Tag Archives: empanada

Fried brain

Another Monday another cycle of Spanish. You would think it would get easier, but it does not. A whole new way of using verbs and pronouns, on top of which I had not a clue what the teacher was asking of us. I wondered if Viv was finding it any easier. At the half time break I found out. She was having similar problems. I am sure this must get better, I just wonder when.
By the time we caught our 150 collective my brain was fried. I barely knew what I was doing, and when Viv asked where we were I did not know.
Still we arrived safely at the corner of Solis and Carlos Calvo and walked the block into Obalisco.
Somehow I managed to loose my shirt, in the short time from paying to finding my seat. I had to go back around the tables to look for it again. I was still in confusion when I went into the toilets to change. I took my glasses, that I normally leave on the table, to mark my spot, and I left my after shave on the table.
Still once we started dancing my mind cleared. It is a form of meditation that somehow frees the mind and all stresses disappear.
Neither of us missed a tanda all night. I only did one Vals with Viv but she was happy just the same.
Monday is all a bit of a rush these days so the only meal we get is after the milonga. So it was back to the Old Lady again (Guarda la Vieja) for salad chips and empanadas, and, of course, a bottle of stout.
When my head hit the pillow, I did not take much rocking.

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Facing our demons

After our disturbed sleep in Amsterdam and the endless flight we arrived at about nine in the evening. Too tired to even go for food. I did a little sorting while Viv made the bed then we retired and slept the sleep of the innocent.

Despite this I felt awful when I awoke, but there were things to do. We had to shop for provisions and a new desk. I also had to tell the world that my phone had been lost along with all my numbers. Hopefully people will get in touch with me now because I cannot reach them.

By early afternoon we were ready to go out and we set off for the subte. I had doubts as to whether my card would still work so I put ten pesos on it, no point in putting too much on at this point. Then we had a shock, the subte price had more than doubled, it was now two pesos fifty where as before it had been one ten. So my return journey would empty my card again, but at least it worked.

The same waiter greeted us as we arrived at El Arranque but we told him tonight we wanted to be (junto) together. It was our first night of dancing and there was no point in making it stressful. As usual within a few minutes of dancing I had forgotten how awful I had felt and we were back in the swing.

We watched more than danced, not being fully match fit as it were. Still it was nice to watch some very good dancers, some mediocre and some plain awful and then to wonder which category the watchers would put us in.

We chose which tandas we would dance and those we would not. Milonga always got us up as did Vals but unexpectedly we got up for a Pugliese tanda, it was definitely a case of facing our demons. I think I coped quite well, but I still do not like it and found it difficult to manoeuvre especially as Pugliese calls for some big moves and the piso simply would not allow it.

Too soon Viv was complaining of being tired and we made to go, but before we did there was another Pugliese tanda and it started with La Yumba, it had to be danced. Demons once faced cannot be turned away from.

We took the D subte line and got off at Bulnes. All Viv wanted was her lentejas at 1810. So we had the empanadas with Carne picante followed by the lentejas, all washed down with a litre of Stella Artois. A good way to end our first day here.

Subte      underground or subway in Buenos Aires

El Arranque      An afternoon milonga at Salon Argentina

Piso      The dance floor

Lentejas      Lentils or lentil stew

Empanadas     Argentine pasties

Carne picante      spicy beef

1810     the year of Argentine independance or in this case a restaurant named after it serving artisanal food at a great price.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

New friends

Funny start to the day, I went over to the supermarket to get some beer and eggs (not to be taken together you understand). Beer comes in deposit bottles here so I returned three and bought three more. Now almost all the super markets here are run by the chinese,so this is how it went (more or less) The guy pointed at one of my bottles and said something in chinese lunfardo castillano. I said “no intiendo” so he said it louder “no no intiendo” he shouted, still not understanding I then saw that this was not a deposit bottle, “Puedo cambio” I said he nodded resignedly. obviously the stupid engrishman was deaf that is why he had to shout. Still we got there in the end.

We were due to meet Maggie in a cafe called Moncloa at Constitution and we had decided afterwards to head for Ideal as it is an early milonga and not too far. We had met Maggie at Shrewsbury many moons ago and frankly I could not remember and unusually neither could Viv. So we walked in having no idea who we were looking for and I suspected she would not know us either. As it was we stood out when we entered not only as foreigners but also not knowing where we were going. So Maggie identified herself and we settled down to some coffee and croissants, just for a change.

