Food and family continue to be the main focus over here. We’ve spent every morning playing with Ignacia, every afternoon coloring in those intricate coloring books with gel pens while we chat and prepare a big lunch, every lunch eating some traditional food that we can only find in Chile, every late afternoon coloring, hanging out on the patio, or making little trips around Santiago, and every evening coming back to the house for an empanada, wine, and either a game of Mexican Train or Pandemic.
We’ve been working our way through the traditional Chilean menu while we have access to it. That includes paila marina, a seafood soup that Javier loves, from a restaurant called Louta that a friend of the family owns. If anyone ever visits Santiago, I can’t recommend Louta enough. The food there is incredible. I get ceviche every time; and not that over-priced ceviche that you buy in the U.S. that comes on a tiny plate with a couple of tiny pieces of fish. No, this is a huge pile of reineta and salmon, cooked to perfection in lemon juice (which is to say, barely cooked at all), served with onion and cilantro…uuf I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Javi and I also split an oyster empanada for an appetizer. We’re planning on at least one more trip to Louta before we go home.
Two days ago we drove about half an hour out of town to visit Alex’s brother’s new piece of land that he recently bought and built a house on (Alex is Macarena’s husband). Daniel and his wife Verena and their baby Mariana moved into the new house two weeks ago, so everything is still new and partially under construction. It’s a beautiful piece of land with a gorgeous view of the cordillera; if Javi and I ever lived in Santiago, I’d want to live in the country on a piece of land like this. They have a pool and a grill in the backyard, so we spent the afternoon drinking wine and watching Ignacia splash around in the water while we snacked on guacamole, wine, bread, cheese, ham…all the good things.
Yesterday Javier’s dad wanted to make a big barbecue lunch, so he and Javier fired up two different grills and cooked a gigantic cut of beef and some chorizo. No matter how much we search and how many different brands we try, we can never find chorizo in the U.S. like the chorizo here in Chile.
In the midst of it all Ignacia has been the queen of our days in Santiago. We only have two weeks to get to know this kiddo and deposit some tio Javier and tia Leslie moments in her memory bank…so we’re living it up while we can.