Tag Archives: Argentina

Vegetarian Empanadas de Pino

Empanadas are little delicious portable pockets of goodness found throughout Latin America and come in a variety of flavors. I love the pineapple filled sweet varieties, and they are also savory with basil and gooey mozzarella cheese, but you have to know how not to melt the cheese too much.
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Chilean empanadas de pino are filled with raisins,onions,olives,hard boiled eggs, and ground beef. Though vegetarian fare was a little more difficult to find while I was studying in Chile, it was easy to find street vendors selling homemade veggie burgers and veggie empanadas at the university.

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I first learned how to make empanadas and the art of repulge (folding over the edges by hand) in Argentina. Some people fold their empanadas over using a fork, but not this lady.

For these empanadas you will need:

2 packets of pre-made empanada shells, available at any Latin American grocery

2 packets of ground veggie meat

2 onions, chopped

6 cloves of garlic

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 cup of raisins

1 can of pitted olives

1 tbsp. Oregano

2 tbsp. Cumin

Salt and pepper

1. Cook the onions and garlic in vegetable oil until softened.

2. Stir in the veggie meat, cumin, and oregano. Cook for about 10 minutes.

3. Add raisins and eggs and stir until raisins are evenly mixed in with the veggie meat.

3. Insert a spoonful of the filling into the empanada shell, leaving just enough space to close the edges of the shell.

4. Twist and fold over edges of the empanada shell.

5. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until dough is golden brown.

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Malena Pichot una loca de mierda

I first heard of Malena Pichot when I was living in Argentina, and since then I have continued to watch her hilarious sketches and stand up. The clip “Piropos en la calle”, a sardonic look at street harassment, where instead of having an adverse reaction to catcalls, Malena smiles and treats them as tokens of appreciation for her beauty. Her witty take on machista culture, pokes fun at the upside down world we live in, and laugh at the narrow roles in which women are placed.

With various social media platforms giving rise to over sharing with the click of a button, Pichot became YouTube famous after being dumped and ranting and raving about it with a series of videos called La loca de mierda (The Fucking Crazy Woman). She took the crazy ex-girlfriend trope and ran with it. In her videos, she calls her ex boyfriend at odd hours, and imagines him doing the nasty with his new girlfriend. Her series became a hit, when in 2009 La loca de mierda found a wider audience on the MTV Latin America website.

Pichot’s sketch comedy segment for the show Duro de domar, called Cualca!  had me rolling in the floor laughing. She has a knack for poking fun at dark and taboo subject matter. In 2013 the Cualca! team which included Julian Kartun, Charo Lopez, Julian Doregger, and Julian Lucero starred in the show Por ahora, which ran for 13 episodes and follows a group of friends living in Buenos Aires. In my favorite episode, Norma and Josefina are not at all excited when their friend Norma enthusiastically announce that she is getting married. In true Daria Mrogendorffer fashion, Norma hasn’t forgotten that Sandra owes her 5,000 pesos. At the wedding, they discover that Sandra is having an affair with her boss, cause Sandra’s sister to have a breakdown, and witness Sandra’s husband become paralyzed after being tossed in the air by his friends.

Pichot also wrote and starred in a mini series called Jorge.

If you find yourself in Argentina, hopefully you have a chance to see Malena Pichot live. 

 

 

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Halloween Music for Groovin’ Ghouls

West Hollywood is a great way to store some costume ideas for the coming year. Here we have a young man dressed as Wendy Wiliams and Catwoman.

West Hollywood is a great way to store some costume ideas for the coming year. Here we have a young man dressed as Wendy Wiliams next to Catwoman.

Halloween, sewing, and crazy makeup are my jam! Seeing the decorations go up, empty store fronts are filled with All Hallow’s Eve goodies warm my ice cold heart. Halloween is my undeniably favorite holiday. When I was living in Argentina, I didn’t miss Thanksgiving or Independence Day, but I did miss dressing up and seeing people eager to invoke some spooky spirits.

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The Chilean miner was popular in 2010

Tale as old as time 2011

A bed in the middle of West Hollywood

A bed in the middle of West Hollywood

While you’re deciding on a costume, here are my recommendations for your Halloween playlist.

Los Saicos are a garage/surf band from Lima, Peru who created a sound almost unheard of in Latin America in the 60s. With Erwin Flores’ wailing vocal technique, Los Saicos were a precursor to punk.

 

I’m not a big fan of The Hunger, but I sure like this song. Great for background music for a haunted house maze.

 

Soft and eerie, maybe make this the last song at your party to encourage your drunken ghoulish guests to leave?

