Sunday, May 01, 2011


I think it goes without saying that on this trip we have eaten food. We'd be dead if we hadn't.
For the most part we have eaten out because it is fun to explore the local cuisines and besides, it was so darn cheap to eat out. We went on a bit of a pizza binge in Bolivia since Bolivian food got a little tiring after a while.
[choosing a Maté tea to drink] When we crossed into Chile, we started cooking for ourselves a lot more. Eating out in Chile is expensive (unless you only want to eat a completo - which is a hotdog with guacamole) and really not that good for you so we started making our own food almost every lunch/ dinner.
Lunch is almost always salami and cheese sandwiches with mayo and savora (a mustard like sauce). The cheese, salami and bread is very nice down here and none of these ingredients really have to be refrigerated. And for some strange reason, I never tire of Salami.

Dinner is generally Pasta Panamericana or Sopa Austral. Basically the same thing either over pasta or in soup form. Carrots, onions, salami, kale or spinach, olives, spices. Saute these together add in tomato sauce a little dried milk and either put it over pasta or mix it into a soup with some chicken or tomato soup mix, delicious.

It is pretty yummy and it's always warm and nourishing. If the place we stay has a kitchen then we will make our Pasta Panamericana there or come up with some other creation that Megan finds online. If the place doesn't have a kitchen then we will fire up our trusty Optimus stove outside and create our meal.

Argentina is famous for its meats. Barbecued meat is called Parilla and basically you build a fire, take the hot coals and grill your meet over it. I learned how to properly do this when we were in Mendoza staying with my buddy Kevin. Under his watchful eye, I learned how to make the proper amount of coals and how to distribute them properly to cook the meat to perfection.

We found an amazing butcher next door to the mechanic in Bariloche. I walked in asking for a chunk of meat to BBQ and he comes out of the back with an entire side of beef. He asked me which part I wanted and I had no idea. I said "a delicious part" and he took the bandsaw to the beef and cut off a 2 pound strip of meaty ribs. I got giddy with excitement over the idea of cooking these bad boys up. I also took home a blood sausage and a few pork sausages just to be sure.
We cooked for some new friends at the hostel we were staying at because, lets face it, we just can't eat 3 1/2 pounds of meat ourselves. Our friends made up the vegetables and potatoes and together we had a feast.

[Holy Moly, look at that piece of meat] Going with the maxim "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" we went back to the butcher the next day and bought another cut of beef. Again, not knowing what to get, we just asked for something very delicious but without bones. He brought out an enormous piece of red muscle marbled perfectly with fat and cut us off 2 1/2 pounds of it. Again, we threw in some sausage for good luck and grilled it up. I don't really know the cut that we ate, but it was amazing. The fat on the outside browned a nice crisp and there was a gradation of brown to red on the inside that can only be described as yummmmmm. It was another indulgent feast.

For our last night in Argentina, we decided to go out to eat. I had taken a bit too much money out of the ATM and not wanting to exchange it to Chilean pesos, we decided to splurge a bit. Argentinians don't eat until 10 or 11 but at 9 we were starving so we walked around San Martin del Los Andes for and hour trying to kill time and find a place to settle in for the night. We landed at La Casona and it was the right choice.

I got grilled lamb with bbq'd potato on the side and Megan got grilled chicken with a mushroom sauce and fun fried mashed potato balls. Chasing it down with beer and wine was only a formality as we both savored every bite until it was all gone. There we were at 11:30 at night, our tummies full and dreading the freezing cold walk back to the hostel.

What better way to enjoy the walk then to stop for ice cream. The ice cream in these parts is off the hook. It is rich and sort of like eating the essence of whatever flavor you choose. We split a cone of dulce de leche (like a rich caramel) and dark chocolate. Wow! Even though we were freezing cold, we were fighting to get our hands on the cone as we shivered and licked our way home.
Today we head back to Chile and we will probably be back on the Pasta Panamericana diet, but for a few days we ate like we meant it and it was fantastic.

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