Posts filed under ‘object obsession’

reduce, reuse, recycle


Like most good trends, Mono notebooks are inspired by what’s happening on the streets. In this case, it’s quite literal; Argentina is, after all, a country where cartoneros rummage through piles of trash looking for hidden treasures and flea markets fill up leafy plazas on the weekend.

The notebooks (called “blocks” in Spanish) recycle vintage wallpaper, using the cute and kitschy patterns as covers. Because of the limited supply and seasonal design changes, each notebook is basically a one-of-a-kind. And although they may have once coated the walls of some ancient Argentine’s kitchen, the wallpaper isn’t straight out of Aunt Edna’s living room. Instead, the designs are simple chic, with flowers and basic patterns in a palate of neutrals.


The upcoming spring collection is slated to include bags, mobiles, and toys, in addition to the three different sized notebooks (shown belowa). And at $25-35 pesos, the notebooks are perfect gifts for that hard-to-buy-for friend. You can find Mono blocks at several hip Palermo boutiques, like soy so lindo favorites Felix and Kukla, as well as Net, Mundo, La Prometida, Pesqueria, and Objetos Encontradas, to name a few.

If you’re still not sold, just think of Mono block ownership as an act of environmental activism akin to driving a Prius or using a canvas bag; it hits the coveted trifecta of being hip, stylish, and eco-conscious.–REBECCA


August 1, 2007 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

gimme my pepas!

My already unhealthy obsession with membrillo-laden sweets has escalated to a full blown addiction.

 It started in the most innocent of ways when I met a friend for merienda and we shared a pasta frola de membrillo. Membrillo, better known as quince to English speakers, is a fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. When boiled down and mixed with sugar and water, membrillo turns into a type of paste. While in Spain it is traditionally served with cheese, here in Argentina it most often takes the form of a sweet dessert.


Pasta frola, basically a type of tart filled with either batata (eww) or membrillo (yum), was the gateway drug for me. I started peering into bakeries on my way home from work, staring longingly at the individual sized pasta frola, the portions of pasta frola, the squares of pasta frola. Soon after I was picking up 1/4 portions of pasta frola at the bakery next to my house.


And then I tried Tia Maruca’s Pepas. Pepas from Tia Maruca (like Pepridge Farm but with lower prices and less of a selection) are amazing. The shortbread cookie is of a perfect consistency–not too hard, not too soft. The drop of membrillo in the center is of a perfect consistency–not too hard, not too soft. And at a dependable 2 pesos a bag at the corner kiosco, they’re a deal.

Too much of a deal, apparently, because now I’m addicted. Seriously. I bought a bag of Pepas yesterday and they seem to have gone missing (Wes, did you take them?), and now I’m going crazy. Tearing up my apartment looking for the cookies. Google image searching them. Contemplating leaving the house just to hunt down another bag of cookies. It’s a problem, I know. But the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right?–REBECCA

July 17, 2007 at 4:07 pm 3 comments

bureks and baclava and babaganouge, oh my!


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


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

palermo bajo flores?

Blame it on the election of Evo Morales or a new found interest in their northern neighbors, but Argentina has been awash in Bolivian fabric patterns. Or it will, mark my words.

It started last year, when Martin Churba’s spring/summer line got its inspiration from Bajo Flores, the Bolivian-Korean neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Lots of bright Andean multicolored fabric, stacked hats, gathered skirts– all gorgeous [full disclosure: I was involved with the collection].


And so a trend is born. From there, the colorful Bolivian fabrics percolated down from the high-end designer level to the mid-range stores: the fall/winter collections of hipster outfitters A.Y. Not Dead, Vestite y Andate, Adorhada Guillermina, and Green all showcased the vibrant patterns in an array of styles.

But this trend is much better suited for warm weather, which means that you can expect to see a lot more of it when the upcoming spring/summer collections hit stores in September. If you can’t wait until the lower-end stores start carrying pieces in this style, now is a good time to scoop up a few sale-priced winter pieces from the Palermo spots listed above. Standouts include the hoodie and knit leggings from Vestite y Andate and the silk skirt from A.Y. Not Dead.–REBECCA

July 3, 2007 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

peanut, peanut butter!

A peculiar reaction happens to many Americans who stay for an extended period of time in Buenos Aires: they suddenly become obsessed with peanut butter. It’s all that they talk about, all that they think about, all that they want. People who went through maybe a small jar of Jiffy a year are, within a few weeks of arrival, going on and on about how it’s a right, not a privilege, to have access to peanut butter. And no, dulce de leche just won’t do.

I don’t count myself among this group, but I’ve seen way too many expat friends throwing away their money on ridiculously overpriced peanut butter from the imported section at their nearby Disco. And it’s got to stop.

Luckily for those with an addiction that just can’t be kicked, there’s a homegrown solution: Crema de Bon o Bon. Up until a year ago, I’d never heard of it. But at an American-style brunch I hosted at my apartment last August, a friend (who speaks no English yet somehow knew of Americans’ obsession with PB) brought over a tub of it as a stand-in for peanut butter.

While it’s a bit sweeter than your average Skippy (which makes sense, since it’s the cream that fills the chocolate candies Bon o Bons), the texture and consistency are pretty comparable. Arcor, the company that makes Crema de Bon o Bon, must have caught on to this similarity, since it now includes the words “peanut cream” in English on the front of the container.

You can find Crema Bon o Bon in the baking aisle of your nearby mega- supermercado, and at $4.90 it’s a far cry from what you’ll be charged for a jar of imported peanut butter. I smeared some onto a piece of challah made by a friend, dropped a couple of banana slices on top, and voila–a medialuna free breakfast.–REBECCA

June 27, 2007 at 5:40 pm 2 comments

i’m missing you like candy


We’d call these candy-colored mini-booties (or are they giant-oxfords?) from Las Pepas the shoe of the season, but that doesn’t really cover it. Rather, they are the perfect transition shoes. You know, the shoes that will get you through the coldest stretch of winter when paired with your high-waisted jeans and then on into spring when worn with a baby doll dress. You could get a pair in navy, black, or even cream, but why when you could be walking around with what looks like a glob of gum on your feet?–REBECCA

Las Pepas, $299: Av. Sante Fe 1630, Paseo Alcorta Shopping, Alto Palermo Shopping.

June 27, 2007 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

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