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CNN GO Explores Buenos Aires music scene, cuisine, and football.

Aired November 9, 2011 - 03:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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(MUSIC PLAYS, "GIRO DE VOLANTE (TREMOR REMIX)", ALDO BENITEZ)

(MUSIC PLAYS, "PUENTE", CHANCHA VIA CIRCUITO)

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FELIX BUSSO, PHOTOGRAPHER: We are here in Namoncion (ph), a Four Seasons Hotel. And we are going to be making some photos in the backstage of the fashion show tonight.

It's a beautiful place. It's very antique and glamorous. All this let me do like mixture to the mind, like the wintery sky with a fashion star. So I can be no pride, no race, really look into me. I can do my own photos - my own creative creations.

I don't know. I want to create my own style, my own view. That's why I was here. It's not only in the magazines, it's not only in the fashion shows. You going to see it in the streets. You going to see that women and men like to get nicely dressed. So, I think that motivates you to work in this industry. There are things going on and designers that are coming from below doing interesting things. And that's what it makes difference - the new sights, the new designers, artists.

What love from this place - from this neighborhood - is the style of the architecture and the buildings are none higher than a seven floors and I think, somehow, it was planned and it was done to look like this, you know? Like French-Caribbean (ph) style.

If you close your eyes for a minute, I think, and you open it again, you may think that you are in another country, in another place, another - maybe in another continent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what were you saying about Argentine women?

BUSSO: I think they're beautiful. I think they are very particular, because they have this mixture between European and stylish girl and the fashion of the South American look, you know? And that mixture makes the Argentinean women very special.

We see have this feeling, you know? We still have the feeling that we are mostly European, like, more European than South American. But, I think we have to stop thinking like that, you know? We have to grow and to start developing strongly our own identity that we have. But it's difficult, because right now my Grandfather was Italian, so, I have that in my veins, you know? I have that in my blood.

(MUSIC PLAYS, "MANOLEO AN MENOR (TREMOR MIX)", RADIOKIJADA)

DANIEL TUNNARD, WRITER: I'm originally from Sheffield in England. I've lived in Buenos Aires for about 13 years. This - one of the noisiest and busiest avenues in Buenos Aires. This is Corrientes. It's famous for its theaters. There's a fantastic theater scene in Buenos Aires -- over 300 theaters.

Buenos Aires - the thing I like about it is that it's a great literary city. Some of the world's greatest writers - well, the Spanish-speaking world's greatest writers - have come from here such as Cortazar, Borges, and Sabato. And, as a writer, it's really enjoyable to live in Buenos Aires and feel close to that tradition.

And this is one of my favorite bookshops in town, here in Avenida Corrientes, so let's go and have a look at it.

One of the things I love about Buenos Aires and its people is that they're very big readers, you know? There's a lot of - as you can see, there's a lot of literature that's translated into Spanish. There's a biography of H.G. Wells, for example.

You know, and it's not just literature. There's a lot of debating about politics and psychoanalysis and all the government is their subjects, really.

It's just a wonderful place to live as a writer and as a reader as well. You know, people really enjoy their reading here.

(MUSIC PLAYS, "NYLON 2 (TRIFASICO MIX)", TREMOLO AUDIO)

TUNNARD: So, this is a record shop called "Bird", named after Charlie Parker. I really love this place. I used to come here when I first came to Buenos Aires. I bought loads of vinyl. Buenos Aires is a very good place for vinyl. Lots of old rock bands, jazz, all kinds of stuff. And the reason why I like this place, in particular, is because I wrote this novel about this filmmaker making a film about Freddie Mercury. The whole novel begins in this record shop, itself, where he meets his future wife.

One of the things I like about Buenos Aires is the greenery that we get. There's very few countries in the world where you can get away with being (INAUDIBLE). Being particular thing that you're some kind of socially inept nerd. And, you know, the drummer from "Guns and Roses", even, did like a mini tour here. It's really quite surprising how people are really into rock music. It's a good place for that.

OK, so that was one of my favorite record places in Buenos Aires. Now, let's get some lunch at "Pizza Banchero", one of my favorite pizza places. Let's go.

Buenos Aires has a lot of history of Italian immigration. There's a lot of pizza and pasta and that kind of thing in the Argentine national cuisine and it's really been up to this era. So, this is classic Buenos Aires dish. This is the "Fugazetta pizza", which is basically cheese and onion. Which doesn't sound very impressive, but in Buenos Aires, it's a culinary masterpiece. And this place, "Banchero" is the place where, supposedly, the Fugazetta pizza was invented. So, it's really kind of special to eat it here.

Very typical bartenders here. They're kind of brusque in their manners, you know. But very friendly as well. It's a very peculiar thing. If you were a tourist coming here that didn't really have that kind of experience, you'd think they were rude. But really, there's a kind of friendliness and efficiency.

