Category Archives: Drinks

(Fanschop, Wine, terremoto, chicha, pisco sour, etc.)

Viña Von Siebenthal Presents: Chico Trujillo

Macha / Chico Trujillo

Chico Trujillo celebrating 15 years of Viña Von Siebenthal, November 2012

There are some great stories in Chilean wine, and Viña Von Siebenthal has its share. Wine-loving Swiss lawyer Mauro Von Siebenthal dreamed of making a wine of his own and set about turning wishes to reality in the Aconcagua Valley. Continue reading


Bad Translation Fun: Menus

Bad Translation Fun Menu: Choritos to the Vapor, Chile

May I have Males to the Vapor ?

You don’t need to travel far outside your language zone to find well-meaning but often funny and even unfortunate translations. Signs, tourism information, and especially restaurant menus are often a great source of entertainment (as the Asian-oriented fun-with-language-gaffes site Engrish proves over and over again) , and Chile is no exception. Get your red-hot menu blunders here! Continue reading

Alameda 777 Something old, Something new

Santiago de Chile–city full of nooks and crannies and little secrets right under your nose–no wonder I love it.

Alameda 777 Santiago  © M Snook 2010Despite having lived here “forever” it took a foreigner less than 2 days in Chile (that’s you @cfarivar) to find a place I’d walked by a zillion times and never noticed! So the other night, after an incredible Chinese meal at Mr. Wu (which I’ll leave for another post), the four of us were still enjoying ourselves too much to go home, and as we zipped along Alameda (Santiago’s main drag), I asked if anyone had ever heard of what had been described as an “unpretentious” bar called 777… and the next thing you know, there we were, standing in front of the entrance with no sign, a barely legible and heavily tarnished brass street number about 8 feet up, a tattered liquor license posted above that, and a steep and winding, dark, and heavily graffitied stairway leading to who knows where… Continue reading

Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile: 2009 Annual Awards

Let’s take a break from all the earthquake talk for a bit, because life does, after all, go on!

Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile 2009 Annual Awards, March 2010

Each year the Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile (Chilean Circle of Food & Wine Writers) celebrates the movers and shakers in Chile’s world of food and wine with a special awards ceremony. This year’s event (the 2009 Awards) was held at Oporto Restaurant in Las Condes (Santiago)  last night. Continue reading

Megavisión & Extranjeros—Foreigners in Chile

Some 3,000,000 foreigners traveled to the ends of the earth to visit Chile in 2008. Mega Noticias (the Megavisión TV news program) journalists Carolina Rivera & Frederic Reyes were curious to know who they were and why they came. Their special report on “Extranjeros en Chile (Foreigners in Chile) aired on November 12.

Megavision Extranjeros-intro

The topics covered are varied and ranged from experiences of tourists to those of us who decide to stay for a while—or a lifetime.

Dan “the Gringo” Brewington and his all-English Santiago Radio are featured, as are 20-somethings on a quest for extreme sports (bungee jumping, zip-line “canopy”), love-it-all exchange students, hostel-dwelling backpackers, and taxi saints & sinners. There’s a bit of everything here—and you can see it all by clicking the links below.

Do you know the difference between a gringo rum-cola and a Chilean ron-cola? Find out at the California Sports Cantina & Restaurant (Las Urbinas 56, Providencia)… it’s the size of the pour. A 3-second pour plus a splash for the gringo version and a whopping 6-second pour a la chilena. No wonder the gringos start dancing on tables so quickly! Not used to the Cuba Libre (which, of course, they can’t get in the States!). This bar owned and operated by a couple of gringos play up the intercultural mix—for example, their pizzas with Chilenisimos names such as “la wena,”  the “huemul mágico,” the “no te creo,” and the “cacháipuweon.”

Gringos aren’t the only ones in the kitchen however. Anyone who’s been to Salaam Bombay (Av. Rancagua 0390) are familiar with the ever-present Ram, the manager, waiter, and jack of all trades who runs the place who will return to India to meet and marry his bride in December. He confesses he likes Chilean cazuela, so Carolina and Frederic invite him to the Casa Vieja at Av. Chile España 249, Ñuñoa, to teach him how it’s made—and where he takes the chef by surprise with his very Chilean sense of humor.

The Brazilian immigrants certainly cannot be left out. They meet in their favorite meeting place Guris Brasiliero restaurant in Ñuñoa (Los Leones 3093) to relax, eat, speak Portuguese, dance, and complain about the cold.

There are all kinds of us here, some are tourists, some are students or adventurers here for a short time—and there are plenty of us (ahem, see my hand raised?)—who just fall in love with the place and have made lives for ourselves here.

