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Showing posts with label vegan in Buenos Aires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegan in Buenos Aires. Show all posts

Eating Vegan in Buenos Aires - Interview Series - BA Verde Comida Crudito (RAW FOOD)

Continuing my journey, eating vegan in Buenos Aires, I come to what was one of my favourite meals.   Even after being back in England for over a month, time has not dulled the memory of a Palermo Hollywood restaurants famous Raw Cannelloni…Oh my...so good I ate it twice (on different days!)...I recall with fondness every texture, every layer of flavour, every brightening herb, and every delightful crunch and chaw.  

All vegan, nothing cooked.  The cannelloni is made from dehydrated vegetables and filled with a b├ęchamel sauce and colourful shredded veggies,  red sauce is drizzled over the top with minced onions and fresh herbs.  Nutty sprouted quinoa and activated almonds (soaked and then dehydrated to give them a supreme crunchiness) scattered across the dish.  The guac was chunky and the dark, flavoursome olives gave a 3rd, 4th, 5th dimension to the whole ensemble.  Oh how my heart beats a little faster at the memory!   

The menu is printed in English too. The waitresses have a canny knack of spotting a language-shy English speaker at twenty paces.  The food at BA Verde is not totally raw, nor is it totally vegan.  90% of their desserts have honey as a sweetener, or sugar. It is 100% vegetarian.  Their salads with raw crackers and cheeses are scrumptious.  They have soups, 'one-pots' and smoothies too.

With delicious food, lovingly prepared such as this, it is no wonder I was intrigued by Mauro, the artisan chef behind Buenos Aires Verde Organico Vegetariano.   
He seemed a quiet figure.  The three times I visited he was deeply embroiled in planning or meetings.  I see a man, keen to carry forth a movement that seems, surprisingly, so well established in Buenos Aires.  I still cannot put my finger on the reason I was drawn to trek thousands of miles to Buenos Aires and see for myself.  I guess, nowadays, travel is so easy, the internet carries information in a heart beat and this made it appear so accessible.  One can't help but accept that we are all influencing each other and the 'butterfly' effect is not just a hypothetical.  If you took mainstream travel journals at face value, you may be led to assume vegetarians do not exist in this South American country.  I found out for myself that they do…in droves.  

So, I wanted to dig deeper.  I sent ….. a few…(ok a lot of) questions to Mauro.  He kindly found the time to oblige.  I've left the translations as is.  (So cute). 

[ ] are my interpretations

What led Mauro to open a vegetarian restaurant?
Changing my lifestyle to a vegetarian diet made me have a different connection with food, and that's what I wanted to convey to people

Are you a vegetarian or a high raw diet?
Vegetarian, cheese consumption three times per semana [week]. Tengo [i have] stages where consume more raw foods and smoothies all

What or who influenced cooking? Who or what influenced you to one side of the typical diet heavy meat and adopt cleaner Argentina vegan / vegetarian lifestyle (if any)?
All my life I devoted to cooking, the greatest influence was my madre.En never really had a preference for meat, easy dejarlo [take it or leave it] .En Argentina was not easy in the environment of family gatherings or friends do not eat meat because it is usually the main course, people gather to eat barbecue, I adapt eating fresh salads

How long have you been a vegan / vegetarian chef?
For 5 years, previously to traditional

What changes have you experienced as a result of adopting a plant-based diet high?
Really sick less, lose weight, I feel more energy, need less sleep

What was the initial reaction to its opening and now is your typical restaurant? gender / class / nationality
The food is tasty, the public was very popular and they are not all natural food vegetarianos.El concept if you have a stronger weight in Buenos Aires, and a vegetarian diet of little more being installed in public. [people are seeing a vegetarian diet can lead to weight loss]

What is the% of organic matter produced by the use in their dishes and is easy to produce the source?
It is not always easy, few organic producers and export their production. No most all are in Buenos Aires and depend heavily on how the weather affects their cosechas.En the restaurant everything is organic. 

Is there a vegan / vegetarian society in Argentina, other than the uva.org.ar? I have not found any products with accreditation (I've only found a vegan / raw food product on a diet). I have emailed directly ova.org.ar also to answer this question.
There is only government agencies NGOs vegan vegetarian but not yet.

Is there a vegan or raw foodist politicians or influential people in media?
Many actors and celebrities are vegetarians, none recognized political.

What is your most requested dish?
The dough rolls stuffed dehydrated vegetables and cashew cheese, raw ice cream and risottos.

What is your favorite dish (if you have one .... or at least one current)?
The quinoa wok

Favorite ingredient?

Have you ever appeared in elgourmet or the like, or a lifestyle magazine?
In several articles in newspapers and journals in utilisima in air channels, and realize a series of shorts for a cable show cooking.

