Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Avant Premiere: Toy Story 3

See a movie and donate to a great cause all in one shot. It's Fundación Leer Avant Premiere time again and this time it's Toy Story 3. The movie will be shown dubbed (unfortunately for me) at the theaters in the Dot shopping mall.

Get your tickets before 1 of June for $30, after-wards they go up to $35.
Call 4777-1111 or write to

The show starts at 6pm on Tuesday 15, June.

See you there!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cocina Sunae

One of the things that could indicate if you are going to adapt to your new expat status is if you learn to take joy in your new found surroundings.

There are always two sides to everything and even though I may find things that I dislike here, I also tried to look for things that I loved!

I loved the food. Yes, even though when I got here in 1999, there was hardly any foreign types of restaurants, or at least, I could not find them so easily.

The steak was wonderful and I also loved the ubiquitous Italian restaurants. I even loved the fresh pasta stores, empanadas, dulce de leche, alfajores, medialunas, etc. What was missing for me was a variety of foods. The local palate does not tolerate anything spicy. My own kids have to be introduced to black pepper because they think that is spicy.

However, being away from home you start to miss some of the things that made up your long ago surroundings. You start to miss smells, tastes, looks, etc. In fact, this "missing" of stuff led me directly to the idea of Sugar & Spice.

I met a fellow mid-westerner (from Michigan) in Dan from Saltshaker fame. He once made a home made Chicago style pizza with home made sausage that was fantastic! I will never forget that pizza Dan! He does wonderful restaurant reviews as well so if you ever want to read up on Argentine restaurants his reviews are great and if you find yourself in Buenos Aires you should consider dining at his place as well. I have been to his place a couple of times and I still remember what I had in each meal.

I was also missing spicy food, be it from Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, China, etc. First I met Thuy who started a closed doors Vietnamese resto out of her house and that was fabulous. She has since stopped serving dinners. However, now I have met Christina Sunae who is making Thai Magic out of her kitchen. I have gone to her place twice and both times it was a solid fantastic experience.

We started with a Thai Beef salad called Nuea Num Tok. As you can see it was made with thin slices of beef.

She added some mint, red onion and a citrus dressing.

I couldn't get enough of this.

Next up we had Tamarind Prawns with rice, sweet and sour sauce, and avocado.

Can you see the little peppers on the side of the dish? That's right, those little suckers brought on the heat and I was loving it.

It is so refreshing to have these exotic flavors!

Next up was Khao Soi. The wife and I just order one main dish each so that we get to try each others dishes and that way we don't miss out on anything.

This dish is the only one that I specifically missed out a little on. We were in a group with my local family and so we had to order a non spicy version for them. I got the non spicy version and we both realized a little too late. I will just have to go back and be extra careful about getting my spicy dish served to me.

Anyway, this was a chicken in a yellow curry coconut sauce served over a bed of egg noodles and topped off with crunchy noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime and fresh chillies.

Apparently this dish is a Burmese influenced dish that is found in northern Laos and northern Thailand. I found an entire blog dedicated to this dish from someone who traveled to Thailand and in three days had about 8 different versions. I can't really blame him. I would have it for breakfast as well if I could.

By this time you are probably wondering if I had room for dessert? Yes, and though I normally don't find desserts that intriguing, I liked this one.  It was a banana puff with home made green tea ice cream.

Nat, if you ever travel to Argentina then you should definitely try Cocina Sunae.

I for one am in love.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Writing on 2 Hours of Sleep

I am laying in bed coughing my lungs out and draining liquid through my nose and something inside me told me that I needed to share this with you. I don't know if it's a good idea.

We'll see by the end of this post.

Like I said, I woke up miserable this morning (after two hours of sleep). I still had to drop something off at the office and hurry back to get my kids off to school. The wife took one, and I took the other (they start at different times).

The smallest one has been sick as well, but she was much better now and today she was to go back to school. She decided to pretend to be surprised (since I told her last night she was going).

I have been reading up on some parent effectiveness training so I held back my first impulse to condition her access to toys with good behavior. Instead I started trying to glean information from her. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to argue with a conspiracy theorist than to get my kids to actually tell me something concrete.

She just pouted and humphed. I then told her that today I would be home when she got back from school and that I would love to play with her. She just got a big make-up kit so I think I know what's in store for me later today.

