An invention of La Puerta Roja this lethal concotion consists of a shot of vodka that has been mixed with chopped chillis and Speed, an energy drink. A full shot glass is plunged into a large glass of Speed and then expected to be downed in one foul swig.
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Jose Gonzalez is talking to the crowd. He’s funny and entertaining and obviously at ease. As a fan of the Swedish singer-songwriter, who has seen him in concert a few times, I ask myself, “Is this the same artist who performs in monosyllables to solemn, packed houses?” I wonder, “Is it his new look?” His hair has undergone a dramatic change that makes him look all the more Argentine. For reasons beyond his long curls, I decide that it’s Argentina making the difference for this Swede of Mendoza heritage.
Although Gypsy traditions are commonly seen as reserved and mysterious, Lo de los Montoya, a Flamenco bar in San Telmo, is a welcoming peek at the musical side of gypsy culture. The Flamenco scene in Buenos Aires is packed with notable establishments, but Lo de los Montoya is proudly the only gypsy-owned bar in the city, and everything- from the food to the décor to the musicians themselves- exudes this gypsy heritage. The bar hosts live music and dancers nearly every night and serves up food (ranging from imported Spanish ham to a stew prepared by the owners’ aunt) to accompany the show. I was able to sit down with Alessio Aguirre, one of four proprietors of the restaurant, to discuss the bar, the future, and of course, the flamenco.
Argentina is a country of extreme contrasts, a reality vividly displayed even in the international city of Buenos Aires. As Fendi-clad locals and international jet-setters prowl the high-end restaurants and clubs, on the other side of the sidewalks the poor walk the streets pulling carts, sorting recyclables from the garbage and scavenging useable items. Although this country has a long history of economic divide, the crash of the peso in 2001 exacerbated social problems.