Beautiful Booze explores Salta, Argentina

by James Stevenson

Our first destination in Argentina was the historic northern city of Salta. After travelling for 36 hours on the road from Sucre, Bolivia we felt like a day of relaxation was just what the doctor would have ordered. The best part of the road trip that bought us here were the astonishing salt mountains we passed through on the train from Uyuni to the border town of Villazon. We were on the overnight train though so our view was limited and if we did the trip again we would certainly do this part during the day. We arrived into Salta late in the afternoon, dropped our bags off at the hotel and found the nearest restaurant where we immediately ordered a “little” jug of wine and a whole lot of meat. As we were too tired to document this part of our adventure you will just have to use your imagination but we spent the following day exploring this beautiful city and here are the highlights.

Our day started with us searching for a good coffee, as the options in Sucre where we had come from were limited and we must admit, we may have a little problem with caffeine addiction. Walking around the town there weren’t many open options as it was a Sunday so we made our way to the cities center square, which is “almost” always open and found ourselves a seat on the patio of La Recova. They have a daily special for a cortado and alfajor for only 38 pesos ($2.50) so we enjoyed our coffee with a beautiful view of the park and surrounding architecture then took off on an epic empanada journey.

We began following the empanada tour from Pick Up The Fork but being a Sunday most of the vendors were closed, so we just wandered around for a few hours stopping at the occasional café and enjoyed a variety of delicious flavors. We made sure to order the essential carne (meat) empanadas at every stop as these are the staple to which you can really judge an empanada restaurant on and also tried out some others like the ham and cheese stuffed ones but the most surprising was the quinoa empanada at La Creciente Cocina Casera, packed full of healthy quinoa and flavored with some kind of aged cheese.

While spending some time searching for a power adaptor (because we hadn’t planned ahead) and letting our lunch settle we wandered the streets of the city and took in the beautiful architecture. We found ourselves admiring the varying structural designs that resembled a mix of what we had previously seen in Oaxaca and New Orleans. We finally found our way to the markets in the middle of one of the big parks and found a small stall with an assortment of electronics including cheap adaptors. With the sun setting and our appetites returning there was only one thing to do; find some good wine!

During our earlier search we walked through the manicured street of Gral. Güemes and noticed some beautiful venues, so we returned and found a seat inside the Charleston café. This café is dedicated to the 1920’s era in Charleston where jazz music and swing dancing were in full effect. Unfortunately there was no dancing while we were there but the walls are adorned with photographs depicting the styles of the time with people dancing, drinking and playing their instruments. The vibe of the café itself is more laid back with groups of men and women gathering in the late afternoon enjoying coffee; but we were here for the wine. We found a seat on the (way too comfortable) lounge in the corner, ordered a half bottle of Pietro Marini Malbec, sat back and relaxed while taking in the scene around us.

After a few glasses of wine it was time for dinner. We had enjoyed a full parrilla platter the night before and were after something a little different, so as we wandered home we passed the El Nacional food truck, which had a long line of locals waiting around. Any food truck this busy is worth a try so we checked it out and found that they were serving an assortment of sandwiches; sure they were just your standard sandwiches but we also noticed most of the people standing around were eating Super Panchos (hotdogs), so we ordered a few sandwiches to go and while we were waiting enjoyed the best hotdog we had ever tasted. The guy serving everyone would take a bun and sausage out of the little steamer he had on the counter, smother it in the sauce(s) of your choice, then top it with a layer of ham and cheese and put it back into the steam box until the cheese has deliciously melted on top. The outcome is a soft, almost moist bun filled and topped with deliciousness.

The following day it was time to move on, so we jumped on the bus and were on our way to our next adventure 4 hours away at the majestic Finca el Retiro in Cafayate. Follow our adventure on Instagram.

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: