As I matured and broadened my horizons, my feelings changed and the wonders of Argentina's culture were revealed. I visited Buenos Aires a few years ago and witnessed first hand the elegance of Tango and the stern yet hospitable nature of the Porteños (people from Buenos Aires).
But what really blew my mind was the food, especially the steak.
Upon my return to Queens, I set forth to find 'little Argentina'. This is the corner of Junction Blvd and Corona Ave which is walking distance from the Queens Center Mall. Here you will find a few Argentinian businesses including some restaurants. I have yet to venture elsewhere because El Gauchito (94-60 Corona Ave/(718) 271-8198) has always delivered delicious inexpensive steaks.
Jaquie and I recently skipped breakfast to go beyond burritos and try a typical Argenitinine lunch. I ordered the usual combo which includes entraña (skirt steak), tira de asado (short ribs) and chorizo (sausage). All three cuts were as succulent as i have always tasted them.
Jaquie had the tira de asado and veal. Both of which satisfied her Gauchito cravings. She enjoys her steaks with several pickled hot peppers and lots of chimichurri sauce. See this earlier post for a link to a good recipe.
Before the steaks we had a simple and delicious appetizer, provoleta (Grilled Provolone cheese sprinkled with parsley). Yes! it tastes as good as it looks. Here's one I cooked this past spring. This is something anyone can easily make at home in less than a minute.
As a side, we complemented the steaks with ensalada rusa (russian salad but really potato salad). This potato salad is exactly how my aunt makes it with carrots and peas. It's times like this that I wish my stomach was a bottomless pit. My mouth wants to keep munching but my stomach understands the heaviness.
Argentina's food history involves decades of perfecting the art of cattle ranching on the endless grass plains and preparing what many argue to be the best steaks in the world.
According to this article, the days of grass fed cattle are sadly coming to an end.
I encourage you to take a trip to Argentina and enjoy the beautiful culture, especially the steaks while the cattle is still grass fed.
Gauchito is priced inexpensive compared to other steakhouses. Appetizers are $4-$7, steaks are $12-22 and of equal or better quality.