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MAYA MAY, ENTREPRENEUR: The thing I love about San Telmo, as far as neighborhoods to live in, is because it's a mix of people. You know, I call it Barrio Barrio, so your neighbors could be people who've lived there for 30, 40, 50 years. You might be the only expat or foreigner in the building. And that's what I really like about it.

I'm originally from Chicago. I've been living in Buenos Aires for about six years now. Right now, this is the San Telmo Antique Fair, which is a fair that happens every Sunday here in San Telmo. And somewhere around 10,000 people come ever Sunday. And it's not just tourists. It's locals. It's really pretty amazing, because you have stands that run blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks. And it has everything from sweaters made out of alpaca hair and lots of leather goods. Lots of really interesting artisans selling their wares for a wide variety of prices. Always beware when somebody quotes you the price in dollars. That's when I always say, like, "I live here", give me the price in pesos.

Sunday in San Telmo is kind of one of the best places to be. I love Plaza Dorrego. You can't really tell right now, because it's filled with all of the stands for the vendors. But, this is, like, one of the plazas where, any time, day or night, you have people sitting out, drinking coffee - overpriced coffee - but, drinking coffee nonetheless. People watching, watching the tango shows.

This is La Poesia, which means "the poetry", basically. And this place reopened about two years ago as a bar notable, which basically means it's protected by the government. And the reason I love this place is because you can, one, sit here for hours and hours on end and nobody's going to bother you. You can read a book and sip a coffee for - basically all day long. And it's nice because nice mix of Argentine and a few tourists are starting to find out about it now. So, it's a little bit off the beaten path for San Telmo. We're a good four blocks from Plaza Dorrego, now.

It just makes me feel at home when I'm here, so. Here, it's just a part of the culture that people get together and they sit and they talk and they discuss what have you. Politics, or pop culture - and they do it for hours on end. They sit and talk and that's really one of the best parts about being in Buenos Aires.

(MUSIC PLAYS, "MUSIC FOR WHITE BACKGROUNDS", FER ISELLA)

BRIAN BYRNES, CNN ANCHOR: Alright. So, we're here. This is Rio Alba, my favorite steakhouse in the city.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

BYRNES: He's asking me if I have a lot of desire to eat meat and I said, "Yes". So, bueno.

Alright. So, in Argentina, you know, meat is king. Beef is king. So, this is the famous Argentine "Barisia" (ph), the barbecue. As you can see, it's all wood burning. Get wood in here, the hot coals. It's all natural. Let's ask Orlando what we have on the grill.

Those are short ribs, this is chorizo, your typical sausage. Right next to this is Proveletta, the provolone cheese and they should put that big gunk - that big huge smack right there on the grill - grill it up, and that's a perfect side dish to eat with your steak.

See right here? We've got the "mollejas" - those are the glands. Those are the cow glands. A little bit of lemon, a lot of salt - it tastes wonderful. Whenever I have people visiting here, I always tell them that it's chicken, so they won't know the difference. They eat the mollejas, they think it's chicken, they love it, then I tell them later that it's the glands, it's sweetbreads. They're fantastic.

So, this is the "lomo entero" - the full lomo. That's the full filet mignon cut. Just salt and fire. That's the Argentine secret. He's going to put together kind of a sample platter for us tonight.

It's all wood, it's all coal. Nothing artificial. No gas is used. And that's what makes the beef taste so good. In addition, all the cows are grass-fed. They're not put on feedlots. They're not given corn or grains. They're all grass-fed in the Pampas. That gives them that really flavorful taste.

We're going to see big cows hanging in the cooler. Through here. Oh wow. Mucho.

(SPEAKING SPANISH)

Wow, so he's got 60 different cows hanging in here. You get the lomo and the New York strip steak in here. On average, an Argentine citizen consumes 55 kilos of beef per year. This restaurant has been here since 1981. And a lot of these waiters have been working here since it opened. So, 30 years, now, they've been open. You can tell this place is real old school. And that's really what I like about it so much is that it's so unhip that it's hip.

This really familial concept that has to do around the "barisia" (ph), the barbecue. Families get together whether it's in a restaurant like this on Sunday evening. They get together and talk about the week's activities over steak. It's a real family feeling around the barisia (ph), around the barbecue, for Argentine families.

You're not going to get a better steak anywhere in the world. Let's try that right here. Cheers. It's perfect. There's really no other word for it. Perfect.

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(MUSIC PLAYS, "TAKI ONKOI", LAGARTIJEANDO)

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CHRISTINA SUNAE, CHEF: I'm from New York City. I've been living in Buenos Aires for about seven years and a run a clothes store/restaurant outside of my house serving Southeast Asian food. And I'm here in Buenos Aires' China Town, going to buy some of my things that I need for the dinner tonight.

