Saying Goodbye to Chile Part 1: The Neighborhood
This has all been so sudden, and what with being sick for over a week it’s been tough to say some proper goodbyes. But in the last few days we (we here means Joel and I, Cecile will get to make her own goodbyes in about a month) have managed to pay some final visits to a couple of places. Herewith, some pictures and descriptions.
Everyone should have some neighborhood hangouts, and we found one across the street. It became our default cafe with the traditional Chilean food that Joel calls, with some accuracy, Chilean fast food: completos, chorillanas, etc. It’s the Wall Street Cafe and the owner actually grew up in New York, but his father is Chilean and eventually he moved down here. While it is across the street, the way streets work around here that means we have to cross four streets to get there (it is a street with a median, so two crosses would be a minimum). Yesterday we went there after school so we could fulfill Joel’s mission of having dessert there. We always eyed the desserts but were too full after eating to get any. Actually Joel got dessert, Pie de Limón (and chocolate caliente), Cecile and I split a tostada de palta (toast with avocado spread, traditional snack) and helped him with his pie. Friendly staff, good food and convenient, what more could you want?
If you’ve been following along at all, you know I’m going to miss the bread. And while there’s a panadería on every block (kind of the Starbucks of Chile), and we used several, this one was our favorite. I went there this morning, before the rains came, so Joel and I could have one last binge. I got at least enough for tonight and tomorrow morning, we’ll see if any makes it to lunch. While we’ve bought from several, this is our standard and Cecile found out that we have good taste. One evening she was sharing a collectivo with a colleague; she gets let off right near here and mentioned that she was getting bread here and was informed by a native that this is a good place for bread.
Joel and I like the kind that look like four little connected baguettes (the one the others are leaning on); when fresh, they’re crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Cecile is partial to the flatter kind that when you open them up have layers like a biscuit. They’re also dense kind of like a biscuit, but in a good way. I like them too … heck I like them all. And we all like that they make some with words on them, so as a treat today I bought one (most of them are larger versions of the flat square kind) which has the panaderia’s name on it.
Our normal route into the heart of Viña takes us down a street across from us with two pastelerias practically side by side. One looks and prices their goods fancier, the other is less expensive and has a larger variety, including a few breads, empanadas and a few other things. We tried them both, but discovered that the cheaper one has the better pancake de naranja. Didn’t get a picture of the storefront, so you’ll have to settle for a picture of the cake. Pancake de Naranja is another Chilean specialty, and the Chileans at my birthday party confirmed that this place has the right stuff. So we got some more as a going away present for us. Mmm it’s good. I’m sure there’s a recipe for it out there somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet. Sorry mom, but I am still looking.
Those are really the essentials; yes I did have a grocery store I went to, and a corner market for emergency eggs and produce (i.e. avocados) but I don’t have pictures and they wouldn’t be that exciting. Come to think of it, I may try and get our favored corner market tomorrow to share with you, because I just love the idea that they still have them here, all over the place. You really only need the supermarkets for packaged, processed foods, and we don’t eat many of those.