Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Evening on Isidora Avenue

I'm blogging a day behind because I have been really busy, but I am excited to tell you more about my adventure so I will keep up with what I do as best I can. Yesterday, I went out again for dinner. This time I went to Santiago's financial center, which is the newest area of town. Big shiny skyscrapers jet up from just about every block and trendy restaurants, hotels, and fancy apartments line the streets. It is quite the contrast to the rest of town. The area I am working and staying in is called Providencia, and it is more like a neighborhood with working people. It is nice. There are lots of little shops and cafes, but it doesn't look like life along Isidora Avenue.

Isidora reminded me very much of Washington, D.C. for some reason, modern and edging on important. Everyone around looked like they fit the part. Men were dressed in nice jackets and woman in leather boots and pretty scarves. There was a tiny Catholic church amidst it all and I found that a bit odd. Obviously, I was out and about to see the sights and eat a fancy meal, but I couldn't help but think of all the people in the shantytowns I drove past coming into Santiago from the airport. That little church reminded me of the poor. It made me think a lot about wealth and well-being in general. Why are the two always paired together? The simple neighborhood market I visited today and bought a three dollar empanada from was practically just as fun and good for the soul.

But every so often it is nice to splurge. The restaurant we chose to visit was called Coquinaria. This restaurant is at the base of Santiago's famous W Hotel. The dining tables are set in the middle of a gourmet market. Anything you eat you can buy later, from fine spices and chocolate to artisan cheese and teas. It was very nice. What I loved best about this restaurant were the unique flavors they paired together. We ordered bruschetta as a starter. Like sushi, the Chef decides what is fresh for the day and what to top the bruschetta with. It was REALLY good. There were just four pieces but they were all excellent flavor combinations. The first had raw salmon, cream cheese, a sweet glaze, and sesame seeds. The second, salty prosciutto, a fig and raisin fruit compote, and sliced tomatoes. The third, pesto and shrimp. And the fourth, which was my favorite, had an olive tapenade, small slices of blue and brie cheese, and honey drizzled on top. How cool! I loved the creativity.

I ordered fish again for my main course. I wish I could remember what type, but it was a white fish, it reminded me of cod. It was sauteed in a cinnamon, sugar, and spice rub and was served with a tomato avocado salsa. Very good. For dessert my colleague and I each had a trio of small dishes of creme brulee. The trio was pistachio, coffee, and orange. What a treat. This has been the best food so far. Although, there are several other things I must try before I leave, but I am really glad I had this experience in Santiago. My work colleagues are really nice! Oh right, I am working hard in Chile, but all I write about is the food! More to come later.

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