Argentine Odyssey: "¡Hola Chicos!"
Coming to or going from our hotel, we were met with the enthusiastic greeting “¡hola chicos!” or “hi guys!” from Patricia, the ever-cheerful lady at the front desk.
In Ushuaia we were excited to find ourselves on the coast and near to plentiful seafood. We found a charming and quaint restaurant called Tia Elvira that had an odd collection of bric-a-brac and collectibles like old prisoners shackles, guns and souvenirs from Australia and America. Looking around the room we saw many patrons digging into large spiny bodies of king crab, which is native to the icy waters here. We decided we were ready for a hot meal and got king crab Provencal; a rich dish of parsley, garlic, paprika, and olive oil that was flavorful without overwhelming the sweet and meaty crab legs. It was sweeter than Alaska king crab and meatier than Dungeness crabs. Scallops are also native here. We ordered a steamy dish of small scallops in garlic and olive oil that we mopped up with bread and dunked with French fries. All this was washed down with a lovely bottle of torrontes from Salta.
Hiking during the day in Tierra del Fuego park where it seemed to rain on and off, our outfitter treated us to a hot meal of piccados (snacks) and chicken stew. This was a nice treat and, with a glass of wine. Good preparation for back out into the rain. We canoed for another hour or two, before leaving the park. Our hard work of paddling was rewarded later at a bar with light crispy and perfectly fried rabas or squid and tall draft of local Beagle beer.
The next day we went out on a boat through the Beagle Channel, which turned out to be extremely cold and very rough waters. However we did manage to see cormorants, fur seals, and sea lions.
For dinner we went to the sublime Kaupe for exquisite seafood. Elegant king crab crepes in saffron sauce were brought to the table for us to share. For our main course, we enjoyed sea bass in capers and black pepper butter that simply melted in our mouths as well as octopus grilled with potatoes that were lightly draped in cream. For dessert we ate impossibly light crepes, filled with intensely rich, creamy dulche de leche with a touch of cognac to produce a simple and yet refined finale.
We walked back to our hotel, drenched from the rain, but our spirits lifted when we came through the front door to the perky and warm welcome of "¡hola chicos!"