Sunday, July 19, 2015

* Eating 52 Countries In 52 Weeks - Week 11 - CHILE

We were dressed-up that day for an event we would be attending later in the day and walking towards Rincon Chileno Restaurant, I felt we would stand out in this small very low-key looking eatery. I could not have been more wrong. The gentleman that greeted us at the door and the gentleman that served us throughout our meal were both dressed in pressed pants & shirts and neckties that matched the crisp linen tablecloths and napkins.

I think when it comes to soccer-loving countries, how they watch a soccer match on TV tells a lot about their people. The petit-framed Chilean patrons at the restaurant kept their conversations to a whisper and made barely audible disappointment sounds when the team they were not favoring scored a goal. Chileans made a deeply respectable impression on me.

First came a couple of freshly baked pan amasados with butter and salsa verde on the side. Pan amasado is a Chilean "kneaded" bread that is a marriage of biscuits and regular bread that has a soft inside and a hard crust. I am glad they only brought one for each of us, otherwise it would have been so easy to fill-up on them.

As usual we picked drinks that were foreign to us. My bright orange maracuya tasted somewhere between peaches and mangos and was made of passion fruit. Rick's chicha morada was a purple corn punch in a beautiful shade of dark red.

Our appetizers were Chilean versions of Ceviche Mixto and  Empanada de Carne which we quickly devoured dipping the remaining pieces of pan amasado into the aji sauce from the ceviche.

Keeping pace with the South American relaxed timing, our main dishes took a while to arrive, giving us enough time to have the appetizers settle in our taste buds. Although very authentic, the Lomo a Lo Pobre did not seem very elaborate for it was pretty much steak and eggs served with fries. 

But Lomo Saltado won our hearts with the softness of the meat and the perfect blend of sauces and spices.

Most Chilean desserts contain caramel in some form and the server's recommendation Brazo de Reina was a rolled up cake filled with creamy caramel. 

Both the ambiance of the restaurant and the welcoming tastes of the food had us linger a little longer than we normally would at any other restaurant. When we got up to leave, the gentleman that greeted us when we arrived, again stood up and smiled at us making us want to come back to his veritable establishment in the near future.

¡Buen provecho!

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