TheHowdyBlog « Howdy Buenos Aires

29 May

La Usina de las Artes en noviembre de 2007 se inició el proyecto como sede para la Sinfónica Nacional y la Filarmónica porteña..

May 2012

Dis-used power station in La Boca  – now an arts hub…what’s not to like….

So this abandoned power plant in the once very dodgy La Boca barrio is now housing this… as well as being an arts and cultural hub. This is what Buenos Aires does well.   Address: Caffarena 45, La Boca (and there’s another reason HBA loves Caffarena – damn hard place to get to at night but a hidden jewel lives there…)

March 2012…

For Evita freaks or those going to Buenos Aires and wanting to stalk the Evita map…read this New York Times Article

Fascinating article on The Falkland Islands (or the Las Malvinas) and how their economy is in boom mode since the war … a pessimist would say the conditions are colliding for another complete mess with a populist Government looking for other avenues to explore in lieu of mounting inflation and a general rise in the cost of Argentine living… on other side the Falkland Islanders are very happy with their per capita income indeed!

Read the Washington Times Article

Howdy Buenos Aires  – Three Day Horse Trek in The Andes

Our most recent trip was a horse trek into the Andes – this amateur video is designed to give you a taster – but it doesn’t do the experience, the fine wine, the food nor the company justice.  We arrived in late November on a Friday morning and spent three full days trekking into the Andes – it snowed on the third day (unheard of in Nov) which prevented us from getting to 3500 meters on the back of these very gentle ‘Criollo’ horses -which are bred for their sure-footedness and their gentle nature.

Five things NOT TO DO in Buenos Aires


So you’re off to that sophisticated Belle Epoque wonderland Buenos Aires for a few days – well here are five things to cross off your list if you’re pressed for time:

(After reading other recent blog suggestions, these are my constructive suggestions for those who’ll find navigating this metropolis a challenge time-wise and have only a 3-5 days at hand).

5. Tourist rip-off Parrilla Restaurants  – where they throw you a slab of meat, charge like a wounded bull and have that surly service ethos that spells…no prob another tourist just like you will be in same time tomorrow. A couple to avoid (in this writer’s opinion) are Parrilla La Dorita in Palermo, Gran Parrilla de la Plata in San Telmo (if you do go avoid the male waiter. He’s been there for years and is famous for his over the top Uriah Heep-like uber-false fawning over customers. It’s fingers on a blackboard experience for many)

4. La Boca’s tourism precinctthis is twee and strictly for cruise liner and tour bus folk who want a lovely taste of Argentina all in one place and to put their heads through those cheeky wooden tango dancing cut-outs to have their photo-taken.  La Boca is worth the visit for two things: La Proa Gallery and for those who want to dine at the most famous chef’s restaurant in Argentina; Francis Mailman’s Patagonia Sur – many critics include it in their top 100 restaurants in the world.

3.  The MALBA restaurantDefinitely go to the MALBA for its collection of Latin American modern art…. but go to the attached restaurant only for a coffee and to people watch – this outfit serves up some of the most over-priced mediocrity in Buenos Aires. Hint: grab a seat outside, order a coffee and people watch.

2.Dining or shopping in Puerto Madero -  where the aspirational and very new wealthy hangout while they yearn for Miami. It has a watered down version of Hooters if that’s your thing… Faena + Universe with its Philippe Starck design restaurant was once worth a look but now you have to push your way through Russian businessmen and their ‘girlfriends’ to get to it…

1. Tango Show!This is where tourist and trap form a glorious partnership. The ‘tango show’ outfits that many hotels put you on to and are spruiked in the pedestrianised areas downtown are for suckers with too many US$. By all means ask around the locals for their favourite ‘milonga’ as this is where real locals who dance tango go to be involved with their partner and the music.

