Monday, December 26, 2011

December Round Up

Christmas morning = jammy-time
My nut & olive lady @ La Vega.  She has a crush on me,
I think her husband does too.
$2US gets you a bowl of killer ceviche.  It was very good.
Hey, ya'll, Matt here.  So December is almost over and with it come the holidays.  For those of you that we talked to on Christmas: it was great to see/speak with you and you were missed horribly.  To those that we didn't talk to: it would have been great to see/speak with you and you were missed horribly.
Sandwiches go in here.
Our buddy, Canuto, with his new kitten.
Prior to Christmas, the world, of course, has gone on.  As it is summer here there are a ton of good deals to be had on fruits and vegetables, outdoor fairs, and occasions to hang out with friends.  We've been finding particularly good deals at La Vega on avocados (look at the sticker on yours at the supermarket, they probably came from Chile); it has been delicious.  We also got to go to the first annual Sandwich Festival (Feria de Sanguche) at Parque Araucano (a park in a rich part of town).  The festival was kick-ass: it only cost $4US/each to get in and then craft beers were $2US and artisanal sandwiches & burgers were $3US.  We probably had about 3 sandwiches each, it was great.  
Cola de mono ingredients.  Settle down, Sara.
It has also been very fun seeing folks and watching the futbol (soccer) season wind down.  The Universidad de Chile (U. de Chile) won the Copa Sudamerica and are now in the finals for the Chile-wide tournament against Cobreloa (based out of Calama, Chile).
Definitely adjust amounts to your tastes
As it is Christmastime here too - though it doesn't feel like it as it is hot - it is time for Christmas-themed blogging.  Christmas is big down here, including the winter themes and all (strange as it is so hot).  All the children want to see Viajito Pascuero (Santa Claus) and get their favorite toys on Christmas Eve (when most Chileans celebrate).  One Christmas tradition here is a drink called the cola de mono (literally "monkey's tail").  This drink is basically milk and booze and will knock you on your ass if you aren't careful.  Here are the ingredients I used to make it:

Cola de mono and a slice of pan de pascua, breakfast of champions.

  • 1 liter milk (it comes in boxes here)
  • 1 cup aguardiente
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. coffee
  • Lemon zest (1/4)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
It is pretty easy to make, but you will need a few hours to let it cool down to appropriate drinking temperature (it is served w/o ice, but as cold as possible; again, it is very hot here on Christmas).
Here are the steps:

Christmas Eve dinner.  Pork chops, mashed potatoes, &
a Cuban salad (avocado, onion, tomato, mustard, oil).

  1. Combine milk, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, zest, and coffee in a pot and put on low heat, you don't want it to boil.
  2. Let it heat, stirring occasionally for about a 1/2 hour, it will be a nice cafe con leche color.
  3. Remove from heat.  As it is cooling slowly add sugar and then booze.  Strain into another container.
  4. Put in fridge and wait about 4 hours.
  5. Merry Christmas!
You can make plenty of variations to this recipe: Charlie recommended whiskey (gotta try that one!), I made one with a 1/2 c. of peanut butter that was good, and I've also heard that more/less booze can really change the flavor.  This drink is traditionally served with a slice of pan de pascua (Christmas bread, like fruitcake).
Big American breakfast on Christmas day
Getting snacktastic in Parque Forestal on Christmas
So for Christmas here Sara & I woke up at a reasonable hour after watching Christmas movies (National Lampoon's, Charlie Brown, etc.) the night before and had a big breakfast and opened gifts.  Afterwards, we packed up a big picnic and went to the park to sit in the sun, read, listen to music, throw the frisbee, and enjoy our first Christmas together (awwww).  While it was very different being hot and away from our families, plenty of cola de mono and gchatvideo/skype afterward made the day a success.  We closed out with a HUGE dinner at our local Peruvian restaurant, it was crazy good.  I haven't cursed that much at dinner in a long time/ever.
Millsy & Danielle are coming down this Wednesday, which will be a whole lot of fun.  I'll try to post some stuff from their visit and New Year's Eve celebrations in the new year.
At El Aji Seco for Christmas dinner, that food is unbelievably good. 
We hope your holidays were/are/will be everything you want them to be.  Our big hope for the New Year is that the troll-man who has taken up residence in the streets below our window moves on.  He sounds like a combination of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, and Dr.John, and loves to stay up late talking to no one about everything.


  1. Merry Christmas!!!! It is clear that Matt left his buzzers behind in the States!!!

    Love you both, Gabs

  2. Sounds like you have such good eats down there in Chile! Love the last picture of you two - so cute!

  3. Yum, that Peruvian dinner sounds delish. Ditto the Monkey Tail! We missed you guys tons, but really enjoyed scream-Skyping you on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. Oh and did you know that Lorelai got a tape measure?! Sorry we failed to get you on the second Xmas Day Skype attempt -- the Zwack Attack had taken over by then, and could not be stopped.

    Happy New Year! Love you guys!