Tag Archives: Chile

What to drink for a Chilean Christmas: Cola de Mono

chileLooking for a beverage to serve at your holiday feast, and wanting something a little different than Eggnog? Try some Chilean Cola de Mono – literally “Monkey Tail.” Cola de Mono is similar to a White Russian and contains milk, coffee, aguardiente, spices and and sugar – served chilled. No one is quite sure where the name “Monkey Tail” comes from, but theories abound: it will have you swinging around like a monkey, it was originally bottled in discards from the Spanish Anisette brand Anís del Mono, or another apocryphal story that it is a morphing of the name of former president Pedro Montt (who had the nickname “Monkey”). Here are simple recipes from Eat Wine Blog and All Recipes. Salud!

colademono

Cola de Mono from Restaurant Kaialde

 

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A Taste of Chile in Brazil: El Guatón

chileEl Guatón
Rua Artur de Azevedo, 906
Pinheiros, São Paulo, Brazil

El Guatón was our first foray into Chilean food, and we had to go all the way to Brazil to do it! One of the world’s great foodie cities, São Paulo is known for its range of restaurants. We were excited (but not really surprised) to find a Chilean restaurant among its ranks of eateries.  We heard good things about El Guatón, and looking at their menu online we noticed some similarities with both Peruvian and Argentine restaurants that we had visited before. We were on board!

Dinner at El Guaton in Sao Paulo

Dinner at El Guatón in São Paulo

El Guatón is cute and cozy with red-tablecloths, and a little patio out front. Unfortunately, we arrived on a chilly day, so everyone chose to stay warm inside. We got a small table in the back, which – at the risk of stereotyping Brazilian restaurants – means you will never be served. But the service was prompt and courteous, and even more surprising for Brazil, there was a basket of food placed on our table for zero charge. In the land of couverts, this was a nice change! El Guatón also features an extensive wine list,featuring many Chilean varieties. There is even a bottle of the house red put on the table, and most people do seem to take advantage of it.

Chilean Empanada

Chilean Empanada

One of the most popular items on the menu, according to reviews, are the empanadas (in Spanish) or empadas (in Portuguese), terms basically referring to the same sort of delicious carb filled with meat or cheese. The cost was a reasonable at R$6 for baked and R$8.50 for fried. We ordered a baked cheese, and fried shrimp. The baked empanada was slightly smaller and a had a lighter taste, perhaps it would be good for the “health-conscious” empanada lover (if such a person exists). The fried variety was seemingly twice as big and came out piping hot, with a tender crust and nice oozy cheese. They definitely made both of these varieties to order – and it showed. YUM!

El Guaton Ceviche

El Guatón Ceviche

Beyond empanadas there were a variety of meat and seafood dishes including picanha, fried fish, ceviche and humitas (Chilean tamales). Matt is a major fan of ceviche, and after our successful ceviche meal in Rio at Cevicheria Carioca (review forthcoming!), he wanted another hit. The ceviche at El Guatón was only R$53 for fish ceviche for two. It is plenty large enough for two people, and in many ways simpler and subtler than many of the Peruvian ceviches with which he, and many readers, may be more familiar. This ceviche was simple: just white fish, lime juice, diced white onions, and cilantro – a combination that resulted in a rather tame tiger milk, but still mixed and effectively presented all the great flavors.

We were also surprised to find lúcuma on the menu. A fruit native to mountain valleys in the Andes, Matt grew to love its sweet potato / maple / nutty flavor while living in Peru.  El Guatón featured a lúcuma cake (R$13), which was very tasty, but essentially just a puff-ball of whipped cream on a very thin crust. It needed a little more substance (and definitely a little more lúcuma).

We had a great meal at El Guatón and we wish there were more Chilean places around. We love it almost as much as Peruvian food! Maybe someday we will be back, until then we’ll have to scour for another Chilean eatery. Is there a Chilean restaurant in your neck of the woods?

Lucuma Cake

Lúcuma Cake

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Chile: Carica

CaricaJarchileI’m always intrigued by new dishes, but it’s not often I encounter an entirely new fruit. So when I saw something called a Carica mysteriously jarred at Brennan’s in Madison, I knew I had to try it. So, what’s a Carica? It’s a sweet fruit, grown in South America, especially in Chile, and it is also known as a Mountain papaya. Despite the name, it’s not exaclty like the type of papaya we are familiar with here in the states. It certainly tastes different – with tinges of pear and peach alongside a the more familiar papaya notes. Carica would be good with anything that usually calls for a papaya. We like them over ice cream!  The main importer of Carica in the US is Tamaya (check out their site for recipes), we don’t know of any places you can get it fresh yet.

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