Monday, April 27, 2009

List of Vegetarian Restaurants in Buenos Aires according to the Unión Vegetariana

I will throughout the year be going to the various restaurants to test out their vegetarian cuisine:

My hope is to form a group of expats and natives alike who want to get together and share this healthy, yet delicious food together.  If you are in Buenos Aires and you want to come with me PLEASE e-mail (vegetarianism not necessary, merely a zest for trying new food): blancarly@gmail.com

Almagro:

La Reina Kunti-3461 Humahuaca

Los Sabios-Corrientes 3733

Sendero Vegetal-4417 Av. Diaz Velez


Belgrano:

Soy Arroz- Arribeños 2221 (Chinatown)


Centro (Downtown):

Bodhi-Chile 1763

Granix-165 Florida 1st floor (1*Piso)

Fenix-Avenida Belgrano 3331

La Huerta del Sol-LaValle 895 1st floor (1*Piso)

Lotos-Córdoba 1577


Colegiales: 

Verde Llama-Jorge Newbery 3623

Palermo:


Krishna Veggie Lunch-Malabia 1833

Senutre-3090 República Árabe Siria

String-Borges 2284

Paternal:

Govinda-2054 Andonaegui

San Telmo:

Abuela Pan-Bolívar 707

Villa Crespo:

Alma Zen-Malabia 484

Villa Devoto:

Gopal-Sanabria 2633


This list was taken from the Unión Vegetariana website, but I intend to find more.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Golden Curry Oatmeal


Like tofu, rice and plain yogurt, I am convinced that oatmeal is one of those foods that is like a blank canvas.  And contrary to the notion that oatmeal can only be eaten sweet, this traditional breakfast can easily be turned into a savory dinner.  And for vegetarians in Buenos Aires, especially those trying to eat for cheap, oatmeal is an excellent and filling option.  

Although my morning oats always include a banana, salt and cinnamon, curry, a common Indian spice with a tumeric base can easily be a substitute.  The book Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni includes a chapter discussing the yellow root:

"Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck." 

Curry--or at least the tumeric base--is said to have health benefits as well. So, with some raisens and almonds, my Golden Curry Oatmeal makes for a very nutritious meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry old-fashioned oatmeal
5-10 almonds (chopped)
1-2 tbsp raisins
pinch of salt
teaspoon of sweet curry
honey to drizzle on top

Boil water in a small saucepan 
Add dry oats
Stir occasionally and decrease the heat
Add salt and curry
Add raisins and almonds
Keep stirring until the mix becomes thick
Remove heat and stir
Put the golden oat mix in a bowl
Drizzle honey on the top

This should only take 5-10 minutes to make.

To avoid the inevitable boredom of a soy milanesa,  which is often suggested to me as one of my Buenos Aires vegetarian options, Golden Curry Oatmeal is cheap, healthy and doesn't taste like a shoebox.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

BIO in Palermo


Eating healthy is certainly a luxury.  The first page of the Buenos Aires organic and vegetarian restaurant Bio menu explains the benefits of eating foods sans toxins and chemicals, perhaps trying to justify the prices that follow, which for Argentina, are a little steep.  Granola North Americans who are used to shelling out for organic produce at co-ops or farmers’ markets may be delighted by these prices, but when I can get a plate of mashed pumpkin for 8 pesos (US$2), I am less pleased to spend 35 pesos (US$9) on curry vegetables.



But for a Saturday afternoon splurge, Bio provides the protein that vegetarians may be missing during the week.  The 5 peso (US$1.35) cubierto [table charge] includes thick wheat bread with a pumpkin dipping sauce and a shot of pear juice.  Appetizers go for as little as 4 pesos (US$1.08) for the empanada of the day to as much as 28 pesos (US$7.57) for an elaborate starter salad. There are as many salad options for entrees as warm prepared dishes, with the favored grain being quinoa. 


My main complaint about Argentine cuisine, besides that it revolves primary around thick slabs of meat, is that it is quite sosa [plain], and this can be extended to some of the food at Bio.  My dining partner, who ordered pasta, kept complaining that it was too dry and needed more sauce or flavor.  I was warned before ordering my curry dish that it was muy picante [very spicy], but after my brief pepper-garlic sauce phase earlier this year, my meal didn’t even phase my palette.  So perhaps I cannot fault the restaurant for this complaint so much as the Argentine culinary tradition in general.

The atmosphere leaves nothing to be desired.  On the corner of Humboldt (2199) and Guatemala, the small space in the neighborhood of Palermo is well utilized with a lime green motif on the exterior of the building extending inside to the placemats and seat cushions.  The color is reminiscent of the green movement and accurately suggests that the food going into your body is as good for your health as it is for the environment.  There are as many foreigners present as porteños [people from Buenos Aires], and this fact is reflected in the menu translated into English.

Although the portions seem small at first glance, like sushi it is deceptively filling.  I made my home walking through the Plaza Serrano to see all the chic designers’ crafts and clothes and promptly returned home to take a long siesta, very satisfied that I ha just eaten “nada más ni nada menos que alimenos [no more or no less than simply nourishment].”    

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vegetarians in Buenos Aires Should Unite

While perusing and google-ing about the internet, I read a fact that I had previously expected but never had in front of me in black and white: Argentines eat more meat per capita daily than anywhere else in the world.  So for vegetarians, this simply means that there is less accomodation for our way of life.  

Just days ago, I returned to this meat-eating capital of the world.  I intend to settle here for at least a year and I want to propose starting a network of vegetarians in Buenos Aires.  I will post here tips for vegetarian survival, restaurant reviews, as well as events for vegetarians.  Please email me with your interest: blancarly@gmail.com.