bureks and baclava and babaganouge, oh my!

July 5, 2007 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

 

Somehow it came up in one of my timid attempts at breaking the cubicled silence: Argentines only eat sweets for breakfast–nothing rich and savory like in “The Old Country.” (Darko and I have built a tenuous office bond over our shared Serbian heritage–I’m not sure if I mentioned that I’m only one eighth and that, aside from my college graduation trip to a burned-out, dusty little town outside of Belgrade, my family’s Balkan brethren have been all but forgotten about for over 90 years). Regardless, Darko agreed that sweets in the morning are not to be tolerated, we embraced heartily, and he let me in on the secret.

Apparently these two gems are the only places to find Turkish, Armenian, and Balkan-style sundries in Buenos Aires. I haven’t scoured the city to back up my words, instead trusting Darko’s gruff assertion that these are the only places to get real “burek” (meat pies), acelga-filled pastry balls, falafel, hummus, baba ganoush (“babaganouge”), and most importantly, real Balkan-style yogurt liquido.

 

Panadería Armenia: This tiny bakery and sundry goods store is surprisingly easy to spot: look for the large letters on a giant shining silver sign, the scale of which gives the appearance of a marquee. Inside find fresh falafel, pan arabe, (pita-like flatbreads), burek, hummus and baba ganoush, in addition to a glass display case filled with baklava and various variations on the honey-sweet, layered philo confection. Try the pistachio nutty -thing with kataifi. You’ll know when you see it. Behind the counter and ringing the walls are a wide array of every Armenian drink and canned good that only Armenians know, so try a couple and get back to us. I say go for the Anise liquoir. Scalibrini Ortiz 131/21.

 

Damasco Confitería: Just half a block up Scalabrini Ortiz sits Damasco Confitería, the Turkish and Greek grocery. Much larger than Armenia, it has a pleasant Old World ambiance (which comes as no surprise, considering that it’s been there for over 50 years), with shelves lining all the walls to the ceiling and glass cases filled with dried fruits, olives and sweets, as well as assorted bureks and savory pastries. The best thing about this place has got to be the yogurt liquido: thick, drinkable yogurt indistinguishable from that of the Balkans. Better even than anything I’ve found in New York, and I have most certainly searched. Order something from high up on the shelves and watch the old man (the second of three generations of Greeks tending to the store) get it down with a curious long, tong-like contraption and, finally, watch him meticulously wrap your purchases in patterned wax paper, finished  with a twine bow. Scalibrini Ortiz 1283. –WESLEY

 

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Entry filed under: food, fotos, object obsession, review, shopping, stores, Wesley.

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