Chile & Uruguay meals

During our month-long travel in several South American countries in March ’05, we enjoyed a lot of good food, but two meals we had in Chile and Uruguay were a pleasant change from meat-loaded meals such as parrillada in Argentina and churrascaria in Brazil.

• In Santiago, Chile, half the fun was getting to the restaurant El Camino Real in Parque Metropolitano. We first had a funicular ride and then a ride in a 2-person cable car.

With the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows, the view over the city would have been great except for the smog. It is said to be spectacular at night with the spread-out lights below.

For about $67 we had a set lunch for two. This included pisco sours, a bottle of Chilean wine, mineral water and coffee or tea. There were two delicious appetizers, a main dish of Chilean sea bass and, for dessert, a great Chilean torte. Service was attentive; there were no other tourists.

• We had the best meal of our trip in Uruguay at Panini’s (Ciudad Viejo, Bacacay 1339, Montevideo). The total cost was $47, and it included several appetizers and half a bottle of Uruguayan cabernet and mineral water.

One appetizer we shared was sfogliatina, composed of prosciutto, puff-pastry triangles, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Ravioli Meri (squid ink ravioli stuffed with salmon in a leek cream sauce with saffron) and Pollo al Toscana (chicken thighs filled with spinach and mozzarella on patties of pureed broccoli and sweet potatoes) were the main courses.

For dessert, the best tiramisu I ever had, and for my husband, Tartina de Frutti Rossi, with several types of berries and homemade pineapple and pistachio ice cream. We ended this delicious meal with Irish coffees.

Ventura, CA