 

“Gloomy Sunday” was originally composed by Rezső Seress in 1932, with lyrics by Lázló Jávor. The song was a hit, and also became associated with several suicides that occurred in Hungary, which was facing famine and poverty at the time. Billie Holiday made the song popular in the States in 1941.

 

I’m not a Fiona Apple fan, but I dig this cover by everyone else’s favorite moody musician. Her voice sounds like she just slit her wrists in the bathtub, making the original Nightmare Before Christmas version sound a little too sweet.

 

How could you not include a song called “Halloween”? Step up your eyeliner game this year and try Siouxie’s Egyptian hieroglyph inspired eyes with this tutorial.

 

I like this song, and this video with the Muppets. Miss Piggy could be a boss Nikki Minaj.

 

Suspiria is my favorite scary movie because of all it’s campy, colorful, bloody ballet academy greatness. The soundtrack is just as spooky. Both are classics.

 

Her boyfriend’s teeth aren’t white and he only has three. Alaska y Dinarama were famous during La Movida Madrileña, a countercultural movement that took place in Madrid after Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, and which also gave us other kookie cool people such as Pedro Almodóvar.

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Schrödinger Memories

I guess I should talk about my move back to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula. Heck, that name reads like a blond, overly made-up character on a telenovela, but my city is deserving of such a grand epithet.

Buenos días Córdoba. The lovely Rio Suquia that flows through the city, oftentimes with a wino wandering her unkept, concrete banks.

Buenos días Córdoba. The lovely Rio Suquia that flows through the city, oftentimes with a wino wandering her unkept, concrete banks.

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Had I stayed just a few months longer it would have been two years that I would have spent in Argentina. My original plan was to see how long I could stick it out in another country. It could have been six months, it could have been six years.  My existence in Argentina and my relation to LA seemed more of a Schrödinger’s Cat type of deal, where nothing happened unless I got a phone call from one of my friends. A lot was happening: my brother had a baby, one of my closest friends got married and I wasn’t  available to give the requisite drunken speech that revealed too much information on her single days. Life was passing me by because Argentina, especially sleepy little Córdoba wasn’t my place. I left without much hoopla, I am bad at saying goodbye. The last days I spent drinking mate and eating facturas with people I wanted to see for the last time.  A really neat building a block away from the apartment

A really neat building a block away from the apartment

The last few weeks Córdoba seemed less quaint and more close- minded. With every day that passed I smiled to myself that I would not have to deal with an apartment that flooded even if it rained for only 20 minutes, the loud fireworks and maybe some homemade bombs that went off as various labor unions and political organizations marched down the main avenue where we lived, and the uncomfortable stillness of feeling trapped in time. I needed to do something other than teach English, which was great for meeting new people, but paid poorly and not a longterm goal of mine.  I needed to see my friends and family before anyone died or face some other life altering event.

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The lake at Parque Sarmiento

Argentina taught me some important lessons through the people that surrounded me and accepted me in their lives not as just another Yankee (as they call us folk from los Uniteds) who was going to attempt a CIA-backed golpe de estado or coup d’état. I learned how to cook some local dishes, how to throw some serious dinner parties, and how to exchange curse word laden, trucker pleasantries with even the most macho of men. On a more profound level, I learned to value interpersonal relationships over individualism. Americans take “me time” too seriously, but many of my fondest memories involve sharing some mate, a bottle of Malbec, or the asado favorite, wine with Pritty soda, but the keyword was sharing. In Argentina, it seemed nobody actually bothers to schedule in, or actually jot down time in their Google calendar to see their friends; friends just show up and a boring afternoon or evening turns into a  joke filled gossip-card game playing-counseling session that extends well past midnight. Signing up for a Saturday afternoon writing workshop meant that I probably wouldn’t go home until 3 a.m, as communal picadas were prepared and everybody pitched in for some Fernet and Coca-Cola.

¡asadazo!

¡asadazo!

My last night in Argentina I ate a choripan, which is a chorizo on French bread oozing chimichurri, all kinds of pickled veggies, and olives. By the time I had left, I had my favorite chori cart (because it had green and black olives) that was parked at the end of Parque Sarmiento, overlooking the houses of Barrio San Vicente. A good chori cart in Argentina is just as important as a good taco truck in California; a rapid, reliable late-night source of nourishment after being up in the club that stains the sidewalk with grease, assuring you that your hangover won’t be too bad the next day. It could also be a great way to earn back your calories after a workout in the park.

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“There is nothing better than a good chori.”

