Ahh! Argentina! For our second stop on Food Trip, we visited a beautiful little Argentine restaurant about a mile from our house. Fiorito offered us classic Argentine dishes, giving us a glimpse into a passionate, hospitable culture.
The meal started with the cheesiest grilled cheese experience of anything you could imagine. Provoletta is made with provolone cheese literally cooked directly on a grill and then topped with chorizo, tomatoes, and herbs. It was a hot, creamy, crunchy treat. In between bites of cheesy yumminess, we enjoyed two different empanadas. There was one with (even more) cheese and corn and one made with carne a chuchillo (hanger steak). I love pastry, so I enjoyed these flaky, buttery, baked starters. Honestly, I could have made the whole meal out of empanadas, but this was only the beginning.
Between mid 19th and 20th centuries, 6.6 million immigrants came to live in Argentina from Europe, the Near and Middle East, Russia and Japan. This made Argentina second only to the U.S. for having the most immigrants at the time and contributed greatly the development of the cuisine. Empanadas and beef were brought by the Spaniards. The Italians contributed pasta, pizza, and one of the most well known Argentine dishes, Milanesa, which originates from Milan. Think chicken parmesan except a fine piece of beef under ham, tomato sauce, and (yes, of course) cheese.
The star of all Argentine food is absolutely steak. Whether it is baked into an empanada, breaded and fried for Milanesa, or just grilled and served with chimichurri, Argentines know their beef. So to eat like an Argentine, we had to throw veggies to the side for the night and enjoy juicy, tender steak; herby chimichurri; and some of the most delicious french fries I've ever eaten.
Our overall Argentine dinner experience left us feeling not just full of delicious food, but also filled with a feeling of home in spite of the fact that none of us had ever eaten Argentine food before. There was a warm, generous, and hospitable feel to the food itself.