Tag Archives: merken

San Pedro de Atacama

After the flat tour I was very excited to go across the border back to dear old Chile. Within a one hour bus ride, the temperature changed dramatically to a hot, desert climate which was great after cold Bolivia.

A friend recommended a nice hostel called Sonchek which was the perfect option. It was budget friendly, but had nice hot showers and clean rooms.

The first day I spent walking around the city, enjoying some down time. San Pedro is mostly just a tourist hub and a starting point for tour operations, but I actually really enjoyed the town itself. It has a New Mexico vibe with white washed buildings and dusty roads.

That Sunday I booked a sandboarding tour which was really fun. It ended up being a lot more challenging than I thought  (There are no lifts up the dunes…you just gotta haul it) and kind of a bummer getting sand everywhere, but overall it was an awesome time.

After boarding, we had pisco sours overlooking the valley which was lovely.

That night I took myself out to a fancy dinner at a restaurant called Piedra Blanca. I ordered the Quinoa Cannellon which was like a crunchy  quinoa shell filled with pulled pork in a tangy sauce. It came with a sweet potato ginger mash, zucchini, and porotos verdes with merken.

This dish was a tasty blend of local ingredients with a gourmet twist.

Some people really dislike San Pedro because it is expensive and touristy but I really loved it. You can’t spend more than a few days there unless you want to do a bunch of tours, but I loved the atmosphere of the town and perusing the shops and cafes. It was definitely one of my favorite stops on the trip.

This concludes my travelogue, so to speak. It was an incredible trip and I highly recommend doing the same loop if you get the chance.

Now that I’m back in Santiago its back to teaching and back to cooking! Stay tuned for more recipes and dishes coming soon.



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Echinuca: Celebrating Chilean Cuisine

Over the weekend, in Vitacura, there was a three-day food and wine festival called Echinuca. The purpose of the event was to celebrate  the best of Chilean cuisine and to promote Chile’s national dishes in order to push for more global attention in the culinary world. Amanda and I went Saturday afternoon excited to check it out.

The event consisted of a large, tented outdoor area filled with lots of individual vendor booths selling everything from artisan goat cheese, sea salts, olive oil, jams, spreads, ham, and much more. Most of the products were locally made and we had a great time going around sampling products.

Some of the larger stands served food like mussels, pastel de choclo, chorillana, etc. I ordered some oysters for about 4 dollars, which were okay. Not great. But I really enjoy eating oysters anyway.

There was also an outdoor grilling area with some seriously impressive meat displays and one larger than life paella bubbling in the corner.

Amanda and I both loved all the spicy jams and came home with two stellar picks. I got the smokey merkén flavored jam (merken is all the rage, don’t you know) and she got the rocoto jam (rocoto is a spicy peruvian pepper). Can’t wait to spread it on some crackers with crema de queso!

I ended up getting a little excited and spending too much money (I can’t live without artisan jam and a locally brewed beer! Whoa is me) , but it was basically like being in a little Grace heaven. The artisan goat cheeses  (there was one made with ají that was AWESOME) were especially mind-boggling.

I’m off to the beach in Viña to relax and enjoy my Sunday.

¡Hasta Luego!

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