The Life of a Gaucho

“A son I am of the rolling plain,
A Gaucho born and bred;
For me the whole great world is small,
Believe me, my heart can hold it all…

I was born on the mighty Pampas’ breast,
As the fish is born in the sea;
Here I was born and here I live
That I take away with me.

And this is my pride: to live as free
As the bird that cleaves the sky;
I build no nest on this careworn earth,
Where sorrow is long, and short is mirth.

Then gather around the hearken well
To a Gaucho’s doleful story,
In whose veins the blood of the Pampas runs,
As a bandit grim and glory.”
-excerpt from the epic poem “The Gaucho Martin Fierro,” translated by Jose Rafael Hernández in 1872.

Gaucho – the Argentine equivalent of the cowboy. These free-spirited and skilled horsemen wandered on horseback, living off the land and protected their patrons (ranchers), by tracking down lost cattle. The term itself means orphan or vagabond, and was coined in the 18th century to refer to the horsemen who roamed the Pampas (open plain).

Just like cowboys, the life of a Gaucho has been romanticized and is mostly an image of the past: a rough and tough man of barbaric strength, living a wild and vagrant lifestyle, owning nothing of value but his horse and sharp knife (faćon), used for eating and protection. The Gaucho culture has been celebrated by poets and immortalized on canvases by many great painters, one of which is part of our collection and hangs in El Gaucho Seattle. He is the idol of the Argentine people.

Good food and strong drink, to sustain his rugged and adventurous life, is also a part of the Gaucho heritage . Since they had no way of preserving food, the Gauchos would gather together and cook large portions of meat immediately over the open flame. This was also a spirited time of singing, dancing, and sharing stories.

If there’s a Gaucho inside of you somewhere, join us for “Malbec Mayhem” tomorrow at El Gaucho Bellevue. We will celebrate South America and El Gaucho’s Argentinean roots on our version of the Pampas, otherwise known as the patio. We mimic the style used by our South American neighbor in preparing your steak, with cuisine cooked on the outdoor grill. Argentinean wines by the glass will be available to swirl and enjoy, as well as for purchase and pick up at a later date.

Price of admission is $50, plus tax and gratuity. Adventurous spirit is required; wide hat, woolen poncho and knee-high leather boots, optional.

For reservations, menu, tasting notes and more information, please call 425-455-2715

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