See you there!


Kissed by an Argentine

Shortly after proclaiming to my closest friends and family that I’d be moving to Buenos Aires, I was met with a myriad of questions. “What will you do for work?” “How will you learn the language?” Not surprisingly, however, I also fielded a number of questions (from my female friends, of course), which revolved around one thing: Argentine men.

Their reputation precedes them; they are men with charming looks, smooth words, and exquisite taste.  Are you interested in being a part of their world? Are you, the curious female reader, interested in being kissed by an Argentine?

You are foreign, so you’ll instantly be intriguing to them. And, true, Argentina is home to some of the world’s best kissers.  However, you’ll want to choose wisely, as it is also home to some of the world’s worst kissers (I cannot disclose how this information was obtained!)

Follow these 3 simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to being kissed by an Argentine.

1) Eat.

And, eat liberally. Don’t pick and prod at your meal, enjoy it! There are few things an Argentine man enjoys more than to see his woman gleefully digging into the 4th course of the Asado he prepared. Just trust me on this one. If I had one US dollar for every man that has happily stated, “Wow! You really like to eat!” during a meal, then I would be able to run my own blue market money exchange operation.

 2) Don’t be crazy.

I’ve talked at length with various men about why they seem to enjoy foreign women so much. The most common response? Foreign women aren’t crazy. Simply put, many Argentine women hold their men on a short leash: they’re jealous, unappreciative, and complain, while also being obsessive about their looks. Argentine men are experts at treating women like queens. In return, express your gratitude! Stroke their ego! And, give them some personal space! Remember, it’s not all about you and he wouldn’t mind if you asked him a few questions about his day, too.

 3) Be open.

You’re living in a foreign country. Choose your company wisely; however, once you’ve chosen to invest in a certain man, open your heart and your mind. You’ll be surprised at all you learn!

So, welcome to the Paris of South America. May your travels be happy, and your kisses dulce!

Friday Conversation Night 4/10: Language Practice, Empanadas, and Salsa Dancing!

Empanada and salsa dancing Conversation Night was great! After the Spanish and English conversation classes, which were held at LV Studio Palermo, we headed across the street to our favorite local empanada shop for a bite to eat. We had an interesting mix of people – from the United States, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Holland! 


 After a few beers and some empanadas, and lots of great conversation in English and Spanish, a few of us made our way to meet up with Kiwan, an lvstudio Spanish student from Korea and advanced salsa dancer, at La Salsera for a night of salsa dancing.  We had a blast, so a huge thanks to everyone that came out with us!

CONVERSATION NIGHT IS EVERY FRIDAY, READ MORE AND SIGN UP HERE: http://www.lvstudioweb.com/conversation-night/

Mataderos Street Market

 The Mataderos street market is located in the western part of the city in the barrio of the same name.  It’s a great place to enjoy handicrafts, delicious local food and traditional folk music. It’s full of tradition that makes you feel like you’ve been taken back to the time of the gaucho. Unlike other markets in the center of Buenos Aires, it’s full of Argentine tradition with live music and traditional dance that create a great atmosphere in the central square of the Mataderos market. Surrounded by big parillas (Argentine barbecues) and over a 100 craft stalls, there is plenty to see and to try. If you’re lucky, there might even be a gaucho horseback competition right in the middle of the square! Normally the competition starts around 3:00 pm on the main street. Beside watching the horseback competition and the traditional music acts, also give yourself time to discover all the food that is sold at and around the square. You might want to try tasting some dulce de leche, artisanal cheese, salami or some homemade licuados or wine. Everything sold here is homemade and sold at reasonable prices. The vendors are super friendly and willing to tell you everything about the products they sell. If all this tasting made you hungry, it’s time to head back to the square for some traditional lunch. There is a huge offering of typical Argentine food like empanadas, locro (traditional soup), choripan (bread with a chorizo sausage) or tamales (a mix of sweet potato and meat in corn leaves). Be sure to try the empanadas and the choripan, Mataderos is one of the best places to eat those! Had enough food? Take a walk around the handicraft stalls, you might want to buy a souvenir to bring back home. Can’t wait to visit this spectacular market?
It’s quite a bus ride to get to Mataderos, expect to be on the bus for about an hour, buses that go there are: 36, 55, 63, 80, 92, 97, 103, 117, 141, 155, 180 and 185.

An Englishman’s struggles with language abroad

I started travelling late in 2009 and like a lot of Englishmen I had had very little experience with foreign languages, especially when compared to other Europeans. There isn’t an emphasis on learning languages in the UK like in other countries. Also, I would be lying if I said I didn´t have a slightly bullish attitude to foreign languages, in that I expected everyone else to speak enough English for me to get by. Travelling throughout India I found communication to be a mixed bag. Most people spoke good English in the southern states (it is the official language) but up north it was either very broken or nonexistent. Getting about wasn’t too hard but it was a shame that due to my lack of Hindi I couldn’t form proper friendships with a lot of the great Indians I met.

Last March my wife and I holidayed in Japan and it was the first time I came across such a definitive language barrier. The Japanese were wonderfully polite and you could see that they wanted to help when we asked or enquired, but such distinct and different cultures and languages really did stop any true connection through speaking to one another. As you can imagine there was plenty of body language and pointing from our end and plenty of awkward, polite smiles and bowing from theirs!

An impression I got from experiencing India and Japan, to some degree, was that they didn’t expect foreign travelers to understand their languages. That didn’t make it any easier getting around, but there was an: “Ok, so I can’t understand you, you can’t understand me, let’s work this out the best we can” attitude that helped.

Coming to Argentina has been by far the biggest eye opener in the language stakes. My wife is Argentine but we never talk in Spanish and so I came to Argentina with very little Spanish vocabulary. I have been fortunate because my wife’s family all speak English well enough, but of course tend to talk Spanish when we are together socially. My bullish attitude of expecting everyone to speak English around me has been well and truly shot down!

I have so far struggled to pick up Spanish which has made it difficult at times. I get the impression that there is an expectation to know Spanish when you want to engage with Argentines (and rightly so!) and so understanding conversational Spanish is all the more important.
What I’ve learnt when on the road is that if you want to travel and just do the tourist traps then a limited understanding of that country’s language will get you by, just barely. But, just doing the tourist traps means that you are missing a big part of travelling. Going off the beaten track is how to experience a country’s true culture and people, and this requires you to put effort into learning their language.


Crowdsourcing New Language Skills with Memrise

Looking for a unique and fun way to learn new vocabulary? Memrise is an online learning tool that uses flashcards augmented with mnemonics partly gathered through crowdsourcing and the spacing effect to boost the speed and ease of learning.  

It was founded by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist specializing in the science of memory and forgetting. It works like planting a seed and watering the plant until it has grown into a plant with flowers. After certain periods of time (working alongside the science of how our short, medium and long term memories work) you must water and harvest new seeds to keep learning new vocabulary. You can follow friends and see how they are getting on with their flowers and you gain points which puts you onto a leader board.

It is a great and fun way of learning a new language as well as learning
other things too!