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Argentina has been on our list to visit for a few years now. We finally decided to pull the trigger and spend our Thanksgiving break exploring three separate cities in Argentina. These adventures were a great break from a hectic work life.
Our goals for this trip were pretty simple – get away from work for a week and explore a new area of the world. Argentina is well known for it’s wine and it’s beef. As with almost all of our trips we built our experiences around food, wine and seeing beautiful spaces. Of course we had to couple these requirements with our need for a relaxing break. It is a vacation after all.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my thoughts on the various flights, hotels, restaurants and experiences, including:
- Flight Planning
- United Flight IAH – EZE | Economy
- Wait. Wrong Airport?
- LATAM Flight EZE/AEP – MDZ | Economy
- Park Hyatt Mendoza – Standard Room
- Valle Uco Wine Tasting
- Dining in Mendoza
- Austral Frlight MDZ-COR | Economy
- Sheraton Cordoba – Junior Suite
- Dining in Cordoba
- Walking Tours in Cordoba
- Cordoba Airport
- LATAM Flight COR – AEP | Economy
- Park Tower Hotel – Corner Suite
- Buenos Aires Bike Tour
- Dining in Buenos Aires
- The Bird Poop Scam
- Taxis in Buenos Aires
- United Flight EZE – EWR | Economy
- United Flight EWR – ORD | First
Not to spoiler the ending here, but we loved our time in Argentina. Next time we will do somethings a little differently though.
Have you been to Argentina? What was your favorite spot? Did you have to deal with the bird poop scam?
Finding a unique dining experience ranks among the top things we focus on when traveling. This doesn’t have to mean a Michelin Starred restaurant or one ranked on the World’s Top 50 List. Our requirements are more broad than that. We want a good meal, with an equally engaging experience. Now that could be a tasting menu, a cooking class, or local casual food eaten on a squat stool. In Singapore we found a private dining experience that was like nothing we’d had before. NOSHtrekker brings a truly unique experience to discerning travelers.
With only 68 Hours in Singapore, I knew I wanted to make the most of it. The idea of a Michelin Rated Restaurant just wasn’t exciting me. I decided to step out of my normal routine and after a bit of Googling, I found articles written about a newer service in Singapore. This group offered private dining experiences, food tours and cooking classes that focus on Singapore’s rich cultural heritage.
With more than a dozen unique options to choose from, you’ll have a hard time picking one. I quickly decided that I wanted a full dinner and a relaxing space the day I arrived in Singapore. A few emails and a Paypal payment later we were all set.
We’d be joining the Masala Mistress for dinner. We wouldn’t be helping shop for or make dinner, we’d just be eating. Just be eating. Looking back on our time with Dhershini, it’s hard to say we “just ate” with a straight face. Let’s start at the beginning.
We arrived at her home at 19h30. Yes, we dined in her home. It was about a 20 minute walk from the closest MRT station and upon our arrival, she greeted us like long time friends. She welcomed us into her home, offered us some refreshing juice and escorted us to a lovely sitting area on her patio. She had help in her kitchen, so the meal prep would continue uninterrupted while we chatted.
I can’t properly say how warm and welcoming Dhershini was. She made us feel at home, in hers. We initially talked travel – she was enthralled with the idea of my flying 45 hours to spend just 68 in Singapore. She had lived much of her life in Singapore and was honest about that time. While the discussion was mostly positive, she did talk about immigration struggles, political change in the City/State and the region and even discussions on climate change.
Her husband had recently passed away and that was still really impacting her. When she spoke of him – he was an avid traveler too – you could see how she both lit up and was hurting. This wasn’t a restaurant meal. This was a meal with a friend.
NOSHtrekker requires a minimum of two guests (which we had) but you can have many more depending on what you select as your experience. Since there were only two of us, Dhershini was joined by another NOSHtrekker – Heather (I believe). The four of us enjoyed drinks (both alcoholic and non), and talked throughout the whole experience.
The meal was a traditional Indian from Kerala. Served family style, we had vegetarian dishes, mutton and chicken. The four of us sat at the family’s dining table while Dhershini’s assistant finished the meal. She even continued to make more dishes as we ate. Some things were just too good to stop eating!
