Friday, August 12, 2011

Tandil: Escape from BA

Jesse arriving at Cabinas Tandilia (ours is the third from left).
What do I see?  A concrete jungle.  Nope!  Grass, animals and nature.  What’s that smell?  Smog?  Not so much.  Fresh mountain air.  What’s that sound?  Blaring car horns?  Wrong.  It’s nothing.  What’s this sensation I’m feeling washing over me?  Stress.  Absolutely not.  Complete tranquility.  This was our weekend in Tandil.  Nestled in the foothills of an ancient, crumbling mountain range, Tandil was the perfect way for us to spend a weekend celebrating our first anniversary of marriage.  As delightful as the hustle and bustle of city life is, constantly bumping into people on the sidewalk, taking large breaths of bus exhaust, and having Old Man Leland bust our humps over our reports, we decided to break free and lap in a subdued atmosphere for the first time since we arrived.
Tandil sunset from
our cabin

Tandil is well known for several things.  Chiefly among them, and obvious draws to us, are their artesian beer, handcrafted cheeses, cured meats and of course, wine.  More on the delights of their culinary wizardry later, but besides the quietness, these things highlighted our weekend.

Meat and cheese at Epoca de Quesos
We stayed in a small cabin outside the town.  The cabin was fully equipped with all the amenities you would need, which was perfect since we planned on using exactly none of it.  OK, we used the stove to heat water for mate…  It was at the end of a long dirt road, far from anyone but us and the other patrons.  And since there are only four cabins total, we found were pretty isolated.  Which is exactly what we wanted.  We arrived Friday afternoon, got some lunch and headed out, via taxi, to the cabins.  Quickly, we transitioned into chill mode.  We ate our sandwiches and had a beer on our deck.  Bellies full and relaxing, we did what any red-blooded person would do and took a nap.  Refreshed, we utilized the hospitality of Miguel, the owner of the cabins and a very nice man, and had him drive us into town for dinner at Epoca de Quesos.  We came here for three reasons: cheese, meat, beer.  And it was incredible.  We had a platter with a smattering of different cheese and meat.  It was beyond delightful.  After saying, “Oh wow, this one is so good,” after every piece, we just shut, smiled, and plumped up.  We washed it down with their handcrafted beer, got a bottle of wine and headed home for some Rummy and wine.  Fantastic night.
Lindsay surveying the pampas

The next day we woke up to mate and the sounds of birds.  We headed over to Sierra del Tigre, a nature reserve adjacent to the cabin’s property.  It was a nice walk on a calm day.  The reserve has llamas, donkeys, and horses.  The have some cages of different bird species as well, including a very sad looking puma, but our main attraction were the views.  The peak of the “mountain” was only 380 meters or so, but still yielded some great views around the pampas.  We also found the remains of a llama scattered around one of the fields.  It was most likely killed by a pack of ravenous coyote like animals (closer to a fox) that we saw around the cabin in a crazed blood lust for lazy pachyderms.  After the hike (speaking of blood lust), we had some mate, chilled out, watched the sunset, then headed back into town and upon Miguel’s recommendation, went to dinner to a place called El Trebol.

Mate on the porch
This is a parrilla (bbq), but not a normal parrilla.  An all you can EAT parrilla.  For 60 pesos, we sit down with a plate and a guy comes around with a plate of meat that has just been removed from the grill or pit of fiery deliciousness, and asks you if you want some.  Of course you say yes (even to liver and intestine which we tried) and eat until you cannot eat anymore.  Besides eating meat, we each had an empanada.  Filled with meat.  No vegetables.  No breads.  No nothing.  Meat.  It was fan-freaking-tastic!!  The people next to us watched in awe as Jesse consumed piece after piece, outdistancing Lindsay by a wide margin.  (no, this wasn’t an eating competition, but just saying).  Again, our bellies more than happy, we headed home and crashed like a pair of…hmmm… insert your own metaphor here.
The grill...

The grillmaster...
The next morning, we did our morning routine, packed up, and meandered on back to Buenos Aires.  It was one of the most welcomed, needed, and pleasant weekends of our lives.  Highly recommended to anyone in the neighborhood and a wonderful memory for a first anniversary.

The Meat Room at Syquet

1 comment:

  1. Sounds (and looks) like a great getaway. Relaxing and rejuvenating. Good food, great views.