Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Subway Franchise Is Dying in Argentina and I’m Not Shedding a Tear

Subway, the fast food franchise that sells sub sandwiches, is dunzo in Cordoba province. In 2018, they cleared out right under our noses and were replaced by HOLA Sr. THOMPSON. It's a semi-imitation of Subway, but with an Argentine twist to their menu. The name is also a reference to an episode of "The Simpsons" where witness protection agents were training Homer to respond to "Hello, Mr. Thompson."
But did Subway leave Argentina for good? That would be a no. There are still tons of Subway restaurants throughout the province of Buenos Aires, which was lucky for me, or so I thought.

In 2019, I paid another visit to the Argentine capital and decided to go to a Subway restaurant for a taste of home. I figured this would be the last time I'd probably get to sample a meatball sub or a B.M.T., which contains salami, ham, and pepperoni. But my final experience with the Subway franchise wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
For starters, their store hours claimed they'd be open at 10 a.m. I got there at 11 and was welcomed by a shutter full of graffiti. I waited patiently until about 12:20 p.m. Then a Subway employee lifted the shutters and opened the door.
He told me the soda machine only dispensed Coke, which was fine. But when I went to pour the drink into my cup, all I got was clear soda water. The guy just laughed at the situation and suggested I wait until the machine warmed up. So I did. The Coke finally came out the right color for me, but came out clear when my hubby tried filling his cup. Despite this, I was really looking forward to eating my sub. 
They didn't have a meatball sub option on their menu either, so I went with the B.M.T. But the sandwich didn't taste right. I've never been disappointed by the Subway subs I've eaten in Florida, New York, or Cordoba, but this was definitely a nightmare to my stomach. It smelled and tasted like all the ingredients in the sandwich had been sitting next to a kerosene canister. 

I tried eating it anyway because I hate throwing food away. But once my stomach started hurting, I tossed the sandwich in the garbage can and walked out. 

Now, given the spiraling Argentine economy and the fact that Subway has had to close several stores to stay in business, I wouldn't be surprised if 2019 is the year Subway vanishes from Argentina. But after this experience, I probably wouldn't shed a tear.

(UPDATE May 2019: The Subway store I referenced on this post has shut down)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Here's Why Taco Box Will Have You Saying Aye-Yi-Yi

It was a lot easier finding a Mexican restaurant in the States than it is in Cordoba, our host province. I've tried a couple of places here and there, but they all failed to impress me. And before you ask, no, there aren't any Chipotle restaurants in Argentina. They don't even have a Taco Bell! How sad is that?

Fortunately, when we went to Buenos Aires, we found a lovely restaurant called Taco Box, which offers outdoor and indoor dining. But given that it was summer, we ate indoors where the A/C would keep us from melting like a snowman in front of heat lamps. In case you didn't know, January = scorching Argentine summer.
When we got there, we walked passed the outdoor dining area and went up a few steps. We found our own seats and noticed a stylish bar on the far end. The place was nice and dim, which as you can tell from some of the pics, made it difficult to take selfies. But there was something very relaxing about the environment, and the staff was good looking and friendly. They even gave us complimentary nachos with salsa. But would they have us saying aye-yi-yi by the end of the night?
So, the first thing we did was look at the drinks they had. I ordered a Pina Colada while Zach ordered a Margarita. 
Then we ordered a dish that contained two burritos, two tacos, and a series of mini-tacos and taquito sticks.
I'll admit, I was expecting the tacos and burritos to contain pieces of meat strips. This is what we've typically encountered when we ordered Mexican food in Argentina. They doesn't usually come with any beans, which is vital for any Mexican dish. But Taco Box exceeded our expectations!
Not only did they use ground beef in each of their dishes, but they also added beans. We didn't even care that this would make us gassy all night when we got back to the hotel. We loved the taste and the flavors, which is a rare but welcomed treat.
Taco Box left us so impressed that we decided to go back the following night for drinks and desserts. Their Pina Coladas were so good that I ordered myself another one and Zach ordered himself a Margarita.
For dessert, Zach got himself this fabulous bowl of ice cream while I ordered a slice of key lime pie. I love all pies, but being a Florida boy, Key Lime pies are one of my favorite. But it's tough finding a decent slice in Cordoba, but not so tough to find in Buenos Aires. The only complaint I have about Taco Box's Key Lime Pie is that they added cherry dressing on top, which is okay for a cheesecake. But I've never had a Key Lime Pie with anything on top, except maybe some lime shavings. Other than that, everything was delicious and affordable. And yes! Taco Box had us saying aye-yi-yi. Just don't say aye-yi-yi outloud in Argentina. Argentines don't use cliche Mexican phrases, at all! 
When we come back to B.A., we will definitely make Taco Box a priority. But if you're in the city or planning on visiting, then here are the meal and drink menus (whose prices are subject to change)