Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vegetarians Take Heed

Last night I had the best steak ever! It came from a cow that was grass-fed and grass-finished. Very rare to get actually, especially in the United States. In other words, the meat tasted delicious, and the cow it came from roamed wherever it wanted its whole life eating grass in the Patagonia grasslands until its fateful day when it ended up on my plate. I ordered a half portion of bife de lomo off the El Boliche de Alberto restaurant menu, in downtown Bariloche. I'm guessing I got about 8 oz of the best cut of filet mignon to be had in the whole country. And to think the full portion of beef would have been a whole pound of meat. Wowza!

When I walked into the place, I saw pictures of old men holding up giant pieces of meat everywhere. Take a look at their restaurant website. Obviously, they take great pride in their meat here in Argentina!

I'm usually a light eater and it isn't often I eat red meat, but I'm in Argentina for goodness sake, so I want to eat lots of meat. It is actually hard not to. I would hate to be a vegetarian here. If you aren't eating beef, then you surely are eating lamb. If you are not eating lamb, then you are surely eating trout! If you are not eating trout, then you are surely eating venison. And if you are not eating venison, then there is a small chance you could be eating guanaco, rhea, or a little armadillo in the half shell. It all comes with a side salad or potatoes, so don't worry. Oh and delicious chimichuri sauce comes with every order, which is a flavorful condiment of dried and fresh herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I highly recommend you look up a recipe and make it yourself!

One thing they don't tell you right away in Argentina is if you eat lots of meat late into the night (like most dinners usually end), you can very well come down with the meat sweats. I am pretty sure it happened to me. You wake up at night, you feel awake, a bit too warm, and wonder why in the world you cannot stay asleep. Then you remember the gigantic portion of steak you ate for dinner and wonder how it is possible that your body can actually digest that much meat while you are asleep. Then you realize, that is precisely why you are awake! Perhaps it has happened to you at one point in your life or another? If you come to Argentina, it surely will happen to you. In my opinion, it is worth it because the meat is that good. It is also the reason I spent today eating mostly salad.

I've learned that big business is well on its way to Argentina, and an increasing number of cows are now being corn fed, basically because of the big business plans of American companies. In the central region where I am staying, grass fed and finished beef isn't a thing of the past it's the real thing. This type of ranching is still happening here in Argentina, and I feel really fortunate to be able to try its end product. Now the task at hand is to keep it that way and to make sure the Patagonia grasslands stay healthy now and well into the future so this type of ranching will always exist.

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