A shout out to Restaurant Cooperativa de Pescadores

 We spent a couple of days (3 hours out of Santiago) in a region in the north near the ocean close to Los Vilos.  Imagine desert complete with cactuses, dirt roads, mountains, all with a little bit of cloudy skies, an ocean view and some wind to keep things cool.  It's been a pretty set 90 degrees here in Santiago....I'm not complaining, but it was even nicer to have an ocean breeze.

The night we stayed on the coast, like any time traveling and eating, we had a bit of a scavenger hunt finding the right restaurant to eat....

The first beach we went to was extremely touristy with only 2 over priced restaurants, so we drove an extra 30 minutes for the good stuff with rumors of delicious seafood in Los Vilos...we spent another 30 minutes driving around town, but we found the hidden gem of a restaurant and it delivered, complete with a hippy gringo satisfying name!  (Who doesn't love a cooperative?)

A fishermans cooperative with a view of the bay and the best pisco sour (A lemon juice and sugar cocktail with pisco - a sort of sweet liquor grappa) I've ever had in my life!  I don't have a picture of it, but he shook it table side in a cocktail shaker and poured it into each glass fresh....the pisco was top grade, as were the lemons and sugar used...it all makes a difference in this drink.

The bread was served warm and made from scratch with the most delicious and slightly spiced pebre (tomato salsa)

and for $15 you can eat this:

Freshly caught that day - crab, mussels, scallops, more mussels, fresh shrimp, oh my god!  Amazing!  There was more included as well that they brought out on a seperate plate, thick slices of special kinds of mussels...imagine baseball sized mussels, so big, they slice them in strips, like sirloin!  Incredible!  

I just want to point out one small distinction from scallops in Chile vs. scallops in the USA....
Pictured - Chilean style scallop:

This is a scallop.  A real scallop.....there is a red bit attached....we don't have that in the USA.  This part of the scallop is rich and creamy and delicious and similar in texture to a sea urchin or ..non seafood...perhaps some very soft liver.  AMAZING!  Scallop is my new favorite seafood.  That red bit for me made all the difference....I'd never understood what the big deal was with that round white thing...so little, kind of chewy.  Also, almost all of this was served semi raw or very lightly cooked...the scallops don't need chewing really, and they sort of dissintegrate in your mouth.  You truly taste the sea!

This plate full of amazingness was just a starter.  I didn't get a photo of the incredible and delicious fish fry to follow that came with your choice of potato and salad...which usually aren't included in a meal like this....you pay for your meat and sides seperately...so it was also CHEAP!  

An entire meal of 3 pisco sours, 2 main plates of fish with salads, a huge appetizer for three, a bottle of water and chamomile liquors at the end all around....40,000 Chilean pesos = $60.  CHEAP!

*** just a little side note about eating fish in Chile***
Something that will always confuse me I think is how a menu is laid out in a seafood restaurant here...it's organized by types of fish...usually 5 or 6 options....sometimes not all of them are available becuase....yep....they're directly caught from the ocean that day!  Under each fish "title"...Reineta (pomfret...right...like we know what that is?), Salmon, Corvina (sea bass), etc..is how you'd like it cooked, repeated over and over again....in butter, battered, with different sauces, it's all quite confusing to me, so I've tended to sneak bits from other people's plates....the pressure is just too great to make the right decision, I want to try it all!  First I have to know what kind of fish is the right one to get...usually this includes a special kind just from that region, and then, for each type, there is a reccommended way it should be cooked....Rodolfo always gets it right of course...the connosieur that he is.  I trust his judgment to get it right.  The servings are also usually pretty huge.  It's hard to finish a plate on my own.
****just thought I'd share*****

Oh...and right....here's the view from the fisherman's cooperative:
  Those boats?  They're the ones that caught our meal!

This is the kind of place Rodolfo is always looking for when we travel and they can be difficult to find but they are out there!

So highlight of the week?  This restaurant!  NOM!!!!!  Come here and eat this!  You won't regret it!



I'm a loser baby, and I love it!

My email inbox is....
Absolutely nothing there!
No expectations, no responsibilities, no requirements.....the calendar is empty...

Which always brings to question that feeling that comes when nothing is going on....savoring the moment that I've been waiting for..."I CAN RELAX!" but also in that same moment...the questions come...is something wrong?  Is everything ok?  Am I being too lazy?  Should I be doing something more?  Planning for what's to come?  Am I not being a good enough....(fill in the blank)

The thing with this is, I can finally do and think about and see all the stuff I've been putting on the back burner for so long.  It opens up space for the very necessary bigger, harder questions I've been trying not to ponder...which is painful and complicated and at this point very important.  The who am I and what do I want to do next questions...which never really get answered anyways, but really good to think about.  What did I like about my last job?  What am I good at?  What do I want to do next?  

My biggest news?
I actually stayed up dancing til 6am in the morning at a Chilean wedding.  Yes.  This is a big achievement for me as a Minnesotan who's bed time is around 9pm on a school night....even as an adult.

There's a lot of social activities Rodolfo and I enjoy doing together, but with our opposite schedules for the past 3 years, I've had to say no to......late night partying was one of them.  Getting up at 5 in the morning tended to put a cap on that.  Even if I wasn't working, I would get tired earlier then he would.

