At the risk of being auto-referente (self-centered, which is not the same as egoísta, which is really more about being selfish, and yes, there is a difference), I would like to guide your reading eyes to this nifty story I wrote for Bootsnall about fifteen latin american fruits to surprise your palate (who wrote that headline, I wonder? The fact that I don't know is a sure sign that oy, I've got too much going on right now). Anyway, Latin American fruits! Go! Read!
And what inspired me to write this article? Years of near-vegetarianism, with a promise to myself that if something came across my plate (or in my glass) that I "could" eat (issues of whether I probably could eat meat aside) or drink, I would do so. Which brought me to the dreaded tomate de arbol, on many, many occasions.
I don't say it in this article, but tomate de arbol (or as I like to call it, the dreaded tomate de arbol) is one of only two fruit/plant based foods I've ever tasted that made me want to die. (The other is mozuku, a japanese seaweed dish I recently found out the name of through Pele Omori's recent article on Matadortravel.com). So, tomate de arbol. I don't want to ruin it for you, so I'll just say it tastes rusty to me, and let you do the rest of the taste adventures for yourselves. And I will also tell you that I've had it raw and cooked, with sugar and without and in all of its various juice forms. I almost wept when I saw that they had it growing outside of my host family's house in Cuenca, Ecuador.
And, all of this would be terribly unfair if I didn't do a plug for a place I found by happenstance the other day, which sells all kinds of tropical fruit juices, whipped up before your very eyes from frozen pulp, with as much sugar or sweetener as you like (or don't), and with water for luka (1,000 pesos, around 85 cents) or mil trecientos (1,300 pesos, you do the math) with milk. Half a liter is a lot of juice, people!
It's called Del Caribe, and it's just a little juice joint for carry-away. They have my all-time favorite fruit, Lulo (naranjilla in Ecuador), and a bunch of others, including the dreaded tomate de árbol. pineapple, blackberry, mango, curuba (what's that?) guava, passionfruit and soursop, too. You can buy a kilo of frozen fruit pulp to take home for 3,500 pesos, which they say makes 5 liters.
Datos: www.delcaribe.cl, Antonio Bellet and Providencia. While I give the juices a thumbs' up, I do not take any responsiblity for the overuse of really bad flash animation, nor for the image of the colliding decapitated fruit that then appears to bleed into a glass on the website. Don't say I didn't warn you.
As far as I know, this is the only place in Santiago to get this variety of fruit juices, and while it runs afoul of the whole "drink local" thing, so did the ginger-mango sour I had one night out with Chris when he was in town, and he didn't judge me, so you shouldn't either.
Anyone want to go out for a juice? We could walk over to the sculpture garden in Pedro de Valdivia norte to enjoy it, but by then we'd probably have drunk it all, sadly.