My quest to eat well (this time I mean healthy) continues! Yesterday I had a great lunch at Natural Deli in Las Cañitas with a young woman from Chicago who recently moved here with her husband. She’s going to live here for 2 years and has been busy looking at apartments all over town. But since she hadn’t been to the Las Cañitas neighborhood I thought we could meet for lunch, walk down Baez, and introduce her to the American style monster sized shopping at Jumbo and Easy.
When I arrived at noon she was inside browsing the small selection of natural and organic products Natural Deli offers. We sat outside under a big umbrella to shield ourselves from the sun and ordered our lunch. I opted for the set lunch for $60 pesos (~$14 USD) with their “plate of the day,” a beverage, and a tart. My dining companion had her heart set on a wrap with quinoa and a large salad (I had sent her a link to their website previously and she’d studied the menu before coming… which is what I normally do. ha!)
Our waitress was adorable and very helpful, and the service was excellent. Our drinks came within minutes and our food arrived shortly thereafter. My lunch was a large bowl of what she described as a “Mediterranean” pasta, which was penne with raw spinach and lightly sauteed red peppers and onions. As you can see from the photo there was a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese which provided just the right amount of saltiness to the dish, and balanced out the sweetness from the pepper and the onions nicely. I could have used a dusting of coarse black pepper but overall I enjoyed it every much. I liked that it was more like a salad than a pasta dish and the only other thing I would have done differently was to use whole wheat penne, but I find the quality of the whole wheat pastas here very poor (they’re very glutenous and limp, even when I cook them al dente) so maybe it was a blessing that this penne wasn’t whole wheat and boiled to death.
The real shining star for me though was the chocolate tart and the smoothie. With my lunch set I got a gorgeous glass of lemonade with ginger and honey, but our friendly waitress informed us that during the afternoon they run a 2X1 jugo special. Never to turn down a 2X1 special of any kind, I decided that this was going to be my one big meal of the day and hopped on that jugo bandwagon. This jugo wasn’t actually a juice but more like a smoothie, made from all kinds of berries, bananas, and bit of lemon juice. I’m sure the sugar content was quite high (I told myself it was all natural) but it was delicious and a great deal at $21 pesos for 2 (or ~$2.50 USD for a glass).
The chocolate tart with ginger wasn’t very gingery, in fact I couldn’t tell whether there was any ginger in it at all. I was just happy to have something chocolate-y. It was very light, maybe a little too crumbly, but I liked that it wasn’t so rich and dense. It came with a dollop of cream and some fruit compote, and large enough for me to happily share with my friend.
I’m building up my database of healthy veggie places to eat in Buenos Aires as I’m sure I’ll be eating my share of not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious Argentine foods in the months to come. On that note, I’ve yet to have a single scoop of the famous ice cream here. Maybe I should join a gym or go for a run first…
Natural Deli: Several locations in Buenos Aires including Gorostiaga 1776 (@Arce ) in Las Cañitas