Last night Ruth scored a reservation at Aramburu, which doesn’t have a Michelin star but surely should. Eighteen courses and a wine pairing later, we are stuffed.

The dishes ranged from delicate beet slivers twirled like the Tower of Babel, to a smoked asparagus torte that smelled divine, to a single Patangonian shrimp on a hot stone with a pour-over broth, and a leg of quail in a bed of shaved leeks. There was of course also an immaculately prepared piece of steak.

All were delicious and inventive, plated in a natural setting to make us feel like we were eating all the wonders of Argentina. We ended with a candied chocolate mousse shaped like an avocado, which I paired with a grappa. It was quite an evening.

We paid with a pile of cash that felt ostentatious, but the cost of the meal in dollars was quite reasonable compared to similar experiences in San Francisco.

We walked back by another bar named Milion, where we had more excellent drinks in an outdoor courtyard. Then slowly back to the hotel through the Embassy district, where we admired more classical architecture in the cool night air.

Today the rest of the tour group arrives, and we begin our pre-planned activities in the afternoon. First we took the morning to see the contemporary art museum in the cute colonial San Telmo neighborhood. We used the excellent rapid bus system to get there and back, and learned about some hidden history of the queer community in the exhibits, including a band that I want to find on vinyl when we return.

We met our group at 1, and then took a bus tour of the city to get everyone oriented. We feel like experts already, but hadn’t seen the Recoleta cemetery that the guidebooks say is a must, where Eva Peron is buried. We were out in the heat of the day, and of course someone left the group to get a tres leches ice cream. Luckily, Ruth found a friend who would share it with her, and we discussed her fancy film camera and our shared photographic ambitions.

We returned to the hotel for a quick swim on the rooftop pool, and an orientation about the expedition. We are leaving at 4am tomorrow, so dinner was early and nearby. We had a plate of gambas ala plancha at Tancat tapas, and just enough cash to pay for the meal. Tomorrow, to Ushuaia!