Early in the morning the taxi drove from Córdoba Capital to the airport in the outskirts of the city; the vacant lots, and albergues transitorios (pay-by-the-hour motels, wink, wink) rolled by like a tumbleweed in a lonely cowboy song. I looked out the window as the plane flew over the imposing snow covered Andes dotted with little blue lakes, and got tossed around by a bit of turbulence as airplanes are wont to do when they are faced with the task of crossing the mountains whose white peaks are so pointy they look like they are reaching up to poke a hole in anything flying over them. I was glad to be home, as I passed blocks lined with diners, strip malls, and palm trees, and then finally into my bed. It was almost as if nothing had even happened.

My favorite song by Rodrigo El Potro

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For When You Really Don’t Like Someone…

No, I haven’t created any kind of that beef with anybody down here. I’d like to think of myself as a friendly alien, because technically I’m illegal.

Lo/la tengo montado/a en un huevo (literally I have him/her mounted on an egg) is what you say when a certain somebody isn’t your cup of tea. Learned this from Stefania.

Alright I’ll quit while I’m behind.

Good Night Y’all.

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Physical Therapy Round 2

Great news, already bending my knee at 90%! This is great news since with my past three major knee injuries I’ve been quite a wuss, but this time I bend my knee to where it hurts and hold it for a few seconds. So glad to at least sit normally in a chair. Today I did some strengthening exercises and was hooked up to this machine that contracts the muscles. Most of the therapists at my hospital seem really young, but they seem to know what they’re doing. What scares me a little bit is going up and down stairs, I don’t want my knee to come out again, but got to get my strength up. Use it or lose it is right.

 

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to lately:

ZyiyjGY-h5I

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Oktoberfest!

Hi y’all, how was your weekend? That sounds like fun, this weekend Hernan and I went camping thanks for asking. Sorry I have no pictures for this post, the camera died (although I did charge the damn thing) as soon as we arrived at the camping site. We left Córdoba Capital Friday evening. We left our apartment an hour earlier to find a bus that would take us to Los Reartes, (where the couchsurfing camp site is, a few km away from Villa General Belgrano, where the main Oktoberfest event takes place) but most of them were full. Finally we decided to take a bus to VGB and hope to find another bus that would take us to Los Reartes, but alas, we arrived too late. We spent the night at the bus station until 5:30 AM when the began running. After we arrived, it was raining with thunder and lightning, and when we finally arrived at the camp site, none of the couchsurfing peeps had arrived. Exhausted, we pitched our tent under some random tree and fell asleep. I had no sleeping bag, so we tried to squeeze ourselves into one, which was uncomfortable after a while. When we awoke and the rain had stopped, we discovered some CS peeps actually were there, but they had the sense to pitch their tents under a metal roof /patio type deal. Hernan moved the tent and then we went to VGB, just to see the folk getting drunk in the streets with their beer mugs and Peter Pan style hats. It rained until Sunday, when we took a long walk alongside the river and wet our feet a bit. I wanted to go for a swim, but we had already packed our stuff Luckily, Samuel, the dude who organized the camping, drove us home, and the shared gas expenses cost less than taking a bus. I had fun getting away from the city, though I wish more CS folks showed up.

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You Can’t Take it With You

Hi there just got informed that I will be receiving my money for the testing days I did with the marketing company tomorrow. I also have a job interview Monday for web content editor, so cross your fingers or sacrifice a chicken in hopes that I find employment soon. The marketing company still has not made their decision yet, so put in a good word for me on that one, too. This week I gained two more English students, one chick who studies anthropology at the Universidad Nacional and some random dude who just wants to get more “edumacated”.  I’m happy with how life is flowin’ so far, but being away makes me miss my friends and a few places, sights, and smells back in California. I don’t miss my parents too much because I know they are doing fine. Aside from all the great stuff Argentina has, my nostalgia for LA and SF (where I spent 4 years of my life studying at San Francisco State University) makes me realize the minor details that it lacks.

Entonces, here are some lists that I’m glad I brought with me, stuff I miss, and stuff from here that I really enjoy.

STUFF I’M GLAD I PACKED

1My selection of semi-business casual clothes that can be dressed down with a pair of jeans: I brought the basics as well as some cute tops from various sales at Urban Outfitters and other stores that are usually out of reach of my spending power. Here in Cordoba the fashion choices are limited. Every gal wears the same leather boots with the same jeans and top. Most of the clothes are expensive; some stores  charge Banana Republic prices for Forever 21 quality. There are wholesale shops on calle San Martin, but they all sell the same junk.

