Chorrillana is a Bookend

Chorrillana is so good. French fries and assorted meats and sausages all marinated in a red wine reserve, topped with a sunny side up egg; chorrillana is the most deliciously typical Chilean cuisine. It tastes better than the description sounds, and smells incredible.

not my photo. But this is Chorrillana from La Flor de Chile.

This is not my photo. But this is Chorrillana from La Flor de Chile.

The first time I tried chorrillana was at La Flor de Chile the night that I arrived in Chile. That evening was a very interesting experience for several reasons. My first host mom, (I changed host families after a week – see my blog post New Home and Twenty One for the reasons) Paty, took me to eat with six of her friends. I was exhausted  from the flight and thrown right into the middle of a strange culture and a strange language and strange food. Now, I know textbook Spanish, but nothing prepared me for the awfulness of Chilean Spanish! It’s so fast and ridden with Chilenismos and idioms and slang that it’s hardly recognizable as Spanish. I thought I had forgotten everything I ever learned because in ten minutes of conversation I could only recognize one or two words. But as time went on I realized that they weren’t speaking Spanish, but the Chilean dialect. 

DSCN5271

Thankfully one of Paty’s friends spoke broken English and could translate the conversation and describe the items on the menu for me. With Paty’s friend’s help I ordered something safe like beef and french fries, but someone else at the table ordered Chorrillana La Flor de Chile Grande con Mechada. When the waiter brought it to the table I was amazed at the size of the dish because it was large enough for three or four men to eat their fill. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped in disbelief. Everyone laughed at my expression and urged me to taste it. I was a little skeptical because it doesn’t look quite as appetizing as it actually is but I tried it anyway. Side note to the traveler: Always. Always try the local food. You’ll often find gems.  Chorrillana is so good!

DSCN5261

Over the course of four months I ate a lot of chorrillana. Just like pizza, the quality varied depending on where I ate it, but it was always chorrillana and always good. During that time of falling in love with Chorrillana I also fell in love with Chile and Chilean culture and Chilean Spanish. I learned the language more or less. I didn’t realize how much I had grown until the last time I ate Chorrillana.

DSCN5266

My host family (Rosy and Manuel, their daughter, Paula, and her daughter, Victoria) took me, incidentally, to la Flor de Chile. It was a very emotional evening but also really cool because I got a sense of closure and was able to process how important these people are to me and how much I had learned and grown since the first time eating at that restaurant.

DSCN5251

Paula, Victoria, and I ordered Chorrillana to share. I was excruciatingly aware that this very well could be the last time I would ever eat chorrillana and laugh with these wonderful people whom I had grown to love so dearly so I had to force the food past a lump in my throat. Even so, it was delicious, the conversation amusing, and the company warm. It was a much more pleasant experience than the first time I tried chorrillana, and I could finally follow almost all of the conversation. I have very fond memories of that evening. It was a beautiful bookend to my adventures in Chile.

I still have a lot to write about my trip to Peru and the last two weeks in Chile and my transition back home. This is just one story so stay tuned for more! It might be a while because school is insane but good things come to those who wait 😉

Peace,

~ Debs

Chile’s Independence Week

DSCN4185

This post is long overdue. September 18th is Chile’s independence day, but the people celebrate during the entire week. It’s a time of closed shops, flying flags, festivals, parties, drinking, dancing, and asados (aka Chilean BBQ).  I ate so much good food at so many asados!

The one I remember most was at Rossy’s house in Valparaiso. I was there for around twelve hours with no internet so it was a little boring but that wasn’t a bad thing.  The day was lovely so I got some sunshine and relaxation and really amazing food.  Most of her family was there and it was really fun to watch them interact. Rossy is seriously adorable. She was the life of the party with her hospitality, laughter, and dancing to the music.

DSCN4211 DSCN4201

 

This is the incredible view from Rossy’s house in Valpo. The little boy in the center is Rossy’s niece’s 5ish year old grandson.  At least… I think that’s how they’re related… haha!

DSCN4247

I love my converse shoes.

DSCN4251

Another awesome part of the independence festivities are Las Fondas. It’s a huge festival on the horse race track with amusement rides, tent vendors selling clothes, art, toys, and souvenirs, as well as delicious food like choripan, empanadas, anticuchos, and churros, drinks, and artisan chocolates. So much goodness. I bought so much food and a shirt made from alpaca fur with llama pictures woven into it.

DSCN4269

Tris and I met some nice guys who sold us empanadas and took a picture for us!

