A pleasantly surprising fringe benefit of my job as editor of Edible Long Island came in the form of an e-mailed invitation from Rob Petrone, host of Verizon’s FiOS1 program Restaurant Hunter. With a mission similar to ours, Petrone’s weekly half-hour program explores some of the best eats on Long Island and, in this episode, he focused on my hometown of Huntington and its plethora of diverse ethnic restaurants. I was invited to lunch with Petrone at Café Buenos Aires and accepted without hesitation. (OK, there was a little hesitation as I had never been filmed while eating and talking … lipstick was an honest concern.) View video here.
My husband, Brad, is a commercial shellfisherman and has been supplying Café Buenos Aires with littleneck clams for years. A relationship built on bivalves, we consider owner Hugo Garcia and chef Jorge Gonzalez to be good friends. Naturally, I assumed (hoped) that clams would be the star of the lunch. Silly me, as beef reigns supreme in Argentina. Yes, Brad’s clams were on the table (with chorizo and paprika and again in a savory paella) but this lunch was a carnivore’s delight. As a committed omnivore, I embraced my inner Bourdain and tasted my first-ever sweetbreads (a cow’s thymus gland) followed by my first-ever blood sausage. (I didn’t ask.) Empanadas, skirt steak, short ribs, grilled chicken and more sausage followed—clearly more meat than two people could ever eat at one sitting; it took my husband and me two nights to finish off the leftovers.
Eventually I forgot the cameras were rolling and chatted comfortably with Petrone about our misconceptions of sweetbreads, Huntington Village’s and our mutual interest and enthusiasm in our local food scene. And you know what, I enjoyed the sweetbreads.
Café Buenos Aires
23 Wall St, Huntington, NY 11743