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Out of the COVID-19 Ashes

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

When I started my cookie company back in 2002, it was at the beginning of a massive financial collapse for Argentina. The whole country was in crisis.

Speed forward to 2020, and this time around, it's a global pandemic. But just like last time around, some businesses rise out of the ash heap the current crisis has and is still creating. Mind you; this is still pretty bleak with many businesses closing. I even closed a franchise store I had been running for a couple of years.

I know I am missing many, but I want to mention some of the new businesses I have tried out myself and highly recommend to anyone in Buenos Aires who lives here and anyone who will eventually visit.

@sofiasibajapastry makes my hands-down most favorite alfajores. She's a 15-year veteran pastry chef and currently the head pastry chef for the Marriott Hotel Buenos Aires. If you want to try what a real alfajore (cookie sandwich with dulce de leche stuffing all covered in real thick chocolate) made with great ingredients tastes like, then you have to order hers. She has since added new flavors. The pictures that follow are the original dulce de leche covered with chocolate; red velvet with blueberry filling, partially dipped in white chocolate; creamy salted caramel with peanut praline dipped in a crunchy peanut and chocolate sauce.

Ribs al Rio, I already know that Max is a master behind the grill as my head grillmaster. I have been eating his cooking for years. He has branched out and bought himself a smoker and is now slinging Texan style BBQ. He delivers vacuum-sealed packs of ribs and pulled pork with mac-n-cheese as well. I was lucky enough to have one of my favorite beers to pair it with, Gone Troppo from Dos Dingos (Piña Colada Milkshake NEIPA). The only thing missing is the Wonder Bread, and that's not a big miss, especially when you try the potato buns he uses for the pulled pork sandwiches. I'm getting hungry just writing about it. He currently has a food stand in Costanera Norte right across from the river and is serving food to go. Yes, I've been to Texas. Yes, this is as authentic as you can get over there. Free delivery within the city limits.

Dill & Tonic is the brainchild of Sorrel Moseley-Williams. She's a UK transplant that is now calling Buenos Aires home. In the time that I have known her, she has been writing about food and made herself a sommelier. She surprised me with her latest co-creation with Martín Westerdahl of Portlander Beer, though, because I thought she would do something with wine. I have just tried her Dill & Tonic, and it's so surprisingly simple and delicious. It's ready to go; add ice and garnish of your choice. In this short time, they have managed to get a pretty good distribution into restaurants, so it should be pretty easy to find around town. I ordered directly from the source.

Rasoi Mahal is the brainchild of Sanchit Singh, and I have ordered twice from him already. This is home-cooked Indian food at it's finest. Rasoi means Kitchen, and Mahal translates to Palace, so you're getting food made from someone who thinks of his kitchen as a palace! He just arrived in February, and he missed his Indian food, so he started cooking, and I, for one, am glad that he did. He also packages everything into biodegradable packaging, and the presentation is better than most of the regular delivered foods. He also sends me a link to the driver so I can actually see the driver's info, his car's info, and a real-time updated map as to where he's at. The service all around is just perfect.

Ya Cabron is Mexican inspired food that has impressed me a great deal. The packaging is amazing. It almost feels like Christmas. You get a hefty box sealed with a numbered tag. You open the box, and everything is labeled clearly and neatly, and you get a sheet with instructions. Not only that, but the food was excellent and generous. I didn't take many pictures, though, but trust me; it was all great! I got two tostadas de pulpo (fried flat tortilla with octopus), pork rib tacos, braised beef tacos, and two craft beer cans from Bierhaus for the win! Plus, it came with good-sized lime wedges, cilantro, sliced onions, and all of the sauces you would need!

Link: Ya Cabron

Garden Market is a group of young bilingual college students (they speak English) who looked around and saw that there were many elderly not even wanting to go down to their veggie stands to buy vegetables, and they thought why not bring the veggie stand to them? They have different sized packs that they offer and options that can be added to your cart. They wake up at 4 am to go shopping in the central market and bring fresh produce right to your door. I bought the 9kg pack with the premium option that added spinach, cherry tomatoes, and Hass avocados. I also added a bag of mixed nuts. It's like having your own personal shopper that goes straight to the central market for you.

It's effortless to focus on only the bad news all around us and the signs of failure and closures. This doesn't mean that we all have given up. There will always be new sprouts to fill the voids, and this small crop of new endeavors is doing just that. This is only a small sampling. I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I was able to use and highly recommend personally.

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