"So what is a cupcake Angelina?"
My eyes must have gone wide for a brief moment. Never in my life had I been asked that question. It took me a moment to gather my head for a sec and try and describe the difference between a cupcake and a muffin to my Argentine friends. One look at their faces when they scanned the menu at Café Crespin and read things like brownies, muffins, cupcakes, cheesecake, french toast, scrambled eggs etc and those two girls might have been in another country.
There was one item on there that brought up an interesting discussion was the menu item "Cookies con manteca de mani". Manteca de mani translated means "peanut butter" and it is something that is completely foreign to the Argentine diet. My friends had heard of it and seen it in a movie but weren't quite sure exactly what it was.
Like trying to answer the question of what cupcakes were, it was difficult to describe "peanut butter" to someone who had never had it. What I told them is that peanut butter was abit like dulce de leche only it tasted like nuts and was sticky and stuck to the roof of your mouth when you tried to eat it. My friend raised her eyebrow instantly with curiousity.
Other questions that came up were about things like scrambled eggs. The other girl asked me what I ate with them. I answered that there are many ways to eat scrambled eggs and what I sometimes do is throw a little ketchup on when i want something quick to eat. She laughed and couldn't believe it, it just sounded really funny to her.
Breakfast may be the most important meal according to nutritionist but it still hasn't taken a place of importance in the Argentine diet. But it delights me to see that these two girlfriends of mine along with a growing segment of the population do recognize the importance of breakfast and are open to different ways of doing things.
I told them that in North America, we LOVE breakfast and sometimes we'll go out for breakfast with a friend as part of our culture. They then asked me what is the earliest restaurants will open for breakfast. When I answereed "6 or 7 am" their jaws almost dropped and it was a concept that was truly beyond their imagination.
The girls ended up branching away from the standard Argentine café con leche and for the first time in their lives, tried a café americano.......espresso with water poured over it along with an order of muffins. I paved the way for a delicious evening by ordering french toast with fruit and whipped cream. My companions had never tasted french toast in my life and i happily divided my order between the three of us.
Their eyes lit up with pure delight at the heavenly combination of whipped cream, fresh fruit, and perfectly done french toast. One of the girls took a pic of it and put it on facebook for all her friends to see. That is the pic that is at the bottom of this post. The response on her facebook page by her other Argentine friends was overwhelming. Some asked what the recipe for this was. Others wanted to know where to go find this food. I made sure that underneath the comments of the pics to put the link to Café Crespin so people know where to find this place.
The three of us made a definitive promise to each other to return to the café and this time, the girls would for the first time ever find out the meaning of "brunch". I explained them that "brunch" was the combination of the words "breakfast" and "lunch" in english and it is a meal between 11am-2pm that involves foods that you would see in both breakfast and lunch. 10 yrs ago when some of my expat friends first landed, you would have been hard pressed to find any place in BA that had North American brunch offerings. Now due to the explosion of the american expat community, there is no end to the availability of brunch places open every weekend such as Café Crespin
I really don't know which brought me more pleasure.......the taste of perfectly made french toast with fruit and cream or watching the eyes of my girlfriends light up upon getting to have new tastes and new experiences for the very first time. One thing that I'm truly grateful for is that it wasn't the Swedish Chef behind the kitchen doors at Café Crespin cooking up our order or the entire evening might have gone quite differently :O