Wednesday

The Complexity of the Chilean Palate

One must wonder where they are when stumbling into a restaurant and gazing into a menu compiled of entirely fried ingredients and strange combinations.
If one does, exactly this, I recommend assuming you're in Chile.

We have been working at a restaurant in Chile for over a month now, and have had to add a few dishes according to the Chilean palate. Which makes sense, we are of course in Chile, what doesn't make sense, to me, is the Chilean palate.
















This is Pichanga, recently added to the menu by Jana the Chilean owner. Here is what it entails:

French fries
One steak, cubed and fried
Two fried intestine rolls of spiced god knows what
Cheese
Two hard boiled eggs
And approximately 9 olives
Accompanied with aji sauce for dipping (which I'll get to later)

The only person I can imagine enjoying this plate is my father (Jim), who is trying to loose weight and shouldn't enjoy this plate. But it sells! Chileans love it. In a country where obese people are as easy to find as a black people, that means hard to find, Chileans love large portioned, fried food, made with processed meat links and washed down with bad beer. Sound familiar?

So how do they do it? Not be a ridiculously fat nation I mean. Well for starters, not many families own a car and if they do there is only one to share. Even in small towns and the country, they rely heavily on public transportation and their feet. Which means everyone is walking and moving the same amount that the average big city dweller does, which is a lot. They are also outside as long as the sun is out. It is uncommon for the average Chilean family to have an internet connection or TV with cable. So by default they are outside. Which means they are usually playing futball! The third reason for non-fatness, Chileans love futball. Babies play futball, grandparents play futball, everybody plays futball. If there is an open field, there is futball. Point being, Chileans stay active, eat lots of fried food and don't get fat. Are they healthy? I don't know, I am not a doctor, but they aren't fat.

Back to the traditional Chilean food. For the most part, in my opinion, it is not very good. Or at least as a vegetarian, most of it, is not very edible. One of the only redeeming factors is aji.
















This is aji, a spicy pepper unlike anything I have ever tasted. With every Chilean dish comes aji sauce. People eat this stuff on their bread like jam, its that abundant. Some variations are spicier than others, but overall praise Mary for aji sauce. Sometimes when we go out to eat it is the only thing keeping my tongue happy.

El Lobo Marinos

video

This is a better shot of the Lobo Marinos.

For more videos of them and the fish market go to our flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35932421@N05/

Thursday

Chilean Sanitation

Our resaurant has been forced to meet Chilean Health Code regulations.

no joke.

Tuesday

A Sunny Valdivia

For a place that has a reputation of being cold and rainy during the winter, which it has proved itself to be. It has been remarkably beautiful the past three to four days. We even went to the beach yesterday. Mind you it wasn't bikini weather, but the sun was wonderful to be in. The locals say it is supposed to stay this way for the rest of the week.

When it is nice like this we jump to our feet and explore the city. Making sure to always stop and watch the lobo marinos sun bathing. In our opinion there is no animal more peaceful than this.

Friday

The fleeting cold


*A few days ago we bought an umbrella, it doesn´t really work with wind.
____________________________________________

So this is winter in Patagonia. I often ponder as it pours refrigerated water outside for 3 straight days, then burst with toaster oven sunlight on the fourth.

I wonder how one night can be so cold that no fireplace can flame enough to de-thaw your extremities, while another finds you in only a T shirt and underwear as you comfortably type a blog at 2 o'clock in the morning.

Is this weather truly as indecisive as I am?

Maybe it just has so many passions that it can't decide which is best.
Maybe it has a well developed idea of what it is, but has an addiction to "questioning".
Maybe it thinks that seasons limit our actual being and weather is simply a state of consciousness.
...
- Jameson

Tuesday

The Resto Bar

The Outside

Inside

The Bar

walkway to bathrooms

Where we spend our time

Monday

Trotamundos!

The cooks

The Product
The owners: Jana & Mathi

Yummy!