Oh hello rain in Buenos Aires. You took a while to come but now your are here and it looks like you are set to stay. Being from the UK I guess that I am more accustomed to this weather that is better suited for ducks than the sunshine loving Portenos of Buenos Aires. The grey cloud and drizzle helps me to fend off that occasional waft of homesickness that lingers in the smoggy air. Having said that, what I loathe and am certainly not used to, is travelling by ‘la moto’ (scooter) in torrential downpours as occurred last Monday night.
Senor Rico (I feel I should point out for those Spanish speakers out there that I mean rico in the delicious sense, not the unspeakably wealthy), ‘Argie’ boyfriend and owner of said moto, dropped by work to collect me after a ‘hard’ day of Buenos Aires wine tastings. As we turned the corner on calle Cordoba my carefree expression turned into a grimace as the heavens opened and we were, for a lack of a better expression, peed on. Wet, hungry and unamused, we pulled over in search for some cover and there, ahead of us, was a light, with a green sign, spelling out Angelin. We made a dash for the large wooden door way and stepped into the shabby, compact shell of a pizza parlour.
Drooling as the aroma of cheese and onions smacked me in the face, I ventured forward. Now, Angelin is definitely not your fine dining experience in Buenos Aires, oh no, I guess some people would think the decor leaves something to be desired but I put Angelin into the category of ‘diamond in the rough’. This is the kind of place where you devour the comforting food perched on a traditional stool or standing by the tall wooden table ledge that is situated to the side of black and white checked floor of the forecourt. I believe there where some ramshackle tables to the back in the dark corners of the establishment but I wanted to be be out front watching the action and the constant stream of local Argentine patrons run in and out to collect there doughy goods.
The long wooden pizza bar is laid with a selection of typical Argentine flavours, like fugazzetta (cheese and onion pizza), fried empanadas and faina (an Italian style flat bread that is made from chickpeas). I drooled as I eyed each choice, not deterred by the fact that each pizza could quite possibly have just sat on the counter for at least 5 hours, I finally choose a fugazetta slice, cheese and tomato with garlic slice as well as a portion of faina (don’t judge me, I’m a fatty). The young, unsmiling Angelin employee, dressed in an old school light blue button down pizza boy outfit complete with a diner style hat, promptly cut up my selection and took it out back to be heated in the wood-fire oven before curtly informing me that I did not have to pay until after I had eaten, with that look of ‘this isn’t McDonalds, you stupid tourist’.
So I perched on a stool and waited a whole 3 minutes before the pizza was shoved under my nose. I have a few expat friends, who are not only from the States but are also culinary experts of the highest degree with an eye for thin crusted New York style pizza. The main complaint that I hear form them about pizza in Buenos Aires is that the crust is too doughy and the cheese is stacked way too high, that it is basically a disgusting greasy heart attack waiting to happen. I however am a fan of this style of pizza, not the overly greasy, but thick, crunchy, cheesy, flavoursome pizza that is a little bomb in your mouth and fills your stomach after a slice. Angelin pizza, in my humble opinion, some of the best the I have tried in Buenos Aires and even though re-heated, it wasn’t dry, wasn’t to greasy, wasn’t over the top on any of the ingredients, it was just utterly great comfort food and perfect on that cold wet eve!
With ‘Cantando por un Sueno’ (sing for a dream) playing on the TV set above the bar, a slice of pizza in one hand, a pint of Quilmes beer form tap in the other, I felt like I was absorbed in the heart of Argentine tradition and I loved every second; with or without the rain.
Track down Angelin on Cordoba 5270 from 8pm until late. Prices vary, average of $45Ars per pizza.
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