Last weekend I had “cazuela de vacuno,” which is literally translated “beef casserole.” Anyone who knows me at all knows that I typically do not like super-meaty dishes (much to the dismay of my carnivorous hubby). Meat is actually one of the only foods that I’m somewhat picky about – especially the way it is cooked. But this one was actually pretty good. Cazuela de vacuno is less of a casserole and more of a stew or soup. The primary ingredients are: some sort of broth, a hunk of meat similar to roast beef, corn on the cob, a potato, an orange veggie similar to pumpkin, green beans, rice, and cilantro. Here is a picture:
This past Saturday I had my second authentic Chilean meal: pastel de choclo (literally translated “corn cake”). This is like a casserole baked in individual clay pots. The bottom layer contains beef, chicken, onions, raisins, and maybe other things. The top layer is like a corn soufflé. Very delish – here’s a picture:
Another thing I’ve noticed about the cuisine here in Chile is that there is an abundance of really good fresh fruits and vegetables, especially avocado. I’ve probably eaten a whole avocado every other day here, and I love it. They also have a lot of dishes that they serve “a lo pobre.” This means “to the poor” in English, but for whatever reason if you order food “a lo pobre” in Chile then your meal is served with an egg on top. I took a picture of a display case at one of the restaurants, and you’ll notice the various authentic-type dishes…some of them are a lo pobre. Take a good look because you can be certain that I will NOT be ordering anything a lo pobre (gross):
A couple of other random thoughts about the food here specifically related to mayonnaise and coffee (but not at the same time). Chileans love, love, love mayonnaise. I’m telling you they sell mayo by the gallon here, and they eat it on everything. They eat hot dogs with mayo on them, and you can’t even see the dog due to the mayo coating. The coffee is one of the biggest disappointments here…it’s absolutely terrible. Even the Starbucks is sub-par. I can’t wait to get home and have a decent cup of coffee. We bought a Keurig the week before I left (Mr. Krups bit the dust)…when I get home in December dear Mr. Keurig will be my best friend.
Another thing that is huge here is soda. At restaurants, you pay for your drink even if it's water and there are NO free refills. Unfortunately, this makes soda very tempting. I've had more cokes in the last two weeks than I've had all year. This has seriously got to stop! I am hoping to gain more self control and start ordering more "agua sin gas" (water without carbonation) even if I have to pay $3 for it.
And last but certainly not least, the ice cream here is fantastic. It is similar to gelato, and it is awesome. There is the best ice cream restaurant right next to my hotel, and the best/worst thing is that they have happy hour. So for about $1USD you can have a nice serving of any flavor between 5-9 PM Monday through Friday. Yikes. Here is my happy hour treat from Friday...Nutella flavored ice cream:
Alright, I guess that takes care of my blog post about food here in Chile. I hope that Anthony Bourdain is proud that I’ve ventured out to eat some authentic meaty cuisine. And if you don’t know who Anthony Bourdain is, you are truly missing out.