Argentina has come to Fitchburg, WI. Recently, an argentine sandwich shop named Chimmies opened near my house. The menu isn’t extensive, but my parents were both quite pleased with their sandwiches; I stuck with the humita empanada (corn). The filling was quite different from the humita empanadas from good old Lo de Fercha, but it was still very tasty. They seemed to be fried, but were not the least bit greasy, and were nice and crunchy. Overall, definitely a place to visit again!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

– Maddy


Throwback Thursday: Everything Points to Argentina

Thanks to my harassment via Twitter, Maddy and Abi can both vouch for me when I say that I’ve been a little Argentina-obsessed lately. I don’t know what it is, but the universe keeps leading me to all things Argentina: Buenos Aires blog posts, pictures of our favorite barrios, empanada recipes, and on and on and on forever. It won’t leave my head. Rather than let it continue simmering in my brain, I figured I’d dump all of my recent finds here to share with you. Tell me if I’m being crazy or if the rest of the world really is buzzing about Argentina lately!

Exhibit A:33 Things We Love About Buenos Aires

#16: Sunsets over Puerto Madero

#16: Sunsets over Puerto Madero

I found this Globetrotter Girls post on one of the blogs I read regularly, Twenty-Something Travel, as part of a compilation of what was good in the travel niche of the Internet for January. Commence serious nostalgia.

Exhibit B: Fernet con coca discovery

merritt fernet

Obviously, when you get a text from a fellow BsAs study abroad alum (see above: Merritt!) about a Pittsburgh tavern that has fernet con coca on the cocktail menu, you go. Immediately. You also don’t get upset when the place only has enough Fernet Branca for one drink because that’s what multiple straws are for, and even a little taste of the best six months of your life is totally worth it.

If you’re as intrigued as I was, check out 1947 because it’s awesome.

Exhibit C:Palermo y Belgrano

Gurruchaga - One of the adorable streets that was near our house!

Gurruchaga – One of the adorable streets that was near our house!

I follow I ❤ BA on Pinterest, and obviously, the name of this particular album caught my attention because it was in Palermo and Belgrano that we spent a majority of our time in Buenos Aires. Enter vivid daydreaming and more nostalgia.

Exhibit D: Pittsburgh empanadas

Pierogi or empanada? No one can be sure.

Pierogi or empanada? No one can be sure.

Remember our search for the perfect café that got carried over a bit into Spain? I just realized within the last week that we should have been continuing it in Pittsburgh! Seriously, what’s wrong with us?

Anyway, in an effort to see more of the quirky side of Pittsburgh, I stopped at a little café in the neighborhood of Polish Hill called Lili Café. Thought I’d grab some tea to warm up after traipsing through snow in the Strip District, but lo and behold, there were empanadas on the menu. Not just any empanadas, I might add, but potato/white cheddar/rosemary empanadas. If you think that I stood drooling while staring at it through the case and impulse bought the last one, you’re absolutely right. The funny thing is that the potato filling made it just seem like a pierogi in an empanada shell. That’s so Pittsburgh.

Exhibit E: Gaucho

The day has finally come. An Argentine restaurant has invaded Pittsburgh.


As mentioned before, Abi, Maddy, and I are in the Society for International Business at Pitt. Apparently, we’ve trained everyone well because one of our freshmen members posted an article on the club’s Facebook page about Gaucho Parrilla Argentina in Pittsburgh’s Strip District just days after its doors opened. If we have anything to say about it, there will be a club trip to the restaurant ASAP.

Exhibit F: My response to this onslaught in the form of food

What else is there to do but make some emps?

What else is there to do but make some emps?

This deluge of Argentine greatness bursting forth from the back of my mind just can’t be ignored. Rather, I plan to fully embrace it. How so? By fumbling through another attempt at making empanadas, of course! This time, I’m going less traditional with a recipe for sweet potato and black bean emps. I’ll let you know how that goes.

So, what’s the conclusion? Am I going through some PTSD (Post Travel Stress Disorder)-induced obsessing, or is life trying to point me somewhere?

