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Buenos Aires- Day Two.. Dinner At Casa Felix

April 2, 2012

Day two started with a trip to the museum. It is walking distance to our hotel and best of all, it was free. It was not too big- just the right size for me.. it had a great selection of art. We spent about an hour in there and then saw a double decker bus that toured around the city. We got on to see the entire city- it was huge!!
We got off at La Boca which is a fairly poor area. It’s cobblestoned streets are lined with tango dancers and live music. Lots of cafes and restaurants are there as well. We had lunch and walked around a bit. We returned exhausted to our room to rest up for the main event of the day- dinner at Casa Felix, which is a closed door restaurant here in Buenos Aires. One has to call or email to make reservations about a month in advance. I got in touch with the chef a year ago and he asked me to get in touch with them closer to our trip. I was super excited about this meal as it is all farm to table. I also love the idea of going to someone’s home and eating a delicious meal.
We got there at 9.30- yup.. that was a little late, especially since we took our 9 year old daughter was with us. Anyway, we walked into a open style home with a courtyard near the entrance. Tables were set up there and other people were in a little garden off the kitchen. They war all drinking a lemon verbena drink (verbena was growing in the garden) and munching on fontina cheese wrapped in chayote leaves (chayote was growing in the garden as well!)
Cooking the Chayote wrapped fontina...
After a while we sat down to a delicious Bolivian peanut soup. Cumin and chili infused oil introduced a nice kick to it. I ordered a flight of wine to complement the dinner. All the wines were delicious.
Casa Felix- Peanut Soup

The next course was some sautéed baby potatoes that tasted like beets. It was served with a homemade ketchup with a side of fresh picked greens, herbs and flowers. Casa Felix- Beet Potatoes

Next was a watermelon and mint granita with a hint of tandoori masala. It was a great palette cleanser.
The main course was a chimichurri encrusted sea bream with sautéed green beans, pine mushroom and garlic confit. It was delicious. Casa Felix- Sea bream
We ended the meal with plums and caramelized figs in a jasmine and honey soup with cinnamon ice cream.
Casa Felix- Dessert
All in all, it was an amazing experience. My only regret- it was quite late when we finished and my daughter was exhausted.. but we couldn’t have made it without her.. but I guess it was okay as we all slept in the next morning…

Spiced Plum Cake

March 1, 2009

plum-spice-cakeNow when it comes to dessert, I am very picky. I like chocolate but it’s not my- be all end all fix and definitely not my first choice. I love pastries and cakes but European style. What I mean by that is I am not a big fan of icing… especially the kind you see on cakes and cup cakes in the super markets here. I am not really sure what is in that icing!!! For all I know, it could be lots of high fructose corn syrup and all sorts of stabilizers or even some ingredients that are unrecognizable! European cakes and pastries tend to be covered with either whipped cream, chocolate ganache or sometimes with powdered sugar- essentially all the ingredients I love and can recognize! My favorite pastries and cakes definitely include fruit! I love strawberries, raspberries- any thing that adds the tart element to a dessert- the sweet and tart compliment each other very well and makes the dessert less sweet. I also love pound cakes. I prefer the homemade ones- they tend to have more body and flavor to them. If I could, my breakfast everyday would be, a thick slice of pound cake (preferable an end slice) with a big cup of coffee! Unfortunately being health conscious does not allow me to do it! I love the firmness and body of a pound cake- I still remember a particular one I used to eat in India!
My friend gave me plums the other day. I am not used to buying plums in the winter- I grew up eating fruits and vegetables in season. I really didn’t know what to do with them… I had a few thoughts- maybe some plum chutney for a pork roast or loin. Then, I ran into a plum cake recipe- it resembled a pound cake but with fruit- perfect combination, I thought! I decided to modify it to my taste that included adding ground cardamom and lemon zest- (If you don’t want a very strong flavor, eliminate the cardamom). I also used white whole-wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. It doesn’t have too much butter and I also substituted canola oil with extra light olive oil. Extra light olive oil doesn’t have the nutty flavor of the extra virgin olive oil, so it is great to use in baking to get the healthy qualities of olive oil. Overall I felt very good about the recipe and it came out delicious. It’s great with a cup of tea, coffee or served  warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra light olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 purple or red plums, halved and pitted
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and ground ginger. In a stand mixer cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. The batter will resemble cookie dough. Transfer the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the plums on top skin side up. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar before serving.