OK, let's see what they have fresh today. Well, what I'm looking for - I'm looking for the fresh catch of the day. I need a fish that's for one person. But I need about 10 of them, because I'm going to be serving 10 fish, but each person has their own fish.

I feel like the Argentine palate is changing and people are - since the world is going more organic, here in Buenos Aires, it's happening as well. So, people are looking for other options. You can say - majority of Argentines eat meat or beef, but you know, I think they're looking for something a little bit different. And that's what I'm offering.

Alright, these are some of the imported goods, for example, "Gulong Gau" (ph), which comes from Thailand, which they actually don't grow here, so I have to buy it dry. All these vegetables are actually grown here in Argentina. They're cultivated by Asians, Koreans, Japanese, also Chinese. People of Asian descent. But they are Argentines and I (INAUDIBLE).

(MUSIC PLAYS, "EN EL LIMBO", M24)

Running a restaurant in my home can be a little bit crazy sometimes, because my whole house transforms into a restaurant. My son locks himself up in his bedroom. My husband is setting up the main - the dining room. A "Closed Door" restaurant is basically a restaurant that's run out of somebody's home. And some of them have themes or they change the themes every weekend. I love it. The concept is fabulous. I mean, it's becoming a big trend, actually.

I think there are about 20 in Buenos Aires right now. It's huge. I think it's happening - it's happening all over the world. I've heard of places in Boston, in New York, London. I feed about 60 people a weekend. So, yes. It gets a little bit crazy. But that's OK. We love it. And we like cooking.

(MUSIC PLAYS, "ZAPPA", M24)

DIEGO FILMUS, SAN LORENZO FAN: We are outside of San Lorenzo de Almagro Stadium in evaco (ph) Flores. As you can see, not exactly the most touristy neighborhood, but it is well worth the visit. Well worth the trek - make it out to the south of Buenos Aires.

As you can tell by the amount of police officers all over the area, behind us, around us - the horses - soccer matches can turn rough. They can get violent. Let's hope that doesn't happen today. But there have been moments where things have gone out of control.

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LUCAS MARKOWIECKI, SOCCER TOUR OPERATOR: At least we're safe. It used to be hard, but now, coming to a game is the nicest thing you can do when you visit Buenos Aires.

FILMUS: One's football club is part of one's identity, like their religion or, perhaps, their political party as well - their views. Their football club is their football club. I'm from San Lorenzo because my grandfather is from San Lorenzo. My father's from San Lorenzo. My uncles are from San Lorenzo.

Today, San Lorenzo is playing Argentinos Juniors. Both teams from Buenos Aires. So, it's almost like a neighborhood rivalry, which makes it really interesting. You have a lot of visiting fans, a lot of local fans, and there's just a long rivalry - a long history - between the two teams.

MARKOWIECKI: Argentinos Juniors is also the club where Maradona started playing.

FILMUS: Maradona -

MARKOWIECKI: Makes the club always important.

FILMUS: Rickernia (ph), Redondo -

MARKOWIECKI: Many big players.

FILMUS: This is the best moment of the match for me. I mean, receiving your 11 players with, I mean, this kind of emotion, excitement, with songs that are, you know, prepared and sung for them. And the colors of the flags.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do they say?

FILMUS: Right now, they're actually singing to the hardcore fans. They're singing about how good they are and how, you know, how loyal and passionate they are as San Lorenzo fans.

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FILMUS: So, yes, we snuck down at halftime. One - nothing so far. And here we are on the grass on the field. Waiting anxiously for the second half.

MARKOWIECKI: 130 years ago, English people came here to make the trains. They brought football with them. And -

FILMUS: We made it better.

(LAUGHTER)

MARKOWIECKI: Yes, we made it better. We made it passionate and clear.

FILMUS: It's an art form, really, right? It's like an art form. People have a strong identity related to their neighborhood, or their city, or the town, or the province they are from. They're very proud of their roots - their origins.

So, what you have are names of different barrios - neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Villa del Parque. You have a city from the end of the world, Tierra del Fuego, Rio Grande, I mean, from the bottom to the top of the country, you have fans. They call them "Venjas" (ph), which are like fan clubs that belong to exactly the whole country.

You go to Barcelona, you go to Israel, there's a Venja (ph) de San Lorenzo in those places. So, I mean, this passion really is global.

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FILMUS: Argentine's very passionate, very creative people. Which is why we've, you know, we've bred people like Maradona, Messi. Stars that have - their essence has been creativity. You know, going against the rules, going against the structure. You know, putting a team on their shoulders and carrying them. And you see a lot of that in the style of the plays. It's very much an Argentine thing. As much as it is the tango or, you know, eating steak, red wine it's - Football is part of the identity. Who we are.

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