Fall in Mendoza

Fall in Mendoza
View outside our house

Friday, June 18, 2010

Grocery Shopping in Mendoza Part One

Got lot's to say about grocery shopping in Mendoza, Argentina...therefore this will be a multi-part blog.

Let's get this out of the way real quick.  The meat here is awesome!  Argentina is known for their meats and I can confirm that it is a well placed honor.  Most people get their meat from a "carnicero,"  neighborhood butcher.  We get ours from such a butcher.  The meat is extremely fresh.  I spent some time with Luis, our butcher, and I can testify that these guys are artisan butchers.

Luis gets his beef in half cow carcasses!  From there he cuts it down himself to the specifics of his customers.  Can't say enough about the quality and the tastes of the meat.  When we grill the meats, all you need is salt...yum!  There will be a Blog about Asado's,

Enough of that...

First impression of going to the major grocery chains is that there is not much different from U.S. stores;  the same layout and the same concepts.  Most major chains have two types of stores.  Large, all inclusive stores and small "express" type stores.

The large stores are just that...huge.  They are like Walmart Superstores in the U.S.  They sell TV's, clothes and of course food.  The selection of food is decent.  As someone who enjoys cooking, there are little options.  It doesn't matter where you shop, you well get the same brands and the same food.

As for said-called brands, 99% are Argentine brands.  When I first went grocery shopping I noticed that almost everything that was bottled or canned said, "Industria Argentina" on the back of the product.  This means made in Argentina.  What a concept, made in your own country?

Not being an economist, I figure this is good for the country, but being an outsider looking in, not good for the consumer who wants to have a large variety of foods and options.

Let me explain.  In the U.S., I was used to not only a large selections of products from the U.S. and abroad, but there seemed to be new products being developed and introduced to the consumer on a weekly basis.  The large multi-nationals that cater to the U.S. consumer are constantly looking to outdo their rivals, therefore we were bombarded with a million types of cookies, chips, etc.

Made in Argentina, means no multi-nationals competing for your money.  This is what there is and well, this is what you buy.  At first I liked all the new things they offered that in the U.S. we don't eat.  But after a while, I wanted diversity...choices.

All this talk of food is making me hungry.  Next post will be about the U.S. brands that we do have in Argentina and how much it costs!  OUCH!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

First Few Weeks - Impressions

So I continue to catch up the world on my adventure.  I had only been to Mendoza once before, 3 years ago.  My first impressions back then was that It was a nice place.  Very picturesque with the mountains and vineyards everywhere.  Of course back then I had no thoughts of living here, so I just looked at everything like a tourist.  That is, with blinders on - just seeing the pretty things.

Fast forward three years and I see things a bit different.  Still very pretty - big mountains, that at times look fake against the blue skies.  The vines are now in their dormant phase.  Things are a bit dusty here.

It seems like the planners of Mendoza wanted the city and departments within the city, to have a more rural, organic look and feel to the streets and boulevards.  There is plenty of dust in the air because of this.  Where in the States their would be grass on the sidewalks, in Mendoza there is...dirt!  Because of this lack of landscaping, the city seems to be more dirty.  This with-standing, the city is full of trees everywhere - very impressive - huge trees.

We live in Lujan de Cuyo - a department within the city of Mendoza.  Lujan is like a suburb if you will.  Lujan is known for its vineyards and unimpeded views of the Andes Mountains.  We are about a 25 minute drive south of downtown Mendoza.  Downtown Mendoza is like most metropolitan cities.  Busy, lots of traffic and the usual cadre of store fronts, pedestrians and apartment living.

What will stand out to most Americans, if that around 1pm, most stores and restaurants close.  Close as in, "We are closed come back later."  Later is around 4:30 or so.  This is called Siesta!  Mendoza fully embraces this old world custom.  Most people go home, eat lunch and take a nap.

Now of course I love a good nap, but when you are trying to do business, you must remind yourself that if you call in the hours of Siesta, no one will pick up he phone.  Very frustrating to get used to.

Next post...grocery shopping...I miss you Publix!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Intro to my Blog

So I have been wanting to create a blog for some time now on my adventures of living in Argentina. So here it is. Angelo you ask, what can we expect from this forum...well, just about anything. For those of you who know me, it will include my sense of humor and how I see the world...demented!

I will begin by catching everyone up on what I have experienced my first five weeks of living in Argentina. I will also blog about Claudia (wife) and my attempt to start up a catering business and maybe one day a restaurant.

If have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to let me know. I am new to this blogging thing so be patient.

BTW...for those of you who are Geographically Challenged, it is getting ready to be Winter down here:)