The special pairing dinner “La Cordillera De Los Andes From North to South,” held at the Industria Argentina Restaurant, presented by Bodega Trapiche Winery, and prepared by Executive Chef Natalia Machado, was a part of the Gourmet Latino Festival. From June 8 to 12, chefs offer a special dining menu at their restuarants to provide a diverse tour of Latin American gastronomy. Every aspect of my experience at this elegant resaurant–and every bite of Chef Machado’s creations I tasted–both communicated Latin American culture and transcended it. Simply stated, the dinner was out of this world.
I must also applaud the Gourmet Latino festival’s commitment to social responsibility. The Festival seeks to help “improve the lives of Latin farmers and food producers around the world. We have partnered with social change organizations to support businesses and products that sustain people and the environment.” I’ll drink to that!
The dinner began with the “Ceviche de Centolla Fueguina,” a cold crab, corn, and tomato salsa dish. It was such a treat to eat real crab, not the imitation stuff made from fish and painted with those red stripes. The “Ensalada de Papas Andinas y Habas,” aka potato salad, of course shared no resemblance to the garden variety potato salad I am used to. The fava beans, chorizo, and sun dried tomatoes were most certainly not floating around in a sea of mayonnaise.
The “Trucha Patagonica” consisted of smoked trout accompanied by mixed mushrooms, berries, and arugula. Trout and berries? Who would have “thunk” it? Great idea! Ditto for the “Costillar de Res al Asador,” the Argentinian beef dish, which coupled the meat with pears. “Torta de Ricotta,” the Napoleon for dessert, was beautifully presented in an elongated dish on top of brown and red lines of sweet sauce.
I can’t say what this dessert tasted like because the truth is that I did not eat it. I came to this dinner three days into The Great Big Super Giant Diet. How to you go to a multi course gourmet dinner while on a diet? I found a way! I came accompanied by my husband and I turned him into a human doggie bag. He ate my dinner and dutifully gave me two carefully measured molecules of each course. This method worked. I managed to taste all the wonderful food Chef Machado cooked in a manner that Weight Watchers would advocate.
A group of very congenial–and very thin–food writers served as my dinner companions. I noticed that after each course they did not eat their entire portion. I could not fathom this self control. Left to my own devices with this stupendous food available to me, I would even eat the plate. I spent the whole dinner marveling at the food and enjoying good conversation. Near the end I waved at Chef Machado through the glass window separating the kitchen from the dining room—and she waved back.
At the end, Chef Machado came to the table to introduce herself. I loved her warm personality and beautiful big silver earrings as much as I loved the molecules of her food I ingested. I had the pleasure of reporting to her that I thought all of her dishes were great. And I left out the part about how, due to my adherence to my diet, all of Industria Argentina’s dishes literally remained in tact.
Industria Argentina Restaurant
329 Greenwich Street
Between Duane and Jay St.
New York, 10013