Tag Archives: buenos aires

What’s a Fainá??

11 Jul

The other day I posted on Instagram that I was eating a fainá… and many of you liked the picture. But I was wondering if most of you know what a fainá is… I learned about it during my one and only visit to Buenos Aires a couple of years ago.

Faina - Juan Pan PIzza 1

When you look at the picture above, you just say it’s a pizza, right??  But this is no ordinary pizza…  A fainá is a flatbread made with chickpea flour, very typical in Argentina. They usually serve it as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to pizza. But, you can also order a fainá as the CRUST of a pizza, topping it with cheese and any of the traditional pizza toppings, making it a gluten-free alternative.

When we were in Argentina, we went to this little pizzeria in our neighborhood and the owner would make pizza using fainá as the crust. I am not kidding you when I tell you we went almost every day to eat dinner there.

Fainá - Buenos Aires

Faina - Buenos Aires 2

 

Fainá - Buenos Aires 1
In Puerto Rico, we have an Argentinean pizzeria Juan Pan Pizza, which serves us pizza in a fainá crust. If you call ahead, they’ll make you individually-sized pizzas with a very thin and crispy fainá crust. Usually fainá is a tad thick… and in a pinch, they’ll just top the fainá they have on hand and top it with your favorite pizza toppings.
You see? There are gluten-free alternatives wherever you go… Hope you visit Juan Pan Pizza soon if you live in Puerto Rico or now get to order a fainá on your next trip to Buenos Aires.

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How to eat vegetarian at an Argentinean Parrillada

8 Jun

Many people doubted that we would be able to eat delicious food in Buenos Aires being a vegetarian. I couldn’t understand their concern because, yes, I agree that Argentina is known, unfortunately, by their meats. But Argentinean food has a lot of influences from Italian foods so there are many other very typical choices available that are perfectly vegetarian for us to enjoy.

We were super lucky to have found Adriana, our BA Free Tour guide, who’s also a vegetarian of many years and she directed us to many vegetarian restaurant options in the city. I have mentioned you two of them – Naturaleza Sabia and Spring. But I asked Adriana, how did she manage living a social life of eating out with friends who are not vegetarian?? (seems familiar???) What were those typical Argentinean dishes that a vegetarian could also enjoy??

Adriana immediately answered… A PROVOLETA!!! Provoleta is a very typical Argentinean parrillada dish of provolone cheese melted in a cazuela and seasoned with oregano and other spices. It’s usually served as an appetizer but a vegetarian could very well enjoy it alongside a salad and some other side dish as a main meal.

So that’s what we did… when we were hanging around the streets of San Telmo one Sunday morning, we got hungry but were not sure if Naturaleza Sabia was open. We also wanted to get a taste of a typical parrillada restaurant before we left so we went into Nonno Bachicha, a restaurant right in the heart of the San Telmo street fair.

And just as Adriana had suggested us, we ordered a provoleta, with a side of green salad with 4 ingredients and some French fries. It was a very typical Buenos Aires lunch alternative and perfect for our lifestyle.

And to those skeptics who thought we would not find something delicious and vegetarian to eat at a regular restaurant in Buenos Aires I have only one word for you – PROVOLETA!!!!

It’s always nice to get to taste the flavors of a city when you travel, no??

Buenos Aires Vegetarian Restaurants – Spring

23 May

Adriana, our tour guide in Buenos Aires, was full of suggestions on where to eat vegetarian in the city.

One of her suggestions was SPRING… a vegetarian restaurant with the perfect format for a Devanand vegetarian – TENEDOR LIBRE. “Tenedor Libre” is the Argentinean terminology for “all-you-can-eat”. I am not a volume eater, but my travel companions certainly were.

We went to Spring one day just because it was the closest option to our hotel. A short 6-8 blocks only… we were not prepared to what we were going to find there.

Spring is a buffet-style restaurant with a prix-fixe for lunch and dinner. Eat as much as you want at the restaurant and pay the same low price. Drinks are extra… This was just what the Devanand guys needed. You could pick from a wide variety of dishes. I think we counted over 50 options, among them – a great salad bar with greens, raw veggies, cooked veggies, prepared salads, cheeses, sushi, pastas, pizzas, casseroles, potato dishes, tofu dishes, rice and fritters. It was at times overwhelming; especially when the lunch rush traffic is right behind you in a hurry.

Here is a sample of my favorite combination – large salad, scalloped potatoes, and gnocchi with a creamy tomato basil sauce. The brown fried rice, the French fries and the cooked broccoli were also huge favorites among the group. I got to order once a non-alcoholic wine, which was very much like a bottled grape juice. And we would all finish with a lemon sorbet… creamy and refreshing all at the same time.

I personally ate at Spring 4 times – I was in Buenos Aires for 7 days, so that’s a nice average, no??? But I happen to know people who went to Spring for both lunch AND dinner a few days in a row. Yes… the food is that good. And the value of the “tenedor libre” is undisputed. We would make Spring our meeting point if we ever got separated in our sightseeing or shopping trips.

If you’re a vegetarian traveling in Buenos Aires, YOU MUST visit Spring Restaurant. You will never regret it. We all need to thank Adriana for the tip. This makes me guilty we should’ve left her an even bigger tip!!!

Have you been to Spring in Buenos Aires too?? What was your favorite dish there??? Have any other vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires for us to try next??

Spring Restaurant

Bulnes

Buenos Aires Vegetarian Restaurants – Naturaleza Sabia

18 May

Can a vegetarian eat well in Buenos Aires, the land of the Parrillada??? OF COURSE!!!!

From the moment I started mentioning to people I was traveling to Buenos Aires, people were questioning and worrying, where would you eat?? I never worry about these things because I know that I will learn how to navigate the local menus to be able to:

  1. Eat the local favorites
  2. While still maintaining my vegetarian diet and lifestyle intact

They say in life there are NO COINCIDENCES… Adriana, the tour guide I had been in contact with over email, happened to be a long-time vegetarian too. She even had a vegetarian restaurant for a little while a few years back. She offered to provide us with information on vegetarian restaurants in the city… JACKPOT!!!

Adriana took us on a walking tour of Buenos Aires… we WALKED for about 7 hours that day. We visited all the major touristic points in the city on foot – the Recoleta Cemetery, Ave. 9 de Julio, Florida Street, Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada where Evita saluted her people… and believe me, after all that non-stop walking you get hungry.

So Adriana took us deep into the San Telmo area for lunch to savor our first vegetarian restaurant experience in Buenos Aires – Naturaleza Sabia.

Naturaleza Sabia is a nook of tranquility from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires. The décor is simple and serene. I loved the chalkboard menu with all the favorites of the day…

They welcome you with a selection of dips with crostini – lentil, broccoli and carrot. They were all delicious, but my favorite by far was the lentil one. Kinda like a lentil hummus, if you will. I particularly loved the toasted sesame seeds on top.

We stayed in the realm of the vegan dishes to make sure no egg was included in any of the recipes.

My mom and I ordered two dishes to share – the House Salad and the grilled tofu with mixed vegetables sautee. This tofu is one of the best tofu dishes I’ve had in my life. The tofu was well seasoned and the crust in the outside gave it real nice character. It was really nice…

Between the dips, the salad, the tofu and the strawberry lemonade I ordered, I was too stuffed to be able to order dessert. I was even looking forward to the rest of our walking tour to be able to take care of the stuffiness…

Buenos Aires may be “the land of meat”, but they certainly know their vegetarian stuff too at Naturaleza Sabia.

Naturaleza Sabia
Balcarce 958 1064 San Telmo, Capital Federal, Argentina
(0)11 4300 6454
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