Christina vs The Gringos…

Click on the photo for great backgrounder on President Christina Kirchner… well written Telegraph article (although would have to be said UK now practicing a bit of gun-boat diplomacy).  Her and her now deceased husband did what Bill and Hillary only dreamed of doing -sharing the Presidency.  She also happily describes yourself as ‘the queen of botox’…

Like everyone we love…Ateneo Bookshop (El Ateneo) on Avenida Santa Fe 1860 that once grand theatre with its Italian fresco ceiling. (Voted by The Guardian in 208 as the second best bookstore in the world)

January 2012…

Top 10 cities for artistic inspiration:

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011 brings you the cities where history’s best artistic talents had their imagination fired – and left a legacy of their inspiration behind. (Click on photo to go directly to article)

I like the following video as for those who have no idea of the style of BA …this is spot on (although slightly cheesy tourist promotional bent)…

December 2011 – Part II:

Sorting through a mountain of video and photos… that we know will make you go – book me asap… Until then here is a quick once over of the most recent trip (sin video) in latest Facebook Photo Album…click on the pic below to peek (you need to be a facebook member to view)!

December 2011….

We’ve just arrived back from Argentina – testing our new itinerary – 2 nights and 3 days in the Andes – riding horses to 3500 meters – beautiful – and we’ve spent a lot of late nights at a place that can only be explained as a massive run-down warehouse full of punks, tattoos and tango dancers… it’s out there –

And one night six months ago at 2 am in the morning this woman got up and took our hearts away….  She is the perfect symbol for the ‘new Argentina’ a country that’s been ravished by dictatorships, hpyerinflation, banks going bankrupt, a country going bankrupt…oh and a dirty war in the ’70 where thousands were executed… but now there is a wonderful,  young creative community that is simply ‘wow’.

In late 2010, HowdyBA added ‘Howdy Los Andes’ and its high altitude vineyards in Mendoza.

Day two of the itinerary includes meandering on horse at a horse breeding estancia at the foot of the Andes.

These horse riding experiences are for the ‘never ridden’ a horse to the competent. The horses are all very people friendly and the saddles used on these short criollo horses are thick woolen numbers so closer to a lazy-boy chair than the traditional English horse saddle.

Watch this space as the owners of the ‘Estancia Alejandra’ have contacted Howdy Buenos Aires to help design a 2-3 horse trek into the Andes with all food and equipment provided.

Check out Itinerary…2 for more details 

November  2011

Things to do in Buenos Aires in Spring…

Puerto Madero is the new monied gentrified docklands area adjacent to Downtown BA and San Telmo – it’s perfect for a Sunday stroll – and is an acquired taste at other times – or for those who love Russian oligarchs and their girlfriends and brash displays of dosh…HOWEVER here’s three great reasons to explore Puerto Madero:

  1. Faena Arts Center -a new snazzy Latin American contemporary gallery opened only a week ago by the king of Puerto Madero glitz – Alan Faena (he of only wears white at all times infamy)… (check out FAENA + UNIVERSE and you’ll get the picture).The gallery has opened with a commissioned piece Brazilian Ernesto Neto which is a vast knitted work described as ‘unsettling’ The gallery will be a centre of music, art and cultural events.

    and while you here… check out;
  2. Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat art museum;also in Puerto Madero this houses a breathtaking array of Mrs Fortabat’s art… including this portrait of her by Any Warhol. (By the way this woman owned 40 estancias and amassed an art collection worth US$280 million and she’s currently Argentina’s wealthiest woman with a wealth of US$2 billion)

        3.The Ecological Reserve of Buenos Aires:  It’s easy to forget that BA is built on a river bank…why? Because it’s so damn hard to see any river from this city built on totally flat terrain. But cut straight through Puerto Madero and you’ll find the Reserve – which rocks on weekends thanks to the maids and illegal immigrants and more lower income locals who flock here. You’ll find caravan parrillas serving up succulent meat sandwiches (read entry below on choripan and ice cold beer)… and there’s varying degrees of walks into the reserva that will take you to the shores of the Rio de la Plata- perfect for those who need a rest from city bustle.  This photo is taken from The Reserva back to Puerto Madero.

October 2011

Travel Tip Article…very good:

There’s nowhere else like home. When you leave it, much will be different. The coffee won’t taste the same, the Japanese idea of a pillow is probably not what you’re used to and the concept of an orderly queue is unfamiliar to most of the planet. But that’s why you’re going, right? Because it’s not like home.

Yours is not necessarily the right way, or the only way, of dressing or driving. They do things differently in other places for good reasons.

