Argentina Travelogue: Mendoza, part one

(Sorry about the lapse in posting!)

The highlight of our trip was a three-day excursion to Mendoza, the Malbec-producing wine region at the base of the Andes, about 1000 km from Buenos Aires. We stayed at the absolutely fantastic Casa Glebinias, which is a private estate that has recently been converted into an inn. The family has scoured salvage yards to find antique doors and windows, then had their architect design the guest houses around the vintage pieces. The result: New, clean rooms with great modern bathrooms, but a very organic feel, as if they’d been built 100 years ago and well-updated. The grounds are filled with 700 trees and bushes, many of them imported from France by the owners. There were amazing fruit trees and bushes—apples, pears, figs, walnuts, grapes, olives, citrus, etc.—all in full harvest-time splendor.

pear
grapes
walnuts

The first day we arrived in the morning, and after settling in we walked about twenty minutes into the little town of Chacras de Coria to find some lunch. It was siesta time (and siesta time is a serious endeavor in Mendoza), so not much was open. We did find a sort of lunch bar and a bakery, and picked up sweet rolls, empanadas (see previous post) and what Ben thought was going to be a regular hamburger.

Oh, it was so much more.

We trekked back to the room, opened up the paper wrapping, and were confronted with this:

burger

ENORMOUS. Ok, here’s more context: It is bigger than Ben’s head:

ben burger

It was a thin layer of hamburger with cheese, russian dressing, tomatoes, lettuce, ham and fried egg. After a minute or two of hysterical laughter, we dug in—Ben did a good job of it and then I finished it off. Best Burger Ever; the fried egg is a brilliant addition that we later discovered was standard. Oh man.

We had a so-so meal at a cool restaurant that night, and then spent the next day touring wineries, accompanied by our amazing driver Gustavo. We ate lunch at the famous Familia Zuccardi winery, where there is a very nice restaurant that serves an enormous all you can eat and drink lunch.

The kitchens:
zucc kit
The grills:
grills

I’ve already shown the empanadas that start off the meal; they were followed by a bunch of traditional salads—regular lettuce with vinaigrette, lightly dressed tomatoes, and a pan of roasted vegetables. (The typical Asado (barbecue) accompaniments also include a beet salad with hard boiled eggs and some sort of roasted potato dish.)

First off the grill are the sausages, morcilla (a blood sausage that I wasn’t crazy about despite being a big boudin noir fan) and choriza (nothing at all like Spanish chorizo):
sausage

Then comes the steak:
steak

Then beef ribs:
ribs

And finally chicken, though I wasn’t able to eat any!
chicken

For dessert there was a creamy gelatin sort of thing, not quite a cheesecake but very tasty:
dessert

And throughout we drank a LOT of wine—all from the Roble collection at the estate, which is a mid-level (actually turned out to be $6 US per bottle; we brought home 6) and extremely delicious line. We were particularly fond of the Tempranillo and Malbec.
glasses

To be continued….

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