Now that the weather is finally cooling down (a bit too much if you ask me) it is the season for two of my favorite things—red wine (of course) and locro, a classic Argentinean dish typically eaten in the winter. Locro is a hearty stew that has a base of zapallo (squash), porotos (beans) and maiz (corn) as well as some type of meat. Traditional locro often contains organs such as mondongo (tripe), chinculines (intestine) and spare parts of pig, which I am not a fan of, as well as chorizo sausage. The origins of locro date back to before the Spanish conquest of South America, and variations are eaten by people all along the Andes mountain region. One of the most common occasions to eat locro in Argentina is on the 25th of May, the anniversary of the establishment of the first local government in Argentina, which at the time was ruled by the Spanish.
Somehow I have never tried homemade locro in my five years of being in Argentina, but I have had it in various restaurants in Buenos Aires. My favorite locro to date has been the AR$28 one that I got at Las Cabras in Palermo Hollywood. The Las Cabras locro is rich and creamy, and was served with warm bread. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see any weird animal parts in there, but then again it was hard to tell exactly what type of meat was used. I definitely saw chorizo. It had some quiquirimichi on top, a sauce made of oil, aji, paprika and green onion, which added a nice spicy flavor to it.
The owners of Las Cabras have also opened up a Las Cabritas and a Las Cholas in the neighborhood of Las Canitas. These restaurants continue to be some of my favorite for cheap food and great meat, although the ambience is definitely lacking. Las Cabras is always incredibly crowded because of the good prices, so if you go from 1-4pm or 9pm-12am you will most likely have to wait half an hour to be seated, and then be sat just a foot away from your neighboring table. And it gets loud—it’s a good place to go with friends and during off times…like 7 or 8pm.
These restaurants have a pretty basic wine list, and many people that order wine just order a pinguino, which is a penguin shaped pitcher that serves table wine through its beak. Although very cute, the wine inside is not the highest quality, certainly not something you would find at our Buenos Aires wine tastings. I would recommend a Carinae Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with locro. Since it is such a heavy stew, it needs a much bigger wine to stand up to it. The Carinae Cabernet is just the flavorful, full bodied wine that locro needs.
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