By Alex Mehlin
It’s nine p.m. a crowd is beginning to gather outside of La Cabrera, one of Buenos Aires premier steak house. To the applause of porteños and tourists alike, complimentary champagne is liberally served, fueling the multi lingual conversation of the waiting diners.
Having just spent the last nine months bumming through South America Alaena, Mike, Zach, Matthais and I stood in a crowd of well-to-do citizens. It was all we could do but to laugh. Our ragged clothes, the best we own, stood in harsh contrast to the evening dresses and suits surrounding us.
It was our second night in Buenos Aires and thanks to a generous gift from Mrs. McNett we were going out for dinner. We were quickly learning that dinning in BA is an event.
After a healthy amount of champagne, Mike’s name was called and we parted the cast of diners. Entering the restaurant the essence of grilled meat iodated our senses. The gentle hum of conversation, clinking silver and crystal floated through the air.
We were seated to an assortment of spreads and a basket of freshly baked bread. Our waiter soon approached, “would you prefer your service in Spanish or English?” He asked as he handed out a distinguished wine list.
We looked over the list of steaks ranging from 800 gram tenderloins to 400 gram t-bones. Sneaking looks at other tables we quickly realized we were going to leave very full.
Our waiter soon approached and we ordered a bottle of Malbec, a celebrated Argentine blend hailing from Mendoza, and starters of; Tortilla of Artichoke, Hearts of Palm salad and a Sundried Tomato, Prosciutto and Mozzarella spread.
In Argentine fashion our meal leisurely came together. With the second bottle of wine our steaks arrived. Cooked to a perfect medium, our 600 gram hulks of beef steamed before our eyes. Argentina steak houses seem not to mind tarnishing their steaks, as ours sat surrounded by a battalion of sauces.
We cut our portions of steak off the two slabs of rib eye filling the table. Between pallet cleansing sips of fine wine we passed the sauces; apple sauce, spicy marinated peppers, pesto, homemade golf sauce, spinach spread and a variety of others. Unable to determine the best we dabbled in all.
We laughed and joked at the turn of events that put us in Buenos Aires as we enjoyed our meal.
Our bill casually arrived under a tree of lollipops, allowing us enough time to take our final sips of wine and digest. Calmly, Mike opened the leather bound booklet, uneasy at what the potentially disastrous total may be he glanced in.
He quickly closed it smiling. Moments later, bursting and buzzing we walked out of the restaurant only $125 dollars the poorer.
Delighted we watched the city lights pass by from the window of our cab. It was only 12 o’clock and we were in Buenos Aires, a city where the party does not stop till 6 am. We met up with the rest of the Gypsies and rounded off the evening we a few night caps in the barrio of San Telmo before retiring to our clean sheets and soft mattresses.