Whenever I’m in Chile one of the first things I do, considering I’m usually tired after a long flight is to go to a diner or café and order a sandwich and a beer. As I described in this earlier post, Chile does sandwiches right. There are dozens of them and most involve grilled steak and avocado. Apart from some of the sandwiches show up on restaurant menus near the Chilean border in Peru or Argentina, I’ve never encountered a Chilean sandwich shop. Anywhere.
It took five knocks on random doors to find the right house, even though I had been there before. When I finally found Chez Wong I was told that I couldn’t come in because I didn’t have a reservation. I looked behind the doorman and no one was there. I pleaded but no luck. He handed me a business card with a phone number and asked me to call later. The following week, this time with a reservation, I returned to Chinese-Peruvian chef Javier Wong’s closed-door cebicheria in his house in La Victoria, an unassuming neighborhood of Lima, Peru near busy avenue full of auto body shops.
A month or so ago, just after I got back to New York from a couple of months in South America, I watched the movie The Ramen Girl with my wife at our apartment. The movie stars Brittany Murphy, who follows here DJ boyfriend to Tokyo, and is then dumped. Heartbroken and confused, knowing nothing about Japanese culture, she walks into a late night Ramen joint and with the bowl of Ramen she experiences a deep comfort and her soul is instantly warmed. The next day she returns to the Ramen shop and pleads with the owner, a Ramen master, to teach her to make Ramen. The grumpy owner refuses but eventually gives in and Murphy becomes something of a daughter to him and he teaches her all he knows.
The foodie set in Lima, particularly Gaston Acurio, has been pushing for special status of this market in Surquillo, a few blocks from Parque Kennedy in Miraflores. Products from around the country can be found here: fruits from the Amazon, chiles and potatoes and buckets of quinoa from the Andes, fresh seafood from the coast. You can buy kitchen utensils. I spent the equivalent of $10 a year ago on wooden spoons and other handmade tools. If I picked up the same items in the States, I would have spent $100 easily. Other things I’ve found here include a beautiful 2kg octopus for a backyard grilling, a bottle of cumari peppers from the jungle, and Andean potatoes that are far too rare for the Supermarkets.
As a preview of our forthcoming interview with Vines of Mendoza co-founder Michael Evans, we asked Vines of Mendoza to provide a few Argentine wine picks for the holiday season. Mendoza born Pablo Gimenez Riili, the private vineyard estate’s other founder and President, has provided six choices from the Mendoza area. All of these wines are available online from The Vines Wine Shop, a division of The Vines of Mendoza.
Interesting article by David Karp in the LA Times, Tejocote is no longer forbidden fruit, about the Mexican fruit Tejocote, once the most smuggled fruit in the United States. The fruit is an essential ingredient to Ponche, a hot fruit punch drank during the holiday season in Mexico and Guatemala. Because… Read More →
Mosto Verde Pisco is almost always the priciest bottle from any major pisco vendor. The name isn’t referencing the type of grape used in the pisco rather it relates to the distillation process. Mosto Verde simply means green must. Unlike a normal Pisco distillation, Mosto Verde does not allow the grapes to ferment completely, which leaves the liquid with some sugar content. The resulting taste is smooth, velvety, and full bodied. Mosto Verde is pisco is typically drank straight, though more and more mixologists that understand it’s subtle qualities are using it in cocktails that let those flavors shine.
Just after leaving El Alto International Airport in La Paz, Bolivia enroute into the center of the city below, there’s a roundabout where, in the center, is a giant monument to Che Guevara made out of recycled auto parts that is stepping on an American Bald Eagle (also made out… Read More →
LAN Airline’s inflight Magazine IN, has a great article about a village in Southern Chile founded by Italian immigrants one hundred years ago that has kept its heritage alive. I’ve never heard about this town, so I was instantly fascinated by it and thinking about when I can work in… Read More →
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, is the center of the country’s seafood industry and much of the exported seafood passes through the city from the coast and mangrove forests. Good, cheap seafood is not difficult to find here. The Cangrejada, or crab house, is the Guayaquil equivalent of a Limeñean cebicheria and the best place to sample the regions specialties.