Verde Brote: Alimento Natural

If you are vegetarian, vegan, allergic to gluten, lactose intolerant or have any dietary restrictions what-so-ever, Verde Brote: Alimento Natural 2679 Juremento will be a favorite in Buenos Aires. You can just take the D line Subte to the Juremento stop.

I enjoy it because it also has a broadest range of international food that I have seen yet, all in one store. It also has a large selection of spices, very nicely organized. They also carefully picked a couple other hard to find items, such as, pretzels, falafel mix or sushi paper. They have the biggest selection of honey, peanut butter and salsa that I have yet seen. They also offer homemade soy milanesas which are a stable for the vegan/vegetarian in Buenos Aires.

Don’t forget to check out the cute little café in the back for a coffee and a snack while you shop!

Overall, what I like most about Verde Brote is that it is a one-stop shop for the hard to shop for.


Mi Cocina

I am more settled in to my life here in Buenos Aires. One of the things that I love the most has been the necessity to cook. I love food so much. Unless you cook all the time, in the U.S., cooking for one can be really expensive. In the U.S. I can go to the grocery store with a shopping list for dinner and by the time I leave the store, a $40 receipt. Or I can go to subway and get a $5.00 footlong. It's a no brainer! Especially, this last year, while I was saving for this trip, I ate a lot of Subway!

Now, that I have tapped into my cooking skills on a consistent basis. I see the reward of it as more than a way to save money or convenience, which it is here. For me, I have a whole other challenge of learning the words of the spices, vegetables, flours and such. My mind is very tired. After a long day of thinking in Spanish and English it is a joy to have my little kitchen (pictured above) at the end of the day. Here I can create something fantastic with no words.


Staying Cool!

Right now, it is hot in Buenos Aires. Most of the day, my goal has been to stay cool. If I am walking around the city, I will take a break by browsing in a shop full of brisk air conditioning. Another way I have been staying cool is to walk through one of the 100’s of parks. Trees are common on every street. It is such a blessing. If it wasn’t for the trees, the summers would be unbearable.

One hot afternoon, I discovered a great little shop. It is near the ‘centro’ or downtown area. This area is full of tourists and business people. Interestingly, in this area there are several streets without trees. Truthfully, at this point, I try to avoid this area as much as possible. But if you are or have to make a trip off of the 9 de Julio subte stop, I would check out this little fast-food restaurant.

I found this place because it is literally impossible to miss. It is on the corner of Lavalle and Suipacha. It is very colorful and there is a massive amount of fruit in the window and inside. They have tons of fresh fruit already cut-up and ready to go. I actually, didn’t investigate much of the menu because I was distracted by the cut-up bananas covered with dulce de leche, topped with homemade whip cream that I bought!

It was amazing and only 8 pesos!


My First Book

For some reason 8 years old was a good year for me. I have many significant memories around the age eight. One of my favorite memories was of my 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Bolsinger, reading the class, Lafcadio: The Lion who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein. It was very significant because it was longest book that I had ever read to the end, about 75 pages. It took us about a week. I remember being on the edge of my seat at every turn, of every page and never wanting it to end. It is a story about a lion who becomes a hunter. It is full of many twists, turns and comedy. It is absolutely a must have for children because it is full of adventure!

I love books because of my mom. My whole life I have loved to wander aimlessly in bookstores. I have a vision of a home with a library. Now that I am here, things aren’t that much different. I love the smell of a bookstore and the idea that someone was behind each book. When I enter into a bookstore, it is like a little oasis. It is quiet and no one bothers you. It is very peaceful.

The other day, I discovered a tiny bookstore off of a very busy street. There was a narrow walkway to the register and stacks after stacks of books. I have been thinking lately that I would like to read a book in Spanish but what? I don’t quite know what book to start with. Just as I was about to walk out of the store, I noticed this book under all the children’s books, at the bottom. I pulled it up to realize that this was the book that I would read. Lafcadio: El Leon Que Devolvio El Disparo by Shel Silverstein.


Un Beso!

I find U.S. culture more fascinating now that I am outside looking in. I can see a major British influence now much more than ever. Certainly, there is a mesh of cultures colliding but the base of that is English. Many of the manners, the behaviors, the privacy or the taboos are rooted from the English culture. Plus, because people are so accustomed to so many cultures and traditions hitting them at once, many times the result is to separate.

I’ve always sensed something missing in the U.S. from our general interaction. I am an extremely affectionate and loving person. This is strange in my country. You might see more of this in small town U.S.A. but not to the degree that I have been searching for. My closest friends in my life usually come from Italian, African or Latin families. There is something there that I love. There is something with in these cultures that makes me feel more comfortable.

