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.