What do you get when you become friends with an Argentinian architect & artist who lives in THE most fabulous place in Red Hook and loves to entertain?
Invited to lots of fabulous Argentinian BBQs!
What do you ask is the big difference between an Argentinian BBQ and the standard American BBQ? Four things – the meat, the equipment, the wine and dinner time.
My host not only has an incredible garden but an even more incredible rooftop, where just after arriving last night we watched a spectacular fireworks display going off in the South Seaport. We felt pretty sure they were for us.
Back in the garden, seated under a grapevine arbor, we sipped on a sexy Malbec (not your typical BBQ vino eh?) while the cool night air crept into my bones. I wandered over to the BBQ to warm myself by the fire and was surprised to NOT find a grill there. Nope. No grill per se. A brick platform has been built with an open base for storing firewood. The left of the platform had a nice fire burning, creating the coals for the BBQ. The right side had a piece of equipment quite unlike the standard Weber. My gracious host brought this little number with him from Argentina and I have to say it is brilliant. With a simple hand crank it lowers or raises over the coals depending on what’s cookin’.
I had brought a little tapas of a French triple-cream cheese with marinated porcini mushrooms, quince paste (membrillo) and rosemary crackers all procured at Stinky Brooklyn, my fav cheese/gourmet shop in the ‘hood.
This was followed by our grill meister’s, Matt, spicy shrimp skewers. Delish.
Next whole red peppers, yellow squash and zucchini danced onto the “grill scaffold” and soon were al dente and sporting appetizing char marks.
Then, the BEEF took the stage. A grande portion of flank steak took residence over the coals. My host and the grill meister say its going to cost me $50 to find out the secret butcher in Queens who knows how to prepare an Argentinian cut of flank. I scoffed. *Note to self to break out my female wiles when least suspected and get the info.
The meat slowly cooked. We drank more silky soft Malbec. It got later. Ah yes, our Southern neighbors like a late dinner hour. With a warm fire, the air filled with the aroma of fire, roasted veggies and beef, a glass of vino and lively conversation – I could have waited all night. Luckily, I didn’t have to!
The flank was tender and grilled to perfection. It barely had to be chewed it was so tender.
It was a Buono BBQ and I count myself lucky to have been on the invite list. Thank you Rafael Buono!
PS – No licking the screen those of you who were not there and haven’t eaten all day! You know who you are.