Monday, March 26, 2012


Magdalena's Party
Thames 1795
Palermo, Capital Federal
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(11) 4833 9127

I have a silly little dream to one day become a food writer that gets to travel around the world, reviewing restaurants, eating exotic and wonderful food. When I started writing this post, I thought about that little dream I have. Then realised that I'm living it. 

Figure 1: Fresh flowers on every table

Magdalena's is located in Palermo, a swanky barrio in the north-east of Buenos Aires. The surrounding streets are full of art shops, fashion boutiques, restaurants and bohemian cafés, making it a favourite spot for young, upper middle-class porteños and the US expat community. Nearby Plaza Serrano is also home to the popular weekend feria where you can buy all kinds of neat Argentinian knick knacks like mate cups, leather bags, the classic touristy crocheted tops and live tango music. 

Figure 2: The bright blue façade of Magdalena's - reminded me of Valentino's in Perth! 

Figure 3: Funky interior design 

Magdalena's only opened in January last year, but has quickly gained popularity as a top brunch spot in Buenos Aires thanks to its authentic American offerings. But brunch isn't the only thing they've got going for them - their lunch menu is equally delightful which features nachos with guacamole, fish tacos and a mammoth hamburger. And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Magdalena's is transformed into a lively bar with local DJ's on the decks. Did I mention they do an outrageous happy hour?

I loved the abstract paintings on the wall, which were depictions of the city of Buenos Aires. The dark purple-blue-and-black colour scheme of the restaurant ties in perfectly with the artwork, and a little jar of fresh flowers on each table added a cute splash of colour. 

Figure 4: Mimosas - a fantastic excuse to drink champagne before 12. 

First time I went to Magdalena's, I thought we were going for brunch in the Australian sense of the word. That is, rock up at the café around midday, order some food, have a coffee and then walk out in the early afternoon. But almost five rounds of mimosas and two bottles of white wine later, I walked out of Magdalena's at 4pm with a compound hangover and realised that American brunch and Australian brunch are two very different things indeed.

Figure 5: The owner gave us a round of free mimosa's for Zack's birthday!

Figure 6: Bloody Mary

Apart from mimosas, another popular drink at Magdalena's is the Bloody Mary. When this was served at our table for Laura, I was fascinated. I'd never even seen one before, let alone tasted one. The concept of drinking tomato juice at breakfast is like the idea of crop circles to me, so I was even more weirded out when I found out what's actually in them. 

A Bloody Mary is a cocktail which usually contains tomato juice, vodka, tobasco sauce, celery, pepper, salt and (I couldn't believe this) ... beef stock. They're believed to alleviate hangovers, which is preposterous. There are many other members of the Bloody family including the Bloody Fairy (replaces vodka with absinthe), the Bloody Ninja (made with Japanese sake) and the non-alcoholic Bloody Shame. There's also this thing called an Upside Down Bloody Mary, but I definitely would not recommend trying to do that one at home. 

Figure 7: Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc

Figure 8: Breakfast burrito (ARS$40)

I was a repeat offender at Magdalena's, and this was one of the first things I had. This burrito was so huge it was almost scary. It was the size of my skull, and I'm tellin' you right now, I've got a big head. The worst part of it is, I ate the whole thing. Every last, delicious bite of it, including the large portion of home fries on the side. I never thought I was capable of eating so many carbs in one sitting, but I guess because I was so hungover, my senses were out of whack, and I think my stomach was just happy to receive something that wasn't laced with alcohol. Fried bacon, mounds of stringy cheese and egg all rolled up in a toasted tortilla, it was truly the ultimate hangover meal. 

Figure 9: American Pancakes with Maple Syrup (ARS$25)

A few hours later, we were still sitting outside Magdalena's. And for some strange, terrible reason, I was persuaded into splitting a serving of American Pancakes half-half. It was my last weekend in Buenos Aires, and I had already accepted that my figure was going to hell from all the steak and dulce de leche I'd been eating (from the jar), so why not. The pancakes were average, but it was the maple syrup that made it really delicious. It was an intensely strong flavour without being overpoweringly sweet, and some of the syrup had solidified so you got these lovely chunky bits of gooey syrup to spread on everything. 

Figure 10: The 'Crazy-Bagel'

Zack couldn't decide whether or not he wanted the Egg and Cheese Bagel (ARS$30) or the Bagel con Lox ($ARS40). The owner, who was actually our waitress that morning cheerfully said - "Why choose! I'll do you up a bagel with half and half." Naturally, I ordered it the very next time I went to Magdalena's. It was as scrumptious and fattening as it sounds. 

Figure 11: Not a bad shot for a crappy $80 travelling camera

You would think that after being in South America for two months, I'd have something a bit more exotic to write about than American bagels and pancakes. But when I look back, I can honestly say that brunches at Magdalena's were some of the best meals of my entire trip. 

You see, I have discovered the secret to enjoying food. Simply do this: eat with people you love spending time with. People who bring out the best in you. People with whom you can be yourself. People you can laugh with. Because to enjoy food is to enjoy life, and to enjoy life you need good company. 

In Buenos Aires I met some of the most welcoming, friendly, kind-hearted people I have ever come across. Eating with them was always enjoyable, whether it was hacking into a mouth-watering steak an Argentinian parilla, or cooking some pasta at the residence, or just running across the street to get a fix of banana split ice cream. I loved every meal I ate with them because I loved their company. Magdalena's is where I had my last meal with my new found friends from the RoadHouse, so this place will always be special to me, just like the people I ate there with. 

Roadies, this post is for you.

Figure 12: Our army of breakfast burrito assassins


Laura said...

My new favorite there... Cali coast omelette! Also, we went yesterday and there was a puppy. Puppies and free mimosas with brunch? Yes please.

bellelelephant. said...

Ah, my only regret is that I left Buenos Aires without having that omelette!! Hahaha how I envy you all for still being over there. I'll be back for sure, hopefully I'll catch a puppy viewing session at Magdalena's too.