DSCN4288 DSCN4271

These are some of the prettiest things that the vendors had to sell.

DSCN4283 DSCN4276

DSCN4284  DSCN4281

So this was from last month. Sorry I haven’t kept my blog super updated. You can expect two more overdue blog posts in the near future.

Peace!

Ukulele and the Earthquake.

Hello friends! It’s been almost a week since my last blog post and so much has happened in between then and now.

“Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

I can’t possibly write about it all in great detail… So here is the update on my life in Chile.

Last Saturday, Prince Caspian took Tristan and me on a tour of the coast between Viña and Concón. His real name is Nicolas but Tristan and I think he looks a little like Prince Caspian from Narnia so it’s kind of an on-going joke between us now.  The view from the rocks is beautiful! Also some of the plants look like they come from Doctor Seuss illustrations or something. When we returned to Viña we drank coffee at Travelli and I ordered Latte Nutella. It was incredible! It even had actual nutella coated hazelnuts in it.

DSCN3478

DSCN3514

Rossy took me to her daughter’s restaurant, Ají Color. It’s really cute and the food is amazing! She encouraged me to take pictures so here is a really adorable one of her and another of Manuel and their granddaughter, Victoria.

DSCN3566 DSCN3574

Apparently, Rossy and Manuel have a second house in the hills of Valparaiso! It’s literally in the middle of nowhere. The roads are awful and I may have had mild whiplash for a few days after that drive.  But it was totally worth it because the view is breathtaking and the house is tiny and cute.

DSCN3589

DSCN3595 DSCN3597

DSCN3630

On Tuesday, Tristan jumped in the ocean cause she’s insane. And also because she was nominated for the ice bucket challenge.  Chile doesn’t have ice or buckets, so we figured total immersion in 12 degree celcius ocean water would suffice. She nominated our RD and he said later that he also jumped in the ocean but almost died. He’s dramatic so that’s probably not true but still hilarious!

I bought an ukulele! I miss my guitar from back home, and one of my goals was to learn how to play the ukulele this semester. So I bought this one for around $50USD the other day. It’s really cute and fun to play.  Thus far I have learned I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You by Elvis Presley and Screen by Twenty One Pilots.

Also,  Korean food is incredible! My friends, Jihoon and Sodam cooked us an amazingly flavorful and delicious meal that just might be the best thing I’ve eaten here so far. They made gimbob, which sort of looks like sushi but it isn’t, jae-yuk-bokkum, which is a spicy pork stir-fry, and rice. Yum! Tristan also brought a bottle of wine, which was a nice touch.

DSCN3684 DSCN3702

Now we come to the story of the most terrifying experience of my life which I never ever want to experience ever again.

This Saturday around 6:30 I was at home alone doing homework and my desk started shaking. At first I thought, “It’s a tremor!” but then it kept getting stronger and stronger and the entire house convulsed and shook from side to side and stuff was falling all over the floor and the lights were flickering on and off and I started freaking out and I realized it was a real live legit EARTHQUAKE!!!!

I was terrified and after the quake calmed down a little I started thinking about tsunamis.  I had no idea what to do and I didn’t have internet because the electricity was dead so I couldn’t look online for warnings or whatever. So I ran out to the street to see what everyone else was doing. The people were running for their cars and LEAVING. I was like oooohhh shit I don’t know how to get to the high ground quickly without a car!!!!

There was a little old lady walking towards me so I stopped her and stammered in broken and flustered Spanish, “Hi I’m from the U.S. and I don’t know what to do when there’s an earthquake!” She said something about earthquakes and tsunamis and I tried to ask her if there was going to be a tsunami or if it was safe to stay in my house but I couldn’t remember most of those words. She was really nice and told me to come stay in her house until they figure out how bad the earthquake was.

She and her granddaughter seemed pretty chill about the situation as they searched the internet and listened to the news. This helped me calm down a little.  I sat on their sofa awkwardly until we found out the earthquake was a 6.4 on the Richter Scale but there wasn’t going to be a tsunami. I thanked her and went back to my house.

Rossy and Manuel were waiting for me at the door and the lights were still out so I couldn’t contact anyone to see if they were okay and to let them know that I was okay.  Rossy convinced me to go to a birthday party with her so that I wouldn’t be all by myself in the dark. I was feeling extreeeemmelyy introverted and non-social but I am so glad I went. The house had lights and internet and dogs and delicious food and it was basically exactly what I needed after a traumatic experience like that. They also gave me two glasses of something strong and I felt prettyyy buzzed by the end of the evening. Fun times haha!

