If you’ve been reading my blog you know that I have really outdone myself in the eating department here in Buenos Aires. But even with my non-stop eating (you should see how round I am) there are so many typically Argentine things I haven’t tried. It surprised my friend R to know that I just started eating medialunas, I’ve still yet to have my first choripan, and pizza hasn’t been on my regular rotation of things to eat here. The one and only time I had pizza was at Romario’s about two months ago. That night I vowed that I would “embrace the extra-cheesy-thick crust-with-fainá-and-moscato Argentine pizza experience” but it wasn’t until last Thursday that I finally fulfilled that promise.
After my aerial silk class (I felt defeated by my inability to climb up long pieces of fabric on Tuesday but things improved for me on Thursday), M took me and R over to El Cuartito for pizza. I knew that my beautiful friend M had made quite an impression on a waiter there last week and I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to 1) see this waiter with cute dimples, 2) hang out with M who is leaving to live in Patagonia in two days, 3) visit this legendary pizzeria, and 4) finally have my pizza/fainá/moscato combo.
When we arrived around 2PM the lunch crowd was just finishing up. Our waiter (by that I mean M’s waiter) was practically running from one table to the other; it was kind of amazing to see someone actually working hard after having had so many slow and inefficient waiters all over Buenos Aires. This guy was clearing tables, delivering four bottles of soda in one hand (a bottle squeezed between each finger), taking orders, settling checks and giving change back (he carried a wallet with him), nodding to customers in acknowledgment, smiling at M (did I imagine that?), all without stopping or slowing dow.
Anyway… This famous pizza joint has been around since 1934 and is still a very popular place. The walls are covered with old photos of rock bands, famous Argentines, movies and boxing posters, and the clientele seemed to be mostly men. When it was full of lunch time customers the pizzeria was full of noise and energy, a kind of place you’d wan to go with a group of friends but also a place you could have fun eating alone. You can stand in the front by the counter to have a quick bite or choose to sit down for table service. We had to wait awhile for our yummy lunch but it was really worth it.
The way I ate my pizza on Thursday is called “pizza a caballo” where you stack a slice of fainá (chickpea flat bread) on top of a slice of pizza to eat together. I tried it with my napolitana (what you see below with tomatoes, the dark yellow triangles are fainá), which was much better than the carbo-cheese loaded combination of fainá over fugazza (cheesy thick focaccia-like pizza with caramelized onions). That heavy combo was so dense that it almost chocked me, but I washed it down with a giant 200ml glass of sweet moscato and some beer. All was well. Actually, it was better than well. The pizza at El Cuartito was delicious.
As if that wasn’t Argentine enough, we decided to put an exclamation mark at the end of our meal by consuming a flan with dulce de leche. I’ve have my share of dulce de leche ice cream but I think it was my first dulce de leche in its pure form. It was R’s first time dulce de leche anything and I thought she was going to fall off of her chair after the first bite. Yes, R. Argentines like their sweets.
Needless to say, our dinner had to be a giant plate of vegetables to offset all the crazy we put into our system during the day.
El Cuartito: Talcahuano 937 (between Alvear and Paraguay) near Teatro Colón, Recoleta/Centro