Tango, steaks & Dulce de Leche (caramelized condensed milk) - that's Argentina in a nut shell. Add one of the longest pedestrianized shopping streets in the world - Calle Florida - lots and lots of soccer-crazy people and an accent that left me wondering what exactly I did in those 3 years of Spanish classes in college... and you get a pretty good idea of what Buenos Aires is like!
San Telmo, were we stayed, is the artsy part of town with weekend craft markets and beautifully restored buildings. La Boca is where you find the colorful houses (and where we were advised not to go as tourists) and downtown BA is full of shops, museums and huge parks.
A definite must-do is the famous Recoleta Cemetery where you can visit the grave of Eva Peron (Evita) and wander through the giant impressive family tombs.
As for the tango... if you're lucky you may catch a live performance on the street! Otherwise there are plenty of places to watch proper tango shows and even take a lesson yourself!
Buenos Aires is also home to one of the most beautiful government buildings I've ever seen: La Casa Rosada - which is basically a huge pink palace in the middle of the city and it's the official office of the President.
What foods did I enjoy most? Empanadas and alfajores. Granted, neither are particularly vegan but both can be vegetarian. I was only a veggie when I traveled South America and therefore I indulged in both these delicacies pretty much on a daily basis (ooops, not so healthy - but hey, I was on holidays, right?!). Empanadas are basically deep-fried pastry pockets filled with meat or vegetables and cheese. And alfajores are two cookies stuffed with Dulce de Leche (see above). It didn't make my life any easier that there was a Milka-Oreo alfajores version available pretty much everywhere... Let's just say that even without steaks on my plate I ate really well (if not too healthy) in Argentina.
As for drinks? Mate tea is a big thing here and you see people wandering around with their Mate cups - traditional ones are made from the fruit of a Calabash tree, others can be wooden or even plastic sometimes.
So this is Buenos Aires...
A good 15 hours by bus west of Buenos Aires is Mendoza which we chose as our stop-over on our way to Chile. Mendoza is mainly known for its wines and -again- steaks! Needless to say I stuck to empanadas and alfajores ;)