"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Isabel & La Mar in Santiago, Chile - Top Ten Meal!

During Geeks on a Plane South America I had the amazing experience of being taken out to La Mar Cebicheria in Santiago. The meal was superb and I was SO HAPPY to have one of my best friends, Isy/Isabelita, join us! It had been about a year since we last saw each other and to meet at a top restaurant in her current home town was absolutely wonderful. Here is a picture of Isy and I followed by a group shot of all the Geeks at La Mar Cebicheria in Santiago, Chile. 

As you read through this post you may want to refer to the gastronomic dictionary on the global La Mar website. Our experience began with authentic Chilean Pisco Sours - the national drink - although many will say the origin of the drink is Peruvian. A Pisco Sour is a cocktail containing Pisco, lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup and bitters. These drinks are strong and delicious and not too sweet:  
Because we were out to dinner with a couple of Peruvians who took this meal very seriously - they took control of all the food ordering. They ordered the best dishes! The seafood was all freshly caught, the flavors simple using few ingredients but very obviously high quality ingredients. Everything tasted fresh, delicious and extremely flavorful. Our meal began with a mix of Kennebec potato, sweet potato and plantain chips served with a selection of sauces - huancaina and rocoato sauce. I am not sure what the third sauce is here: 
Next, and perhaps my favorite part of the meal was the chef's sample tasting of cebiches! Cebiche is the national dish of Peru. The tasting included 5 different kinds of cebiche served in generous shot glasses. They included:
  • Cebiche Clásico - Halibut in a leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Mixto - Yellow tail, calamari, shrimp in a aji amarlio leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Chalaco - Yellow tail, mussles, clams, scallop, shrimp, red onion, cilantro in a rocoto leche de tigre
  • Cebiche Carretillero - Yellow tail, shrimp, mussels, clams, celery, red onion cilantro, cancha and habanero in a classic leche de tigre with Peruvian corn and yam
  • Cebiche Nikei - Tuna, red onion, japanese cucumber, daikon, avocado, nori and sesame in a tamarind leche de tigre
Next up we had a plate with  a different kind of cebiche. In this photo you can see how Peruvian corn is so much larger and plump than American corn:
Next we had these delicious freshly caught white fish (I don't remember if it was tuna or yellow tail) served with thinly sliced red onion, Peruvian corn, and a sweet potato puree.
After three course of cebiche and faw fish we had a selection of causas. Causas are a combination of whipped potatoes topped with seafood and vegetarian combinations.  We got a chef's causas tasting which included:
  • Causa Limeñ - Dungeness Crab on top of a yellow potato causa with avocado purée, quail egg, cherry tomatoes, ají amarillo Huancaína sauce and basil cilantro oil
  • Causa Nikei - Tuna tartar and avocado purée on top of whipped purple potato with creamy rocoto Huancaína sauce topped with Japanese nori
  • Causa Camaró - Sweet and spicy poached shrimp and fried onions on top of purple potato with leche de tigre aiol
  • Causa Caser - Yellow potato causa, artichokes, asparagus, avocado and tomato confit with basil cilantro oil
Next we had a divine octopus skewer over a  pureed yuca with Peruvian corn, spicy panchita and rocoto sauce:
Next we had the main course which was steak literally covered with french fries and served with a mound of rice mixed with Peruvian corn. This was delicious. Served with roasted tomatoes and onions. Carbo overload yes but it was very satisfying.
Finally for dessert we had these sweet potato and pumpkin fritters served with a spiced honey sauce. 
La Mar Cebicheria
Santiago, Chile
N. Costanera 3922, Vitacura. t. 207839

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