As many of you are well aware, Mark and I like to eat. Sure, we’re a wee bit picky, say, when it comes to red meat or chicken or things out of a can (won’t do it), and we don’t love to experiment with items that are considered specialties in some cultures (cow brains, sheep eyes, entire guinea pigs). But we have been known to stuff our faces from time to time . . . especially when said food is tasty. And hot damn, some of the food in Valpo has been surprisingly scrumptious.
Take our first meal, for instance. After pledging to start our trip off by sticking to a strict budget, we decided to splurge on some sushi. Yep, folks. That’s right . . . the meal we eat all the time in New York. Ridiculous, you say? Pish! This Chilean joint served up a mighty fine roll stuffed with pulpo (octopus), salmon (um, yes, that’s it), cukes, and . . . get this . . . goat cheese. Sounds gross? Shame on you, ye of no faith. I am here to tell you that it was delish.
And what might this steaming cauldron of fishy morsels be? Quite simply, the best seafood stew I’ve ever had the pleasure of slurping. Chock full of the freshest (Amen, Sister!) shrimp, clams, mussels, squid, and weird orange “things” I thought were peppers but tasted like chicken, this not-too-salty soup was perfect in every way . . . especially because we devoured it just after shopping for locally-grown produce in Valpo’s bustling Mercado (located just downstairs), which we spun into a fortifying home, or rather, hostal-cooked meal later that night.
Needless to say, our stomachs are bracing themselves for the potential food-related horrors that might lie ahead (Hey, I am a Burling after all). But in the spirit of Frank Bruni, we’d give both of these culinary establishments four stars.
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