Today was a really great day that I’d want to write about no matter what city it happened in. It was so helpful in terms of situating myself in the city, full of great food, and so much fun.
A quick update from Friday before we dive in: I felt a little better and went to a really great lecture about contemporary history. I think I’m going to take that professor’s class because he did a fabulous job of connecting different versions of the same ideology to cycles of political and economic history. In just 90 minutes. Then I got lunch at Tea Connection again and they had soup which was perfect for my cold body. We next had an info session about doing volunteer work here which I definitely want to do. There are so many organizations that IFSA partners with, from an organic farm where underprivileged kids work to an elementary school where 1/3 of the kids are on full scholarship. I can’t wait to get more info and apply.
My friend Nora and I grabbed a friday afternoon dessert that was pretty epic (chocolate brownie layer with dulce de leche and merengue topping) and then I headed home. At dinner, I managed to tell my host mom that I need to eat fewer carbs (she gave me breaded eggplant, empanandas AND rice) and she was totally cool with it and said all I had to do was tell her! Since we eat different foods anyway because of her stomach problems, it’s easier to adjust what I have. I have dinner out on saturdays so I’m curious what sunday will bring. I attempted to go out last night but was far too tired and am really glad I got a full night of sleep for today.
Today, I woke up at 11 and my friend and I decided to go to Malvon, a brunch spot that I’ve heard about from everyone from my host mom to Penn students who have studied here before to various BA food blogs I’ve found. I knew it was in Palermo slightly to the north of me but I didn’t realize it’s basically two blocks from my house, dangerous information considering how delicious it was. Some details distinguish this from American brunch: there’s a note on the menu explaining that brunch is an acronym that combines breakfast and lunch and it’s very popular in the United States. The deals were great: every dish includes a cocktail, a non alcoholic drink (fresh juice or lemonade), a bread basked with strawberry butter, a mini parfait with granola and berries, and tiny muffins. My main dish was a vegetable popover with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives. The popover had a great texture and all the little starters were so tasty and thoughtfully made. Malvon is also a bakery and I will be back for afternoon coffee and studying. This was so excellent and also confirmed that brunch, just like in the US, can herald really great days.
After brunch and very full, Nora and I decided to go to the Museum of Contemporary Latin American Art (MALBA) which is in the north of the city. We saw the Botanical Gardens were on the way and started walking. We walked all the way through Palermo, which is full of the cutest stores and cafes. I wrote down some to try later and it was reassuring to see how close it was to me (I normally walk in the other direction to take the subway).
We walked through the botanical gardens which didn’t seem to feature much local vegetation. They did have a greenhouse and an educational garden. They were also free which was lovely. We stopped by the Japanese gardens but decided to save that for another day rather than pay the entry. At this point we were very far north and had reached the avenue that houses most of the city’s museums. Outside of MALBA was a pretty long line but we decided to wait and it only took thirty minutes. The student price was 20 pesos which is a pretty fab deal. The special exhibit was one that has previously been at the Whitney, a series of works and installations by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist who left japan for Andy Warhol’s new york. There was tons of great texture stuff and she has a major dot motif. Every visitor got a sheet of stickers and people were sticking them on their faces, clothes and cell phones. There was one room full of changing twinkling lights that was just the most ridiculous thing ever. The final room was a white room that people had just covered with the dots. I wonder how it looked on the first day. The rest of the museum was really impressive too; I liked it better than most modern art and it’s interesting to see the Latin American influences on the themes and certainly color schemes. We refueled with coffee at a nearby cafe and then each walked home. As proof of how far we travelled, my walk home was longer than Nora (who lives in Recoleta)’s even though we started around the corner from my house! There’s no better way to see a city!
After a few hours of rest, a group of us met for dinner at a taco spot in Palermo called La Fabrica del Taco. They quickly realized we were the only gringos in the place and gave us giant sombreros to wear. We posed for a photo and then quickly took them off (they were so heavy it was hard to read the menu). Some part of the restaurant were spot on and wonderful: great guacamole, they had hot sauce, veggie tacos were nicely cooked. Some things were a little off: they had cheetos on the table instead of chips and the margaritas seemed to be a mixture of sugar and fruit and tequila without a solid lime presence. Copa, I miss you more everyday. We still, of course drank them but I’d rather get a beer next time and continue my search for a cirtrusy margartia elsewhere. The food was good and reasonable priced and the place is in a great location relative to nightlife so it was a good find. I didn’t stay out too late, because this cold is not totally gone and I’ve had a pretty quiet sunday so far. I have to plot out how I’m going to sample classes at all the different schools and be in three places at once.
Hope you all had lovely saturdays!