In preparing your food at home and creating our recipe, do you have a favorite piece of music do you listen, or environment you want to create?
As this depends on the time.

What is your current favorite restaurant (if you ever have any free time!) In Buenos Aires or Argentina as a whole?
Osaka could be  [http://www.osaka.com.pe]

What is your vision for your restaurant and the scene of vegetarians/vegans in Argentina?
Growing, with increasing acceptance

Do you have plans for a cookbook? My Spanish is improving but not enough to discover if there is a vegetarian or vegan cookbooks on the market for Argentine chefs?
Not really, most are translations of books outside.

What do you want to answer questions that I may have omitted to ask?
It could perhaps be about organic growth, which to me is very importante. No one could speak of intelligent power outside organicos.  The concept that it is time for people to invest more into your diet and less on drugs, and for that food must be important. Not just avoiding meat and meat special, if not also choose seasonal flavors, enjoy them, and work with the middle ambiente. Dejar [stop] of eating fruits, vegetables and cereals treated with fertilizers among other things . Return to origins, to nature, to enjoy cooking and eating.

I hope Mauro accomplishes all he sets out to improve, and continues to gather a hungry and conscious crowd.  Oh and the restaurant holds classes too, to help people master his techniques.  

Want to know more about vegan food in Buenos Aires? (click here for gluten free vegan products and links to my reviews)

