Buenos Aires: Architecture, Food, and Soccer
July 20, 2019
by Paulo Srulevitch
Buenos Aires has been the scenery for an ongoing cultural convergence from the start of its history. A great wave of European immigrants sought towards Argentine territory throughout the 19th century like it was promised land. Crowds of Spanish, Italian, and French populations headed south on the looks to find a better future away from a conflictive Europe. Argentina’s port city, Buenos Aires would soon witness an immigrant influence spread out in all of its cultural spheres. Architecture, culinary tradition and a deep passion for soccer would become the buoyant features of the capital.
Buenos Aires culture is often referred to as the Paris of Latin America; an assumption held due to its beautiful architecture. The past three centuries have added a European flair to the city’s urban landscape. French and Italian architects have provided Buenos Aires with an artistic avant-garde touch, seen distinctly amongst numerous of its buildings. More so with structures closest to Plaza de Mayo, such as La Casa Rosada, the presidential house.
La Casa Rosada
La Casa Rosada´s neoclassical and Italianate charm is embellished with its distinct color: pink. Popular belief states that at the time of its painting, political parties campaigning for elections were color represented with red and white. And, well, the rest is just plain democracy. For those interested in historical antiques, beyond the building is a museum with objects related to Argentine presidency throughout the years.
Kirchner Cultural Center
Though the presidential house is usually a feature for most capital cities for Buenos Aires so is its prior postal office; today known as CCK, Kirchner Cultural Center. The remarkable building had its sketches laid out around the year 1888 by the French architect Norbert Maillart. But it´s construction was interrupted on several occasions due to economic setbacks and the start of the first world war.
El Teatro Colon
Its global recognition alongside the greatest opera houses of the world makes it a must on your go-to checklist. Artists such as Igor Stravinsky, Camille Saint-Saens, Gian Carlo Menotti. Krzysztof Penderecki, among many others, have celebrated the prime of their work at El Teatro Colón. Its construction was completed by the year 1907 and inaugurated the year after on the 25 of May. The opera house´s main features are its acoustics and elegant flair.
Though architecture is a core for cultural development there is nothing like food to bring people together. Most of the country´s food has been enriched by Spanish and Italian cuisine. A favorite and famous dish is pizza. But not just your typical flat tomato-sauced pizza, Argentine-style pizza
Argentine Style Pizza
The standard Argentine pizza comes with a much thicker loaf of bread, tomato sauce, and bulky amounts of cheese, seasoned oregano, olive oil and an olive right in the middle. This would be the “Muzarella.” Or as locals call it, a “muza.”The different types of pizza are variations of the Muzarella pizza. Different pies include different toppings. Among those we find, red pepper, ham, spinach and cream, fried onions, tomato and garlic, spicy chorizo and anchovies.
Recommendations often skew more towards the Fugazzetta pizza and the Calabresa pizza. Fugazetta with deep fried onions, ham and built-in cheese in the crust and the Calabresa with spicy chorizo sliced right on top along with oregano. Usually, Argentine pizza comes with a flat chickpea flatbread called fainá, to be eaten with the pizza. It´s pretty tasty and makes each slice chunkier.
For all the foodies that like homemade meals, milanesa with potato pure is as domestic an argentine home-cooked dish can get. It’s a favorite for locals. It was introduced by Italian immigrants and made popular around the 1940s. Milanesa is basically breaded meat and is usually served with puré at homes. But for those who like their food to be a bit more elaborate, we find its famous cousin the milanesa napolitana. Its breaded meat, with ham tomato sauce and mozzarella spread all over. It´s usually served with puré or French fries. A fierce competitor for those veil parmesan fanatics.
It´s not uncommon to find steak restaurants in each neighborhood with customers flowing by the dozens, at any time of the day. Especially Sundays, the day for rest is a day for “asado” (BBQ) in Buenos Aires. As for recommendations, try as many cuts of beef as possible. You most likely won´t try all of the popular cuts in one sitting, but to start off with a portion of chorizo, asado, and vacío with a side of salad or French fries should be a fine way to kick off your meat expedition.
Boca Juniors and River Plate