Tens of HBS-ers went on ArgentinaTrek over the New Year’s Break.
On Friday, Dec 28th, Diego Azqueta Secco (OC) and his wife Marina Zevaoglu kicked off the trip for about 50 of us by hosting an Argentinian barbecue, or Asado, at their house in the Buenos Aires suburb of Pilar.
Argentinians have the Asado down to an art form, and it seems, in fact, that Diego’s recently-built house has been designed for just this purpose. The centerpiece of their backyard is the Asado pit, a one- by two-meter area of raised special bricks, along with an adjacent area for heating the coals initially.
We watched as Diego and his Asado specialist friend brought the coals to a white heat, placed them evenly across the pit, and started laying down various meats.
“What parts of the cow are you cooking there?” we asked the Buenos Aires residents, or Porte¤os, as they’re known locally. We had noticed they were throwing around something that looked an awful lot like, well, intestines.
“Don’t worry, it is all very good,” the Porte¤os replied. Arturo Alvarez Demalde (OC) said, “The mujillos are my favorite. You will love them.” He pointed at some small, dark, curved sausages.
In the meantime, the chorizo sausage appetizers were going around, and they were very spicy and tasty. We eventually sat down to eat around 9 PM, starting off with some salads, and then the meats started flowing in.
“Marina, what is this one?”
She grabbed the side of her neck, “How do you say this in English? I think it is the gland?”
The thyroid was a little chewy, but still quite tasty. More meats arrived. They were all great. Around 10:30 we got to the mujillos that Arturo had touted. The sausages were a deeper red than Harvard Crimson. Arturo showed up again.
“Arturo, we’re gonna taste it, just tell us what it is. Blood sausage, right?”
“I don’t know these words in English. You will like it.”
And we did. Definitely a unique flavor, the deep red wine of meat products.
Arturo said, “I think they call this ‘sweetbreads’ in English. I’m not sure.”
“OK, sure, but there are a lot of different kinds of sweetbreads, aren’t there?”
About 11 Marina came by again. “Here are the intestines. I know you’ve been wanting these.” They were very cooked, which made them crunchy. They mostly tasted like salt.
“Very interesting,” we said. “What were those mujillos made out of?”
“I don’t know these words in English,” Marina replied.
Finally, around 11:30, after we were all quite stuffed, came the centerpiece, the lomo, or tenderloin. Diego came by.
“Wow, this is great stuff. You sure are a great host, Diego. By the way, what were those mujillos made out of?”
“I don’t know these words in English,” he replied.
At this point we realized the Porte¤os had conspired against us, and we would never find out what was in the mujillos. We finished up dessert around 1 AM, and then the dancing started. Tired from the journey the night before, we headed back to BA around 2 PM. Quite an early evening by Argentine standards, but then again, the trip was still young.