I also told her that I could now give playing horse a try. I have been through a series of physical setbacks (all minor things). When we got back from vacation I hurt my back while sitting at my desk. The pain kept me from playing horse with the kiddies. Yes, I am a bit stubborn so I did not get it looked at. Every day it just kept getting better and better at very small increments until one day it didn't hurt anymore.

A couple of weeks ago I tripped while running and cut up my knee pretty good. That also kept me from wanting to kneel.

Just last night I was watching TV with them (the wife went out so it was just us three) and a commercial for some pain reliever came on. The guy was complaining about back pain and my kids in unison said "Papá, we should get you that!".

So obviously, my main motivation is to start playing with the kids again. It sucks getting old.

Meanwhile, I wait for the doctor who I just called and I was informed he would be arriving within 2 hours.

Yeah, I love doctor house calls.

This is one of the things I do not miss from the USA. Every time I have gone back someone in our family has needed medical care for one reason or another and it's a pain in the ass in the States. I really hate waiting.

He came and went and asked me several times if I had a fever at all. They are all attentive to the H1N1 flu virus. Thankfully, I did not have a fever,  although I have had most of the other symptoms.

I thought it would be a good time to remember why this was so important especially considering how people have relegated this to a conspiracy, or two. (if you can stomach 8 minutes of Rushbaugh you can click here to see his take on it.

For clarity's sake, I can't stand him.

Unlike Rushbaugh, he advised me to get the shot after I got well. If you want to read up on it yourself....

It's almost time for the little monkeys to come home. I leave you and if I happen to look particularly pretty after the make-over I will consider taking pictures.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Family Classics - Gigi

My desire to share some classic movies with my kids has taken me down memory lane. I set aside our Sunday evenings just for this purpose. It is the only day of the week in which we sit down and have dinner in front of the TV. I think I may have been channeling my childhood without knowing it. I mean, I didn't set out to do it on purpose. I just did this and then the memories started coming back to me.

Frazier Thomas hosted a show called Family Classics. He would personally pick the movies and he would even edit them a little to make sure they were suitable for kids. I didn't know this before and seeing the list of movies and remembering the ones that I did see I don't know what he could have edited out of them.

He would start each show with a brief introduction to the movie. I don't go that far myself. Sometimes I share a little info beforehand, but that's as far as I go with that.

This week it was Gigi that I showed them.

This movie was filmed in 1958 and it won 9 Oscars.

For this musical I did have to pause it a few times and answer some questions.

There is a frequent use of the word gay and that is one that they wanted some clarification on.

This story did involve the passage from childhood to womanhood so they were fixated on what was going on in the screen.

They also asked what was going on when Gaston found out his mistress (Eva Gabor) was cheating on him, why he went and spied on them, and paid her boyfriend to leave town and publicly brake up with her.

The subject matter is actually a bit more advanced than I wanted to show them. This particular movie was one that I had not seen before. Luckily, the movie presents the subject in a very lighthearted way.

For example I did not have to go into the whole keeping of a mistress thing. I just told them he wanted them to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

What actually happens is that Gigi did clarify to Gaston that he was basically asking her to be a mistress only to be tossed aside when he got bored of her eventually and she would find her way to the bed of another man. He was horrified of this image, but quickly forgot about it when she finally said that she would rather be miserable with him than without him. It finally hit home when he took her out to Maxim's and seeing her in public and seeing how the public saw her he just couldn't take it.

The movie ends with him taking her back home and humbly asking for her hand in marriage.

Some people have asked me for a list of classic movies that they could introduce their kids to. This is a pretty good list to start with.

I would also add the following:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Bringing up Baby
Charlie Chaplin - just about anything of his.
Abbot & Costello - again, anything.
Groucho Marx - again....
Jerry Lewis (and the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis combo)
The Princess Bride
The Muppet Movie
The Neverending Story
7 Brides for 7 Brothers
Singing in the Rain

As you can see I can just go on forever. I could on a weekly basis write about some of the not so obvious ones. I was hoping that one day I could open up their offerings to other foreign movies, but for that they have to be comfortable with subtitles. I do not believe in watching dubbed movies and I refuse to watch those.

As part of my strategy to try to get to that point I always turn on the subtitles in English. This week, they had a little friend over and they were going to watch a movie with her. That is the only time they get to watch dubbed movies. She asked me if I could please turn on the subtitles.