Also, apparently in Chile if the earthquake is less than a 6.5, it’s considered a “tremor.” I beg to differ. That 6.4 was DEFINITELY an earthquake as far as I’m concerned!

How to Make Beans and Rice plus Platanos.

Yesterday dinner my mum, sister, and I made a delicious meal…or as my dad likes to say “a malicious deal.” (Which, by the way Dad, has a very different meaning…)   Anyways, we made beans and rice and platanos. I took pictures because I could because mum’s camera happened to be in the kitchen.

Here is my mum’s recipe for Honduran beans and rice as she wrote it on Facebook. She grew up there so she knows stuff. It’s really really good.

DSCN3809

Honduran Rice 

  • One small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Saute on medium heat in sauce pan for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally. Then add:

  • two cups raw rice

Saute for several minutes longer on high heat stirring constantly. Then add:

  • 4 scant cups water ( I add a little less than the bag says to because there is liquid in the tomatoes)
  • 1-2 tomatoes diced (I add a can of diced tomatoes with the liquid and then I reduce the amount of water by about a half of a cup)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • juice of one lemon

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat cover and simmer about 20-30 minutes.

Honduran Beans 

  • 4 cans of black beans. (drain some of the liquid off the top of each can)
  • 1 can of dice tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes diced

Add these to a large pan and begin heating up on medium heat. Meanwhile…saute in small skillet:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed

Add these to the beans and tomatoes then add the following spices:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • (optional) cilantro leaves …I chop them with scissors and add about three forths of the bunch
  • The canned beans are salted already so I don’t add salt.
  • Sometimes I add the juice of a lemon

Bring all this to a boil reduce heat and simmer until the rice is done.

Hondurans alway serve their beans and rice with a hot sauce or hot pico-de-gallo and lots of corn tortillas.

When I make beans and rice I chop all of the onion and crush all of the garlic for both recipes and saute them all together in a pan. Then I set some aside for the beans and get my rice simmering before finishing the beans.

—————————

Okay so that is how to make Honduran beans and rice. Now for the extra awesome stuff. Here is how to make platanos. Platanos are kind of like bananas except you can’t eat them raw cause they’re gross. However, when you fry and salt them, they become the greatest food known to man.

Step #1. Go to the grocery store and buy one platano per person.

Step #2. Drive home.

Step #3. Peal the platano, cut it in half and then cut each half into thirds.

DSCN3784

Step #4. Fry the platanos in oil.  At first they will stick a little. Don’t try to pry them up; let them cook for a little bit until they come free easily and are brownish on the bottom. Then turn them over and let the other side cook until slightly brown.

DSCN3794

Step #5. Place the platanos on a platter with paper towels in between the layers. Salt to taste.

DSCN3807

Step #6. Enjoy.

You are welcome.

Hollidaysburg

The other day I hung out with my good friend Katie Conrad and we went to Hollidaysburg. We stopped at a cute little coffee and crepes shop and a cold girl with a tattoo sleeve sold me a mocha frappé and a brownie with walnuts and chocolate chunks in it. They had fresh blueberries out front and  I bought a pint, shared some with Katie, and ate the rest of them within the hour.  I also saw a guy who looked like Kip from Napoleon Dynamite.

blueberries

Here is a picture of me eating blueberries and drinking a mocha frappé.

10411132_10204390388024427_7305618226788022567_n

We also found a super awesome bike.

10458859_10204390397024652_5947478526587093509_n

And a Church which says “Worship God” on the front of the building.

1549551_10204390393784571_1285346743409512043_n

And an ominous prison.

I wanted to take blueberries to the prisoners but Katie was against the idea.

10456777_10204390395584616_4445271582685632510_n

We hiked up to Chimney Rock Park and climbed on the chimney rocks. Here is a picture of Katie conquering the mountain.

10411132_10204390388024427_7305618226788022567_nd

This is a very small part of the incredible view which can be seen from the highest of the chimney rocks.

10432935_10204390394624592_1745136849522722733_n

I am standing on the edge of a cliff pretending to be a queen surveying her domain.

Call me Queen Converse cause I like converse shoes.

10509765_10204390396384636_4294248834324459753_n

Here’s a little more of the view. Stunning.

10410142_10204390397224657_1513335951393454689_n

Katie took all of these super awesome pictures 🙂

Peace!