I’m writing this from my home in Denver, so I don’t have any thoughts of my own yet regarding Buenos Aires. I have, however, through a lot of frenetic googling, synthesized a lot of other people’s thoughts regarding Buenos Aires. I’m going to share with you my top finds.
I have read most extensively about food. A few Tufts students who previously studied abroad in Buenos Aires told me to expect lots of milanesa (a breaded meat fillet, similar to chicken schnitzel), asado (of course), and dulce de leche slathered on everything (like, pancakes and cookies, not asado and milanesa.)
But none of them mentioned pizza! Which is an oversight! I first learned about Buenos Aire-style pizza through this New York Times article about high-end cocktail bars in Buenos Aires, which said, “...none of the watering holes are too far from a purveyor of Buenos Aires-style pizza, which is heavy on the cheese, may come on a flatbread made with chickpea flour, and could possibly be the best drunk food in the world.”
This sent me down a very deep hole of Google searches, and I emerged with a lot of knowledge about pizza in Buenos Aires. Because the city has a strong Italian influence, pizzarias populate most streets. But Argentine pizza is different from the pizza in Italy, and in the States. It has more dough and ridiculous amounts of cheese, less sauce, and is sometimes made out of chickpea flour, which renders it more of a flatbread. There seems to be a lot of disagreement on the Internet about whether this type of pizza is actually good. Read more here if you’re trying to avoid falling down that hole.
After researching foreign pizza, I went looking for something more familiar. I found this article about Sheikob’s Bagels, a bicycle bagel cart run by a New Yorker named Jacob. Bagels, or at least bagels like ones that have been enshrined by my New Yorker Jewish parents as a way of life, are apparently uncommon in Argentina. But Jacob Eichenbaum-Pikser and his bicycle bagel cart are changing that—he makes his bagels the way my parents approve of (boiled, then baked), and his cart has lox. My mother and I both celebrated this find.
I also love this photo essay about 24-hour flower stands in Buenos Aires, although it does leave some questions unanswered. Where else in the world are flower stands open for 24 hours a day? Who asked for this? Do they sell yellow tulips?
I’ve also read some really interesting things about what it’s like to be female-identifying/a person with a vagina in Argentina. For any future travel abroad students, I recommend checking out these Tips for Women Travelers in Argentina—it talks about things such as the availability of contraception and seeing OBGYNs while abroad. That’s also something to research more deeply, and talk to IES Abroad staff about what your options are.
Last thing: I didn’t find this on Google, one of my friends had to watch it for her Black Comedy class at Tufts, but I really recommend watching the Argentine film “Relatos salvajes” (Wild Tales). It’s composed of six different dark humor vignettes, and it reminded me a lot of Black Mirror—it’s creepy and smart and extreme.
At this point, all the Google search result pages are starting to look really familiar, which means it's finally time to depart. Tomorrow, I’ll fly from Denver to Dallas to Buenos Aires. I can’t wait to see you, BA!!!