I am not saying that the Argentinean people are extremely affectionate, they are many times not. But when they love, they express their love. Men will hug each other with gratitude and kindness. I will see two older women walking down the street holding each other’s hands. Or, of course, romantic affection is extremely dominant. There are many, many couples kissing at restaurant tables or street benches.

But there is one thing here that I have never received so consistently my whole life. It is 'un beso'! (one kiss)

For example, in Buenos Aires, if you are walking into a room full of strangers at a party, you should go around the entire room and give everyone a kiss on the cheek while saying your name. Everybody here, even the children, give ‘un beso’ (one kiss) on the cheek to everyone they meet, when they enter or leave a room.

In the smaller towns that I have visited, I noticed that the men did shake hands. Later, I found out that, for men, shaking hands was more common in the smaller towns unless they were very close.

This is even a tradition at jobs interviews or professional meetings. Practically, nobody shakes your hand! In every situation when you meet someone be prepared to give ‘un beso’ on the cheek after and before you meet. Even at the end of my yoga class, we all give 'un beso' to the intructor before we leave the room! Now, I am already thinking about how I will adjust back in the U.S.?

That brings me to this. I give a lot of credit to the people, that I know, who have had to adapt in the opposite direction. The U.S. must seem so cold to people who are from Argentina. I can just imagine, getting a job in Chicago and accidentally giving your new boss a kiss on the cheek.


Cafe Martinez

Martínez is a city in San Isidro Partido, Buenos Aires Province.

But it is also a common café or coffee shop in Buenos Aires. Locals call it the Starbucks of Buenos Aires. There are over 50 locations. For me, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially, if you are only here for a very short period of time, they offer a reliably great cup of coffee and always fresh deserts. Here in Buenos Aires, generally, service is somewhat lacking. Since I am from the restaurant business, I would say, that for Buenos Aires, Martinez runs a tight ship.

They have been around since 1933. They have a superb website:


Here, you can click on the green box, for a list of locations. Right now the box says Aperuras Nevos locales. Or you could just walk down the street and chances are that you will find a Martinez Café.

For people from the states who know brewed coffee. This doesn’t exist here. Here they drink espresso, a single or double. If you want a watered down espresso, you order an Americana. The only place that I have seen that has brewed cup of coffee is McDonald’s. Starbucks is one of the only places that will make an Americana filled to the top of the cup, to appear as if it was a brewed cup of coffee.

Or be like me and switch to Mate, like a real Argentine. BESOS!!!!!


Requirement to enter: RELAX (relajado)

I wish anyone the best of luck, if you are in a hurry in Buenos Aires. It is almost impossible to rush around people in Buenos Aires. First, no one is in a hurry and there is a phenomenon that happens when you walk down the street. People here tend to not walk in a straight line. It is strange.

I thought that the crooked sidewalks were the problem and then I was talking to a friend of mine who works on the body (acupuncture ext.). He said that it was possible that the over-consumption of meat is causing liver damage and therefore causing an imbalance. I don’t have the answers.

I only noticed it because I am an extremely fast walker. There have been many times; walking down the street with only one person is in front of me and I still can’t get around. I have had to conjure up a great deal of patience since I have arrived. I have also discovered that my dancing skills have been the only way to combat this problem. I have been seen doing a ballet leap through crowds.

For some reason, in this city, it has been more challenging to be on time. There is always a line for everything. There is always a crowd. Many times a street is blocked off, a bus doesn’t come or the Subte is closed. There is always something. Thankfully, people usually don’t show up or are also late, so it is fine. In fact, I was told that you aren’t considered late unless it is almost 20 min after expected.

This city is seemingly never ending with people in every which way. I could walk down the angled streets for hours, finding new shops, cafés, and bookstores. There is a beat here, a ‘flow’. The longer that I am here the more this ‘flow’ becomes a part of me.

I am constantly discovering something here in Buenos Aires. Just when I think I understand this city, I am surprised. Sometimes, I feel like this city gives me a present every day. There is a balance to this offering. Just like life, sometimes I don’t like the present, other times, I do.

I truly enjoy Buenos Aires, I believe because I was completely open to a major shift in my being before I arrived. Since, I have allowed Buenos Aires to engulf me, I have been able to relax and this city has become a somewhat magical place.


Argentina needed a Martin Luther King

Today has been a rather odd day for me, because in the United States, today is Martin Luther King Day. Here, in Buenos Aires, it means nothing.

