Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Living In Cordoba? Try These Restaurant Alternatives To The Local Cuisine

If you're looking for a place in Cordoba, Argentina to eat that doesn't sell lomitos, empanadas, pizzas, or sandwiches de miga, then try Chilli Street Food. It's fantastic! 
Located on Fructuoso Rivera 273, the restaurant has a hipster vibe to it that most Millennials will love, but old timers like me will also get to enjoy great quality food that's a huge departure from the local cuisine.
The thing I love most about Chilli (not to be confused with Chili's from the States) is that their business hours aren't limited to a few hours in the evening like some establishments here commonly are. They also don't adhere to the dreaded siesta, which is a major plus. They're open every day from Noon till 2 a.m. The only day they're closed is Monday. 
They serve alcohol, so if it's beer you want, then beer you shall have. But you can also order some ice tea, which isn't very popular around these parts.
Another cool feature about the restaurant is that they have an open kitchen, so you can see them making your food before the server brings it over to your table.
They offer a wide array of culinary options like Asian, Middle Eastern, American (like fried chicken with coleslaw), and Latin food!
Cochinita Pibil is my personal favorite, and I say this having ordered this frequently over the last month or so for $95 Argentine pesos (which is $5.56 USD).
My partner preferred the Pita De Pollo Jooleh for $110 Argentine pesos (which is $6.43 USD).
The prices on the menu are all in Argentine pesos, and since 1 Argentine peso is worth 6 U.S. cents, this is perfect if you're just vacationing here.

They also have assorted side dishes. My favorite happens to be the refried beans, which I haven't had since I moved to Argentina. Trust me, it's a lot tastier than it looks.
It's important to note that Chilli opened in July of this year, and it certainly deserves a lot of credit for bringing a diverse mix of food. I just hope that they manage to beat the odds of most new businesses in Argentina and actually become successful.

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Of course, there's always the all you can eat buffet called Las Tinajas in Boulevard San Juan 32. Unlike some places in Cordoba, you only have to pay a set price of $220 Argentine Pesos per person and you can eat till you burst. The only thing that you have to pay extra for are the drinks.

There's a variety of food here like meat, seafood, and veggies! There's also plenty of Asian cuisine to sample, particularly Sushi, which I don't personally eat, but some of you might enjoy.
Once you empty a plate, you can go grab another and fill it right back up and keep on packing those calories until you simply can't anymore.
If your food gets cold, don't worry. They have a microwave that you can use to heat up your food, and don't worry about crowds. We've been here for lunch and dinner and it's never too crowded.

At this point, you can try grabbing some dessert. There are different types of pies, cakes, fruits, as well as ice cream. Who could say no to that?
The prices during the day are slightly cheaper, and a bit more expensive in the evenings, but certainly not enough to burn a hole in your pocket. 
The only downside are the hours. If you go during lunch time, make sure you go at 12:30 p.m. because if you get there by 2pm, you'll feel rushed because they close at 3 p.m. and generally stop making new food so the patrons will leave. At night I would recommend that you get there at 8:30 and no later than 9 p.m. if you want to spend a couple of hours pigging out. I know I do.

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Chicken Brothers is another favorite of mine. Aside from their delicious Texas burger, they also have fried chicken. Granted, it's not KFC. They use corn flakes to make the chicken crispy, but you definitely have to give them kudos for ingenuity.

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About a year ago, Jardin de Jade, one of the best Asian restaurants I've seen in Cordoba so far, closed. Fortunately, we found other alternatives like this one.


The egg rolls are to die for, but I'll admit, I'm still looking for a restaurant that makes spring rolls.

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There are plenty of other restaurants that I look forward to trying and reporting back on. Some are new, and some old, But there's one thing they have in common and that's the fact that they offer a taste of home.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spotlight: Franco - A Local's Views On The LGBT Community In Argentina

Do you know what being bi-curious means? Until recently, neither did I, but here's Franco, who explains to us what it means to be bi-curious and gives us an insight into the LGBT community in Argentina.
1) Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Franco, I was born in Córdoba and raised in Buenos Aires. I'm 21 years old. I study programming and German. And I spend most of my time hanging out with friends and working as a volunteer for an English conversation group here in Córdoba. 

2) Give me your definition of bi-curious. What does it mean? How is it different from just being bisexual or just curious about same sex relationships?  
What bi-curious means is something I learned rather recently. The way I see it, a bi-curious person is someone who can't define themselves as bisexual just yet, but that suspects they might be. For instance I consider myself bi-curious because I could say I enjoy watching straight porn, especially when a monster cock is involved lol. 

3) How do you feel with your straight friends versus your gay friends? Are you more comfortable with gays than straight? Or do you feel comfortable with both? 
Comfort is something I definitely value a lot. So I’ve got to say I feel comfortable around all my friends. The difference is the topic of the conversation. I feel comfortable talking about anything, but my gay friends are more accepting of my taste in men for example. Whereas if I were to talk about my taste in men with my straight male friends they would feel a little awkward. Either way, I say too bad. If we come across a hot guy or a hot girl, I'm going to say something, regardless of who I am with. 

