Tag Archives: Tango

Fogón Conclusion. Well, sort of.

Saturday 16 March 2024 – or, in another way of looking at it, Thursday 28 March 2024 .  It’s actually nearly a fortnight after our return home as I write, a lacuna caused by a couple of health-related items, but mainly the Worst Cold In The Known Universe, which basically laid both Jane and me low from the day we arrived home (Monday 18th) until today, some 10 days later.

Also, “sort of” in that the first thing I’m going to write about, Fogón, is a conclusion only in the sense that it was the last thing we did in Buenos Aires, it wasn’t the last thing I’m going to write about for the trip as a whole; but I just couldn’t resist the pun.  Below, I also write about something we did on our first night here; well, the first evening of the first full day of the three we had on our second visit to BA, that is, this being the hub we travelled through.  Come on, keep up at the back.


OK, it’s a restaurant, in the up-market Palermo neighbourhood, and the word “asado” tells the foodie cognoscenti among you that it’s a barbecue-style meal.  It being in Buenos Aires, one can reasonably expect it to involve much very high quality meat.  The other key word on the sign is “experience”.  This is not just some guys chucking burgers onto a barbie; this is Food Preparation As Theatre.

There will be pictures of food in the following.  Many people will mutter and make rude remarks about me posting photos of food.  To them, I say two things:

  1. it’s a piece of theatre and it involves food. Conveying the experience photographically without showing a scrap of food here and there is a nonsensical ambition. I’ve minimised, but not eliminated, the actual food content in the pics.
  2. Actually, what I object to is people sharing a photo of the plate of food they’re about to eat, to show the viewer what cool, cultured cats they are and what posh places they’ve managed to get into. I really object to that, and so you don’t see it on these pages. Also,
  3. It’s my blog. I make the rules and I can break ’em if I want. So, there.

Sorry, got carried away a bit there….back to the evening at Fogón.

It’s very, very well managed theatre that provides very, very good food.  You are shown, with a flourish, into the “auditorium”

where you take your seat and have the idea of the evening, and some of the rules, explained. For example, if you want something refreshed (e.g. the soda siphon below, or your wine glass), you put it up on the counter. When delivered, you take it down and use it.

The setup shown above is a bit of audience participation – making a chimichurri sauce. They’ve made it pretty idiot-proof, with the ingredients nicely parceled up and a little recipe to follow.  This will be used, we are told, with the main course.

A big part of the theatre involves the central barbecue apparatus which is large, complicated and hot.

It has many moving parts and every so often someone, normally this chap (who is wearing a gaucho cap and is therefore a chef)

would pick up a shovel and wander around in the confined space on his side of the counter with a shovel full of glowing coals to put them where they were needed, often without injuring anyone.

The meal has nine courses, and they are all explained in some detail,

so above was the talk about what meat we would be eating.  The pine cones were not just decoration, by the way. They were used to smoke some of the meat.

Each course is carefully assembled in front of you before being passed over.

For the main course, in possibly the most pretentious part of the evening, you are asked to make the reverent selection of Your Knife from a box of them.

The main chunks of meat were mainly prepared, cut and cooked by this chap,

who, Jane reckons, is actually a moonlighting James Anderson (if you don’t know who Jimmy is, you should be slightly ashamed of yourself, but telling you will make no difference to your life).

It was a great evening – very entertaining, brilliantly choreographed and engagingly presented.  By the time my main course came around I was so full I could only manage a token mouthful, and, as usual, I passed on dessert, but all the other courses were very good indeed.  I have, of course, plenty of video, but I won’t be sharing that with you at any stage, oh no.

So, Fogón was the finale of our time in Buenos Aires, but it’s not the end of this story, because I wanted to finish the BA part with an even more dramatic piece of theatre, which we saw on the evening of our first of three days here.  Argentina is known for its meat (which is all originally from imported British stock several hundred years ago, by the way); it is also known as the home of The Tango.

Yes, we went to a tango show.  It was at a place called Aljibe, over by Puerto Madero.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. On one of our drives, we passed a great glittering place with “TANGO” writ large in lightbulbs outside, and I wondered if the experience there would be like an Argentinian version of Moulin Rouge (the Paris show, not the film).  This place, however, was clearly a lot smaller, with a charming foyer

where we were greeted and taken to our seats in a compact, but nonetheless attractively decked-out auditorium.

At the far end was the stage, where the entertainment would presumably happen,

and where one could get one’s photo taken in relevant fancy dress as a memento of the evening. At a charge, of course.

As well as the dancing, there is eating. The menu is brought, followed by one’s food, in pretty brisk succession, carried in towers of plates in order to get it out to the punters quickly.

Yes yes, I know it’s more pictures of food… get over it.

We were there for one of three shows they were staging that day, and they had about an hour to get our orders (only made slightly more intricate by our habit of not drinking wine and therefore demanding G&T), deliver them and clear away before the entertainment started. It’s very obviously a production-line, but it’s done with assured efficiency and the food was pretty good.

After a short while, the musicians ambled on to the stage and looked like they were debating which pieces to play

and the place filled up nicely, in time for the show to begin.

and we were off!

As one would expect for something as flamboyant and exciting as the tango, the evening’s show was eye-catching and engaging. It started with an ensemble piece involving six dancers,

who managed to whizz all over what was quite a confined space without actually stabbing anyone with stilettos, or whatever. There was the occasional song break

much individual skill and flair displayed among the cast

not all of whom were in the first flush of youth,

but who all danced with great skill, athleticism and passion.

In a departure from raw tango, the show featured a middle section of gaucho-style entertainment, with a very theatrical couple

who didn’t just dance, either.

These two also provided the most left-field piece of theatre of the evening when they got their balls out.

Not only did they whirl their bolas around with great skill and energy and without breaking any lightbulbs or knocking each other unconscious, but they also used them as percussion instruments!

It really was a spectacular centrepiece to a great evening of Argentinian theatre.  Most of the photos above are from Jane, because I was busy videoing bits of the show. If you have five minutes to spare, you can watch this video that I cobbled together from some of the snippets.

Fogón and Aljibe were two very different pieces of theatre that conclude the story of our three days based in Buenos Aires and so (if you’re still awake) you’re pretty much up to date with the story of our travels to South America and the Southern Ocean.

Despite the “conclusion” in the title, I think I have one more piece to write.  Over the course of three weeks on Hondius, we collected a fair bit of video footage.  Because the internet aboard was slow, but much more importantly, metered, uploading video would have been ridiculously expensive.  So I will go through what we have and try to weave a few stories from those pieces of footage.  Give me a couple of days, though, won’t you?