Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Since we started writing this blog a few months ago, we have been receiving emails on a daily basis asking for sort of "bespoke" recommendations when visiting Argentina. Readers have been begging, for instance, for very specific requests: "We will be in Buenos Aires next month, where should we stay in Palermo Soho?"..."Places to see outside Buenos Aires?"..."And what about Patagonia?"etc, etc, etc...so we confess: We are very sorry but we cannot simply answer to everybody! Not enough hours in the day!

This blog is just a list of places we recommend, restaurants we like, hotels we think are great. We are not a travel agency or arrange private tours--although maybe that is the way to go apparently!!!-- and also remember we are not getting paid to promote any of these places. That is why we are completely honest and our judgement is pretty objective (the only filters we have are quality and authenticity).

That is why we recommend researching this blog using the Search option to the right of your screen (the "Lijit search" thing). It will list the posts that match your request (hotels, restaurants, tango...).

Thank you all for your constant feedback!

The Chukker

Monday, October 26, 2009

Buenos Aires Photo

We were invited to the fifth edition of Buenos Aires Photo --the fair dedicated exclusively to photography-- which opens its doors to the public on October 28Th.

This is a particularly interesting event held every year at the Palais de Glace, a former ice skate rink built in 1910 that became an exhibition center later on. In addition to the art dealers from Argentina--a great number really-- this year there are galleries from seven countries showing the best works of their star photographers.

Buenos Aires Photo
Palais de Glace - Posadas 1727
From October 28 to November 1

Friday, October 23, 2009

All roads lead to BA

Dear Readers:
We are on our way to JFK Airport. Our regular trip to Argentina is due today, so probably posts will be more scarce while we are in Buenos Aires.

We will be doing some work and researching for our followers-- so many of them already!-- that email us on a daily basis. Sometimes asking for advice, sometimes giving us some tips.

Thanks to all of you!

The Chukker

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Kavanagh building

Few buildings in Buenos Aires generate more fantasies and myths than the Kavanagh. Located in Plaza San Martin--one of the most beautiful squares in the city--it was built in the 30's by a wealthy lady called Corina Kavanagh. She commissioned the award winning firm Sanchez, Lagos y de la Torre in 1934 to design the tallest structure in South America at the time. It was finished in 1936 after she sold two of her most profitable farms to finance the construction.

Legend says that the location of the building was decided by revenge...Apparently, one of Corina's daughters--from a well-off but sort of "nouveau riche" family--fell in love with a son of the Anchorena family (wealthy beyond description and extremely conservative). The Anchorenas--of course--did not approve the engagement. They lived in front of the Plaza San Martin in a magnificent mansion, and they had built a church across the square so they could see it from their house--a very catholic family indeed. Corina (furious!) decided to block the view and bought the land where the Kavanagh stands, right in front of that church...

Fiction or not, this building is one of the finest in the city. Stepping into its lobby is like going back in time. Nothing has changed in over 70 years. Luxurious materials everywhere: parchment on the walls--they say Jean-Michel Frank decorated the lobby...maybe another legend?--as well as marbles, Lalique crystal, precious woods and bronze make this place the most elegant and chic Art Deco room in Buenos Aires. No doubt about it.

Kavanagh building - Florida 1065

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buenos Aires Museums, part 1

Buenos Aires offers an interesting selection of Museums and Art Galleries, so after all the shopping has been done and all the red meat has been eaten, art lovers can spend a few hours getting to know the city in a different, more intellectual way. Some Museums are unique and local, while others are more international and reflect a clear European influence.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Avenida del Libertador 1473
This Museum houses the best collection in Argentina. You have the big Impressionists here---Monet, Cezanne, Degas among others ---and also the work of amazing Argentine artists, like Angel della Valle, Eduardo Sivori, Quiros and others. Don't miss the Bemberg Collection, a gift of late film director Maria Luisa Bemberg. After you are done, walk to nearby cafe Rond Point for a quick lunch (although it lost all of its charm after being "modernized", is still a good spot).

Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415
This Museum showcases Latin American Art, so you will find Tarsila do Amaral, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Emilio di Cavalcanti... Antonio Berni, Xul Solar...the list goes on an on. The building itself is a very interesting example of contemporary architecture. The cafe/restaurant is very good, and the Museum shop has an interesting selection of books and gifts.

Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo
Avenida del Libertador 1902
Originally the Errazuriz Residence, this magnificent house has been turned into a small Museum filled with antiques and Oriental Art. It is worth a visit just to roam in the space and appreciate how was life a hundred years ago for the well-off. There is an outdoor cafe (Croque Madame) that we highly recommend.

Museo Fortabat
Olga Cossettini 141
This new addition to the city's cultural life is located in Puerto Madero, in a building designed by award winning firm Rafael Viñoly Architects. It holds the magnificent private collection of Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, one of Latin America's richest women. After the visit, you can walk along the river and cross the Puente de la Mujer, a bridge designed by mega famous architect Santiago Calatrava.

Museo de los Ninos
Avenida Corrientes 3247 - Level 2
Although not a traditional museum, it offers multiple booths---sponsored by big corporations---where children can reenact real life experiences and learn at the same time: anchoring a TV news, taking care of supermarket shelves or assisting a baby doll at a hospital. It is located inside the Abasto Shopping Mall, and it is great to keep kids busy for a couple of hours.

Museo Evita
Lafinur 2988
Everything you always wanted to know about Eva Peron's personal life is here, so you can have a better understanding of this fascinating and controversial figure. There is also a very good restaurant in the premises.

Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco
Suipacha 1422
This museum is in a quiet street in the Retiro neighbourhood, in an old Spanish style mansion. It holds a number of antiques and old religious pieces, and it has a fantastic courtyard. It is located only half a block from the Sofitel hotel, where you can have a snack before or after the visit.

Another post with Art galleries and more museums, coming up...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Surreal Park Avenue

We discovered this surreal sheep farm on Park Avenue and 52nd Street the other day, just across the street from the famous Seagram building. They are a series of sculptures by the French artists Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, on display until November 20th (they are the famous "Moutons" crafted from epoxy and bronze between 1988 and 1994).

They bring a sense of joy and unexpected fun into the manicured green lawn of one of the busiest avenues in the city. Plus, they are quiet and clean. Just perfect.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Downtown Buenos Aires

Downtown Buenos Aires or Microcentro has a small but very interesting hotel menu. We were very happy to see in recent years a couple of magnificent old buildings restored and relaunched as fancy places to stay. The centre of town attracts a lot of tourists, and staying in the area is not a bad choice. It is very quiet at night (sometimes too quiet) and you can walk everywhere.

There are a few good restaurants and bars, so you won't feel deprived of fun. But definitely don't expect a lot of activities in the area after dark, because this is the Financial District anyhow.

Our choices are:

Avenida Roque Saenz Peña 725 - phone (+54.11) 4131.8000
This used to be the famous Continental Hotel, built in 1927 by Alejandro Bustillo, the famous argentine architect---probably the best argentine architect ever--- and it was a very traditional spot for years. Things change though, and after years of neglect it was reborn under a different name and a major renovation---sort of major plastic surgery. The results? A funky and modern place, friendly staff and rooms with plenty of amenities (a bit on the small side...). It could be a bit quiet if you are looking for action...

Avenida Julio Argentino Roca 562
Owned by the same Company behind the 725 Continental, it is a good and more economical choice if you want to be near Plaza de Mayo and within walking distance of San Telmo and its wonderful attractions. Small rooms but good breakfast buffet.

San Martin 780 - phone (+54.11) 5217.5799
Located next to Galerias Pacifico Shopping Mall and Florida Street, this hotel is closer to Retiro neighbourhood--- Plaza San Martin is a few blocks away, and it is a great park to relax under the sun for a few minutes--- and the area offers more activities at night, so noise could be an issue. Big rooms and good service make this place a good base to explore Puerto Madero and surrounding areas.

When it's time to eat there are a few restaurants in the area that are very good. We like Dadá (San Martin 947), the steaks there never disappoint and the artsy decor makes this funky bistro a must if you are in the area.

If you are just tired of the red meat thing, try the japanese-peruvian fusion at Sipan (Paraguay 624). It is really an excellent and consistent restaurant that delivers great creations. Try the tiraditos de maracuya and the awesome ceviche.

Another interesting place is Empire (Tres Sargentos 427), a thai restaurant on a small and quiet pedestrian street with a good menu and an intimate (although a bit dark) atmosphere. We like the curries and the breaded shrimps
Tancat (Paraguay 645) is a tapas restaurant with a good selection of typical spanish dishes. A small place, it can feel a bit cramped.

Our favourite place for a tasty snack is the Bar at the Marriott Plaza Hotel (Florida 1005). Don't let the name fool you: this was a very traditional and conservative hotel when it was built a hundred years ago. After being bought by the Marriott chain unfortunately lost most of its charm, but the Bar is still a great place to relax after a long walk Downtown. We love the tostado sandwiches and the secluded and cozy ambiance. A must.

There are also some good bars in the area, but that is material for another post...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Recoleta Cemetery

It is inevitable to end up in the Recoleta Cemetery when walking around in Buenos Aires. Sooner rather than later, a visit to this tourist destination is a must for a lot of reasons: it is located in a fancy neighbourhood with a lot of interesting attractions, it has the mausoleum of the Duarte family where Eva Peron is buried, it is a bit romantic (and so different from other cemeteries around the world) and finally the mausoleums are absolutely breathtaking (while some are in good shape a lot of them are in a sorry state of disrepair).

It also reflects an era when Argentina was a powerful and wealthy country, so people in life as well as in death wanted to show off their splendid style and the abundance of money. Inside you find an argentinian Who's Who: presidents, influential families, scientists... Everybody who was somebody is buried there.

The layout is organized like a city grid, so you walk through streets showcasing beautiful "houses"---yes, it is like a City of the Dead--- along statues in marble and bronze, trees and probably 2,000,000 cats.

It will take you a good hour to roam around this place, and it's really worth it (have a memory card empty in your camera when you get there...trust us, we couldn't stop taking photographs...)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bienvenidos al Paraiso

Summertime in Buenos Aires is a little oppressive. Usually January and February are the worst months to be in the city---most people take their summer vacations on January---so besides the heat and the high humidity nobody is there. That could be bad or good, it really depends on your mood. We've had some wonderful times when the city is half empty (for instance, restaurants and bars just for yourself is not a bad thing).

But if you are tired of the cement and want to rest in touch with Nature ---without going to Punta del Este---there is an alternative in the nearby town of Carmelo (Uruguay): the Four Seasons Resort. It takes a short plane ride and you are there, in the middle of a wonderful pine and eucalypt forest on the bank of the Rio de la Plata...surrounded by wonderful buildings in stone and wood that look like they belong in Bali.

The service is impeccable--- Uruguayans are extremely polite and relaxed--- and so is the Spa. There are tennis courts, a gym, a golf course, a wonderful club house...
This place is great even in winter time, because all the rooms and bungalows feature wood burning fireplaces... great for that romantic getaway.

Welcome to Paradise.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lisbeth and Co.

We spent a great weekend Upstate New York last summer in company of our good friend Lisbeth McCoy and her lovely family.

Originally from Denmark, she came to the States a long time ago. We met Lisbeth at her store in New York ("Lisbeth and Co" on Elizabeth St in Nolita), a small space full of unbelievable vintage furniture, lamps and decorative objects from Denmark.

That store was a magnet for designers and famous faces, all of them attracted by the impeccable taste of the owner. She is a talented Interior Designer, with a very strict eye for details and a clear vision of what she likes (and especially, of what she does not like).

Her house Upstate is an extension of her persona. A small and intimate retreat, peaceful and warm, perfect for those long meals surrounded by family and friends...

We wanted to share with our readers a few pictures we took that weekend, so everybody can enjoy a bit of this Country Paradise.