A Vegetarian in South America

So when I told my friends in the states that I was going to South America for two weeks, a common response was along the lines of “omg steak in Argentina!! oh wait…. what are you going to eat then?” What indeed? My basic knowledge of both countries suggested that neither were particularly vegetarian-friendly, being either beef-centric (Argentina) or seafood-centric (Chile). But both had some Italian influence, and I’ve managed in plenty of countries – besides, that’s part of the adventure right?

To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed in Chile – I assumed, incorrectly, that a country which exported so much produce would be fairly vegetarian-friendly. You can totally manage, but you manage by eating pizza and sandwiches. Those are obviously not the only things I ate while I was there, but they were a good chunk of it. I feel like I ate mostly bread and cheese and tomatoes, in various forms while I was there. That said, I did have a couple really good sandwiches.

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This one I got in a cafe in Puerto Varas, Caffe El Barrista. Their food was actually so good I went their twice. This sandwich was lettuce, sauteed scallions and mushrooms, and goat cheese either cooked with, or possibly marinated in soy sauce. I’m not sure exactly where is came in but it was definitely in there.

One of the strangest tasty foods I had was at RestoBar in Ancud. This place does a bunch of things, including “TexMex” which naturally I had to try. So I ordered their vegetarian burrito. My burrito (which was big enough for 2-3 people) was just sautéed vegetables that had been mixed with lemon juice I think on the inside and then cheese was melted over the top of the burrito, and then there was a thin layer of sour cream and guacamole. And the whole thing was surrounded by Doritos. It was really good. Not TexMex, but really good.

sorry about the pic - I blame the restaurant's lighting

sorry about the pic – I blame the restaurant’s lighting

Mendoza was an amazing surprise – the food there was delicious and so many options for vegetarians! And while Argentina may be renowned for beef, they do pasta like nobody’s business. The best I had was at Siete Cocinas, a super nice restaurant I went to for my last meal in Argentina (warning, its a prix fixe menu). It was goat cheese ravioli with fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and sweet roasted sunflower seeds. It was amazing. I had it with a perfectly paired glass of malbec (wines are getting their own post).

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Another incredibly delicious thing I had was at El Palenque, and it was crepes filled with a spiced corn mixture, with cheese on top. They were served in a bowl that was then filled with cream sauce. I suppose anything swimming in cream sauce would be delicious, but this was up there. I’d post the picture, but all you’ll see is a bowl of white, so you’ll have to take my word for it.  Song of the Week: Open Road Song, by Eve 6 – one of my top 3 late 90s rock bands, I’ve been jamming to this song a lot for the past couple days. It’s awesome so you should jam along with it too.

 

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