Closed-Door Restaurants in Argentina

3rd and B

I learned about closed-door dinners from reading reviews of restaurant in Mendoza and Buenos Aries on TripAdvisor. I have found TripAdvisor to be surprisingly helpful when looking for good places to eat in foreign countries. Closed-door restaurants are traditionally someone running a small restaurant out of their home or apartment. Typically, these places only do dinner a few nights a week, and they only have a single seating that starts around 9pm for around four to eight people. The meal is a five to seven course tasting menu with wine pairings. My love of tasting menus and my inability to speak Spanish made these dinners a perfect fit for me. Ordering off a menu entirely in Spanish is fairly challenging and often a little embarrassing. I often find myself picking dishes at random and hoping for the best. I’ve had mixed results.

At closed-door dinners, I didn’t have to worry about anything because all of the…

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Fresh New Tunes: Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

I was a big fan of Blitzen Trapper‘s album Furr that came out in 2008. If you haven’t heard it, I definitely recommend giving it a listen. I wasn’t as crazy about their 2010 release Destroyer of the Void; however, I can’t stop listening to their latest album American Goldwing. I would describe Blitzen Trapper as a new age, americana, folkish band. I don’t see the point in trying to describe what the music sounds like in great detail because you can just listen to them yourself on Spotify. Enjoy!

Coney Island Was the Perfect Venue for Futhur

Fireworks during the Friday 7/13/12 show

When you are going to see Furthur these days you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to get. If you are a fan of the Dead, it is hard not to enjoy Bobby and Phil on stage with extremely talented musicians playing Grateful Dead tunes. It takes awhile to get to Coney Island from Manhattan; however, since Coney Island is the ending point for the D, F, N, and Q lines, all you have to pay to get out there is the cost of a subway ride. It would cost you at least $50 to get to and from almost every other large outdoor venue around the city. The parking lot outside of the MCU stadium was one of the most raging lots I’ve ever seen. It was a paradise for Deadheads with cash to burn. Some of my top purchases were my grateful dead door mat and coozies.

Rocking my new Grateful Dead door mat on the F train home from the show

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Marco Benevento Performs a free show at the 4th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival

The Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival is a free, after-work concert series in the backyard of City Winery from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Tuesday evenings in the summers. The concert series brings in a wide range of performs throughout the summer, but the Marco Benevento show is the only one that caught my eye this summer. The stage for the venue is the loading dock behind City Winery. City Winery provided a nice selection of wine, beer, and sangria. The best part was that the lines to get drinks were short and moved quickly. The early start time of the show probably helped keep the crowd from getting too large for the space.

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Fresh New Tunes: Hot Chip, New Build, and Cults

I had been getting bored with my music collection and I was having trouble finding some new tunes to shake things up. Fortunately Spotify has made it much easier for myself and everyone else in the US to stay on top of new tunes. Here are a couple of new albums that I have been really into lately. I’m always on the look out for fresh new tunes so if you have anything that you have been really into lately, please leave a comment with recommendations. New tunes don’t actually have to be brand new-if I haven’t heard it, it is new to me!

Hot Chip – In Our Heads:

If you are already into Hot Chip, it is safe to assume that you will like their new album. Their newest album, In Our Heads, is a little more up beat and high energy than their past albums, but it stays true to their style. These guys are quickly becoming international superstars because they have a sound that is well received by music enthusiasts of many different genres. I’m really excited for their upcoming show at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I was surprised to learn how many of my friends already have tickets for this show. The wide range of people who I know going to the show exemplifies how their sound appeals to a diverse group of music listeners. At lot of people I have been talking to about the show weren’t aware of their new album so I figured it couldn’t hurt to get the word out that is certainly worth giving a listen.

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Phish Destroys Jones Beach

The Phish shows at Jones Beach Theater on 7/3 and 7/4 were my 46th and 47th Phish shows. I just learned my exact show count this afternoon after downloading The Helping Friendly App. I had been meaning to do this forever. The app is definitely worth the $1.99 purchase price. It is amazing that I still enjoy their shows as much as, if not more than, I ever have. It is a bit of a hassle to get out to Jones Beach from the city; however, we had perfect weather on both 7/3 and 7/4 so the trip out there was more than worth it. It also didn’t hurt that Phish threw down some spectacular set lists both nights. These shows are the only Phish shows I’m going to see this summer so there were a number of songs I was hoping to hear, particularly a Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove. I got really lucky and Phish played almost all of the big songs I wanted to hear on the first night! There is something special about seeing Phish at an outdoor venue with great weather that really makes it feel like summer. Check out the set list from the first night:

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Closed-Door Restaurants in Argentina

I learned about closed-door dinners from reading reviews of restaurant in Mendoza and Buenos Aries on TripAdvisor. I have found TripAdvisor to be surprisingly helpful when looking for good places to eat in foreign countries. Closed-door restaurants are traditionally someone running a small restaurant out of their home or apartment. Typically, these places only do dinner a few nights a week, and they only have a single seating that starts around 9pm for around four to eight people. The meal is a five to seven course tasting menu with wine pairings. My love of tasting menus and my inability to speak Spanish made these dinners a perfect fit for me. Ordering off a menu entirely in Spanish is fairly challenging and often a little embarrassing. I often find myself picking dishes at random and hoping for the best. I’ve had mixed results.

At closed-door dinners, I didn’t have to worry about anything because all of the decisions had already been made for me. I eat virtually everything so I’m happy to try whatever the chef brings out. I ended up doing a total of four of these dinners during my time in Argentina. I did one in Mednoza and three in Buenos Aries. I found it interesting how different each experience was. Two of the dinners were actually in the chef’s apartment. The other two dinners were in more traditional restaurant spaces, and they had more than just one large table. The ones in more traditional restaurant spaces didn’t have any signage out front, and you had to make a reservation in advance to be able to get in. Both of the restaurant spaces also started in the apartments of the chefs and owners, but they grew too large and needed to expand. In many ways these places still had the feeling of being in someone’s home. They were very small compared to most traditional restaurants, and the owners still played a large role in your dining experience. Below is a breakdown of my experiences at the four closed-door dinners I attended. These meals were some of the top highlights of my trip. If you are into good food and wine, I’d definitely recommend that you try to make a closed-door dinner or two part of your trip through Argentina.

Los Chocos (Mendoza, Argentina): $AR365 for five courses and wine pairings

Where there is good wine, there will be good food. Los Chocos is listed as the #7 restaurant in Mendoza on TripAdvisor so it was one of the first places I came across when researching places to eat in Mendoza. Los Chocos was also the first closed-door restaurant I came across while searching places to eat on the trip. As I read the reviews for Los Chocos people were comparing it to other closed-door experiences that they had in Argentina. I learned that closed-door restaurants are a growing trend throughout Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires and Mendoza. Los Chocos is a closed-door restaurant in the truest sense because you are eating dinner in the apartment of your hosts Martin and Martin. The Martins usually do dinners in their home that last from 9pm to around 1am three or four nights a week. Dining with a small group in the home of the chef is a dining experience that is different in many ways from eating in a traditional restaurant. The chef Martin (I’ll call the other Martin server Martin) came out with each course and explained the dish and how it fit into local and Argentine culinary traditions. I really enjoyed being able to ask chef Martin questions about his cooking techniques for the different dishes. I recently started making my own stocks for braising so it was nice to be able to ask the chef about his approach to making his red wine braised short ribs.

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