It’s a funny thing but when you have used little of your own language for weeks you can talk for hours and remember little of what was said, but we seemed to get on very well. So well in fact that it soon got too late to go to Ideal, so instead we set off towards Humberto Primero and Leonesa. As we have never been there before on a Friday we decided to sit together. After a few dances we noticed the guy who had sat by me in El Aranque sitting opposite. See comments https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2011/05/17/all-portenos-are-good-dancers/and I just had to find out if it was actually him.

So after establishing it was him we made another friend and he went off to dance with Viv. This gave me a chance to dance with one of the local women and it surprised me how easy it was to get a dance, especially as I was in couples corner. She told me there are more women than men here so it is easy for the men but difficult for the women. Sorry ladies, such is life.

The lady who sat with Viv in El Aranque arrived later and would not let us go without a dance so being the sort of guy I am, I simply had to oblige, before we set off into the night.

Now I know that our trusty 168 passes near here but we walked around and could not find a parada, so I said “sod this we will take the subte” of course at that point a 168 came charging by. When we got down to the subte there was no sign of a train and as we needed three trains I started to doubt we would get back before the subte closed. We got on the first train and the time was five past closing, still we were at the point of no return. We changed at Independentia ran for the next train and got in just as the doors closed. Not looking good for the next one, still we ran through the labyrinth of tunnels past the waiting D line train. I said “if we miss ours we will be sorry we did not take this one”, then we got to the platform and there was huge queue. I guessed that the locals knew what they were doing and soon we were on our way home.

Thought we would stop at Gratto again, but it was not to be. The place was packed and a waiter was on the door letting people out but no one in, so we bought some empanadas and returned home to a bottle of chilled stout and some warm empanadas.

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El Arranque

We usually go to Porteno y Bailerin on a Tuesday only because we could find nothing better, but on Janis’s recommendation we thought we would try El Arranque at Nuevo Salon de Argentina.

It starts at three and although Janis recommended we went at six, we had nothing else planned, so we arrived almost the first. After the subte journey Viv was ready for a coffee, so we just sat and relaxed for half an hour drank our coffee and listened to the music.

There is a large floor here,a lot of seating, and a stage. We assumed that on other days there is a show on here, but today there are just us dancers. The floor is tiled and not very forgiving, so we danced every other tanda, unless of course there was a milonga playing.

There were of course very few people there when we arrived  but the crowd soon built up. Viv noticed that there were a number of ladies changing their shoes in the ladies room. What I find strange is that we have been here eight times and nobody metioned this before, we were even told at Fulgor last night to change in the toilets. I don’t for one minute think this is new, just maybe they are starting to realise that by pandering to the touristas they are in danger of destroying the things that they all come for. Something else I noticed though, there were a lot of ganchos going on on the floor and some quite fancy footwork, will the same realisation come to the social side of the dance?

We are new here and aroused some curiosity, one or two people asked where we were from and as usual there is always an expert ready to offer advice. I do stoop when I am not concentrating, but then so do a lot of the locals, and nobody goes over to their tables and tells them. Still it made me stand better for a while.

The nice thing about going early was that we could leave and go for a meal, not something that is possible at two or three in the morning, even here. We have a favourite artisanal restaurant called 1810, not only is the food excellent, but it is very cheap.

To get there we had to take the subte back, this time on the D line the one we used to use a lot. Rush hour comes much later in Buenos Aires, as we found to our cost.  When we tried to get on, it was packed, but the crowd behind us made sure we got through the door. There was literallyno room to move. You could not hang from the straps, as you could not lift your arms. At the next station about three people got of our carriage, but no room to move about a dozen got on. This was repeated at every station, five stops to where we got off, and we were ejaculated, like a burst blister, crying “permisso, permisso” oh the feeling of reliefas we stepped onto the platform.

1810 has, in my opinion, the best empanadas in Buenos Aires. Not something we usually eat (too much fatty pastry) but these were short and light so we had two each, followed by a sort of local stew, called carbonada, and Viv had lentils (lentajes)again. After this a nice walk home and early night.

Anyone seeking 1810 it is on Julien Alverez y Guatamala.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga