Once upon a time, I lived very briefly in a place called Heaven. It was a land where cows roamed free in green green pastures, beautiful angels danced until the early morn, and ice cream glided like cupid's wings down oceans of dulce de leche. Early last month, I returned to this fantasy land for a sweet visit. I now live to tell these phantasmagorical (food) tales from that visit.
**La Cupertina** (Cabrera 5296)
On a not very busy corner in Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires, there lives a little restaurant called La Cupertina. Small and simple, it is run by two well-aged Argentine women and one sweet young lad of a helper. One of the women, the shorter and squatter of the two, is like your strict Italian grandmother - she'll scold you for not eating enough (or, in my case, for taking too long to order), but it's okay because you know she just wants the best for you. The restaurant has an ambience that calls to mind a French countryside kitchen - fresh cut wild flowers at each table, a pretty theme of subdued lilac-blues and yellows on everything, brass pots with ribbons hanging on the walls, and plenty of soft sunlight to illuminate it all. I seriously don't think one restaurant has given me so many sensations of contentedness ever. Sitting there waiting for the food, I felt as giddy as a school girl waiting for the last bell to ring before summer break.
The menu at La Cupertina is straightforward - empanadas, sandwiches, stews, and plenty of insanely rich desserts. The first time we went, we were novices and didn't quite have a good strategy for ordering. However, I think we still did quite well.
Empanadas y Empanadotas!
It has been said that they have the best empanadas in all of Bueno Aires, and to Ray that meant in the whole world. I am inclined to agree. They make the Tucuman variety, but they do it with the perfect combination of love and an ocd'd sense of perfection. There were empanadas with cut beef in sauce, humita (sweet corn -my favorites), chicken, ham and cheese, and onion stuff. The empanadotas were the big fat round ones, and they were filled more with vegetable varieties, like zuchinni and eggplant.
Empanada de Jamon y Queso
Notice the sugar on top of the empanada. very weird, but a really nice, crunchy touch.
Steak sandwiches, ham and cheese, and complete.
Complete sandwiches in Argentina have beef, ham, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, a fried egg, and some other ingredients that are complete. Here is one halfway devoured.
The best thing about the sandwiches is that we got to eat them with this:
Colorful and delectable flavored mayonnaise dipping sauces. The green pesto one was my favorite. I could eat it by the spoonful, and I don't even like mayonnaise.
For some reason these little versions of the normal thing was genius. Just the perfect amount of cappuccino, each made to such delicate foamy perfection. They were so satisfying that they actually were enough to stand in as dessert, despite the many, many wonderful offerings.
Max is feeling A-Okay!
As is Ray.
Pots on the wall!
We were fortunate enought that La Cupertina was only one block away from our apartment. On our last day, after we checked out, we thought we'd have one last meal. To our great disapointment, it was not open. Fitting for such a tragic ending, we kind of just sat in front of the entrance and cried for half an hour or so.
Here you can see Ray consoling a very brokenhearted Max, while an equally depressed Lucy looks on.
Our suitcases also felt the pain, I think.