By: Chad Mackay, President and COO
We traveled to Argentina in the spring of 2017, and have received quite a few questions about our trip, so I thought I’d share some of the highlights. Everything that I’ve listed was outstanding and highly recommended. I’ve included the websites, which most have an English version.
I would also like to thank Jake Haupert and Kirsten Gardner from Evergreen Escapes. Jake owns a tremendous travel company and Kirsten, our Escape Artist, helped us craft an itinerary that was perfect for our family. They deserve consideration if you want to “escape your everyday” to amazing places and experiences.
We stayed at an incredible bed and breakfast in the Palermo neighborhood. It’s owned and operated by Veronica (Argentine, former lawyer) and Miles (British, former venture capitalist). They both have a passion for Buenos Aires and basically acted as our personal concierge to help us plan where to go and eat. They were fantastic hosts and their place is impeccably restored and furnished. We stayed with them twice during our trip and can’t recommend them enough.
On our first day, we had a guided trip to the Mataderos Fair which is one of the best Sunday markets that combines all of the Argentine traditions including arts and crafts, dancing, lots of food, and a great festival environment. We missed the horse races so next time we’ll get there earlier.
Our next stop was a flight to Bariloche where we stayed at Estancia Peuma Hue located on Lake Gutiérrez. The location was stunning and the hospitality outstanding. There is hiking and horseback riding along with water activities like fishing, kayaking and swimming.
The standout magic of the place was their horse-whisperer guide Chris, and her incredible team of horses. Our boys went from being a little nervous, as they’ve only rode twice before, to being very respectful and adventurous. We all learned how to post during a trot and also how to cantor and stay on.
El Boliche “de Alberto” was an outstanding Parrilla in Bariloche. They had a unique twist on service as they have two grill men who come to the table and take your order. Then they go back to the open kitchen and cut up, season, and grill your meal.
Grill Q was an outstanding hotel restaurant and really was much better than a famed restaurant that we visited another night. The Grill Q had outstanding food and hospitality and we ended up eating there twice. Our second night, we actually ran into Tony Capra(GM) and Tristan Chalker(Exec Chef) of El Gaucho Bellevue who were on a separate work trip. We enjoyed a family dinner together.
Bodega Catena Zapata
What an incredible winery and story behind the Catena and Zapata family history. Catena hosted us for an in-depth tasting along with barrel sampling in their beautiful cellar.
They then took us to Cavas Wine Lodge for lunch, and it was not only outstanding, but the rest of the resort was incredible. This is where I’ll stay next time we’re in Mendoza. Martin is the owner and toured us around his “baby.”
Alejandro Vigil is the head winemaker for Catena Zapata and El Enemigo is his personal winery. It is full of incredible art as they invite artists to develop pieces and display them around the winery. Alejandro’s grandfather used to read to him and his siblings in the mornings from Dante’s Divine Comedy, as they were Italian and he wanted them to read and right both in Spanish and Italian. Many of the art pieces are inspired by the Divine Comedy.
We stayed at the Vines Resort and Spa and it was simply amazing – both the service and the setting, which is located at the base of the Andes. I highly recommend staying there as well as dining at Francis Mallmann’s Siete Fuegos.
We went to the base of the Andes and hiked from about 6,000 ft to 9,000 ft high. We arrive right after the first snow fall of the season, so we built a couple of snowmen to celebrate.
We finished with lunch at the owner’s cabin, who is a true Gaucho. Unforgettable!
We visited Zuccardi and harvested olives to crush and make our own oil, which we were able to bring back home with us. Super fun but hard work, and well worth the time.