But after three years behind the wheel, the thirty-year-old cabbie with a rhinestone in his ear has developed some coping mechanisms.
He’s traded psychotherapy for gardening. He plays soccer for at least two hours per week. He’s learned not to get wrapped up in his passengers’ dramas. And, perhaps most importantly, he’s figured out where to eat.
When he can’t get home in time for his mom’s matambre a la pizza (flank steak covered with tomato sauce, ham and cheese), Diego’s favorite place to grab a bite is Punto y Banca.
Popular with taxistas and Palermo Viejo residents, Punto y Banca has been frying empanadas and baking pizzas for over 30 years. Last week, a fellow foodie and I followed up on Diego’s recommendation and checked it out.
After sampling Punto y Banca’s delicious fugazzetta con jamón (cheese and onion focaccia with ham) and their flaky but not greasy fried empanadas (with ham and cheese or chicken), we decided that Diego knew what he was talking about.
But besides the cheap, tasty eats, we were also charmed by the honesty of this corner hangout, by the pizza man in the soda jerk hat who greets you at the door, by the man behind the cash register who shakes the tip jar every time he tosses in a coin, by the family photos next to images of San Cayetano (the patron saint of work) and tango legend Carlos Gardel, and by the soccer game broadcast at full volume.
Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood, skip the baked empanadas, and be sure to ask the pizza man what’s fresh and hot. He’ll be more than happy give you the scoop.