Tag Archives: seafood

Patagonian Aventure

I was extremely lucky and fortunate to have two of my favorite friends from high school visit me in Chile these last two weeks. The first week we spent in Santiago and had an amazing time. We went to the market, ate Peruvian food, went to Subterraneo, basically just had a ball.

Then, last Sunday we headed off to Punta Arenas for an end of the world adventure. To be honest, none of us had really done a lot of research so we had to sort of go with the flow.

We arrived in Punta Arenas around 3pm, but had to kill about 3 hours till the next bus to Puerto Natales (we took Bus Fernandez). So….of course….we got pizza and drank beer. What could be better.

We arrived tired and cold into Puerto Natales and went right to our hostel, the Erratic Rock. This place was so great! Very warm and cozy, with a helpful staff and awesome breakfast. They even have a place next door where they give daily information meetings about the park at 3pm, and provide equipment for rent like tents, sleeping bags, etc and all at a good price. We spent Monday figuring out what we wanted to actually do in the park, getting groceries, eating dinner, and exploring.

We had a delicious dinner  at a place called El Maritimo which specialized in seafood. My paila marina was a little weird, but Elizabeth´s sea bass stew was awesome.

We finally decided we wanted to do two nights and three days in the park. Doing three days is a little complicated. The most common route is to do the 5 day 4 night W trail, but we just didn’t have the time and honestly were not really prepared for that. So, we decided to do the first day up to the Torres, then spend the night in a refugio. The next day, we would take the 9am bus to Lago Grey and stay a night at that regufio, then come home the third day. BUT. That´s not really how it went down. To be honest, the whole thing is really difficult because buses only run once a day at specific times, and you can´t just camp anywhere…so this is what happened.

Day One: We woke up early for the only bus into the park at 7:30. We arrive at the park, pay the fee, then head over to Torres Refugio and begin our journey at around 11am. This was a rough climb, but the weather was gorgeous. It took us 3 and a half hours of straight up hill climbing to finally get to the Torres, and our bags were heavy. But, the views were breath taking and we were in good spirits. But by the time we reached the Torres, Claire´s previously broken foot (a month ago) was killing her and my back was really in pain from climbing. Plus, it was already 5pm! It would be a challenge to do the 3 or more hour trek back to base camp before dark. We made the executive decision, after much ado, to finally just camp at the campamiento las torres (refugio Chileno was CLOSED…not helpful) and from then on the plan sorta fell apart…but in a good way.

Day Two:

We woke up around 8am, and it had rained and was still sprinkling. Cold and sore from sleeping on roots and rocks, we packed up our things and headed for the bottom of the mountain. This was not a fun hike. It was mostly downhill, in pouring rain. Claire´s foot was hurting, my back was spasming….just wasn’t working. We barely made it to the refugio, limping and cold and wet. That…was the end of it. We decided to stay in the refugio that night, which was actually delightful. We had a delicious chicken and mashed sweet potato dinner and hung out by the fire. Plus, the views were stunning! Overall, we were happy.

Day  Three: We headed back to Erratic Rock and went out for a spectacular burger and wings dinner at Baguales. Delicious. As you can see, hardcore camping went out the window….but we had a great time and to be honest, it might have been a bit ambitious in the winter season to try what we did without much experience….ah well.

We also really wanted to see penguins, but first, it costs like 100 dollars each, and also, apparently penguin season just ended! Sigh.

But, besides a few obstacles, the trip was amazing, the views gorgeous, and all of us had a great time together. Worth every minute!



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Playing Tourist in Santiago: Santa Lucia and La Vega Chica

Sorry I’ve been so slack about updating the blog. I‘ve been busy doing a little writing elsewhere (see my new column in the The Santiago Times!), so apologies all of you looking to dive further into Latin American cuisine!

Also, the end of the month means a little less cash flow, so I’ve been back to the rice and beans routine. However, this weekend my housemate Amanda had a friend in town so I decided to join in the fun and  do some touristy activities in Santiago.

On Friday, I went to up to Cerro Santa Lucia, one of two very cool, walkable hills in the city that give a fabulous view of the cityscape. Unlike Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia is much smaller and has beautiful fountains and old, spanish style buildings to explore.