There is such a sense of sadness, combined with a tremendous deal of hope, for the many people who have lived through this time of history in the U.S. The pain that our African population lived through during the civil rights movement is nearly unbearable to contemplate. Sometimes the sacrifices seem so great that it is difficult to see the progress that we have made.

Miraculously, today, we do have a black president. This is incredible. Martin Luther King would be proud. But he would not say that it is not over yet. What a gift that our country received to have a person like Martin Luther King, to bring a sense of understanding to our Nation. Argentina wasn't so lucky with this insight.

In fact, in Buenos Aires I rarely see a black person. In almost two months, I would say that I have noticed less than 10 black people.

In 1810, black people accounted for about 30 percent of the population in Buenos Aires. However, their numbers went down to 1.8 percent by 1887. Where did they go?

Argentina had slaves, almost as many as Brazil or the United States. But in the nineteenth century Argentina was desperately fighting for independence in every direction. As the story goes, it was black men who sacrificed their lives. There was also a cholera epidemic in 1861 and 1864. And a yellow fever epidemic in 1871. Both have been said to contribute to the loss.
There is the theory of discrimination. That life was too hard for most black people in Argentina, so they just left. There were better opportunities and friendly faces in neighboring countries.

Because there were still woman left behind during the war-time, the social studies has estimated an upwards of 20% of the population to have some form of African descent. But few people like to admit this or talk about it.

Basically, they vanished, and with such a heavy resistance to talk about this subject in Argentina, it has created an underground debate. What really happened?

Today, less than 2% of the population is of African descent. Many people here have gone through their whole lives without knowing a single black person. If they do, chances are, they are not from here. Usually, they are from Brazil, Cuba, Africa or the United States.

I met the people pictured above because I was curious to see if I could come across a single black person today. I did, they work for the French Navy and one of them was black.

I do not want the people of Argentina to think that I am accusing them of Racism. Racism is an individual matter. This is the history that the people of Argentina came from. This is the world that exists here. You can individually choose whether to continue that world or not.

To my friends and family, who are black, I love you and I can’t imagine being raised in a world without you. Today, it is important for all of us, to focus of the progress that the United States of America has made. Although, certainly not without issues, we are making Martin Luther King’s dream a reality.


I Believe that Children are our Future

There are 52 countries that speak English but only 7 of them inhabit a majority of English speakers.

Here are 22 countries that speak Spanish:
Andorra , Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela

In most of these countries, more than half of the population speaks Spanish.

What it boils down to is that there are more native Spanish speakers in this world then native English speakers.

The U.S. never took an official language because the founders had visualized practically every single language to be spoken. They were right. It is also true that Mandarin and Hindi are the top languages in the world; meanwhile, Spanish is the language entering the most powerful country in the world.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be 59.7 million Spanish speaking people in the U.S. by 2020. Today, there is an estimated 308.5 million people in the US and 35 million of them are native Spanish speakers.

This is not including people who speak Spanish as a second language.

The problem is that neither parents nor schools are requiring their children to speak both languages.

On the school yard, in the U.S., there are children playing together who speak both languages. There are many attempts at different programs of immersion, English or Spanish as a second language but what these children need is both. They need to be educated with both and not denied one. Because Spanish and English have many similarities it is very easy to combine them. This is one of the reasons the U.S. is experiencing ‘Spanglish’. It is being studied and tracked as an evolution to our languages.

To anyone with children, anywhere, especially in the U.S., teach your children Spanish and English. There are hundreds of reasons to encourage this. If for nothing else, it will increase their jobs and their relationships.

It will also give them the opportunity, to gracefully visit, some of 22 beautiful Spanish speaking countries of this world.


La Música

When it comes to music, I have opinions but I do not hate nor do I judge. This subject is tricky because I don’t want to sound pretentious nor do I want to sound deficient or nonsensical. Music, for me, is like water or food. It is not up to me to decide what ‘tastes’ good to you. However, I am searching for what ‘tastes’ good to me and, like food, it is a necessity.

Since I have been here, I have been to several music shops. They usually have a nice Brazilian section and somewhat of a general Latin section. But, here in Argentina, they like English music. Their music shops are almost identical to the ones in Chicago. They like music that I already know and that I am ready to venture away from. Each time I ask a local about the local music, they say, ‘you mean, Tango?’

I try really hard not to laugh when someone suggests Jazz or Blues to me. But I laugh, at the irony because I am from Chicago and I have been 'been around the block', or two, with
the genuine Blues scene. Reggae is really big here. I found this to be an interesting fact.

