Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires!
We sent two of our team members, Jess & Rebecca, down to our sister agency TogetherWith in Argentina for a little cultural and creative exchange. Here’s what they had to say about the trip!
How long were you in Buenos Aires?
Jess: In total, our stay lasted about 2 and a half weeks or about 18 days. With so much to see and do, it felt like time flew by. By the end of our stay, though, we began to feel like pros – at least in our neighborhood of Palermo!
Rebecca: Same as Jess – we were travel buddies. Palermo and the TogetherWith office definitely started to feel like home! We even established our go-to favorite coffee shop and grocery stop.
Did you doing anything special to prepare for the trip?
Jess: I started taking daily Duolingo lessons to learn some basic Spanish. I could hear and read things, but certainly was not conversational. Otherwise, the only other preparation I did was research all the fun local restaurants and sites to visit!
Rebecca: I started using Duolingo as well, but Jess is way ahead of me. I’ve continued it on since returning and I’m on my 85th day streak.
What do you wish you packed with you?
Jess: I felt like I was well prepared. Maybe an extra bag to check on the way back for some extra shopping I’d have liked to have done!
Rebecca: Definitely would have brought my largest suitcase and maybe an extra bag for shopping as well. If I go again, I would also pack hiking outfits and maybe plan a little hiking and wine in Mendoza or a day trip to Iguazu Falls.
Did you have to convert to BA currency (Argentine peso)?
Jess: If using cash, yes, but you can do that in the airport on arrival. Our friends at the TogetherWith office can also help you exchange USD at a great rate. Cash isn’t necessary in most instances though EXCEPT for tipping. You cannot tip on a card in Buenos Aires. Aside from tipping, I used my card for most of all purchases so that it was easy to track my expenses. Even better, there’s a partnership with VISA that gives a very fair exchange rate, nearly the same as cash.
Rebecca: I would definitely recommend converting to some Argentine Pesos. Most places didn’t have a tip line when using a card. Most businesses accepted cards, but cash was better in the open-air markets. Also, with cash you can avoid any foreign card fees you may have if you don’t have a travel card.
What was the biggest difference in how people live there, compared to here?
Jess: They are MUCH more social and start and end their days MUCH later. The streets are filled with people almost all hours of the day, however don’t be surprised to find that coffee shops won’t open until about 9am at best. Work days begin to start up around 10am and don’t end until 6pm or after. If you’re used to eating early… learn to snack! Dinner isn’t offered until 7pm but most don’t eat until much later (say 9pm or so). You will stand out if you try to snag dinner any earlier as no one will be in restaurants.
Rebecca: We definitely were ready for dinner earlier then some restaurants were even open, but you adapt easily because you start your days a bit later there as well. The people are very lively, especially in the office where it’s full of laughter and conversation that makes it a very welcoming environment. A big difference was also that a lot of people walk much more than here and use public transportation more frequently.
Any work culture moments that you were surprised by?
Jess: I was surprised with how social everyone is. Every morning starts with greeting everyone, “besos” if you aren’t opposed. Afternoons are spent doing work while sharing Mate (Yerba Mate).
Rebecca: While I knew about the “besos” I didn’t know that they went around to every person when they came in in the morning and that was just so cute and heart-warming. I also had no idea that the Mate was a shared experience. As a whole, the TogetherWith group are big foodies- they gave us so many great recommendations for places to eat. They also go to lunch/eat lunch as a big group more than we do in the Louisville office.
Any work culture concepts that you would want to incorporate at AdC?
Jess: I loved how easy it was to collaborate with one another in the TogetherWith office. I would love to incorporate more team efforts and open collaboration time where possible.
Rebecca: I actually would just love to see more collaboration between the TogetherWith office and Louisville office. Sitting in on their meetings was so insightful to the unique and creative perspectives they have. I definitely learned things from them, and I feel like we were able to help them out with our North American perspective as well.
What was the best thing you ate on your trip?
Jess: Everything was delicious at almost every single place. It was pretty unbelievable. If I had to choose, though, it would be dinner at Crizia. It consisted of a 7-course tasting menu and wine pairing that was focused on seafood – beginning with Patagonian oysters and ending with some of the best dulce de leche.
Rebecca: My favorite meal was Las Flores from the food to the environment (inside what looks like a greenhouse filled with plants!). However, the single favorite item I ate was the ice cream that was served with something at La Cabrera. The dessert was good, but the ice cream was INSANE. Similarly, I got an affogato at El Preferido de Palermo and it was equally delicious ice cream. So, don’t skip the ice cream.
What was the highlight of your trip?
Jess: Honestly I cannot pick a highlight. There was something fun and interesting every single day, even on rainy days. The highlight was probably just eating our way through the city.
Rebecca: My favorite part was probably just all the walking around the city and seeing the amazing street art. Also, the open-air markets like San Telmo are second to none.
Was there anything that you splurged on while in BA?
Jess: Shoes. The leather goods are awesome in Buenos Aires. Make sure you check out the shopping!
Rebecca: Honestly, Buenos Aires is quite affordable so I didn’t feel like I splurged too much, but definitely brought home a few cute things like handmade pottery and some handmade leather boots from the markets.
What was transportation like?
Jess: You can walk anywhere in the Palermo neighborhood, easily. Ubers are inexpensive though and can get you across town if you need it!
Rebecca: We walked almost everywhere but a lot of our co-workers there take the bus 20-30 minutes into Palermo because they live in some outer cities.
Recommendations of places to check out in BA?
Jess: There are SO many wonderful places. Not to mention the TogetherWith team will supply you with more places than you can actually visit if you ask. But here’s my top picks:
- For lunch on office days, don’t miss Koko Bao Bar. Order the crispy pollo bao. You will thank me later! If wandering markets on the weekends, try choripan straight from a street vendor. You could visit Chori, which is also extremely good, but I found I liked the authentic street experience even more.
- For dinner, I loved La Cabrera – a true Argentinian steakhouse experience. Easily the biggest steak I’d ever been served and I ordered the small portion.
- For weekend exploration, it doesn’t get better than walking the streets of the San Telmo markets. You will find so much to buy, window shop, and there are plenty of vibrant people filling the streets to keep you occupied the whole day. This is one of the few instances where you will want to have Argentinian pesos so do come prepared.
- San Telmo Market (indoor and outdoor) for shopping.
- Floreria Atlantico for cocktails in the basement of a flower shop (make reservations!).
- Von Berry House for coffee/brunch.
- Bodega de Cervezas – try a canned Vermouth & Kombucha “VERMUCHA” (trust us- it's amazing). Or grab a beer, if you can catch this place open. It’s right next to the TogetherWith office.
- Dulce Charlotte- cute little coffee shop, amazing orange loaf.
- Koko Bao Bar for sure was my favorite lunch. We went back for dinner another night, too!
Any advice for future Ad Cucina folks?
Jess: Be open to new experiences and make connections with those in office. Listen, observe, explore, and most of all, eat, and drink all of the best food and wine you can. Oh, and don’t aimlessly hold your phone while you’re out exploring- you wouldn’t want it to get snagged. But don’t worry, the TogetherWith team will remind you.
Rebecca: Take the extra bag. Bring good walking shoes. Learn a few things in Spanish- it'll go a long way!
Whether it's learning a new language on Duolingo, savoring Argentine cuisine, or embracing new experiences, Jess and Rebecca's trip has inspired us. Traveling and working from new places is one of our favorite perks at Ad Cucina, and we can't wait to share more adventures from our team soon. Stay tuned for more insights and happy travels!