Be well

India xx


5 Top Tips For Better Travel - Learning the Art of Slow Travel - Buenos Aires

5 Top tips for better travel – Learning the art of Slow Travel. Buenos Aires.

Day 4 – The city heat continues mimic  a roasting oven.  Unusual for this time of year I am told.  A phrase not uncommon these days.  A lack of breeze holds the constant plumes of vile cigarette smoke static at nose height. Urgh!
I’m beginning to be fully present in my temporary space.  Day 2 I wanted to go home.  I recognise this, after years of travelling, that my body likes to spit it’s dummy out of the pram, so to speak.  It kicked out at having to deal with smells, sounds and sights so utterly foreign.  I am sure my face wore a frown and I felt agitated and stressed from not being able to communicate.  But one adapts.  And fast.  I have come to know that if I don’t feel comfortable in a place that all I need to do is use up some shoe rubber and go find somewhere that I do.
Day 3.  I awoke and felt strangely irritated again. I not to analyse why and got on with the task of getting ready to head out.  It took me ages to sort myself out.  A swathe of things to remember to put in my bag, making the bed, and gathering essentials; camera, map, money, etc. Walking 30 yards up the street, cooled slightly by the spit of water from overhead air con units, a feeling just literally sank into me.  I was happy.  The high-rise, the dusty pot-holed streets, the constant noise, people everywhere, suddenly was not grating on my nerves.  My skin adapted to the heat and opened my eyes and began to look around. And I liked it.
I headed downtown, to the worlds widest street with it’s 14 lanes of traffic.  Pleased with myself at remembering my camera, my mood wasn’t dulled by omitting to put the memory card in it.  I failed to be a tourist and take the obligatory snaps.  So I ‘borrowed’ a shot from the inter web.  
I passed along narrow streets that flank de Julio.  It was dusty.  Lined with small electrical shops and the ubiquitous kiosco, selling candy, sandwiches and water.  It felt seedy.  It WAS seedy.  What appeared at a distance, to be large shards of peeling paint on street lights, upon inspection were faded square of paper with images of ‘women of the night’ offering their wares.  The area wasn’t far from my appointment with Expanish.  A Spanish language school that promised to deliver the basics and get me ‘shopping until dropping’ or making new friends.  My excitement at mastering a smattering of greetings and being able to buy a bottle of water, reached no pitch of fever.  My tutor, a long skirted   girl with sun kissed skin and a rojo (red) birthmark that travelled like an estuary down her right arm, seemed preoccupied with something in her head and failed to rally the elderly American couple and my French Canadian neighbour into any attempt at dialogue or interaction.  Instead we read the hand out and watched her write words on the white board.  I came away exhausted, from the heat, the frantic 20mins spent walking up and down the street to find the schools entrance and 2 hours spent sweating in a class that taught me little.  Apart from the fact I didn’t want to return to either the class or the area.
I took a chance at offering a local the question ‘donde esta?’ and after smiling and waving my hands a lot to show I couldn’t understand what one man was saying, followed the line where his finger was pointed and took my first ride on the SUBTE.  The oldest underground in Latin America.  There are only 6 lines. Not very extensive but it gets you to the places you need. After a fashion, I figured out that the entrance on one side of the street takes you East, the other side..West, North or South.  $2.50 ARS (Argentine Peso) 32p!  gets you where you want to go.  And back to my studio with the vestige comforts of home.
My next SUBTE trip took me to Belgrano, an conclave of Chinese immigrants selling lucky charms of waving cats and cheap fashion.  The internet had offered a suggestion of a visit to Casa China.  An inexpensive Asian market where the meat free among us get supplies.  My studio is a few blocks from the line and I take a new route each time I alight from home, so as to mind map the streets and start to build a sense of space.  A camera (when you remember the SDC card!) is a handy upgrade from the crumbs dropped by Hansel and Grettle as they picked their way through the forest.  I take shots of landmarks, street signs and things that catch my attention that I may want to return to later,  in order to capture the route.  I never refer to it but it seems to fasten my memory for when my steps are retraced.  The SUBTE is a great place to sit in close proximity to static commuters and regard the cities inhabitants.  My expectations of native portenos (locals) being olive skinned and with dark, thick hair are completely at odds with reality.  Blonde headed, red headed.  Blue eyed, brown eyed.  Aquilined or soft.  Tall, stocky.  A country that began a long history of immigration, beginning with the Spanish in the 16th century, followed then by a succession of Italians in the 19th and a steady flow of Koreans,  Chinese, Central and Eastern European cultures along with other Latin American nationals would make for quite a mix.  In 1992 and 2003 alone nearly 3/4 of a million people emigrated to a country rendered a cheap place to live after the economic recession  saw the value of  the Argentine Peso plummet.
What else has struck me about the people of Buenos Aires, which of course is now reflection of the country at large (a city is a city, right?!) so far is their willingness to help without being asked (a man came to assist me, unprompted as I getting tangled in my map and my feet were pirouetting on the spot, in effort to decipher my location).  Also, everyone appears to kiss as a way of greeting.  Once, alighted on either left or right cheek.  Men too.  I don’t think it is just me witnessing the interplay between the largest gay population in South America.  No, after a Google search I see it is customary.
I got to try this out when I headed over to the uber trendy (and not unlike San Francisco’s Mission District), barrio (neighbourhood) of Palermo.  Hollywood & Soho.  I was meeting  with a private tutor I’d hired after ditching the ineffectual language school.  My desperation to be able to shop and be understood prompted me to try again.   I met with Vero, my tutor, in a hip cafe on El Salvador Avenue.  www.b-blue.com.ar, run by blueberry farmers, and did as custom saw fit.  The lesson was fruitful as was our little offering of gratis tapas – a tiny white plate of organico blueberries.  I came away with my neural pathways tonged, stretched and grown a new with seemingly non-sensical rules about verbs and conjunctives.  I wonder whether I’ll ever remember to change my ‘to be’ when speaking about something permanent or temporary?!!   I’ve planned daily meets with Vero from http://estudioverba.tumblr.com to see what magic she can perform with my memory for Spanish.
I think my self pep talk a couple of days ago has payed off.  Instead of wanting to know, do , see, have everything immediately I’m travelling slow.  If you have time to let life unfold somewhere new this is how I suggest you go about it.  Once I calm down and remember to do so, it always works.
Buy a notepad or two.  I have one for my food notes (I write a food blog at www.aveganobsession.com).  Brain dump the list of things you want to do or achieve in your time.  Be general and then get specific.  Trust me, with only a small effort these activities/desires will come into being in their own sweet time.
Be realistic.   Instead of wanting everything NOW.  Choose a handful of main sightseeing trips or goals that you want to achieve over your time.  If you do one a day, then you are doing well.  Remember, experiences take time to absorb and a vice like grip can hold back serendipity when it visits.
take time out every day.  Go to a park or a quiet church or cafe and just be.  Meditate.  Run or do yoga.  Zoning out is paramount in your slow travel.
My point and click has some pics to show you.  I’m off to the gym (gimnasio) up the street  to take full advantage of a 3 day trial.  The staff are super friendly, the equipment a little old and the ac is ineffectual (who knew I could sweat so much!), but I like it.
Use your camera as an aide memoir to help you remember landmarks for finding your way, useful places you may want to visit another time.  If learning  a new language photograph words or signs you may want to look up later.  Particularly useful for food labels if you have a special diet.  You can insert the list of ingredients in Google Translate and work out if they are suitable.
Get a map.  Plot the museums, places of interest, restaurants and cafes you hope to visit.  This way you can easily see where to eat in the area you are visiting and if there are activities close by.
At some point – in the fullness of time- I shall learn how to use the new dslr I brought with me.  At present it sits unobserved like Shrodingers cat, until the moment I deem it time to take it out and learn to use it.  I cannot do this a moment before time else all this new information I am gathering every day may tip me over the edge.  Slow Travel!
Ah, I have forgotten the joys of uploading photographs in WordPress (I copied this post from my travel blog www.indialeigh.wordpress.com).  Frustration and little control.  I hope to find a way to offer better shots.  It is random and unnavigable!  Stick with me.

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