And, of course, there is Rock National music. These are local rock bands, many of them remind me of the Indie-Punk scene in Chicago but in Spanish. This scene evolved from the British Invasion of music and American rockabilly. When it comes to a unique quality Argentina has attained it within the Rock National bands. I am keeping an eye on some well known venues for these bands. One of those venues is La Trastienda in San Telmo.

I just imagined there to be more accessible Spanish-style music or Brazilian. I am thinking a little Jarabe De Palo influence. But I am looking for something that is not here. I need to re-adjust.

I went to see a local Joaquin Sabina cover artist a few weeks ago at Senior Pub, Laprida 911.(Picture above) It was a fantastic little pub, just like Chicago, with a little space in the front and a nice spot-light for the one man acoustic show. This chain smoking, joke-telling man’s name was Atilio Amir and he certainly fulfilled a need of mine for live music.

For now, I sit back and relax with what I have.
But it has come to my attention that I am still looking for Spain.



Today, I officially feel like an Argentine because today I STRIKE!!!!

Citibank has decided to charge me a wacky amount of money for being in Buenos Aires. I used them because they are an International Bank I was assured, by them, that they would be more reasonable with their foreign fees.

Not the case. I have been charged around 100 dollars in fees in one month.

I am a little stressed because I am dealing with closing this account and transferring all my money to another account. I did however plan ahead for this situation. Thankfully, I put someone that I trusted on the account with me so they can help me take care of the situation.

Fun Travel Tip!! I believe to travel safely and wisely you need to have a few people in your corner who you trust 100% with your personal expenses.

Join me in first Argentine Strike. STRIKE CITIBANK!!!!


Mickey D's

Especially, if you are from the US, you know that there is a psychological reaction that happens to you when you see a McDonald’s. Some of us look down at McDonald’s and the people who eat it. Some of us secretly love it. I have to admit, it does bring me an automatic sense of ‘home’.

My friend Genesa recently went to Japan. After days of eating Japanese food she finally broke down and went to McDonald’s. She said that she needed a filling meal. This makes sense to me. I can imagine needing a hamburger after days of sushi, soup and noodles.

Not so in Argentina. For me the only reason that I have been and will continue to go to McDonald’s is for the ice cream. Here they have wisely attached kiosks that sell only ice cream for many of the pedestrian friendly locations. They have dulce de leche soft serve ice cream in a sugar cone for less than 3 pesos and they offer it with a swirl vanilla.

In Argentina, and I know in many other countries, McDonald’s is a special treat for the family and not for the poor. Here there is a massive amount of other fantastic food options and McDonald’s is certainly avoidable.

There is one thing that I would like to do at McDonald’s before I leave. In fluent Spanish, I will order a Big Mac because I am curious to see if the Argentine Beef brings better flavor.


The Sun is So Hot ......Oh, Mexico

Being from Chicago, my entire life I have been around Mexican food. One of my best girlfriends in childhood was from Mexico and her family served me tamales. My dad has always cooked enchiladas. My family many times cooks Mexican food for holidays and gatherings. I have worked in restaurants for many years where the kitchen is always cooking Mexican food.

One day, in Chicago, I suggested Mexican food to a person from Argentina. For me, it is part of my culture. But, I didn’t get a good response, the first thing he said was, “Molly, I’m not Mexican!” Now that I am here, I assure you that the people of Argentina are not Mexican.

That day in Chicago, I wasn’t confused if my friend was Mexican or not. But now I understand what he meant. The people in Argentina do not use a lot of spicy ingredients in their food. Their spice is an occasional red pepper flake and, of course, garlic.

I love garlic. But what I am craving is a fresh jalapeno pepper or something really spicy so that my tongue burns.

My friend Wendy, who is Mexican, took me to La Fabrica del Taco on Gorriti 5062. It is one of the few Mexican restaurants in Buenos Aires. First it has a traditional open grill outside where you can sit and order your food. They have traditional homemade beverages that are served just like in Mexican. They make their own chips, which is a treat because Argentina does not have traditional tortilla chips in the grocery stores.

I sat with my un-injured tongue and for a split second pretended to be in Mexico, which made me feel like home.


Jardín Botánico y los Gatos

Open in 1898, the Botanical Garden is located in the heart of Palermo. This is the park that meows at night. I saw 5 incredible green houses, over 30 sculptures, incredible species of plants from all over the world and the cats.