2. My Ipod Touch: This was a gift to replace the original Ipod I had, but was stolen in Ecuador last year. It’s a great gym companion and I can use it to Skype, and take pictures. I lost my camera this year in Mexico 😦

3. Pics of friends back home and my parents: Self explanatory, most of them are from my freshmen year at SFSU.

4. My dressy accessories: I’m not much of a posh person, so don’t think I own Cartier or diamonds or any of that jazz, but a few shiny studs or some colorful feather earrings can add flair to any boring black outfit, or for making a butchy outfit more girly. Sadly, I find most of my outfits inch towards the former. Jeans and a t shirt is not my look.

5. Computer! Duh!!! Otherwise I’d waste my pesos at the internet cafe.

6. My makeup “All I Ever Wanted” kit from Urban Outfitters: It has all the eyeshadow colors in the rainbow. I watch youtube makeup tutorials for ideas. Great for going out.

7. My knitting needles: So I can make some quick accessories. They’re not heavy and don’t take up too much luggage space.

8. My high school and university transcripts: Something tells me this will be useful for employment/legal purposes.

9.  Baby wipes by Kleenex Cottonelle: Farmacity sells baby wipes, but they do not carry the Kleenex brand, which are flushable and have a nice scent. I use them for stain removal and cleaning my hands when there is no soap and water.

STUFF I’M GLAD I FOUND HERE IN CORDOBA

1. Alfajores! My favorite are the Aguila dark chocolate with dulce de leche and Oreo. It is a chocolate dream come true, alfajores are like little round portable cakes but creamier.

2. Facturas: My favorite is the bola de fraile, a baked puff filled with custard or dulce de leche in the middle.

3. Mercado Norte: A great outdoor market for all the necessities such as fresh fruits and veggies. Here I have found some huge avocados with which to make guacamole.

4. Olives from San Marcos Sierras, a hippie pueblo that produces the best honey and olives. I can go through a jar of olives in a week.

5. Low cost allergy medicine: I stopped taking allergy meds back in the States, but here I can get 20 pills for $5, a steal!

6. Chimichurri: Hernan makes the best chimichurri, with garlic, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and ground aji. We put it on everything.

7. Free tango classes: Hernan and I go every Tuesday. The instructor also teaches folklor.

8. The numerous bijouteries near Plaza San Martin: For when you feel the urge to make yourself a beaded necklace or some earrings.

Anyone who knows me probably knows I miss burritos and pupusas. I also miss the beach now that it’s starting to warm up on this side of the equator. Well, that’s all for now. Have a great Thursday.

 

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Weekend On The Rancho

I spent the whole weekend roughing it up in La Granja, a small little pueblo an hour and a half away from Cordoba Capital with Stefania, who invited Hernan, Chris, and me for the adventure. Stefania is half Polish and although she’s half a world away from where she was born, she still finds ways to hold onto her roots. She speaks Spanish and has been performing traditional Polish dancing since she was knee high to Gary Coleman. She has also spent many summer vacations at the Colonia Polaca, and the owner, Piper is a family friend. I was hesitant about leaving my city comforts behind, but that changed after meeting Piper, Viki and their two children Sofia and Maria. Viki is learning English, and so she was happy to know that I’m from California. Unfortunately, we practiced Mexican Spanish instead of English. When we arrived, Piper picked us up from the bus stop and we drove along a dark dusty road with no street lights. There was a delicious asado, consisting of chicken and chorizo, waiting for us. The Colonia Polaca is over 90 years old, and is a great spot for camping, and there are rooms available for those who are less adventurous. Aside from having a little chapel for weddings and birthday parties, there are also cultural activities for children who wish to learn how to speak Polish and wilderness survival skills. There’s also a pigpen and swimming pool.

Entrance to the Colonia Polaca with Chichi awaiting our arrival

 

The next day, Hernan and I hiked down to the nearby river, which was dried up, but had some cows lounging. After we ate empanadas with the rest of the crew and walked to the pueblo for a polo match. but sadly, we arrived too late.

That night we made pizzas which Stefania taught me how to make from scratch, but I was too empanada’d out to even eat a slice. The next day we did some more hiking and went horseback riding. I had never been on a horse but rode calmly even when my horse stopped all of a sudden and began eating leaves in the dark. At night we took the bus back home. I had a great time, but was happy to finally relax in my own bed.

For more information on the Colonia Polaca: www.polska-lagranja.com.ar/

 

Traditional Polish Birdie Design

 

 

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That Cordobes Accent

People here in Córdoba have a different accent compared to the Porteños (people of Buenos Aires) who say things like “Sho me shamo”. The Cordobes accent sounds long and drawn out.  Here’s a short lesson:

No wonder it takes people 3 hours just drink some damn yerba mate.

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