Click here to read how my travel guide from Fodor’s stacked up against my experience in Las Cañitas!
I get it. A travel guide is going to aim to show you all the flashiest, sexiest, most impressive parts of a trip you can imagine. For a city like Buenos Aires, there is certainly a huge amount of all of the above to go around.
Wanna know where you won’t find it? In Las Cañitas. Tucked away from the flashing lights and nightlife of Palermo, Las Cañitas is mostly quiet by day. This is a huge advantage, and I’ll tell you why!:
You won’t find many (if any) tourists here. I had the privilege of staying here during my visit to Buenos Aires. Initially, it felt awkward, knowing that I stuck out like a sore thumb. On one occasion, a cafe owner even glared at me during my entire visit to her shop–no doubt disgusted at this sun-burned tourist who dared to enter her establishment while still being unable to order her own smoothie. That’s what I mean–this neighborhood is legit. BUT: it didn’t take me long to realize how lucky I was to get to stay in a neighborhood reserved pretty much for Porteños! (A Porteño is someone who is from Buenos Aires, and we’ll get to these beautiful people in a later post.)
Being there meant I got to do what Porteños do, and even better than that, to eat what Porteños eat!!!!!
Ok, so in a city like Buenos Aires, you can find pretty much any food you would like, from any culture, at any time of day. I guarantee, if you imagine it, it’s going to be in the city somewhere. But if you’re going to go authentic, then it is time to introduce you to the sweethearts of Argentine cuisine.
Ah, the Cortado. Perfectly brewed, full-bodied espresso, poured over velvety steamed milk. I am the type to add a little sugar into my coffee, but for those of you who take it straight, this beverage will not disappoint. Here in the States, we are often so unaccustomed to getting to sit and enjoy a coffee beverage in a ceramic cup. YOU KNOW I’M TALKING TO YOU, and I bet you have been in a coffee drive-thru sometime this past week alone!! The Cortado is simply the most caramelly-delicious way to start the day, even in the highest heat of summer, like it was when I was there. Feeling fanciful for an Argentine experience? A great way to start is by actually sitting down to enjoy your coffee tomorrow morning. It doesn’t take as long as you think it will, I promise! Sit. Enjoy. Do let’s greet the day in perhaps a more civilized way.
Ordering your cortado: Keep it simple, gringo….. “Uno cortado, por favor” will do just fine. Smile. Keep your eyes kind. Thank your barista. Leave a great tip.
These babies out-shine every croissant I have ever had in the States. One day I will learn to make them. One day. These buttery bites of heaven are fit for a true Porteño, and trust me, that is no easy feat. Medialunas come in two varieties: There are those made “de grasa,” or from lard, and the other made “de manteca,” or from butter. If you are a fan of biscuits, you will most likely enjoy medialunas de grasa. They are more crumbly, and often are a little salty instead of sweet. Sometimes this can be a great pairing with coffee, but it probably depends on your own preferences. However, if you’re like me, and you want the warm, drippy comforts of butter at breakfast-time, go for the medialunas de manteca, and eat slowly, if you can.
LETS TALK ABOUT EMPANADAS
If you have not eaten one in Buenos Aires, then you have only ever had a hand-pie in homage to an empanada. These are the flaky, delicious, savory, wonderful fast food of choice for Porteños. Think of what pizza pockets/hamburgers/chicken nuggets/apple pies/hot dogs mean to us culturally here in the States. For Porteños, it’s the empanada.
You can probably see that this neighborhood is exactly that–a city neighborhood, full of neighbors, with shops for folks to do all their daily things like walk their dog and buy bananas. Perfect for people-watching, excellent for meeting some wonderful native Porteños, full of sweet couples who will be understanding about your practicing your awkward Rioplatense, and of course cafe shop owners who will notice right away that you aren’t among her preferred set of regulars. It’s a community. They have a vibe altogether here, and a good one.
Thinking about Las Cañitas inspires a happy sigh. For folks who are traveling for the first time, Las Cañitas has the added benefit of giving a tourist time to acclimate to the city culture, without being totally thrown into an overstimulating degree of city sights and sounds. For me, Las Cañitas was a safe haven full of the good things that life in Buenos Aires has to offer, as well as seeing some of the first, and some of the best, experiences Enko and I had on this vacation together. I could keep gushing about it all day.
It just goes to show that a travel guide, like the one I got from Fodor’s, serves as great inspiration to start or guide a trip, but never let that stop you from stepping beyond the page–you never know what beautiful place you could wind up when you are launching from a great book!
If you are thinking about visiting Las Cañitas, do it! Better yet–if you can stay in this neighborhood, do it! It is the perfect jumping-off point for so many adventures in Buenos Aires, just like my travel guide was a perfect jumping-off point for designing this adventure!
Then of course, come back and tell me all about it!
And I think it is also worth mentioning that if you have a place that you’ve been itching to travel to, a great place to start your adventure is by getting a travel book! If you start with a good book, who knows where it can take you!
Maggie O’the Valley
Source for adventurous reading:
Fodor’s Travel. Buenos Aires, with Side Trips to Iguazu Falls, Gaucho Country & Uruguay. 4th edition. New York, NY: Random House LLC. 2015. Print.
*This post was NOT sponsored.
Thanks for stopping by the L.A.B.! Come back soon for more from my journal of travels through the Library of Adventurous Books!