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Philadelphia-based chef and restaurateur Jose Garces jetsetted down to Argentina and Uruguay over the weekend, with an ambitious eating and drinking agenda, and access to Food Republic's Instagram account.

Of course, this wasn't all fun and games: For the man behind the growing Garces Group, with seven restaurants in Philadelphia and more around the country, traveling to this renowned steak, wine and live fire region counts as serious research. And from the looks of the photo below, he took copious notes, mental or otherwise. 

Thanks for taking over our Instagram Jose, even if you didn't bring us back any chimichurri or Malbec!

“We were in dire need of some coffee & ended up stumbling upon Bar Arocena, a spot that serves a killer Chivito, a classic Uruguayan sandwich. It’s on soft bread with beef tenderloin (lomo), smoked panceta, paleta ham, mozzarella, hard boiled egg, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato & mayo.”

Jose Garces at a wine tasting: “At Viñedo de Los Vientos, we tried lots of varieties but the 2 highlights were Angel’s Cuvée (Ripasso de Tannat 2007) and Alcyone (Tannat dessert wine).”

Giant provolone at Valenti Foods in Buenos Aires.

Alfajores (South American cookies) at Florencio in Buenos Aires.

“The most verdant chimichurri,” from Bodegas Carrau in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The bar at Sucre in Buenos Aires.

“At Bar Arocena (Montevideo) with the Yoda of chivitos. This place and this guy were awesome.” And yes, that’s Douglas Rodriguez on the left.

The gin at Sucre in Buenos Aires.

Scene from a Uruguayan wagyu tasting.