What I appreciate most about traveling, is that it makes coming home that much sweeter. I haven't always felt this way. In fact, 'coming home' for many years caused me a troubling dose of anxiety, and often tears, usually en route to Manhattan from JFK in a yellow cab, barely inching along, choking in exhaust. I don't mean to insinuate that New York is a terrible place - it is indeed, precisely the opposite. But it wasn't home; this grand evergreen, ever-rainy, never too cold, never too hot, Washington, is home. I am reminded of this after spending a gorgeous fall day outside, planting garlic. That's not heaven for all; but for me, it is divine. I'm glad to be home, but visiting Chile, mostly Santiago, for the second time this decade was a treat. I anticipated many things: empanadas both baked and fried with a plethora of stuffing combinations, meat, so much meat, a healthy South American male appreciation for my not so natural these days blonde hair, a dependable cortado, ensaladas curiously missing the lettuce, and contrasts - everywhere. But I didn't anticipate the phenomenal wine, the multitude of high-end "gastromic" restaurants, with a full suite of wealthy, scene-conscious Santiaguinos to frequent them, and a hot dog called the Italiano dressed in an Italian flag of tomatoes, avocado, and creamy mayonnaise.
I slept late. Really late. My groggy, two connections plus a redeye eyes wandered to the clock - 2:15pm. Welcome to Chile. The sun is shining, the vino is flowing, and I have a succulent marinated pork "sanguche" from Ciudad Vieja's Sangucheria to greet me.
El Hombre doesn't arrive until tomorrow so, until then, I'm living it up in Sur America... And that means eating. And of course lots of ogling over food at the markets after I've filled my belly. For now, let's talk about this sandwich. Chileans love their sanguches- now I know why.