Favorite Mangia Moments: Idaho Foodie in Argentina

Two weeks back from a 6-week trip of a lifetime in Argentina, and my stomach is still in recovery. From eating two large meals a day, from spending a minimum of two hours at lunch and three at dinner, from courses that were meals in themselves, from meat and cheese and pasta…oh my!

I have a slew of foodie photos and memories in my tummy and soul – here is a somewhat random collection of favorite plates and mangia  moments and mangia.

First course: First things first, the lovely tradition of pre-eating as I fondly referred to it – the antipasto platters that rivaled what my NYC Italian relatives served. Cured and raw and smoked meats of every shape and size – from both carne & cerdo (favorites included chorizo, chorizo colorado, morcilla and cheese of course

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Empanadas: And the half-moon morsels of awesomeness (aka empanadas) So common in every part of Argentina where we visited, but so memorable. Until I return to Argentina, I’ll have to get my fill at Tango’s Empanadas in Boise

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Pasta: What many people who haven’t been to Argentina may find surprising is the large Italian influence on the culture – particularly the food. It was my favorite surprise of the trip as I indulged (ahem, binged) on every piece of pasta put before me. The majority of it fresh. And there is nothing like fresh pasta. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the Fabrica de Pastas that are prevalent in every town. A simple, but spectacular, plate of homemade spaghetti at the lovely Gringo Viejo was my favorite pasta moment. Other favorites were raviolis, their bigger cousins sorrentinos, cannelonis and of course – gnocchis. Heck, there is even a Gnocchi day EVERY MONTH in Argentina -  Dia de Ñoquis . << cue sigh of happiness>>

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Carrots: Have to admit, we didn’t consume a lot of vegetables while in Argentina. Though by far the most popular vegetables we were served were Argula salad and carrots – shredded carrots to be specific ( Ensalada de Zanahoria) with hard-boiled eggs, with vinegar, with beets, or just plain. I’m now a fan.

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Milanesa: Definitely my new obsession. Argentina kick’s America’s butt in the breaded steak category. These baked breadedcuts of meat (veal & otherwise) are the Italianized version of our chicken fried steak. But oh so much more delicious. Most homes we stayed in served it up at lunch at least once, then leftovers in sandwiches were equally mouthwatering. Slathered in cheese, with jamon and tomatoes. Delish

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Dulce: The sweets, oh my the sweets. While ‘dulce de leche’ is the official mascot of Argentina – my heart belongs to their helado. Best. Damn. Ice Cream. In. The. World. Creamy and full of flavor, and offering of course 15 different types of dulce-flavored goodness. Every town had helado shops on nearly every block. AND you could get kilos delivered to your house by moto. Heaven. Of course, pastries filled with membrillo (quince paste) and alfajores were amazing as well. Dulce addictions galore.

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