It's nice to know I still "got it" and also nice to know that it's not "me", it was the job.  Getting jiggy with it is still in the cards!  

Here's a pic I took at 6am of the sunrise from our bedroom window before falling asleep...


Chorillana = HEAVEN!

When in Chile, we become crazy fiends in the kitchen!
Baking, cooking, making salads...I don't know why this is, probably all the free time and the delicious cheap produce available, but when I'm here I dream about sautéing onions and contemplating how to combine flour and water together to make something yummy....or what vegetable I can chop up and add lemon, olive oil and salt to, to create a delicious salad. Yes.  It is utopia.  

I'll grant you, this is where our brains are anyways 80% of the time wherever we are, but in Chile, for me, food is like 95% of what I think about. Once one meal is eaten savoring every bite, I start to dream about what is next.....not to mention the fact that "a meal" here usually consists of at least 3 courses - an entree with a beverage, a salad, a dessert  served with an espresso for lunch and dinner.....grant you, we are on vacation right now and we have time for this stuff. (I've been skipping breakfast just to make more room for the other big two!  Cooking in or going out, it's just so much fun to eat!!!

So, one meal I had always wanted to try for the last 9 years that we finally tried on our first night in Chile is called Chorillana.  It's a bar food, kind of an equivalent to nachos in my mind....but it's so much more. If I could eat it every day, oh my god, I would be so happy....and so fat, but so, so happy!!!!

Let me explain/find an Internet photo!

Imagine...,.freshly cut and fried french fries, topped with pieces of meat and sautéed onions and top THAT with a couple of fried eggs. Oh my god right? Some gringo is going to catch on to this and make so much money!  I guess it's similar to the Montreal poutine. But there's sunny side up eggs!  And meat! And the fries are perfect and a little bit soft.....you break the eggs open and the yolks melt into the fries and it's just this big fried happy pile of LOVE!!!!

One photo is not enough to suffice:

BOOM!  Am I right?  Tell me I'm right!  I know I am. Heaven on earth. 



I'm getting a little bit o' the chub thanks to all of the delicious things I've been happily eating with happy people in happy places, so I went on a little happy run tonight while Rodolfo is out playing pichanga (boys night soccer scrimmage with a lot of swearing) with his brother....awwww.  This is my first run in 3 years. Hopefully not my last this year as I found a perfect route with very few stop lights, very few snarky dogs to terrify me behind fences and very few cars!  We are now staying in the Nuñoa neighborhood of Santiago which is lovely.  Lots of shops and cute funky houses, people walking dogs and with kids and watering yards....its nice. And I didn't get lost!
My favorite part of chilean summer is how long it takes for the sun to set over the mountains. I just spent the last 30 minutes admiring the colors of the sky as they faded into dark. Lovely. 


Ripe vs. Cozy

I'd really like to write about how amazing it is to be in Chile during fruit season, I really do!  But it sounds a bit like bragging to someone reading this trying to digest a half ripe cantaloupe for breakfast, or manage to get down a hard bitter red delicious apple.  It would be cruel to go into detail how sugary sweet and perfectly ripe a strawberry can be, or the blood red color of a tomato that also, yes, tastes sweet from perfect ripeness. Melon like candy. Plums you have to eat in one bite, or they'll explode everywhere and drip down your face. 

Yes....I'd love to go into all of this in detail, but then I'm pretty certain my friends living up north will no longer speak to me, because I've been them and felt the strong desire to throw my computer across the room looking at other peoples vacation photos in the month of January while staring out the kitchen window at drifts of snow....lips chapped, toes cold, sitting at the kitchen table in my winter jacket over my pajamas, because the idea of actually taking off layers seems ludicrous...especially when I'm going to have to at some point go out and shovel snow....again!

My heart goes out to my midwest clan today. so, instead, since we always want what we can't have, here's some of the things I will truly feel like I'm missing out on in 2015 while living in....ok, I'll admit, FREAKING PARADISE! :

Hot cocoa
Big pots of Stew
Roasting chicken and veggies in the oven
Watching snow fall
The sound of silence walking thru fresh snow in the city
A big cup of coffee.....I always miss this when I'm in Chile. Dinky cups galore. 
The idea that I could ski or find my skis, it's a concept thing 
Same goes for snow shoeing. 
Taking pictures of trees covered in snow. 
How great it feels to get home inside the door and be instantly warm
Being cozy under loads of blankets reading a book or watching a movie 
A big tall German sized glass of porter 
(You can take the girl out of the midwest, but you can't take the midwest out of the girl!)
Hmmmm....coziness. Enjoy it for me will you!  Send me a pic and I'll ponder throwing my iPad across the room in celebration of your awesomeness, how's that?


It's 1 am in chile.

I hope this isn't too late to set my hope for the new year to bring lots and lots of writing. 
And reading. 
And eating. 
And walking.and even more biking after all of that eating. 

And lots of time doing all those things in the presence of/near/in thinking of those I love the most. 

May 2015 be a whacky one!
Let's rock this thing!!