Make the effort to figure out why and your travels – and life – are richer. If travel convinces you there’s no place you’d rather be than home, among people who eat, drive and think as you do, that’s where you belong.

Read more: The Right Way to Go About Going (Sydney Morning Herald)

Things to do in Buenos Aires from August to September-ish….

La Proa - Exhibition; Systems, Actions and Processes. 1965-1975

Mix of the way out and the sublime from Argentine and Latin American artists  that’s ‘diverse’…

I’ve written about The Proa many times as it’s my big reason to go to La Boca… and if you’re really adventurous why don’t you get a good map and walk to La Boca -your starting point should be Parque Lezama (just south of San Telmo)…By the way the following image is not the entrance to La Proa but a 1968 work by Graciela Carnevale – her schtick evidently is locking gallery attendees to her shows in the gallery, hence the broken pane …as you gotta go home sometime. She did the same thing in London – didn’t got down well…

And for Beatles lovers… a complete ‘Beatle-nut has opened a Beatles museum in downtown Buenos Aires. Worth a look for the amount of Beatles  rubb…I mean articles of interest, all 8000 plus. It’s been open a year and here’s an LA Times article featured recently in Howdy Buenos Aires Facebook page (shameless plug)

All you need is love for the Beatles to make a living…
Rodolfo Vazquez of Argentina, who has amassed 8,600 Beatles-related items, runs a wildly popular museum in Buenos Aires. CLICK HERE FOR STORY

Which leads us to a comment on Argentina and ‘Los Beatles’…in short the Argy’s are nuts for and about the Beatles. The fab four never got to the joint…but if you are a Beatles nut than be sure to catch a Beatles impersonation group while you’re in BA… and there’s even a barber that does nothing but Beatles haircuts…READ STORY HERE

Woman’s Day says hello to Howdy Buenos Aires

The latest issue of Woman’s Day asks Howdy Buenos Aires for advice on five ‘cool things’ to do in Buenos Aires…

click the link below for link to full PDF article…

Dennis the Australian…deep in the heart of San Telmo

Meet Dennis who is running the best little ‘hole in the wall’ parrilla in San Telmo. And it’s official as I’ve lead two bunches of very serious foodies there and both groups have fallen in love with the place – evidenced by repeat visits.

Parrillas are big business and ubiquitous in BA… and most of the oufits in San Telmo are tourist traps where you’ll pay 25 bucks for a slab of steak that’s been nuked. So Howdy Buenos Aires says wander down Chacabuco in San Telmo (Block 1000) between
Carlos Calvo and Humberto Primo and you’ll see a wee BBQ joint …. ask for Dennis and tell him Howdy Buenos Aires sent you and you’ll be well looked after.

Now on your first visit you have to try either Choripan (A chorizo sandwich) or Bondiola which is the Argentina pork sandwich….with an ice cold beer…ahhhh.
Dennis has an Australian mum and an Argentine dad. He was born in Brisbane and set up this most pure of Argentine businesses two years ago – and thanks to his hard work and quality of product and service he is roaring!

Here’s the simple choripan that hooks so many…

June 2011

Back to Law School…

Howdy Buenos Aires has been in Argentina since the end of March… I am pooped but ‘muy satisfied’. This final week have a great ‘small group’ consisting of the wonderful Gillian and her delightfully, laid-back daughter Steph (who took the photos- a great eye!).

At one of my favourite haunts in BA – a ‘working mans’ pizza joint in Corrientes we ran into a lawyer who offered to show us around the country’s largest public law school – The University of Buenos Aires Law School – where wealthy or poor you can apply to do law and 25ooo currently study. Only 50% of the teachers get paid and the rest volunteer. Built in the 40’s under Juan Peron it’s a direct ‘Greek’ design lift.

Our guide Matias was a true gentleman who during the day also has a private practice representing injured workers- so a man of the people as well.