4) Do your friends know about your bi-curious nature? 
Only some. Mostly my gay friends and my female straight friends. 

5) When it comes to labels, is Argentina as obsessed with them as some other countries are? For example in the States, you're not just American, you're Irish-American, Cuban-American, African-American, Asian-American, gay, bi, pan, trans, etc.? 
In Argentina no one cares about labels. We care so little about it that we call white guys and black guys "negro", skinny and fat people "Gordo" (which means fat), etc. Only the whiter people enjoy talking and finding out about where they come from because they know they must be European descendants, ugh. 

6) Do you know of other bi-curious people? Have you ever felt the need to look for others who feel the way you do? 
My ex-girlfriend is bi-curious and yes, it was nice knowing someone like me. However, I've never found any male bi curious person. I bet we would get along. 

7) Do you think it would be difficult to find other people who are bi-curious or gay in general? Is there an LGBT group or community center that you can go to for guidance? 
Mmm... I think that what we lack in Córdoba is a place where the LGBT community can communicate or meet without a looking-for-sex approach. But then again, I've never really looked for this kind of place, so it's only my opinion based on what I've heard. 

8) Was there ever a time when you encountered someone who wasn't tolerant or understanding of your bi-curious nature? I have come across people who give me "the look" when I say something nice about a person of the same sex. And I have honestly even bothered trying to explain to them that there's nothing wrong with saying that a man is cute even if you yourself are a man. For example by asking them what the difference is between saying "my friend is handsome" and the acceptable-apparently-not-gay phrase: "yo mah boy's looking bigggg" when you want to compliment a friend for being muscular. They never know what to say. 

9) Have you always felt comfortable in your own skin as a bi-curious man? 
Of course I feel comfortable. It's like being able to speak another language without even practicing. I can understand the gay and the straight language and make both types of people comfortable by connecting with them, which has got me many friends throughout the years. 

10) Do you think people in Argentina are more accepting and tolerant of people in the LGBT community? 
I mean, I may be biased because I'm Argentine, but you can never compare a country like the United States with Argentina in terms of acceptance towards minorities. Why? Because to us the fact that there's people who would kill other people because of their sexual orientation is just crazy. We don't understand it. There may be some Argentine people who dislike seeing men holding hands on the street (mostly old people), but the thought of killing them would never cross their minds. 

11) Growing up in Argentina, how were you raised to view homosexuality? (example: It's a sin or it's okay) 
This is rather general. There are many ways to be brought up in Argentina. In my own experience, I've been lucky enough to get to know many different contexts without being completely devoted to anything. I grew up being Catholic, went to a public primary school, then to a private and religious secondary school... Honestly, it feels as if no one had ever told me anything about homosexual people. No one (that I can remember) ever told me how I should treat gay people. Not in church, not at school, and definitely not at home. I guess being gay was only a joke in my younger years until we all grew up and understood it's a sexual orientation, and after that no more jokes. When it comes to violence, the few episodes I can remember had to do with kids bullying other kids for "looking gay" rather than for "being gay". Almost as if it was wrong only because you wouldn't accept it. And let me tell you an interesting detail that I am thinking about right now: I bet that in that religious private school there were far more homosexuals than in the public schools. Why? Because they all were these typical fuck boys who loved touching each other, either with hugs or by punching each other, but as an adult now, I can tell that's repressed homosexual behavior. 

12) What was your first exposure to gay culture? (For example: Through a TV show, books, comics, movie, a personal experience with another member of the LGBT community?) 
I could never go back in time far enough to remember that, but it's likely to have been through Cartoon Network. Only back then I probably didn't understand what being gay meant. When I was younger, we would yell "gay" at someone if they acted "girly", and I bet this would happen because of some resemblance with some cartoon we had watched.  

13) If you ever found yourself in a same sex relationship, how do you think your family would react? 
My mother would approve. My grandma would act like most old people and be disgusted. I would lose some of my cousins' respect (which I'd be fine with btw). And my uncles would probably be a little disappointed at first, but then would support me. 

14) Were you taught about sex, STDs, and how to use protection (like with condoms)? If yes, what grade (year) was sex education applied to the curriculum? 
I was taught this for only a year, and teachers were never able to teach it without making us cringe, which is understandable. But I'm sure a good teacher could've done better. We were taught this at around the age of 13 or 14. 

15) How safe do you think members of the LGBT community are in Argentina? (For example, is gay bashing or murder a high risk in Argentina?) 
Like I said before, compared to the States, Argentina is a paradise of acceptance; unless you're from another South American country (because we're a tiny bit xenophobic). I'd say to any LGBT member that your sexual orientation is not a factor that will contribute to you being murdered in Argentina. Argentina is not the safest place in the world but love for people of the same sex does not make you a target.


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Franco, thank you so much for being so open about your views for this interview. Your answers will surely help others who are living in countries where it's not safe to be a member of the LGBT community, and are looking to migrate to a country that is as open-minded and welcoming as Argentina.