Buenos Aires, Argentina
There are worse ways to start the day than waking up at the Faena Hotel and being treated to a sumptuous breakfast in such plush surrounds. After breaky, we checked out the rest of the hotel and then just checked out. Fear not, the gravy train was not terminating, it was just moving onto the next station – Home Hotel, Palermo, Buenos Aires but I’ll get to that later.
Whilst over that side of town, we decided to spend the day in the San Telmo neighbourhood checking out the antiques market held every Sunday. Being back in San Telmo was a trip down memory lane for me having stayed there for part of our last visit, I even managed to guide us to Pedro Telmo, a dirty little empanada place that was a favourite of the last trip.
We jumped in a taxi through the adjoining, less salubrious La Boca to pay a visit to the colourful Caminito area – crammed with tango dancers and souvenir hawkers, it is clearly maintained for photo opportunities for tourists. Happy snaps taken, we hopped back into a taxi for a white-knuckle ride through the bad-lands and onto the centre of town to visit the pink house made famous by Eva Peron made famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber made famous again by Madonna! Nothing like a bit of high-brow culture.
Exhausted, we headed for home – Home Hotel that is and it’s true what they say – there’s no place like Home! I stayed here last time as well so it’s a bit of a bitter-sweet Home-coming for me (OK, I’ll stop now) but being with the Sisters of Mercy, of course we’re not staying in any old room, we’re staying in a suite with a balcony and spa in the room!
At check-in, we were contemplating dinner. Almost simultaneously, Andreas on reception suggested we look into some ‘closed door’ options (i.e. private dining experiences hosted in chefs houses) just as I was saying that last time, I’d really wanted to go to Casa Felix which is one such place but hadn’t been there on the right night. If I still believed in fate, I would say that what followed was a text book example of it.
To quote directly from Home’s own guidebook “Diego Felix is probably the most talented and passionate chef specialising in Latin-America cuisine. Casa Felix is Diego and his wife Sandra’s charming home, and you are invited to experience a 5 step vegetarian culinary tour de force that you won’t find anywhere else in Argentina. His passion for recovering foodstuffs and recipes that time and fashions forgot, make this experience truly unique. Booking is a must as it only holds 12 guests per night. Opens for dinner Thurs-Sat”.
You’ll note the opening nights do not include Sunday… which this is. Andreas’ eyes lit up with the news that it just so happened that he knew that they were doing a dinner tonight and that they’d had a cancellation. He called to see if we could get in… they had 3 spots left and a taxi was on its way to pick us up. Just enough time to get upstairs, dump our stuff, adjust our hair and go!
It’s important to note that Argentina is the largest consumer of meat per capita – not ideal for two long standing and one aspirational vegetarians. The opportunity to have such an authentic and exclusive experience is truly rare and we were not disappointed. We rang the unmarked doorbell and were welcomed in by Diego who showed us through to his edible garden for an aperitif and meeting of our fellow diners. We were then shown through to the dining room where course upon course were served with matching wines – barriga llena carazon contento!
After all that adventure, there’s just no time for anything else… except a quick spa!