Here’s the first meeting in the pizza joint… piping hot fresh empanadas or pizza from a wood fueled oven for $2.50 a slice and $2 for a glass of house red…

Then the Buenos Aires School of Law the next day…The Law School Entrance Hallway…*one half of it only…

(Author), Gillian and Matias…

The Author…

The star attraction…

25 de Mayo:(May 2011)

It’s Argentina’s National Day or the day Argentina kicked the Spanish out for good

and it’s also the day the nation chows down on ‘Locro’ – corn with ‘various meats’ added and absolutely no green vegetables…but you will get pigs trotters, bone marrow, and beef tripe…hmmm. The word is pre-Colombian Quechua and this little marvel that will keep you going for several days originated in the Andes… Please note the sherry accompaniment…

ArteBA! 2011

120,000 art freaks from across the America’s have just came and gone from ArteBA. The biggest Latin contemporary art show in the world, it’s held at the 30 acre ‘La Rural’ – a park-like convention-centre in the heart of Buenos Aires.

The main exhibitors are the vast array of art galleries from Buenos Aires – an industry that has only popped up in recent years (now in boom mode) They all exhibit their best selling artists. But where it gets interesting is the inclusion of independently curated exhibits by the young and hip…e.g. this year it featured a young and upcoming writer/publisher from Sao Paulo, Brazil with the likes of these individuals picking their ‘up-and-comers’ and most promising artists from around South America.

What follows is a mix of my pics of varying quality…(but you get the idea no?)

For a quick pictorial that captures the action go here

Barracas Morning – Boedo afternoon…

As I have a few days off before next group arrives – I wanted to breakfast in Barracas and lunch in Boedo.

First up Barracas is an old ramshackle neighourhood on the up – and on the up only in the last year. It sits squarely between the now, at times, tourist tired San Telmo and the sometimes badlands of La Boca. But it has a couple of streets that are magnificent. My favourite at the moment is Caseros – and the ‘up’ part is thanks to three beautifully designed restaurants that now sit almost side-by-side on this Avenue. By the way, Barracas first started life as a slave quarters….now its fast becoming the centre of upscale loft apartments

A typical Barracas Building

Breakfast in Barracas

Buena Hierba on Caseros

With Lunch in Boedo… one of my favourite neighourhoods …a true working class neighbourhood but with a couple great places to sit, think and eat… On Saturday evenings between 6-8 there are also several art galleries that open dealing only in modern Argentine artists – a lovely vibe – or ‘buena onda’ as they say here

Pan y Arte, my lunch place;

Older Posts: 5 May 2011

STOP PRESS: Move Over Europe – Argentina Offers Best Value For New Zealand Travellers

(strange press release heading - as when was last time Europe was 'cheap as' for NZ'rs HowdyBA ed) 

Latest Expedia HiFX Foreign Exchange Index reveals top destinations for travellers on the New Zealand Dollar.

rgentina is currently the best-value destination for Kiwi travellers, with the New Zealand Dollar appreciating by over 15% against the Argentinean Peso in the past 12 months. Read More Here

Sunday in San Telmo…

The Peruvian…

Arriving at Auckland Airport yesterday was like, well like, arriving in Argentina – where is your return ticket from Argentina barked the check-in lady…um, ah, um, ah… evidently the official passenger number has now become all important -after a decade of flying in and out of Argentina this is a first. Upstairs she barked again… hell I felt like a stranger in my own hometown. Upstairs was quite complicated and actually existed behind the check-in counter. I’m still in New Zealand at this point. Anyway cleared check-in, cleared customs to end up sitting next to THE PERUVIAN… he had arrived in Australia the day before to ‘learn English’… only to be stopped in his tracks, put in detention and put back on the first plane back to Lima…another 16 hour flight. He is keen man – he told me he had lived six years in ‘Nueva York’ after walking in broad daylight across the US border – told me he dressed like a Yanqui and practiced several sentences in American English he had learned from the movies… He’s a builder by trade (speaks no English) and his eyes lit up when I mentioned there’ll be a lot of work in Christchurch coming up…

Stumbled off the Aerolineas flight, first through the gate…no return ticket check… and end up having a glass of Colome Torrontes with a side of blue cheese, artichoke hearts and almonds at this place…(hey, it’s empty because it’s only 8:30 pm…)

March 2011 Posts follow…

World Malbec Day is…coming!