– Alexa

After the Return Flight

My absolute favorite part about study abroad aftermath (ok, sometimes there’s not a lot to be happy about after you leave, but I’m serious about this one) is that you come back with a whole new set of American friends! That’s not a very me-like thing to say, but I continually appreciate the people I met abroad who I still get to hang out with once in a while. We make weird comparisons between the U.S. and whatever country we both lived in, they’ll speak Spanglish with me, they’ll get nostalgic and plot escape plans to Patagonia… the list goes on.

Besides having these people strategically stationed throughout the U.S. to give us a great reason to travel domestically, Abi, Maddy, and I are lucky enough to have some American study abroad buds close by when we need a dose of Argentina. I ran into some pictures that we took when our friend Tori came to visit before Halloween that we never put up!

Costume shopping - Unfortunately neither of us bought what we tried on.

Unfortunately neither of us bought what we tried on.

Playing at the fancy Apple Store

Playing at the fancy Apple Store

Getting lost, coloring on tables... you know, doing adult things

Getting lost in game stores, coloring on tables… you know, doing adult things

We love seeing Tori whenever she can drop by. Merritt’s extra close, too!

Just a neighborhood over!

Just a neighborhood over!

We miss our other fellow Buenos Aires wanderers, but I’m sure we’ll manage to have a reunion one of these days when we pay back our college loans (that we most likely used on plane tickets and souvenirs).


So, ladies, when are we heading back?

So, ladies, when are we heading back?

– Alexa

Fun Food Found While in Carrefour

I just had to share this gem that I found the other day at our local grocery store.

It was too funny for me NOT to buy! Obviously, meat + chimichurri = super Argentine. It wasn’t anything fantastic, and I’m pretty sure it was a big lie, but it was worth the laughs and having something easy to bring for lunch at work the next day. It seems kind of weird since Argentina has Spanish and Italian food all over the place, yet here the Spaniards are trying to sell me Argentine pizza (and succeeding). Everyone goes for that little touch of foreign flavor, I guess!

– Alexa

It’s Kind of a Funny Tattoo-Related Story

Let me warn you now that this is a personal story. If you’re only looking for things to see and do around Madrid, stop reading, or go to another post!

For those of you who have been following along, you know that I’m taking Spanish classes while also working in Madrid this summer. Well, in class the other day, we started talking about the types of art that everyone enjoys. Because I had recently discovered Madrid’s MULAFEST, I had body art on my mind, so I said that I liked tattoos. Obviously, my teacher wanted to know if I had any, so I showed her the compass on my back that I got after my trip to Chile, and this one that I got on my ribs last winter… 

“Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.” = Traveler, there is no path; the path is made upon walking.

I didn’t find the phrase on my own; José came across it and said that he thought it described my outlook on life. I agreed. Supposedly it was from El gaucho Martín Fierro, which is like the unofficial national book of Argentina. I read parts of it while in Buenos Aires, so after a few months of thinking about the particular sentence, I decided that it represented so many things that are/were important to me, that I might as well tattoo it on myself!

Back to two weeks ago. I’m in Spanish class, attempting to show everyone the ink on my ribs. As soon as my teacher finishes reading, she exclaims, “Oh, it’s from the poem by Antonio Machado! That’s super Spanish. Very nice.” I was vaguely aware that there was a song by a Spanish singer that had the phrase in it but didn’t really know what she was talking about. 

Flash forward a week. My teacher brought in the entire poem for me, and everyone else, to read in class.

Caminante no hay camino

de Antonio Machado

Todo pasa y todo queda,
pero lo nuestro es pasar,
pasar haciendo caminos,
caminos sobre el mar.

Nunca perseguí la gloria,
ni dejar en la memoria
de los hombres mi canción;
yo amo los mundos sutiles,
ingrávidos y gentiles,
como pompas de jabón.

