August 10, 2008
Mendoza Plaza Shopping is Mendoza's upscale modern shopping mall, and always our first stop after the 21 plus-hour flight to Mendoza. The mall has everything most modern malls have: department stores (Falabella) clothing boutiques of internationally famous designers (Dior, Yves St. Laurent, and Lacoste) and those of nationally famous designers, too (Cloter, Ricky Sarkani, Prune). We stop at Libros Yenny and buy as many books as we want to carry back in our suitcases–cookbooks for me, and children's books for our son, Esteban–and then we go to the food court, dragging our jet-lagged bodies to the nearest place to recover and eat.
The first time I went there, it had been years since I had seen anyone smoke in a mall. I was riveted, too, by simply people-watching: the different hairstyles, the way the people dress, and the difference in the way they look was so exciting and inspiring to me. Food is always a gateway to learn about a culture, and even something as simple as a food court held so much. Yes, Plaza Shopping has a McDonald's, but they also have a wood-fired pizza cafe, a buffet-style place that serves all types of typical Argentinean dishes and salads, and a traditional Argentinean barbeque place that has gone fast-food. Beer and wine are served everywhere, along with fountain drinks. My favorite is "Toro", a grapefruit soda that is tart and not overly sweet.
Even though the 'mall' seems like a very American concept to me, Plaza Shopping is completely Argentinean, a fun place to people-watch and take Argentina in.