I was out driving around this morning--not finding anywhere to park for the downtown farmers market--when I decided to check out the Argentinian bakery on 17th Street. I've driven by plenty of times, but never made it in. The place is rather sparse: a few glass cases of baked goods and a few pieces of metro-shelving stacked here and there with spices, a few bottles of wine, amargo(which seems to be the Argentinian version of amaro, although these weren't alcoholic), and at least half a dozen different types of yerba mata. Behind the counter was a small woman who appeared to be in her 60s; she wore large glasses, a thin gold chain around her neck and a cream colored sleeveless blouse. She smiled when I walked in, saying "buenos," and thus leaving me to maintain the conversation in Spanish. On my way in I noticed a sign saying "los sabados y domingos hacemos choripan." I asked what choripan was and she began by asking if I knew what chorizo was. I answered yes, and made out from her description that it was a sandwich. Knowing that they only make it on the weekend, I figured that'd be the thing to try. While my sandwich was being made, I browsed around the store some more, getting a closer look at all the different types of mate. There were a few varieties flavored with orange or grapefruit, other types were enhanced with other herbs, the names of which I couldn't really make out, aside from what I assumed was peppermint. When my choripan was ready, I asked if there was a certain type of mate that the lady at the counter prefered, she consulted with another customer, for whom she'd been loading up a brown paper sack of pastries. Both said that mixing one of the flavored mates with a straight on was what they did at home. But that if I wanted to just try the straight mate, that was fine, and to try this one or that one. I wound up with a 500g brick of Taragüi, a Chilean mate. Although they sold the traditional gourdes (bombillas) and silver straws, I decided to pass. I've had mate served traditionally, but making it in my French press works fine at home I think.
The bread of the choripan was close to the texture of Cuban bread, but not as spongy. The chorizo was well spiced, and the ample grease soaked into the bread and blended with the mayonaise and tomato, creating a warm dressing much tastier than I'd ever consider that much mayo to be. I'll surely have to go back for some sweets, as that seemed to be the main deal there. More to come on the new mate.