My vacation last week in Buenos Aires was like the trip I’ve always wanted to take to Paris: I could eat and shop where I wanted with only minor shock to my credit card. What the city lacked in cultural attractions as grand as the Louvre and Notre Dame, it made up for in restaurants and stores devoted to small Argentine designers. I had no idea how much I would shop. All I wanted was a pair of boots; I ended up with two, plus a raincoat, a wallet, two dresses, vintage Argentine cooking magazines and more. In between, of course, I ate—trying everything from a down-and-dirty, locals-only parrilla (a word that means “grill” in Spanish and is synonymous with the corner joints specializing in grilled meats that are as ubiquitous as brasseries in Paris) to trendier spots that showcase the city’s newest culinary talent.