We were encouraged to take photos and share our experience on social media. I will say, it did feel odd to take pictures of this lovely woman’s home and blast it on social. As you can see, my pictures are very limited and they sure don’t do the whole experience justice. When taking photos, sometimes you have to step away – step out of the experience to get the right shot. I didn’t want to do that. I was having too much fun.
Dhershini and Heather (?) seemed like they were our old friends. These experiences are billed as about 2-2.5 hours long. We stayed there for just under four. There was never any feeling that we had overstayed our welcome – or that there would be a surcharge for the extra time. We were just talking – telling travel tales, talking about food, life and the future. At this point, I had been up for days, traveling half way around the planet and I was getting sleepy. We needed to excuse ourselves.
This was so much like a friend’s dinner party, that Heather offered to drive us back to our hotel in her cute little convertible. We reluctantly took her up on the offer, but made her agree to drop us off at the MTA station on her way home. No need to go out of her way on our account. I wouldn’t even ask a great friend to do that!
At the end of it all, our time with Dhershini and Heather was utterly stellar. A completely new experience for us, but one that I wouldn’t hesitate to do again. Dhershini is a cookbook author, former restaurateur and culinary ambassador for the Singapore Tourism Board – could you find a better dinner companion? I think not.
Have you worked with NOSHtrekker before? For a truly amazing private dining experience in Singapore, you really can’t go wrong. Also, I should remind everyone that we did pay for this experience – no part of it was comped (other than the ride partway back to our hotel). This is truly our thoughts on this unique experience. Go give them a try and tell them Tim (that crazy guy from Chicago who spent just 68 hours in Singapore) sent you!
I spend a bit of time each year in Toronto. Coming from Chicago, Toronto is a very easy city to navigate. While I do find the comparisons between these two cities to be pretty accurate, there are some things that I think Toronto gets right and Chicago fails. Here’s why I love Toronto.
Both cities have really great food scenes. From fine dining to casual street food you can’t go wrong in Chicago or in Toronto. Canoe, in Toronto has an amazing view that is only matched by the food itself. The Michelin Guide doesn’t visit Toronto, so you can’t find any official Michelin Starred restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have great options.
The transit in both Cities is great. I don’t have a car in Chicago and I’ve never needed to rent one in Toronto. I get everywhere I need to go by foot, streetcar or subway. Worst case scenario, taxis, or ride share options are plentiful.
Why I Love Toronto
The one thing that I love about Toronto, much more than Chicago, is the diversity. Both cities have a few million people and a strong immigrant community. When walking around Toronto, I often hear several language. Not only do you frequently hear English and French, but it isn’t uncommon to hear Arabic, Hindi and Mandarin. While these language exist in Chicago, I never hear them when I’m walking around in the central business district. This worldliness gives Toronto a more cosmopolitan feel than Chicago. This is really why I love Toronto.
What do you think about Toronto? Is there just one thing that you really dig about the City that you can’t get back home? What’s the one thing you suggest to people visiting Toronto?
Each year, we travel somewhere for Thanksgiving. We find it a great time to leave the country as no one is traveling for business that week and most Americans are traveling domestically. We’ve traveled to Ireland, Mexico City, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Colorado, and Oregon for Thanksgiving. This year, we are heading south to Argentina. This will be my first visit to the country, while it will be Mike’s second.
So far, we’ve book airfare down to and back from Argentina as well as flights inside the country. We’ve chosen our cities to visit and the hotels in which to stay. We’ll be staying in Cordoba, Mendoza and finally a few days in Buenos Aires. I’ve only made reservations for one meal while we are there too – our final night in Buenos Aires, we are hitting a lovely fine dining restaurant as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
I need your help though. I’m looking for advice from travelers and locals who can tell us great places to eat and wineries to visit. Frequent readers know that I love a good bike tour, so any recommendations on who to ride while while in Argentina, let me know.
What is the one thing you wish you had done while you were in Argentina? What about the one thing you wish you hadn’t done?