For the last few months, this column has taken on a new format: three spots centered around a single theme. I struggled to find the string that ties this week’s chosen meals together besides three very good, very disparate meals that I would like to repeat again soon. And then it clicked: dining out has become a special treat, spaced out and meaningful. If I could have a decadent not broke day where breakfast, lunch and dinner were delivered straight to my door, that fine day would look something like this.
And remember: it is important to be conscientious of how we support restaurants. Before making your order, please think carefully about supporting restaurants directly and not tossing your money at third-party foreign apps that don’t care about us, our economy, their freelance employees or the businesses they serve.
Start the day with a bacon, egg and cheese from Sheikob’s Bagels
Sheikob’s Bagels was the very first thing I ordered in quarantine: my go-to white fish on an everything bagel (with a raisin and cinnamon for later). There are lots of bagels in Buenos Aires, but Sheikob’s is the real deal. Jake Eichenbaum-Pikser was a geophysicist before moving to Buenos Aires, where he made bagels out of his Parque Patricios shared kitchen and sold them from his bicycle before opening the city’s first bagel shop.
The team has managed to keep almost the entire menu during lockdown and has expanded to include an almacén. The half dozen and cuarto de cream cheese combo for $800 is a very smart investment alongside some house staples like pickled beets, dill cream cheese or corned beef, but while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and order a bacon, egg and cheese, with thick slices of roasted pork belly, or the white fish, made with smoked anchovy and homemade mayo, or the Mexican, with tangy roasted tomato and jalapeño cream cheese. You could also try one of the shop’s best kept secrets: a bottle of roasted jalapeño hot sauce, Lagrima del Diablo, made front-of-house bagel master turned salsa hook-up, Johnny Ortiz.
Order via WhatsApp: 11 6220-1720
A perfect afternoon of tacos, tamales and enchiladas from Sol Negro
Graphic designer turned film and astrology student (two separate schools, aclaro) turned artisanal tortilla maker and cook, the long-winded CV of Andrés Molina gets stacked into one via his pop-up turned home delivery service, Sol Negro. Molina has long been an avid home cook—before launching his pop-up he treated his friends to a mix of his father and grandmother’s recipes as well as his own curiosities in exploring the diverse immigrant communities of his native Guatemala City.
“Sol Negro is an eclectic project that mixes food from the street and from home [sic] trying to bring a new perspective to traditional dishes and experiment with new ones,” Molina explains. “In Guatemala City, we eat a lot of Mexican and Salvadorian food and there are a lot of influences from different waves of immigrants. My ancestors are Mayan, Cantonese, Syrian and Spaniards and at home we ate a mixture of all those things.”
Molina has adapted the project to quarantine and offers three different set menus: pork tamales, puerco adobado and enchiladas suizas. If I had to choose, I’d go for the puerco adobado as Molina has a natural talent for slow-cooked and explosively layered sauces wrapped into handmade tortillas he makes alongside master tortilla makers at Puro Maiz. Vegan diners can opt for a veggie-friendly menu with mushroom tamales and potato enchiladas. The labor-intensive meals require a bit of anticipation. Molina takes orders Monday through Thursday and delivers on Friday and Saturday.
Order via Instagram.
Netflix and all the yakitori from TORi TORi
Sergio Higashiyoshihama and Naomi Hotta opened up Buenos Aires’ first yakitori joint back in 2016 on the border of Recoleta and Once. In Japanese, yakitori means grilled bird and is usually made up of all parts of the chicken—thighs, skin and offal meat are squeezed onto skewers and cooked over a charcoal grill. The menu at Tori Tori runs bird-heavy, minus the heart, liver and gizzards that you’d find in Japan and in their place are extra options like pork shoulder, beef tenderloin or vegetables like portobello or chunky slices of zucchini.
TORi TORi is all about the experience. The tiny bar has space for roughly a dozen tightly packed diners with a lucky few getting a front row seat of the grill. Although we can’t hear the sound of the crackling charcoal or watch Higashiyoshihama work the skewers, the experience at home holds up. For two, order the eponymous menu tori tori and an obenti: nine brochettes with chicken thighs, chicken meatballs, tenderloin that are smokey and charred and fill the senses with an imaginary barbecue. Onigiri, plump triangles of sticky white rice, come stuffed with chripy pork belly, bonito or, for the true pickle connoisseurs, sour plums. Karaage the size of popcorn chicken and a variety of salads, like crunchy green beans in sesame sauce or a seaweed and cabbage salad, fill the table and make this a great family-style meal.
Order via WhatsApp: 11 6172-7151