Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You'd never believe how difficult it is to find spicy food.

I'm telling you! Spicy food is not present. Nope. And!!!, after a night of cooking last week, I realized that it's also difficult to cook spicy food. Why? Well, because ingredients required to spice things up don't exist here. And if they do, I'd love to learn where. Please, readers in BA, inform me!

Last Thursday, I was hanging out at Julieta #2 folk's house. We all had cake and tea. It was yum.

(Now remember, this family is the nice family that took me in on New Year's Day at Villa Gesell. See funny previous video in earlier posts.)

When I first met this lovely family, I couldn't speak Spanish. At all. Well, now I can converse a little. Tiny amounts. And of course, my sentences are full of nouns. I need to learn more verbs.

We got into conversing about some "traditional" (United) stateside dishes. I tried to explain New Orleans cuisine to no avail! Try explaining crawfish to these folks (some of you know these little creatures as "crayfish"). No way. I finally used my hands to shrink an imaginary lobster, but then, of course, explain that's it's not a lobster. And how to cook it? A crawfish boil? Ha! Wanna see a crawfish boil, do ya? See below:

Then, I talked about food that I like to eat and cook. I talked about burritos and quesadillas especially. Because they are on my mind quite a bit. Their absence in this city make me weep a little. Instead, they have "empanadas" which are yummy. They're filled with different meats, or cheese, or veggies. They are everywhere. And I dig. I had some today actually; from Solo Empanada.

I was explaining the ingredients that I use: pollo (chicken), red/yellow bell peppers, onions, salsa, guacamole, etc. Well, little did I know that they were asking me to actually make dinner. Uh, it's 10pm! The next thing I heard was "supermercado." We were off.


We head to a special store for tortillas. Wait, this is a bakery?! We can't find torillas here. Julieta #2 holds up "tortillas". Ummm, those are tortillas. Those are squished pancakes, like crepes. Well, heck, this isn't a good way to start off tortillas. But maybe that's all I'm getting here? I have no idea. I'm crossing my fingers they'll have some at the Disco!!! Jajajajaaa, I love saying that: "Disco!!" It's the name of the grocery store.

"Salsa", the way folks from the states think of salsa is quite different here. Salsa just means "sauce." They don't really have much salsa. Guacamole is rare too. Okay, I'll just make fresh, homemade salsa and guacamole. Guacamole is better that way regardless. I've never made salsa though. Grab some limes. And then put them back, Julieta says they have a bunch. Get some "sour cream." For sure need some jalapenos. NOPE! Absent. What about any hot pepper? NOPE! Absent. Oooookay. Ummm... Grab a yellow onion, and then put it back. #2 says she has that too. Luck: they had traditional tortillas at the Disco!!! Etc.

Get back to her house. Make some salsa (mushed up tomatoes and fresh cilantro). Dee-lish. Okay, where are those limes? I need to add the finishing touch to this yummy guac. Where are those limes? Wait, those little round things are yellow. Those are lemons. Dang it. Oh well.

Time to prep the yellow onion and bell peppers that are awaiting in the fridge. Open fridge. Wait! Those red peppers are old. And not for consumption. Okay, I can salvage some of one. And that's a green onion! Silly #2, yellow and green onions are not the same. Silly. Oh well.

#2's dad has refused to allow me to cook without also drinking wine. No problem. About an hour later, I've got a very colorful thing going on in the kitchen. Chicken is all done. As an experiment, I cook up one of the quesadillas in those crepe-y things. Didn't work, as expected. The "regular" tortillas did though.

Slab of guac. Spoonful of salsa. Quesa triangle. And now where's that sour cream? Ah yes. Open lid... ummmm... it's very liquid-y. Very. This is not sour cream. It's like sweet cream. Some sort of sugar-y cream. And water-y. Ooooookay. Hmmmm.... Ah, what the hell, dashes of "sweet" cream.

Results? Family verdict: yummy!!!! I agreed.


  1. YOU make me laugh. way to go on the dinner extravaganza. :)

  2. this is by far my favoritest story since the "no orange for you" story. Ok, so mental note, must go to Solo Empanada when we are down there. Also, you are going to have to do a little better and figure out where we can find more burritos and quesadillas because that is my favorite food! remember Moe's when you came here? I could eat that every day...ok ok well not every day but most days. Jae sends her love. 76 days and counting...

  3. damn shame bout that spicy food!

  4. Life without spicy food?!?!? That's hardly living!

  5. Hey bud... go to Chinatown ( near the Belgrano train station) to get all the spicy stuff you need. The Chinese market on the main street has peppers, chilies, black beans and even real tortillas. You can even find a jar of paul Newmans hot sauce if you are lucky.


living in Buenos Aires