Despite our pretty disappointing adventure on Saturday at the Yein Fonda, we decided to give the holiday festivities one more try. After all, the entire city was closed down for the weekend, so searching out a Fonda was really our only option. We caught the news Saturday night and found that where we should have been that day was at the Parque O’Higgins Fonda. All the cool kids where there including President Piñera who officially opened Santiago’s largest Fonda by dancing the Cueca.
That’s him on the right being a rooster :)
Once we saw this on the news we knew that this was most definitely our next move in our little game of Fonda hunting. As I mentioned in my previous post, Tom and I were really looking for a big party with lots of traditional food, drinks, music, people, and maybe some dancing to watch. After our Saturday misadventure we were a little wary of venturing into another Fonda and getting our hopes and dreams dashed, but fortunately for us, Parque O’Higgins did not disappoint!
It was most definitely one gigantic party! My first impression (and still the best way to describe it I think) is that it was like the L.A. county fair with a Latin flair and a lot more dancing.
There was a ton of really delicious, unhealthy food and drink…just what we had in mind :)
Tom and some of the friends that we went with had these meat skewers which seem to be a very popular street food in Chile since you can find them just about everywhere.
There was meat being grilled on makeshift grills, sopapillas browning in hot oil, empanadas being kept warm on heated slabs, a food lovers paradise! Well at least if you’re a food lover of horribly bad for you fried foods :) Which we are, of course.
My absolute favorite treat to get in this type pf situation is a sopapilla. I didn’t get a picture but here’s what they look like:
They are made from pumpkin and deep fried. Chileans have been eating these deep fried pumpkin treats since 1726, and traditionally they are only prepared and eaten on rainy days…best rainy day food ever! Fortunately these days they don’t reserve this deliciousness for rainy days only. They can be served as a sweet or a savory depending on the type of sauce they are served with; dulce de leche for sweet, and pebre, mustard, or ketchup for savory. I’ve never had a sweet one before but I have had more than my share of savory sopapillas with delicious Chilean pebre sauce.
While I was busy picking up a sopapilla at each and every sopapilla stand we passed, Tom decided to get these frightfully shiny papas fritas
Papas fritas (or french fries) are also a super popular and common food in Chile, except that in my opinion they aren’t quite doing it right (note the unbelievable shininess of the pictured fries). Now, I certainly do not have a problem with deep fried things, grease is not necessarily a turn off for me, but this is just too much. And they seem to be like this everywhere. The papas fritas in Chile are very greasy and seemingly underfried since they are floppy and not at all crisp like the fries elsewhere. Which, is fine, of course they can fry potatoes however they darn well please, I’m just not so sure I’m on board with it. Tom however, seemed, totally pleased with his floppy fry purchase, but that could have had something to do with these
The legendary Terremoto. The terremoto is a bizarrely fascinating combination of sweet fermented whine called pipeño and pineapple ice cream. Oh yes, that’s right. To call it a cocktail would be a stretching the term far too far. However it’s uniqueness and creativity cannot be denied. It is an awful drink. I had heard many a warning about the power and the terrible taste of this legendary drink, but unfortunately I had to find out for myself. And boy, were the terremotos flowing in Parque O’Higgins.
It is believed that the terremoto was born at a well known Santiago bar called El Hoyo (or the hole). The story goes that some German reporters came to Santiago to report about the damages caused by the major earthquake that had struck the city in March 1985. Due to the heat, the reporters asked for something refreshing so a waiter called Guillermo Valenzuela added some ice-cream to a glass of pipeño. When they tried the concoction, they supposedly said “Esto sí que es un Terremoto” (This truly is an earthquake) due to how strong it was and the name stuck even since.
Teremotos come in a variety of “flavors” with different combinations of various liquors and pineapple ice cream. We also had an even more awful variation with Chicha, a fermented wine made from apples, which was kept in these comically large casks
As soon as this guy started pouring I knew I’d made a mistake :)
and later two of our more adventurous friends got one with a mint flavor. The mint was by far the worst of the bunch; just imagine creme de menthe, sweet fermented wine, and pineapple ice cream. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff?
After our earthshaking terremoto experience some of us (not me) decided to try our hand at some very obviously rigged carnival games (again I believe this lack of judgement was due to the aforementioned terremotos).
This strange and confusing game seemed to be a sort of “spin the bottle” with bottles type game. I couldn’t quite understand how this one worked, but I sure hope that they were giving away those bottles of booze as prizes because there was clearly not enough alcohol involved in this fonda (insert sarcasm here).
After a few failed attempts to knock over something with something or get a ring around something or throw a ball into whatever, we decided to stick to what we know best. More food. I knew going into this thing that there would be churros stuffed with dulce de leche and I would be having one. After scouting out a few churro vendors I finally decided on this churro truck
They were making them on site, it smelled delicious, and they had the blender with spout contraption (on the left) that dispenses that delicious life giving dulce de leche. Done and done!
I haven’t actually seen it done this way before here, but I loved the giant churro wheel that he pulled out of the fryer. Isn’t she lovely? Then the other guy cuts them into manageable pieces with scissors and uses the awesome blender and spout contraption to fill them with deliciousness
I took a picture of me eating this delicious mess but I have decided that it is not a flattering or accurate portrayal of my love of churros (or maybe the problem is that it’s too accurate), anyway suffice it to say I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you are ever in Chile and you see a churro truck parked on the side of the road, stop what you are doing and buy one immediately…you will not be sorry.
Our Parque O’Higgins Fonda adventure was a wonderful departure from the ordinary and a much needed reminder that we are living in a beautiful country with a lot of really fun and interesting cultural differences. Santiago tends to be so westernized that often we can forget that there is a Chile outside of this city that has wonderfully unique traditions. Despite our disappointing fonda fiasco on Saturday we ended our weekend on a high note with some fantastic food, earth shaking drinks, confusing carnival games, and good times with friends.