Now I am thinking of some French, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese movies that we can watch together.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


"Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal."

I have just tried the very best ice cream I have ever had in my life. Yes, I traveled to Italy and I have had high end ice creams in the States and in Argentina. I admit, there are countries I have not traveled to, but I just can't imagine anything being better than this.

The owners Marco Amodeo & Giovanni Girardini of Kakao (a Tea Room that also has ice cream and chocolates in Aosta, Italy) joined forces with  Venchi Chocolates.

From visiting the local shop, which they call Arkakao, here it looks like it could be a direct translation of what they have set up in Italy. Now the only thing that is missing is some high end cookies, cantucci/biscotti. (hint, hint)

I tried the gianduja  and a dark chocolate ice cream that I can't quite remember the actual name it went by, and it was amazing.

They did not have dry ice to pack it in like local Buenos Aires ice cream shops do, so I could not bring any back with me.

Sorry, my pictures suck. Take my word for it, the picture does not do this cup of creamy heaven justice.

Apparently they work with imported products so I should have tried pistachio for example. Who am I kidding, after this I will try as many of the different flavors as possible. I just have to come up with excuses to visit Rosario more often.

However, this recent news article from La Nación might put a damper on things, although I do hope this does not affect them.

I have no idea if they are actually going to stop Pepperidge Farm at the border for little old me.

My concern is one of inflation though. Many key ingredients have already been on the rise and I wonder how this will affect that. Also, what if other countries decide to do the same thing?

I sure hope they know what they are doing and I sure hope this does not put the brakes on the best ice cream in the world.

Good bye Villars Chocolate, Ritter Sport, Heinz Ketchup, Haagen Dazs, Philly Cream Cheese, etc.?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuck and Roll

I was out running this morning, when all of a sudden I tripped on a semi-covered, or semi-uncovered rock on the path. As I fell I channeled my long ago athletic days and remembered that I had to tuck and roll.

As I was going down, I also realized I had my iPod in my hand, and at the last possible moment I managed to slide it out of my hand (I did not want to crush it). As it slid, and I rolled, I was thinking that it would be pretty expensive to replace it in Argentina and I was already feeling a little anxious.

See, I can't even fall down in peace. I have to be thinking of the Argentine economy even as my feet are going over my head.

I am not as fast as I used to be. As I was going up from my roll, I grabbed my iPod and I realized it was okay (the music never stopped playing obviously); however, my knee hurt a little and I knew it was going to be bleeding so I changed direction and ran the rest of the way home.

Now I am sitting here typing this out after I bathed, and after I rinsed the wound scratch, and waiting for it to dry a little and I decided to see what my Facebook friends were doing.

I have been posting all kinds of crazy things that have made me shake my head in wonder and even in shame. Like for example a Republican hopeful from Iowa who came up with the brilliant idea of implanting microchips into people just like we do to dogs. Don't believe me?

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?"

In the same article you can see the backpedaling begin at the very end.

There was also another brilliant analysis comparing Mexicans to grasshoppers by Republican Ted Poe from Texas.

One small silver lining is that the far right activist have managed to make mimes funny.

I also stumbled into a video cartoon by Mark Fiore on the subject. I learned of it through the news that Steve Jobs had to step in to get this app approved after it had been denied.

But to get back to where I was going initially with my mentioning of Facebook was that on one of these posts of mine a friend chimed in with this statement that made me pause for a moment and really feel hurt by all this bigotry flying around:

In 1978, my parents smuggled my brothers and I out of Vietnam in the middle of the night to save us from being kidnapped by communists, sold into prostitution, or raised as soldiers. after 9 weeks at sea, we shipwrecked on a small island near Malaysia where incredibly generous people took us in, nursed us back to health, and helped us get to the US. Thanks to Arizona, I now feel no shame in kicking in the face anyone who finds themselves in my place. Thanks Arizona for giving the world another reason to hate the US, and Americans another reason to feel shameful.
And she added:
AND my brother is being deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months. I can't believe THIS is what he is fighting for.
Not only that, but this Arizona thing is making them come out of the woodwork. Oklahoma is liking this so much they want to not only copy it, but want to take it a bit further. I don't think they have heard about the microchip implanting idea yet.

 It looks like we, as a country, are falling down right now and we have to remember to tuck and roll people, tuck and roll.