Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Mostly About Food

I decided to break my vacation pictures down into categories and today It's All About Food. Mostly.

But first I'd like to tell you that Argentina has a serious problem with adequate road signage. We took a different way home from Mendoza, thinking surely in the more populated areas there would be sufficient signage. NOT! Only one road (the first one) indicated what route it was -- and then only at the beginning, as we were leaving the city. The rest of the time we had to guess and/or stop to ask if we were on the right road.

It was also the longer way home so it should have taken about the same amount of time as Monday (when we added a couple hours onto the trip due to missing a turn) BUT the final 15 km into Carlos Paz took TWO HOURS because traffic was at a virtual standstill that last little stretch. We still don't know what was going on, although we overheard some people talking about the big folklore festival in Cosquin. But Cosquin is on the other side of the lake; we were miles and miles from there when traffic ground to a halt. Very curious.

Anyway, this story is way too long already so suffice it to say that I began to feel like Gilligan on his three-hour tour and wondered if we'd ever get home. We did. Thirteen hours after we started. *sigh* We did find some things to be thankful for the fact that the really bad traffic was at the end of the trip, after it was dark and the air was cooler and the sun was not beating mercilessly down on us...and that even though the air conditioning quit for part of the trip, it worked most of the time...and we did NOT run out of gas on a stretch of road that didn't have any gas stations for kilometers in either direction...

But it will be a while before I want to take any road trips.

Back to the fun part: the FOOD.

On the way to Mendoza on Monday we stopped at a little roadside restaurant in a town called Nono (the Italian word for grandpa) and I had an amazing eggplant sandwich.

Tuesday we ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe in downtown Mendoza and part-way through the meal a couple of musicians dressed in traditional Andes mountain garb and playing traditional Andes mountain instruments came along the street, periodically stopping to entertain diners. I tried to take a video so you could hear the music but we were sitting too far away to capture the sound, so you just get a photo.

I've mentioned the most amazing chocolate cake ever several times this past week. Here's a photo of one slice after I mangled it while trying to get it onto the plate (we bought it to take back to the hosteria).

I could go for another piece of that right now. Yummy!

Tina could eat pasta every single day I think. The girl has always been a huge fan of any kind of noodle, but especially ravioli. She had it several times this week with various kinds of sauces. Here's what she had Wednesday: ravioli stuffed with Gruyère and pine nuts and a Roquefort sauce.

On Sunday I shared a photo of the restaurant with the grapevine canopy covered veranda. Here's a shot of Ivan and Tina after we'd eaten. Ivan was enjoying a cup of coffee before we left.

BTW, the bottled water you see on the table is sold all over Argentina but it's bottled there really close to where we had lunch. There are several large water bottling facilities in that area; Eco de los Andes is what they serve at La Posada del Jamón.

Tina luuuuuuurves sushi! So of course we had to try out one of the new sushi places (someone told us the first sushi restaurant in Mendoza opened just six months ago; now there are two) and besides a sampler platter that we shared (and scarfed before remembering to take a photo) we had dessert: this dense and very rich chocolatey roll with caramel sauce and a passion fruit puree. ¡Muy delicioso!

Finally, my favorite meal of the entire week: vegetables baked in a clay oven. Oh my, but I could eat this every day like Tina does pasta. So incredibly good I cannot even find the words.

Different kinds of squash, eggplant, carrot and onion were slow roasted in the clay oven, then topped with bean sprouts, homemade potato chips and deep-fried carrot curls. In all seriousness, I asked Ivan if he would build me a clay oven in our back yard so I could try to make this myself. Because the thought of only getting to eat it when we visit Mendoza once every couple or three years is just too sad to contemplate!

It's going to take a while to catch up on blog reading. Today I'm focusing on those involved in Project 365. It may take a while, but I'll eventually get to everyone...between loads of laundry and other chores. I don't know about you, but traveling just saps my energy and I'm always moving in slow motion after a big trip. There's so much to do (the laundry alone is like a full-time job the first day home) and trying to get back into the suddenly realize it's lunchtime and no one else is making it for you today. Vacation is truly over. *sigh*


Sharon said...

Not NEARLY enough information on the eggplant sandwich. Please provide detailed description ASAP. (Grilled? marinated? toppings? bread: crusty or soft?) I want one NOW.

The Bug said...

Wow that food looked wonderful! I'm very sad that I'll probably never get to try the chocolate cake :(

I feel the same way after vacation is over - if we don't unpack everything RIGHT AWAY it can languish for days. And I sure don't want to get back into my regular routine. However, once I do I usually feel better.

SmallTownRunner said...


That is all.

skoots1mom said...

wow, what fun you had and the food all looks as delicious as you described...
13 hours is ridiculous, i can see why you're so tired.
i'm so thankful you didn't run out of gas, too.
What a wonderful way to spend time with your family :)
have a great week 4!

rita said...

It's all your fault I indulged in a piece of yummy chocolate cake with rich chocolate/coconut frosting yesterday! ;)

Mari said...

Oh my - it all looks good! The chocolate cake is calling to me!

Lhoyt said...

Ravioles with any kind of sauce sound good to me right about now!!

How I would have loved to visit Mendoza!

Did you get any of the 'pan casero' Tina mentioned on FB? That is fantastic stuff, worthy of many repeats.