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argentina

Travel
Argentinean BBQ: A Buenos Aires Dining Delight
April 26, 2010 at 11:33 am 0


BBQ is a must do in Argentina!

BBQ is a must do in Argentina!

The lovely ladies over at Hip and Urban Girl asked me to do a restaurant review recently…and when in Argentina the opportunity to review a traditional barbecue restaurant was one we couldn’t pass up. Find out here what happens at an Argentinean barbecue restaurant…including an interesting experience involving stuffed cows and “interesting” menu items...

where's the beef?
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Travel
Mar del Plata: An Argentinean Beach Town Getaway
April 23, 2010 at 9:27 am 0


beach town!
While in Argentina the size and activity in Buenos Aires can be a bit much. So why not take a weekend off and go to the renowned beach town Mar del Plata? A short four hour drive outside of Buenos Aires, you can rent a car, take the bus, or hop on the train to get here. Once you arrive the first thing you want to do is head to the beach! The rocky shore, grassy slopes and soft sand all combine to make a beautiful beach landscape. In Mar del Plata the beaches are all well maintained, and extremely popular, so if you go in peak season prepare to be packed in the sand with 2 million of your closest friends! It will be busy, but it's worth it - the views are gorgeous, the vibe is cool, and the setup of the area will remind you of beach towns of yesteryear with a gorgeous boardwalk that spans from one side of town to the other.

the walrus on the boardwalk
If you want a more exclusive beach experience you can always go to the private beaches a bit further south. Nikki beach is just by the lighthouse and offers a great beach, parking, and a fancier beach experience. Whichever beach you chose keep in mind this is the Atlantic Ocean, and you're pretty far south, so it's pretty chilly all year round - even in the hot period of January/February. Look what happened when we went in the water!

it's freezing!
After strolling on the beach for a few hours it's time to grab a bit. If you are going to a waterfront restaurant bring your patience along because the queue to get in will be long, and service will take forever! Some of the Mar del Plata institutions include Manolo's (an Argentinean take on the American diner) and Torreon (a coffee shop designed to look like a monastery). Keep in mind that Argentinean's eat lightly during the day, and have a large dinner at night, so the lunch options will be on the lighter side.

torrean
After lunch it's time to head downtown and see the city sights and have an afternoon cafe. When downtown Boston Confectionary is a great coffee shop, and the medialunes (half moon pastries that are like croissants but sweeter) are out of this world! After your coffee stop stroll around the pedestrian streets, enjoy the parks, and take your time just strolling around and taking in the local culture. Keep in mind that any touristy areas, like the pedestrian streets, are hotspots for pick pocketing and purse snatching, so keep your possessions close to you. After some light shopping downtown it's time to head over to the hotel for an afternoon nap. Our top pick is the Sheraton hotel; it's clean, new, the service is excellent and it's a bit removed from the party central downtown. You also have excellent views from pretty much every room and breakfast in the charming La Pampa restaurant is included in the nights stay. The hotel is close to the golf course, and also close to the cool night spots on Alen Street.

the sheraton
After a long afternoon nap it's tea time. Some light sandwiches a warm drink and lots of water will have you refreshed and ready for evening. When it's time to head out on the town for dinner - typically around 930pm there are great barbecue offerings, or pasta from La Trattoria. When dining make sure you take in the great night sights of the city. There are many beautiful places to watch the city go by, so make sure you enjoy! Looking for a little night-time activity? Alen Street is a great pick for bars, cafes, ice cream shops, and watching live music. If you are tempted to go to the casino think again. It's a dark, dirty and depressing place to spend some time, and with smoking inside and no ventilation it's hard to see the poker tables through the smoky plumes of the players. Mar del Plata is a great place to visit, and one of the most charming towns/cities in Argentina. Known as the Vegas of Argentina it's a bit of a party town, but the natural beauty of the area make it a great place for families and pretty much everyone enjoy!
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Travel
An Argentinean Ranch Weekend: Beef, Cowboys & Country
April 12, 2010 at 11:42 am 2
As a huge advocate of getting WHATEVER you want out of life I wanted to share some of the recent go-ings on happening in my life. I love to travel. Every time I open a magazine and see a beautiful picture of somewhere I’ve never visited I try and figure out how I can get there asap. Last year was a big year for travel, with a big trip to Italy and many smaller trips to Washington, Charleston, Savannah, and all around Ontario. This year is shaping up to be another big year for travel. So far I’ve been to Mexico (ok, it was to get married…but it still counts!). And this week I’m in Argentina! We arrived earlier last week and have been mostly visiting family and taking care of business…until this weekend, when we had the ultimate Argentinian experience.

The Santa Maria Ranch Main House

The Santa Maria Ranch Main House

We went up to the Entre Rios province, about 2.5 hours outside of Buenos Aires, to a ranch! The ranch, called Estancia Santa Maria, offers the Real Gaucho (Cowboy) Experience…and I wanted to see how these Argentinian cowboys do it! We arrived late Saturday afternoon, and after we settled in our room we were offered tea in the dining room. We had tea, toast with dulce de leche and some little baked goodies. Of course that was far too exhausting for us, so we retired to our room and napped for 2 hours! The rooms at the ranch are comfortable and clean, and very country cute!