Me gusta verlos pintarse
de sol y grana, volar
bajo el cielo azul, temblar
súbitamente y quebrarse…

Nunca perseguí la gloria.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace camino
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar…

Hace algún tiempo en ese lugar
donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar
“Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…”

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso…

Murió el poeta lejos del hogar.
Le cubre el polvo de un país vecino.
Al alejarse le vieron llorar.
“Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…”

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso…

Cuando el jilguero no puede cantar.
Cuando el poeta es un peregrino,
cuando de nada nos sirve rezar.
“Caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar…”

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso

So, I maybe should have done some more research about the origins of my tattoo rather than taking a friendly suggestion as absolute fact…

Here’s the fun part, though: It is super Spanish. When I got it, I had no idea that I would be in Spain this summer; I was doing it all for the love of travel, but even more so for the love of Argentina. In reality, it’s as if I was stamping my own fate on myself without knowing.

Once I figured it all out, I had a bit of a “tattoo identity crisis”, but I think that this discovery has only added significance to the phrase in the context of my life experiences. It’s kind of funny how things like that work out, isn’t it? Have you ever had an unexpected run-in with what you thought was fate?

– Alexa

MVM: Shout Out to Argentina

Warning: There’s actually no music involved in this at all. Sorry, folks! I’ll allow you to play something to your own liking in the background. 🙂

As I was writing about tortilla española yesterday, I ran across a link from our BsAs-based friend Vina to a video made by a fellow yanqui, Dustin Luke, about the funny “isms” of Argentine Spanish. I’ve noticed others posting it since then, and Vina and I agreed that it’s a dead on impression. It seems that Dustin’s been getting good feedback from the Argentine population, as well, so it must be good! If you know Spanish and/or have heard an Argentine speak it, you can appreciate this. For the rest of you… Go learn Spanish! It’s fun!

– Alexa

Latin America Comes to Pittsburgh

We’re officially done with finals! Maddy and Abi have already packed up and left campus for the summer, and I’m left here to chill for two weeks waiting around for Spain. That explains why I can now write about the Latin American and Caribbean Festival that happened weeks ago!

Surprisingly (to me, at least), Pittsburgh has a pretty strong Latin American community. The annual festival is definitely its time to shine. You can just imagine how excited I was to walk into rooms full of empanadas, dulce de leche, things made out of alpaca fur, and Spanish speakers galore. It was beautiful.

The main room with vendors and tables to set down your trays piled with deliciousness

Earrings from a Peruvian place in Pittsburgh's neighborhood of Squirrel Hill called Paititi - I couldn't decide which pair I wanted!

Jarritos! and a Mayan calendar at a vendor's table

Jerseys, of course

Twisty Wire Man, as I like to think of him

A Twisty Wire Man original creation


Robby showing off the empanadas we tried

Verdict: The spinach emps from Lo de Ferch@ (our regular empanada stop that was across from Elda's house!) are way better.

Yummy Peruvian place just a few blocks from my apartment! Yes, they have chicken.

FUN FACT #1: The Argentine woman who was at the table with the empanadas and the dulce de leche cake had a shirt on that said “Got empanadas?”. I, of course, freaked out and asked her where she got it from. She couldn’t really remember, so I was sad. I also forgot to take a picture of her, so I was extra sad.

FUN FACT #2: My mom bought me the shirt for my birthday. Everything has been righted.

1st sight upon entering the room with the performances: Truth & Rites -- Basically, lots of dreadlocks. Is the middle guy not absolutely terrifying?

Fake Colombians from Slippery Rock University! They definitely didn't dance like white people, though. It was pretty amazing.

LOOK AT THE TINY BABY DANCER (right)! Ahhhh she was so precious!

Also, these were the real Colombians. They didn't dance like white people, either.

The Latin American Cultural Union (LACU) of Pittsburgh had a whole medley of dance numbers. That little girl in the middle was in a bunch and was pretty bossy (in a good way).

The group I was with had to take a break (The festival was from noon to midnight! They weren’t messing around.), but we went back later to watch the Brazilian groups do capoeira and play music. I was too busy being amazed to really take pictures, so I’ll leave those images up to your own imagination.

If you’re near Pittsburgh for next year’s festival, come take a look! Or at least grab an empanada. I know I definitely will be.

– Alexa