While the length of the Carretera Austral in Chile’s Northern Patagonia is nothing less than spectacular, the town of Caleta Tortel, the Patagonian Venice, captures the adventurous spirit and magic of the region better than any other place, yet is still relatively unknown and undiscovered. Sitting on the crème de menthe colored Rio Baker, the small lumber town clings to the hillsides and waterfront via hundreds of wooden walkways that span the entire length of the maze like town.
Francis Mallman is Argentina’s most identifiable chefs. His signature restaurant, 1884, in Mendoza is the preeminent restaurant for meat in the world’s most preeminent meat country. His book, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, is basically the bible of cooking Argentine meat. The emphasis on the food here is rustic. Many dishes are cooked over an open fire or in a clay oven. Mallman gravitates not toward the European influenced kitchens of Buenos Aires, but the gaucho ways of Patagonia and beyond.
In 1968 the eventual founders of Patagonia and North Face outfitters, Yvon Chouinard and Douglas Tompkins, and two other friends drive their VW bus on a whim to Patagonia. The follow the then mostly unpaved Pan-American highway from California to Chile on a trip that took 6 months. The journey would change both of their lives and begin their lifelong interest in Patagonia.