Cute & cosy rooms at the Santa Maria ranch

Cute & cosy rooms at the Santa Maria ranch

We had a nice dinner of meat empanadas, and a chicken risotto main course. The ranch offers a set menu for all meals, so if you are a picky eater this is not for you. For us it was amazing, to pay for the hotel and four meals and have everything included (except liquor) and not have to make any decisions. We were there to relax! After dinner we watched a movie and then spent some time looking up at the stars – the stars are always amazing in the country! In the morning it was time to go horseback riding with the gaucho. It was a strange (and a bit nerve wracking) experience in the beginning. It’s been years since I’ve been on a horse. But after a few minutes it was more comfortable and it was gorgeous to ride the horses through the pastures, next the sheep, by the cows, and past some very noisy birds. It was nice to just let our thoughts wander as we were riding to the rhythm of the horse. There was no stress, no big decisions, just a nice slow rhythm of the horse.

april-11-107
When we returned to the farm house we were treated with the original asado – Argentinean barbecue. There were blood sausages (not for me, but others seemed to like them), chorizo sausages, potato salad, green salad, and a gorgeous barbecued beef. It was definitely tasty!

The Argentinean wood burning barbecue

The Argentinean wood burning barbecue

After lunch it was time for another nap…which we managed to do for two hours! The great thing about the ranch is that your stay is for 24 hours… so if you arrive at 5pm you can stay until 5pm the next day. It was much better than having to check out of a hotel at noon, like most North American places. It was a wonderful relaxing weekend out of the city, seeing the countryside, and tasting the local foods from field to table. If you are going to Argentina, a farm experience is not to be missed.
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Life
Our Wedding
March 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm 8


Bride and Groom
On March 5th I officially became a Mrs, and it was quite a celebration to mark this event! In my mind I pictured this being a relaxing and pampered day…but it’s a lot of work to get pampered! In the morning I had my nails done, followed by hair and makeup in the afternoon. I wanted to have pictures taken with my husband when we had our wedding outfits on, and while we had full sunlight, but I didn’t want to interrupt our event between the ceremony and the reception…so we did things a little differently. We had our pictures taken before our actual wedding! It’s a tad unconventional for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the ceremony, but we’re not really conventional people.

coming to pick up the bride

coming to pick up the bride



Mexico Wedding 554


Mexico Wedding 574
When the photographer arrived we spent an hour and a half having our pictures taken. We posed and chatted and kissed for the camera. So much kissing! I’m not much of a camera kisser, it seems kind of cheesy to me, but every second picture our photographer wanted a smooching pose, until I said “enough!”

so much kissing!

so much kissing!

After our pictures I went back to our room where my aunt and uncle were waiting for me. Originally I was going to walk down the aisle by myself, just because I’m that independent kind of girl, but it didn’t seem right. My aunt and uncle are like my second parents, and they, more than anyone, have mentored me, and guided me to become the person I am today. If anybody deserves the honour of walking me down the aisle it’s them. So with my aunt and uncle we went to the gazebo where our ceremony was going to take place. We practiced our walk in the room, but when we walked down the aisle we were all in a different step! But even funnier than that…I forgot to show my train! My dress stayed in the bustle while I was walking down the aisle and throughout the ceremony. Even in the pictures before the ceremony. Ooops!

Aunt and Uncle walking me down the aisle
When I got to the gazebo and was ready to exchange vows I felt really excited and a tad nervous. I just remember having a huge smile on my face. It was a nice environment and I totally forgot that there were a bunch of people watching us in what I think is a very intimate experience. The only funny, and cheesy thing, was that when we exchanged our vows the justice of the peace gave us a microphone to repeat after him. Is that normal in weddings? It seemed very strange to me, but if we didn’t have them no-one would have heard us.

not so intimate - using a microphone to say "I do"
After the ceremony we had a champagne toast with the guests, followed by an outdoor cocktail hour. The whole week the evenings had been really chilly, but luckily on this night we had a nice warm breeze that was perfect for our cocktail hour. We had chairs outside, great music, some snacks and an open bar – everything you need for a cocktail hour!

finally a chance to relax!

finally a chance to relax!

After an hour or so of cocktail hour we went into the reception room and got ready for dinner. Since some of our guests had birthdays on our actual wedding day we decided to incorporate that into our wedding party. First, we had a three year old Isabella’s birthday song and cake. It was very cute! We also had a birthday at midnight for my new sister in law. When dinner came we arranged for the kids meals, chicken fingers and French fries, to come out first, followed by the four course adult meals. Our first course was tomato and mozzarella salad with a pesto drizzle, followed by a Mexican lemon and chicken soup, and our main course of beef tenderloin. The food was excellent! We had crème brulle for dessert, but I was too busy having fun to eat any. When the dinner was over we started dancing and getting wild. For Argentininan’s weddings are not formal affairs where everyone is on their best behaviour – instead it’s a time to get silly, have fun, and act wild!

the groom being thrown by friends

the groom being thrown by friends



taking the groom to the bar

taking the groom to the bar

When the cake came out we were too tipsy and wild to enjoy cutting it, so we let it sit on the table, and decided to cut it the next day with just our family around. It was the perfect way to do it, because really we wouldn’t have enjoyed it doing it on our wedding night. We had done our obligations all week long, and the last thing I was interested in was doing one more thing that was formal and planned and involved us passing out cake and making sure we included everyone. So instead on our wedding night we kept on dancing, drinking, and letting loose all night long. It was a very fun event, and definitely memorable.
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