Woooohoooooo! 23 years old! Party time! Yeah...
Ok, I know, 23 is nothing special. It´s not a milestone birthday of any kind. I´m no longer coming of age, and not even close to over the hill. Basically just another year older with a bit less hair on my head and a bit more on my back and other unmentionable regions of my once hairless body. So how does one celebrate such an unimpressive age? Well, if you´re Wes Brockway and you´re in Argentina, you celebrate by descending into the seventh circle of glutony- a vacuous, yet delicious gastronomic journey into the depths of depravity and hedonistic pleasure of food, actively searching for the meaning of the word overendulgence.
For 24 hours (and most of the following week) I tested the limits of my stomach, sampling every tasty tid-bit and plato especial I could get my grubby little paws on. And inbetween meals, as not to lose steam, I had an exclusive array of junk food to munch on, flown in directly from the States the morning of my birthday by my fellow glutonous gourmand, Miss Kathleen Bennett. After hearing me pine for months for the foods I missed most from home, I guess she finally had enough and decided to just ease my suffering with a bag bursting with goodies, my favorites being the Cheez-Itz, Nutella, Kit Kat sampler pack, Wheat Thins, and Harbo Gummy Peach Rings and Sour Worms. Not to mention the Betty Crocker Brownies and Birthday Cake mixes she brought for the ceremonial candle blowing- which never actually took place because 1) we didnt have candles, and 2) we were too anxious to shove our piggy litte snouts into the cake that we didnt bother to give the candles a proper search anyhow). I know most of you are probably thinking, ´Hey, didnt this kid just work on organic farms for 7 weeks, eating basically a lacto-vegetarian diet?´ And my answer to that, folks, is this: It´s my birthday and I´ll eat processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup if I want to!
But the day wasn´t only filled with American brand junk food. Oh no, there was so much more! A mid morning sampling of churros, some filled with dulce de leche and others filled with hot roquefort cheese, followed by a lunchtime feast of spicy goat and pork tacos, chips and guacamole, and a cold Negro Modelo. Then, after a brief digestive recess, on to one of Buenos Aires´ finest Morrocan restaurants, where we enjoyed an assortment of savory middle-eastern dishes, from an olive, cheese and fig platter to spicy lamb pies to a chicken and roasted vegetable dish covered in a Morrocan marinade along side humus, couscous and tabouli. And for desert a white chocolate mousse layered with a sweet, lemon glaze and topped with carmelized sugar and mint. Needless to say, it was a heavenly experience.
And the only way to keep going after an all day gorge-fest like the one we had is to kick back a drink or two and head to La Peña Electrica and dance it off! A typical peña is a restaurant or cafe that showcases authentic Argentine folklore music (a guitarist, bandoneon player, and a percussionist of some kind that play chacareras, tangos, or chamame). La Peña Electrica takes all this same elements, but with an amplified, electric twist and a lot more drum and bass. Our friends Fede, Denise and Andres joined us for some cuba libres and a night of boogying down, Argentine style! And what made the show even better was that between the electrotango and whatnot, there were mutliple traditional folklore groups that performed amazing dance numbers and a few drum and panflute groups that just blew us away.
And luckily for all you loyal readers, you will once again be able to see photo documentation of all these events because in a surprise play by the Brockway parents, I was gifted a replacement camera for the one stolen in Mendoza. WOOOHOOO! Even better than the passport gifted to me by the US Embassy the day before! Now thats something to celebrate!