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Monthly Luncheon — April 23, 2014

Please note the new luncheon day – Wednesday, April 23, 2014

imparcial

Place:  El Imparcial, phone 4383-2919

Time:  Wednesday, April 23 at 12:30 pm

Location:  Hipolito Yrigoyen 1201 (esq. Salta) – Monserrat

Buenos Aires, Argentina (El Centro)

Cost:  120 pesos (tip, non-alcoholic beverage and cover included)

correct change will be appreciated

Please RSVP to Michael Weldon at mweldon213@yahoo.com or 4815-4660

Our destination this month is a Spanish restaurant and following is a bit of history surrounding my choice.

While in Plymouth, England, my wife and I shared a pint of ale at the oldest pub in the city. The Minerva Inn, which opened in 1540, had Sir Francis Drake as a neighbor. Drake supposedly bought a round of drinks there for his officers on July 19, 1588 before sailing that evening with the tide and 55 ships to face the Spanish Armada.

Spain was at the height of its power in 1588 but the defeat of the Spanish Armada, sent to invade England, saw the beginning of a slow decline. Even though gold and silver were flowing into Spain (In the 16th century alone 150,000 kilograms of gold and 7.4 million kilograms of silver were shipped to Spain from the New World) the Spanish kings faced financial problems largely because of the cost of fighting wars.

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, the Spanish Empire was the sole colonial power in the territories that became Argentina after the1816 Argentine declaration of independence. Thus, before 1816, a great part of the European settlers in Argentina were from Spain and between 1857 and 1960, more than 2.5 million Spanish people emigrated to Argentina.

In my search for the oldest restaurant in Buenos Aires it should come as no surprise that it would turn out to be a Spanish restaurant. . El Imparcial opened in 1860 and has been a mainstay of the Spanish community ever since. Its popularity can be traced to the original purpose of the place – a neutral, “impartial”, eatery where the multiple Spanish political factions of the time could meet to discuss the business of the day over the white tablecloth of truce.

The food at El Imparcial is very traditional and the prix fixe menu offers two different three course lunch options, each with a half dozen appetizers, main courses, and desserts, for a respective 90 and 100 pesos – we will be choosing from the 90 peso menu which includes a non-alcoholic  beverage. Although not on the luncheon menu you might plan a return visit to try the Puchero which is reputed to be the finest in the city!

by Michael Weldon

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