Part I (14:24)

Megavision Extranjeros-Part1

Click the image to see Extranjeros en Chile- Part 1

Part II (14:17)

Megavision Extranjeros-Part 2

Click the image for Extranjeros in Chile Part 2



Chile’s Fiestas Patrias: Fondas for September

Another major part of Chile’s Fiestas Patrias—Independence Day celebrations—are the “fondas.” Also called “ramadas” because they are often made with branches (ramas) these temporary fairs are set up in parks all over the country for about 10 days of food, games, drinking, dancing, crafts of all sorts, and general good times to be had. Some of the bigger (and/or more rural) ones have rodeos and most will have cueca contests.  There are the municipal versions as well as some of the more popular ones such as the now-famous “Yein Fonda” (which in Chilean sounds just like the actress) and the Guachaca version full of cueca chora.

Fonda Collage-2009

Continue reading

San Lunes: Chile’s Stormy Monday

Manolo didn’t show up for work yesterday. He was honoring San Lunes, they said. It seems that Manolo is quite the pious man because he clearly takes San Lunes very seriously and spends many a Monday devoted to his patron saint…

In a country that regularly celebrates holidays in honor of Vatican-sanctioned saints and virgins, the yet-to-be canonized San Lunes (literally, Saint Monday) may be the most popular of all. There are other popular saints (see animitas), but this one in particular not only holds a special place in Chilean hearts, minds—and hangovers—he’s is also usually good for a chuckle (or cluck) depending on one’s position.

Blues singer T-Bone Walker may have said it best, They Call it Stormy Monday (take a listen!), and it’s never been anyone’s favorite day of the week. And whether your long-awaited, well-irrigated weekend begins when the eagle flies on Friday or it’s a case of “hoy canta Gardel,” sometimes it’s just too hard to roll out of bed on Monday.

Most references to San Lunes seem to date back to the beginning of the industrial revolution in Europe, when workers had just one day off per week and spent a good deal of it ‘bending the elbow and hoisting the jug,’ resulting in an abysmal outlook on life come Monday morning. A day spent in the forgiving arms of San Lunes is a surefire way of returning repentant revelers to the fold.

Time-honored ways of venerating the Patron Saint of the Hangover:

  • San Lunes insists that his devotees honor him from a prone position until well after noon.
  • San Lunes likes darkness. Keep the curtains closed and the blinds drawn.
  • Proper veneration of San Lunes requires silence. Demand that others be respectful.
  • San Lunes disdains singing, although woeful moaning is common practice among the most devout.
  • This will be a day of fasting: no greasy, aromatic, or highly seasoned food shall be consumed on this day. San Lunes insists on this point and will vehemently reject any attempted edible offerings other than the blandest of foodstuffs.
  • Leave a small candle burning at the end of the hall. Just the faintest light should illuminate your way as you embark upon repeated ritual journeys as you lift the lid and bow down before that most venerated white ceramic shrine.
  • Unlike other saints who appreciate offerings of flowers, San Lunes prefers aspirin… be sure to indulge him with at least 2 tablets every four hours. Purists insist they be washed down with a bit of wine (the hair of the dog, so to speak), although water may be acceptable in the case of novice San Lunes devotees.

Are you a follower of San Lunes? Feel free to proselytize and leave your testimony to his miracles here.

Youth & Alcohol in Chile “Trago a Quina” Part 1

TVN-Trago a quinaThis is a quickie post to let you all know that tonight National Chilean Television (TVN)’s Informe Especial program will air a report on youth drinking in Chile… okay, you say, and…?

The “and” is that I will be on the show.  A couple months ago the producers of the program contacted me as a sommelier and asked me to gather a group of sommeliers to for a tasting (that means evaluation) of the products that will be featured on the show.

By the time they got to me, they had already interviewed the young people (teens and early 20s) that gather in parks to drink–often heavily–on weekends. They found that they usually drink “coolers” and rum, so they bought the same products most often consumed, sent them to be chemically analyzed, then took the results to the medical community (neurologists, I believe), and then came to us, the sommeliers, for a blind tasting… man was that rough work… but we did it… and the results will be aired tonight right after the soap “Donde está Elisa,” which means about 11:40.

For anyone outside the Chilean television viewing range who would like to see it, you can watch it on Internet at

You can also check out the preview (which shows me making faces) at

By the way, the title “Trago a quina” refers to bottles of rum sold for less than $500 Chilean pesos (less than $1 US!)… which should give you an idea of what this is all about.

I’ll write up Part 2 after the show… unless, of course, I die of embarrassment while watching it!