The Real Thing: Time For Another Asado.

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The Argentina barbecue: Asado. You might remember my first “local” asado in Ushuaia just a couple weeks ago. Well since I landed, Willie, the terminally jolly and fun manager of Daniel’s service station had promised one of his legendary asados. The process is simple: you need a bbq (asador), firewood (leña), meat (carne), beer (cerveza), wine (vino) and friends (amigos). For the several days I stayed in Bolivar the suspense and excitement of the asado hung in the air as if the penultimate local Argentinean experience — the heart and soul of Argentina hospitality and camaraderie. I was ready and my contribution, of course, would be the wine. Daniel provided the asador, Willie the carne and Daniel’s family, Pedro and an entourage of characters would provide the soul: amigos.

We cruised town and bought the wine and then on the outskirts of Bolivar we negotiated for the leña – firewood. Wiping his hands on an old handkerchief as he walked out of this little shack of an office, the firewood vendor with grandchild in tow greeted as next to several stacks of wood. He proceed to show us the different types available. Daniel made a quick decision, the owner weighed out some firewood on a scale, and the young boy helped us load the back of the truck with the true secret to the what makes Argentina asado so damn good.

Back home Willie showed up early with a couple bags of fresh carne. He whipped out a giant sheath and exhibited his gems: sharp knives. He hacked at the meat and chopped it into his prized cuts while Daniel fired up the coals. Unlike the asadorin Ushuaia which was inside, Daniels asador was outside by the pool. The temperaturein Bolivar remains rather moderate throughout the year, while winter can be brutal at the bottom of the world. Therefore the reason the asador was inside at Pepe’s place in Ushuaia.

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While Daniel worked on getting the coals fired up, I put my Jesse bag back together.

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Willie is the Asado KingPin!

The cerveza soon followed, then the wine and then the friends showed up. We exchanged stories of travel, asados, and wine. Then came the jokes. As the number of empty bottles grew and the night waned I imagined that after I’m long gone from Bolivar, these guys would meet again and again. For this is part of life here. And this is the best part of traveling. Experience life outside of a hotel, restaurant or tourist attraction. This is the real thing.

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Daniel pours the beer while Willie’s assessment of the coals is that they’re ready for the carne while everyone waits for the treats!

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(l to r) Sata, Mirna, Sarmiento & Pedro

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Allan shows how to taste the wine, while Victoria and Sarmiento wonder what I’m doing with my nose!

[click photos for larger views of photos]

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Willie serves Sata and Sarmiento some prime “willie asado” carne.

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Pedro Victoria Daniel (1)

(l-r) Pedro, Victoria and Daniel.

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