Ever since I arrived in Chile, it has been all about food, drinks, and wine! The first three countries that I was in didn’t give me much of an appetite or much to blog about. It was all about bread, bread, and well, bread. In Chile, we had stayed in the Bellavista neighborhood where you will find many restaurants, bars, and cafes; however, be aware that the majority of these places are open at night only. If you are looking for something to do, you may want to check out downtown or another neighborhood.
The neighborhood had many different types of cuisine ranging from Asian, Peruvian, French, and etc. The prices in this area is very pricey and don’t think you will ever find a good meal for less than $10 US in this neighborhood. It was hard for me to adjust from being able to do a lot in Bolivia to contemplating on what I should buy in Chile. I think I miss being in Bolivia where I was able to do much more with my budget. However, it was good to see streets, skyscrapers, and an atmosphere much like New York.
The Chileans talked about having the best seafood so I thought I tried some sushi out here. The ingredients that were provided were not a typical sushi joint I would find back home. It was a bit interesting to see curry, almonds, among other unusual items on our roll.
Cubes of tuna with spicy sauce wrapped in slices of tuna sealed in sesame. Served with lettuce and almonds.
We were craving ceviche from Peru and thought it would be the same in Chile; however, it is not a common dish. If you see ceviche on a menu here, it will be a bit different. Below cubes of salmon in sauce ceviche nikkei, served with paprika, mango, avocado, red onion, a touch of mint and Sesame rain. Served with wonton chips.
and more food!
I had headed to Valparaiso (a UNSECO Heritage site) along the coast of Chile and was not impressed at all. For some reason, this port was one of the top places to stay in Chile and top picks in the research I had done. It reminded me of San Francisco with the colorful bohemian homes stacked along the coast hills; unfortunately, there were too many stray dogs, pigeons, and barbwire. Since it was about an hour and half away on bus from Santiago, I made the best of it. I did enjoy their farmer’s market that they had there. The market consisted of fresh fish and veggies. Since I was eating out a lot and did not had a chance to cook, I decided to hit the market and buy some items to cook at my hostel.
I try to tell myself to not eat from the street vendors but it’s so hard to tell them no and the smell of these empanadas were calling our name. Below is Beverly buying her first empanada.
There wasn’t much to do in the neighborhood I stayed at but drink and eat so Beverly and I had recruited some people around the hostel to try their first Pisco Sour. This is a common drink in Chile and Peru and it’s a dispute between the two countries on who founded and what exactly is in it. The main drink consists of pisco, lemon, sugar, and egg whites.
Another popular drink in Chile is the Vino Navegado. This consists of mixture of red wine, sliced orange, sugar, and spices. It is called ‘sailed’ by the analogy between wine with floating pieces of Orange and the sea when it is pierced by a boat. Honestly, it just tasted like a hot sangria to me.
Chile is known for their Carmenere wine and I would recommend going to the Casillero del Diablo vineyard if you are in town. The brand is known as as one of the best Chilean Premium wine in the world.
In Seattle, there are women in bikinis serving coffee, in Chile, you can find “Coffee Shop with Legs”. What does that mean? You can order an expresso, coffee, or frappechino from beautiful Chillean ladies who are dressed in a skin tight dress that are super short. You can smoke inside the shop, enjoy an expresso, and conversate with the ladies.
I figured we should hike and get some exercise in us due to all the food and drinks we have been having lately. Below is the top view from Cerro San Cristobal overlooking Santiago.
We had a great time in Chile; however, I don’t think I will be back unless I head to Patagonia. After, we had headed on a 6 hour bus ride to Mendoza, Argentina.
Mendoza is a great place to walk around for stunning picturesque, vineyards, and Malbec. I had decided to go to Maipu which is one of the regions in Mendoza where you can rent a bike and explore each vineyard by wheels. I had decided to go Trapiche and Familla Di Tomasso for some wine tasting and Laur for olive tasting.
To get a reservation at Trapiche Vineyards is pretty tough; however, I was able to squeeze in last minute for some great Malbec tasting. They are Argentina’s largest exported Premium brand. I wouldn’t say it is like Tuscany here but more of a big factory that exports tons of wine each year.
At Familla Di Tommaso, you would feel you were a part of the family. Outside, you can eat next to the vineyards which was lovely. The wines are not exported anywhere else so bring extra pesos if you would like to buy a bottle or two.
Lastly, I had gone to Laur where you can learn how to make olive oil and many more. Not only is Mendoza known for wine, they also have a lot of olives trees that were planted next to the vineyards to create shade for the grapes.
The basic concept of making olive oil is to crush the olives and separate the water and oil. To create balsamic, it needs to be in an oak barrel for at least 2 years.
It has been a lovely experience in Mendoza and I am now waiting to get on a bus for a 14 hour ride to Bueno Aires. Since I won’t be on the bus for another 3 hours, I think I am going to get my fill on food and wine 😉