The man who founded this park, Carlos Thays, was a French landscape architect. He was an early environmentalist and imagined the streets lined with trees in Buenos Aires. His vision brought a ton of beauty to this city. Also, trees are one of the biggest reasons this city can stay somewhat cool in the summer.

This garden is very tranquil and free to enjoy, especially if you don’t mind snuggling up next to a cat every so often.

Red onion

Thank you Santa. I asked Santa for a red onion for Christmas. Here is it. The man at the vegetable shop said that they were not common.


Sunday (Domingo)

Buenos Aires does not sleep, unless it is Sunday. Streets that are usually alive with people are eerily quiet on Sunday. Many of the regular restaurants, grocery stores and vegetable shops are closed. Sunday is a time to recuperate after a long week of work and a very long weekend of dancing or ‘partying’. Whenever you wake up, you might have an asado with your family or friends. Or you might meet someone for coffee at 6pm. Or you might leave the house. The key word is might. Nothing is set in stone. No one is in a hurry, to church or to anything. It is truly a time to relax. The only thing that disrupts this fact is the tourists. Tourists do force certain businesses and areas to remain alive because where there are tourists; there is money to be made. (photos of tourist areas on Sunday)

Personally, I have been falling more into the local attitude and relaxing. The most important thing, for me, is that I have a little food in the fridge and maybe a little company for my extremely tranquil Sunday.


I am trying not to cry for Argentina........

In the world, Argentina is one of the top producers of soy. They are one of the top 10 producers of grapefruit. Generally, they are rich with citrus. There is fresh orange juice offered in most restaurants. They always use lemon on their salads. Personally, I am into the grapefruit products. They have a common drink that tastes like Squirt and I always have fresh grapefruit juice in the fridge. The other day, I bought grapefruit flavored throat drops. Later, I noticed the product may contain traces of soy.

My psychic powers have been revealing themselves again. Before I came here I had no idea that Argentina was one of the top three producers of soy. But oddly in Chicago, before my trip, I had just starting on a soy product kick. Here I can purchase my soy butter and milk. I am still looking for soy ice cream.

The longer I am here, the sadder that I am for Argentina. This country is wonderful and has so much to offer the world. This country should be rich. But because of many deep wounds that I am discovering each day, they are not. For now, I am very happy to enjoy Argentina and all that it has to offer.


A Day In The Life

Buenos Aires is like a box of cracker jacks because there is always a surprise inside!

For example, in the last month, I was told by two separate male waiters, in two separate locations, to pull my pants up because my underwear was distracting them at work. Last week, I discovered a park that meows when you pass it because people leave abandoned cats there. This week I witnessed a little 4 year old girl, by herself, passing out little books to people on the Subte (subway) for money.

Today I discovered that it is never a good plan to rely
solely on your Subte card. Here the Subte card is just for the Subte. For the bus (collective) you have to have change. They are attempting to start a system where you can put money on a card but it isn’t at all perfected.

Today the Subte service was ‘interrumpido’ or interrupted. I sat and watched for a moment to see what the people did. For the most part, the people sat and watched also (photo above). I found the whole situation extremely interesting. I didn't attempt to know why they stopped service. But as I watched most people didn’t seem to attempt to know either or care for that matter. A friend of mine mentioned once that they stopped occasionally to strike.

I sure am glad that I am a former girl-scout because I had ignored my instinct to rely on the Subte and packed some change for the bus, just in case!

And to be better prepared I know to always have good walking shoes on. I suppose the buses could stop running too.



If you are on a gluten-free diet, vegan/vegetarian or can appreciate a nice organic shampoo you will be visiting dieteticas. They are all different and based on the individual owners desires. Some are focused on herbal medicines/vitamins or natural products for the body. Others are focused on food, spices and nuts. I thought that I would be thrilled to find the body products but they still have tons of fragrance in them. Surprising, I haven’t found a lot of sensitive skin products to choose from in these shops, yet. The other day, I stumbled across my dream dietetica. Upon entering, I felt an immediate sense of peace. The walls were lined with spices and there were barrels of nuts and dried fruits. I studied the spices and realized that I could get almost all the spices that I have been looking for. Of course, in the US, I am used to purchasing them in little expensive bottles or for rubs, they are already mixed with George Foreman's name on them. Here you can make you own rub easily and without breaking the bank. I am thrilled! In fact, they give you so much, as a minimum, that I had to ask them to give me half and it was still under 2 pesos. My first purchase was garlic powder. Right now, I am translating a Jerk Chicken Rub so I can go back for more.