April 17, 2011 is World Malbec Day… so stay tuned and watch nice little video on Malbec…by the passionate…

With an economy that has taken a severe bashing over the past few decades one would think that the Argentinean city of Buenos Aires could be failing in the shadows of its troubled past. However, with the reputation of being home to “the most beautiful people in the world”, and the burgeoning art, architecture, fashion, food and wine scene, along with the continual strength of its new tourism based economy, Buenos Aires offers visitors an unsurpassed cultural extravaganza… Please read full article here at Denizen

Jetlag and how to beat it… read on…

Travelling across different time zones causes jet lag. Symptoms include fatigue, sleepiness, digestive upsets, impaired judgment, memory lapses and irritability. Jet lag is more severe when travelling in an easterly direction…. here’s how to beat it, and it’s well worthwhile reading the reader feedback comments…

Sydney Morning Herald Today

In Buenos Aires

It’s late and we are back from a Milonga where we watched couples dancing Tango while drinking Fernet-Coca. (!!!)

I’ve been in Buenos Aires with Scott for a few days and the warmth and melancoly of the city is starting to grow into us. I love the cafés, so old they look like stages from silent movies, the sense of drama of argentinians and the bright sun, which made me forget for a second that on the other side of the world, it’s soon to be winter…

And we are already leaving… Read More Here

Published Post: 27th February follows…

The New York Times latest 36 hours in Buenos Aires is well worth a read…we particularly love the suggestion to check out Alejandro Xul Sola -early Cubist and a bit of ‘hep-cat’ who invented contraptions, re-designed pianos and hit the avant garde hard…while still finding time to get into Buddhism and Astrology…

Photo: New York Times

Published Post: 7th February follows…

Ready for the next Argentine Invasion…

At last, great overview of Torrontés. Also the ‘rave’ was given for 2009 Cuma organic torrontés which can be brought

in New Zealand at for $13 a bottle – very good value!

Click on link below for NY Times story:

Ready For the Next Argentine Invasion

Published; 31 January, 2011:

Howdy Buenos Aires Trip Update... From late March until early May Howdy Buenos Aires will be tripping between Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Uruguay.

I have a small group looking for one or two more travellers; Depart 28 April for 10 days in Buenos Aires… you will be assured your own beautiful room in a hip 1950’s apartment in the bohemian part of Buenos Aires.

To give you a flavour, the following are pics of the month by Beatrice Murch – an Argentina-based US photographer – go to her wonderful site – Beatrice Murch Photography for more wonderful pics of Buenos Aires.

This months Argentine rocker is the very talented Kevin Johansen (Argentine mum, Americandad)… What’s interesting is that many of his songs use the typical milonga 2/4 beat used in Argentine tangos. If you are in BsAs look out for one of his concerts you will not be disappointed… The album to buy is City of Zen

Older Posts from November and December 2010 follow on music, Mendoza, wine etc

Great interview with the delightful and ‘out there’ talented Juana Molina who rose to stardom in her teens as a skits comedian and was hugely successful – now check out what’s she done – and she’s sold a ton product doing it…

In 2011 Howdy Buenos Aires is off to the heart of the Argentine wine country … we’ll spend 2 nights in Mendoza and explore high altitude wine making and experience The Andes closeup and the wonderful people. Below is an exquisite introduction to this part of the wine world via a member of an established winery family.


Torrontes is still in the ‘best kept secret’ category when it comes to Argentine wines…but it’s time is very very near. The North American market is going crazy on it – this aromatic white wine – that no one knows how it got to Argentina – a cutting from Spain in the 1500’s supposedly and now Argentina is the only place in the world that produces the Torrontes variety.

Click on the photo below for an NY Times rave about Mendoza as Argentina’s Napa Valley, Torrontes and the art of ‘winery hopping’.

Beatrice Murch who took the stunning photographs for my ‘one week boiler room tango’ story for Alive magazine last year is now making headway as the go-to-gal for great Argentine travel photogrpahy – by none other than the New York Times. Check out Beatrice’s wonderful photogrphy here:

Also for those about to go to Argentina this article on Tigre is a must…just click on the photo here…

Mixing Tango with techno beats is as clearer sign as ever that the young Argentines have re-discovered their roots…this lot is hip at the moment – we saw them on our last trip…

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