“Is that blood dripping down your chin?” Kimberly laughed.
Blood was dripping down my chin — from the best steak I’ve ever tasted. (I’m a notoriously messy eater).
Argentina is known for it’s beef. Bussing around the country it’s easy to see why the beef is so good; there’s plenty of grass for the cattle to graze on and space for them to wander.
You eat the beef at a parrilla (steakhouse). Parrilla can also refer to the type of grill it’s cooked on. (It also happens to be a torture device).
Before arriving in Argentina I heard about the wonderful steaks. But I was a little skeptical — how good can a steak really be? You won’t know until you’ve been to Argentina, but I’ll do my best to recap our 4.5 parrilla experiences to date…
Parrilla 1: Buenos Aires
Our first week in Buenos Aires we visited a parrilla recommended by a fellow hosteler. We arrived at the parrilla at 9 pm. Despite it being early for Argentineans to eat, the place was already packed, and when we left a few hours later there was a line out the door. At this parrilla we had a bife de chorizo (sirloin steak), a chorizo (sausage), fried provolone cheese, and a bottle of wine. We spent about $25 US. At the time, this was the best steak I had ever tasted.
Parrilla 2: Rosario
With some fellow hostelers and staff in Rosario we bought meat at a market and cooked it on the parrilla grill on the roof. It was 1 am by the time we ate. It’s a little hard for me to enjoy dinner after midnight but the food was amazing and the experience was fun. The cost for all the beef, potato salad ingredients, bread, and drinks was about $5 US per person.
Parrilla 3: Mendoza
At nondescript parrilla in Mendoza, we gorged on our the largest parrilla yet. We split a “mixed grill for 2″ — an entire grill full of steaks, sausages, blood sausages, intestines, and sweetbreads for about $14 US. Once he had cooked the meat on the large parrilla, the owner brought a small grill table side to keep the food warm.
Yes, all of that meat was for us.
Parrilla 4 and Parrilla 4.5: Bariloche
In Bariloche we experienced our best tasting (and most expensive) parrilla to date. We consumed a half bottle of wine, a huge portion of fried provelone, a chorizo sausage, a bife de chorizo (sirloin), and a bife de lomo (tenderloin). The bife de chorizo and lomo were both considered half portions even though one half portion alone could have fed 3 people. The beef was cooked perfectly — medium rare and just a little bit bloody in the middle.
The chorizo, provolone, and bife de chorizo were all excellent. But the bife de lomo was the most amazing piece of meat I’ve ever tasted. Words can’t describe it. It was incredibly tender. This meal cost a whopping $36 US.
Because this parrilla was so amazing we went back a second time, this time limiting ourselves to a half portion of bife de lomo, a beef empanada, and some delicious thin cut french fries.
Good thing we’ve been enjoying our parrilla — when we volunteer on the farm later this week it will be all vegetarian meals!