Friendship Tereré Cocktails at Shout
I’ve been loud and clear about my general meh attitude for downtown, and that it takes a very special hot dog or cheeseburger to convince me to take the A line down to Plaza de Mayo. I’m even less enthusiastic about a night time trek to the city center; I don’t think I have trucked it down there to get a drink since Le Bar closed its doors (with zero aviso previo, thank you very much) one sad day in 2012. Side-note, I am actively looking for one ex-Le Bar bartender’s current place of employment/residence/cafe of choice to get another sip of the best goddamn Old Fashioned I’ve ever tried if anyone happens to know. I will provide my own Bourbon and bitters if need be.
Anywho, my Friendship Luncheon partner and wing woman Allie is back in town for a brief hiatus between trips to Valencia and Seoul (it’s okay to hate her), and I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to lift the Microcentro Embargo for to try some tereré cocktails.
Shout is a new bar and restaurant on the Retiro end of Microcentro, housed in a converted three story mansion right off of Plaza San Martin. We got there around 8pm, and the place was popping with a diverse mixture of suits ready to loosen their ties, young couples on kinda awkward but very watchable first dates, and groups of friends grabbing an early dinner.
The main floor has an open kitchen design where you could admire a very busy crew hustling to beat the rush, but it was a bit too dark for the obligatory instagram #foodporn shots so we made our way upstairs to the bar’s intimate rooftop terrace.
photos provided by Shout
Back to the tereré cocktails. No, we didn’t actually go to Shout especially for this magical shareable drink. No, we didn’t even imagine such a thing was possible. Yes, it was written in the stars and they are now called Friendship Cocktails. Yes, I’m slightly worried that I’m going to have to come up with more titles that use “Friendship” to keep up with the new meal out with Allie protocol.
Everything that came before, and all the comes after the Malandra ceases to matter. This is the perfect spring and summer drink. Pu-erh tea, hibiscus, and orange peel were combined in a wooden tiki style cup with a pitcher of orange juice mixed with club soda, bitters, winter hot spice syrup, lemonade, and two types of Bacardi Rum. Allie, whose dream afternoon would be spent in a sun room filled with plants, candles, oversized pillows and blankets, and a tea master that brews a new tea variety every hour on the hour, was immediately head over heels by the opportunity to imbibe on the pu-erh tea, a dark fermented Chinese tea. I, on the other hand, read two kinds of Bacardi.
We slowly sipped while sharing appetizers: a homemade pork chorizo and sauerkraut, and a salad made of watercress, roasted plums, mushroom escabeche and camembert which we scooped up with a deliciously soft potato focaccia. That salad immediately told me we were in for a treat with the rest of the food. Anytime a chef designs an otherwise simple dish (salad) with different temperatures, textures and cooking methods (roasting and pickling), you know there is a thoughtful culinary mind at work.
The drink started to get a bit stronger as we finished up the appetizers and the main dishes arrived. She chose an extra crispy blackened fish with a tomato, olive and basil salad. I chose the breaded pork chops with a brussel sprout, watercress, peeled cherry tomatoes, cheese and nuts. The pork chops were juicy and soft with just the right crunch and spicy homemade mustard added great flavor. Both plates came with lemon halves that had been grilled on the parrilla and the juice and pulp exploded out with the slightest squeeze. We also shared a pan of green beans and mushrooms topped with crispy fried onions. Too many people overcook their green beans to a flaccid mess, these were in that wonderful crunchy in-between.
The main dishes, for me at least, felt like a literally home cooked meal. My grandfather (who was born in Central California but had his heart in Texas), made these exact three dishes. The meal felt familiar, with small personal touches that turned ordinary dishes into two extraordinary and creative meals. We were told that the chef wanted to celebrate national dishes with a small twist, which made me happy to see how universal my childhood favorites were. The Old Fashioned cocktail also took me back to my family roots.
The tereré took full effect sometime around dessert when Allie began plotting how I would give my number to the cute waitress with the nose piercing, “You have to let her know I’m your friend, but not like your frienddd, so she doesn’t think you’re a creep.”
We devoured the budin with extra dulce dulce de leche ice cream while we tried to figure out the right wording. Era una amiga, llamáme was a strong and much giggled over contender before settling on the more conservative my friend and I had a great time yadda yadda yadda. She never called, I blame Allie.
Despite what should be something embarrassing enough to have another excuse not to go to Retiro ever, you’ll be sure to find Allie and I frequenting Shout once the heat returns for another pitcher of tereré.