(Paul Holland, his wife and sister-in-law love Argentina, especially during the Wine Festival in February. This is his 2nd guest blog; the first blog was about a winery visit in the Uco Valley. Here he reviews a restaurant near Mendoza and then a 3 day trip they took to Iguazu Falls.)
Lagarde winery and Restaurant, March 1.
Lunchtime and we arrive at Lagarde, 30 minutes out of Mendoza, and are shown to the dining area- multiple tables covered with white linen arranged under the arching elm trees, tabletops strewn with Reidel crystal, soft muted light filters through the leaves, and the Cabernet vineyard borders the east yard perimeter. Murmuring Spanish and Portuguese, the steely clink of crystal and the muffled pops of corks provide the background sounds. Infatuated couples, staring into each other’s eyes, influenced by, but oblivious to the surrounding beauty. Involuntary hairs on the nape of my neck stand up with visceral anticipation because I know what’s coming:
Seven excellent courses, all accompanied by the house reserve wines as the crunch of gravel repeatedly telegraphed the next course and wine pairing.
It was a dream, a cacophony of sensual delights drumming against my aging cortical neurons. Lagarde, Lagarde, Lagarde.
Sated with Argentine beef and wines and our daily routine of eat, drink, nap, repeat we took our preplanned three day trip to Iguazu Falls, a 1 1/2 hour flight away.
The Iguazu area is quite a change from the arid climate of Mendoza-tropical, verdant and humid here with frequent thunderstorms.
Our Room at La Cantara Lodge ( $180 per day) is spacious, private, high ceilinged and one entire glass wall was dedicated to a view of the surrounding tropical forest, and there was even a sunken hot tub on the screened deck.
We had two excursions to the Falls, the first was a hike along the white raging river up to the majestic thundering falls which can change hues from green to red to brown, depending on the color of the rivers that feed the falls.
The second excursion was a knockout, a rubber boat that took us directly into the cascading falls and left every screaming, squealing shrieking passenger totally drenched (“honey is my I phone still under warranty?”).
Iguazu Falls- an unforgettable experience and well worth the trip!
That evening, trousers still damp ( only brought one pair ), we had dinner at La Rueda in Iguazu Falls City:
We ordered salads, three different pastas and the river fish.
Fettuccini with bolognaise sauce
Pesto paparadell with raw walnuts
Dorodo en pappiotte
Each homemade pasta was distinctive and unique with the paparadell my favorite; it had a haunting savory flavor ( emulsified raw walnuts?).
Throw in a bottle of Argentine Chardonnay and a dulce de leche desert, coffee and grappa and the meal ranked among the best of my dining experiences in Argentina. (total check for 4, $88).