Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sangucheria Fresia en Bella Vista

Sandwiches are very BIG in Chile. Both in terms of size and popularity.

Yesterday it was 31, unbelievably bright sunshine, the kind of light and blue sky that makes everything just sparkle. My cell phone camera can't really capture it, but here is a view I noticed walking down the street (I was walking; the view was stationary).
Bright red flowers, bright red chimney, bright blue sky. And warm, warm, warm, with no humidity.

JP and I worked on the problem of entrepreneurship and mistakes from 11 until 1 pm, drinking espresso and eating torta chocolate (remarkable torta, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, though JP, who in this regard could be an honorary female, kept whining, "It could use more chocolate...")

So, exhausted from our labor, we went in search of sanguches. (Sandwich and sanguche are used interchangeably, sometimes on the same menu.) Went to three different places, but all were closed because of Easter weekend.

Then, JP had a brilliant idea: Bella Vista! Lots of tourists there, so all will be open. And, he was right. Bella Vista is an odd comuna/barrio, old houses and awful things like "Hollywood Hamburger" and souvenir shops that sell t-shirts with pictures of Allende, Subcomandante Marcos, Che, and other evil half-wits so lefty Americans can get their tacky souvenir lefty t-shirt and brag back home that they sampled local culture.

But the restaurants, outside of the tourist kennels, are just fine. We went to Fresia, a sangucheria Chilena. The way you order sandwiches is to pick a bread, a meat, and a style of preparation. (Here's the menu, click on the sandwich)

I had had the good sense not to blunt the edge of a noble hunger on torta, and of course it was lunchtime in Chile which means 2:30. Asi, tuve HAMBRE. I ordered the "frica" bread (panes, at the bottom of the menu), and the "mechada" meat (carnes, at the top center of the menu). Frica is a huge, plate-size split roll, and mechada is grandma-style roast beef, the kind she cooked for six hours with carrots and onions in the oven or crock pot.

So, that left style of presentation to choose. Solo (why?), completo, Italiano... but for me the only choice was "a lo pobre." Sandwich with a little mayo, meat, onions... a fried egg and a pile of french fries. Chilean health food, squirted liberally with fiery aji rojo.
A meal that size clearly cries out for cerveza, so I had three. A very nice Kross 500 ml each time, schop (on tap). Kross is one of my new favorite beers. Astonishing. I had no idea. (Side note: In Chile, if you order pale ale, which Kross is NOT, but I'm just saying, ask for "pah-lay ah-lay," and then be amused for an hour, just quietly and by yourself).

Inside, the Colo-Colos were getting hammered, 4-2, by JP's favorite team, Union Espanola. The screams of the Colo-Colinos were very musical, and entertaining. The reason I enjoy the screams of Colo-Colinos is that they are exactly like Yankee fans, except that....actually, that's it. They are exactly like Yankee fans. That's enough. Last time, we had to listen to their horrible songs. This was better.

Had to have a nap at 4 pm. An exhausting Saturday in the southern hemisphere. But I do recommend Sangucheria Fresia, in Bella Vista, as a very fine afternoon outing. You might try the "plateada" as an alternative for the carne. Plateada is a slow-cooked "rib cap," a cut of meat that doesn't exist in the US (it's the part of rib eye steak furthest from the bone, but cut with the grain rather than across it). Plateada and mechada appear, to me anyway, to have very similar preparations, but are different cuts of beef.


zimaroll said...

Is Chile a good place to live? Is it worth considering retiring there? Any colonies of American ex-pats?

Mungowitz said...

I'd say "yes" on all counts. And they are a LOT more pro-market and pro-liberty than the US. Not that that is difficult.