Then Saturday, instead of the usual local market trip, Katie and I decided to go La Vega and get lunch before picking up our weekly veggie load. While I do love La Vega, it can be a bit hectic, and you have to lug your load all the way home. La Vega Chica, which is right next store, is a refreshing alternative. On the bottom floor they have veggies, fruit, everything you need just less selection. They also have clothes, shoes, coats, and on the second floor, in the back, about 20 different little tiny restaurants, outdoors, serving cheap, and delicious Peruvian and Chilean food, with a focus on seafood. We took a seat at a promising, bustling local and I order the pescado al frito and Katie got the ceviche de reineta. Both our meals came with pebre and pan and some seafood consome (a seafood broth with a few clams). The whole thing came out to a whopping total of about 6,000 (12 dollars) for both of us.

I originally wanted the Pulpo (Octopus) but they were out, but the fish was delicious. I can’t wait to back and try more dishes like…

Pastel de Jaiba -(Cheesy crab pudding…they have pastel de choclo, pastel de mariscos (seafood) endless pastels…)

Mariscal-seafood soup made with piure (red sea squirt), picoroco (giant barnacle) and ostiones (oysters) and choritos (mussels)

Chupe de Mariscos-cheesy seafood stew

And there’s more to discover!! I love seafood and was in heaven with fresh seafood on a lovely day in Santiago.

Stay tuned for a recipe for homemade tortillas (distinctly un-Chilean, but delicious!)


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Valpo and Viña: Round 2

This weekend was a long weekend because yesterday was a bank holiday. Even though I’m poor, I decided it was best to take advantage of this and went to Valpo and Viña for the weekend with Amanda and her two Chilean friends Matias and Rocio.

We had a great time and it was fun not only to see Valpo again, but to get a little more in-depth tour from a native. Not to mention, the obscene amounts of food I ate. Whoops.

On Saturday, we walked around the city quite a bit and then had lunch at Cafe Vinilo (Vinyl Cafe). The food was expensive, but worth it, and I loved that they had the Beatles on repeat.

I ordered the pulpo al ajillo, but they were out and I got oysters instead. They came in a delicious creamy cheese sauce with a little spice and some toasted bread drizzled with cilantro oil. Oh, and of course, some Chilean wine.  Ooh la la.

Amanda got a tasty tomato appetizer  filled with carmelized onions and we shared some ceviche.

Matias got a meat dish (pork I believe..) that came with a quinoa, sausage and cilantro side dish and Rocio got the albacore with cooked  mix vegetables. The fish would literally melt in your mouth.

It was so nice to have some well made food in such a nice little cafe. I’ve been mostly eating lentils and soup for months now and this was probably the most expensive meal I’ve had to date. To be honest, I’ve been giving Chile a hard time, especially with the food. I’m constantly whining about how they use to much salt, not enough vegetables, etc. However, after this meal, I think maybe the key is to go all out. There is quite a difference between expensive Chilean food and sandwiches in the local diner.

After a long night of dancing at El Huevo (A dance club with like six different themed rooms) we ventured to Viña the next day to explore the beach and of course, eat more seafood.

After a beautiful day at the beach, we went to this cute little whole in the wall seafood place. It was cheap and delicious. Two of my favorite things. I ordered (thanks to some Chilean advice) the Chupe de Mariscos which is like a seafood chowder/stew with cheese and lots of mussels and clams. So good!

After our meal we headed back to the hotel (a cute little place run by an elderly French guy. It was maritime themed. So cute) and took a nap before heading out for Chorillana. That’s right, more food.

We started with pan and pebre, Cristal (beer of champions) and empanadas. Claro.

By the time the Chorillana came I was already full but ate anyway. Behold, the most unhealthy combination ever: french fries, meat, onions, spices, and eggs. In a heap.

After our coma inducing, one billion calorie meal, we walked up the hill to our hostel. No, it didn’t feel good. Worth it though.

A great weekend filled with great people and good food. What more could you want?

Chilean Empanadas

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