In a city of thirteen million people, you can imagine how many culinary options there are to choose from. So what’s a culture-loving foodie to do when presented with so many choices? Easy. Go on The Parrilla Tour of Buenos Aires. Founded by David Carlisle of Portland, Oregon and Santiago Palermo of Buenos Aires, the tour offers an authentic sampling of BA’s best and most typical foods.
The first stop was a parrilla known for their choripan, BA’s version of a hotdog. The perfectly baked french bread engulfs the slightly spiced chorizo. Add a dollop of chimichurri sauce, and you have a divine snack. Next up, we stopped outside a casa de empanada to nosh on another local favorite, the shredded beef empanada.
The third stop was the most impressive. David gave us a teaser before heading there. “The next parilla,” he explained, “is not open to the public.” In fact, there is a “closed” sign that hangs on the front door- always. Even if you did know about this clandestine operation, the owners only let you enter if they know who you are! “Amazing,” someone said. Our interest peaked, we headed with the utmost anticipation to Palermo’s secret dining spot.
Stepping through that door was like going through a cultural worm hole. We were transported to an alternate universe. Not really. But it felt like we were somehow included in this secret club of completely local people. This was the real BA. No tourists allowed.
We sashayed past the kitchen, through the tables of dining Porteños, and up the stairs, where we dined al fresco (sort of) on the enclosed rooftop deck. The first course was provoleta, a popular Argentinian appetizer of barbecued cheese, often seasoned with chili and oregano and served with chimichurri. For the main event, the infamous Bife de Chorizo (sirloin) made a flavorful appearance. There was also a side ensalada (salad) passed around.
Our fourth and final stop was for dessert at a heladeria (ice cream shop). Very similar to Italian gelato, Argentinian ice cream comes in various cream and fruit flavors. The most popular flavor, dulce de leche, is also offered in many different varietals (with chocolate chips, with hazelnut, etc.). Argentinians LOVE their dulce de leche. They seem to put it on everything. Even toast!
The cost of this delightful afternoon is only $69 USD- a total steal! All food (so much food!) and wine are included in this progressive lunch tour. If you find yourself hungry in Buenos Aires, be sure to book your Parrilla Tour!