We got up late again, even after I got up it was some time before Viv aroused. So we did not do much before it was time to go out.
El Aranque is an early milonga you see, and starts at three, although there was no chance of us getting there that soon. We spent a pleasant three or more hours there in the company of Dany’s music and admiring the fashion choices there. As we often do now, when we go to an early milonga we finish with a meal. I know we are on a strict budget but after well over a week in Argentina it was, after all time for a steak.
We walked along Callao examining all the places along there, but Queen of Empanadas, or pizzas for you just did not hit the spot, nor I might say did MacDonald’s. I knew where I wanted to go and soon Viv was agreeing with me.
So we passed our subte and carried on until we got to the “D” line and took the train up to Scalabrini Ortiz, a short walk up and we arrived at our old favourite Oporto. Now I warned Viv against it but she insisted on having a coffee first, that is why I must write this with one hand (I ate the other in desperation).
The waiter came and took our order “dos cafe con leche y Philippe de segundo” he replied “dollars?” “no Philippe segundo” said I. “Cafe antes?” “no primero” So off he went and came back with the coffee “Come?” he said “si Philippe de segundo” said I and off he went again. No sign of food the table next to us had arrived and been served while we waited. So I called the waiter again and he went off in the way portenos do with a thousand words, non making any sense and it seemed he was in a hurry to get rid of all of them, but he waved his hands around as if to say “of course your meal is on the way.
So we sat and waited, and waited some more. He brought more water then left again. Viv wanted me to ask where our Philippe segundo was, but I was starting to believe it would never come. So we stacked up the coffee cups and put them to the edge of the table, that appeared to have the desired effect, he collected the cups and then presented me with a menu in English. I opened it up and pointed at Philippe segundo, he babbled something about “grande” I just said “si si” and hoped that it would eventually come and eventually after nearly two hours it did come.
Was it worth the wait? well it was more than we could eat and at less than £25 with beer and coffee still a bargain, but there are some lessons to be learnt:
Next time we will sit by the window, the waiter who serves there knows us and is aware of what mad english people order.
Never confuse your waiter by asking for coffee before the meal, no matter how much you need a caffeine fix.
And finally remember the Argentine rule; speed of service is inversely proportional to how much of a hurry you are in.
Foot note: for those who have not followed my previous visits to Argentina Philippe de Segundo is a special of Oporto, it is a huge steak for sharing it comes with two eggs, peppers, and a mountain of chips and represents better value than buying two individual steaks.