I’ve been away from the U.S., my home country, for almost 6 years. Today was the first Thanksgiving since then that I’ve eaten a traditional turkey dinner. Nope, no dressing or cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie in 6 years. The last week I’d looked around on a couple expats forums and at one point seemed to remember La Casa, which is a hostel in Palermo, offering Thanksgiving dinner.
But I’m rather sick of hostels at this point, as you might imagine. I wanted a proper meal out. Kansas, at 4625 Avenida del Libertador, had been mentioned several times on forums, and on other blogs. On TripAdvisor, it’s listed as the #13 most popular restaurant in Buenos Aires.
I couldn’t get anyone else in Art Factory interested other than my British pal Bryan, who is usually up for just about anything. The estimable manager, Cecilia, would have been up for it but the astounding heat in the AF’s reception put her under for the rest of the day.
My Rosario buddy Martin called, found out the price of the meal — a pricey for BA, 50 pesos, but a reasonable enough for Chicago, $15 USD — and found out if we needed reservations. The silly hostess on the other end said we didn’t. But she was correct only because we arrived relatively early, at around 8. As we were leaving, we noticed about 30 people, mostly English-speaking folks, waiting for tables. And it’s a big place.
Our tax driver apparently couldn’t see very well, because he dropped us off in the 4400 block, saying Aca, aca! Well, it wasn’t aca, it was two blocks farther, behind a big iron fence, and it looked rather swank. After a month of dusty parillas, and looking like I did — in shorts, cheap rubber sandals and a punkish H&M t-shirt — I felt a tad out of place.
But only for all of about 2 minutes. True to form, most of the Americans we saw and heard were dressed down. The wait staff looked great, but then I have a mild fetish for crisp white shirts on broad-shouldered men, particularly ones with darker skin, and in snug black dress pants. Unless my gaydar is way off, I’d say a good 30% of them were gay. They were all bustling around in a way that I simply wasn’t used to in BA, and we got seated and served in record time.
I don’t care much for how a place looks — all I really care much about are comfortable chairs — but Kansas’ decor, although mildly posh, isn’t off-putting. But it was a little bit dark for my eyes. Plus it really could have been in any large city in the world. Nice for a change, though.
The Thanksgiving meal was surprisingly good, particularly the chunky, skins-on, mashed potatos and gravy, the dressing, and the unusual mashed squash mixed with pecans. I had no idea what the latter was at first, and it didn’t look appealing. It looked like it was on its way into being something else. When I tasted it, though, I ate it all. Rather sweet and chunky but still luscious. The turkey was on the dry side, but that’s because it was white meat, though thinly sliced. I really missed gnawing on the drum sticks! Pumpkin pie? Mom’s was, oh, about a billion times better. Still, not bad, and I felt like I got my money’s worth. So did Brian.
We didn’t stay long. Normally, we do the Latin thing and hang out for a long while, but usually only if we are in a big group. Most of our close buddies have moved on to other parts of South America or Argentina. Feels like it’s just Brian and me now, at least when it comes to going out to eat or drinking into the wee hours.
So what am I thankful for?
Mostly I’m crazy-grateful for being the frak out of the Czech Republic, and therefore out of the cold, (Mostly, I mean the people.) and to the folks who helped me get here. I hope next year I have a lot more to say about how thankful I am I moved to Argentina.