Saturday, April 05, 2008

Good Afternoon, Vietnam

I just had one of those spontaneously cool afternoons where my aimless meandering ended up more interesting than anything I could plan.

I was in Palermo for my monthly injection of Mark's Deli's iced mocha (btw, they offer it para llevar now, and it felt rather deliciously SoCal walking around with a big plastic cup and straw--I know, I know, I'm lame) and decided to wander into the Vietnam store, a way cool but way expensive boutique selling gorgeous clothing mostly in red and yellow hues created in that SE Asian country by
hopefully well-compensated locals. Anyhow as it turned out the restaurant in the back of the store opened for business as of last night, and I ended up sampling the spring rolls and the classic café su da. And get this--they even have pho on the menu, though not today for some reason. Oscar and Marta, the couple that owns the store/restaurant, were so excited to meet someone born near Vietnam that they just pulled up a chair at my table, and we chatted like three old pals for nearly an hour.

And that in a nutshell encapsulates what I love best about Argentina: the friendliness, warmth, and open curiosity of complete strangers. So that's the good news anyway; the bad news is the food, to kindly put it, improvement. Times like these I wish my mom were here to give them a tip or two. She can outcook anyone, including Vietnamphilic Argentines.

(Alas, I didn’t have my camera with me today…)

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