A standard hot dog doesn't do much for me. Meat log wrapped in bread? Doesn't it sound like it's missing something?
Yes. Yes it is. It's missing avocado mashings, diced tomatoes and onions, and a loopy squiggle of mayonnaise. Make it yourself or go to your nearby purveyor of Chilean-style hot dogs. In my case, I went to San Antonio Bakery #2 in Astoria, Queens with Olivia, Tristan, and John because I probably wouldn't go through the trouble of making it on my own, even if involves little more effort than making a standard, non-condiment-laden hot dog.
And that's what bothers me; it wouldn't exactly drain the energies of hot dogs places to splodge on those extra bits of tastiness that most hot dogs lack. Spoon on some avocado mush and squeeze on the mayo; booya, your hot dog just became awesomer! Or better yet, spoon on the mayo in giant heaps. Things just can't help but taste better when smothered with emulsified egg yolks and oil.
I wished that San Antonio's hot dogs had more mayo-smothering action. The condiment-to-hot dog ratio is pretty balanced, though. Stare into the meat log. Yes.
- SANDWICH! It loves you. Or it would if it had any emotions. It probably doesn't. Because it's a sandwich.
Better than the hot dogs are the sandwiches: hefty, round piles of meat and bun. And things to go with the meat and the bun, usually of a vegetal nature. Vegetal things! My pork sandwich—possibly called a lomito, unless I just picked that up randomly from somewhere because I'm really tired and the words on my monitor are moving funnily—topped a pile of tender, thinly sliced pork with tomato slices, lots of mashed avocado, and a bit of mayonnaise.
...Okay, probably more mayonnaise than you'd find in most sandwiches, but it was just a smidge light-handed for my unrefined tastes.
The bun was great: crusty and soft, hefty enough to support its fillings, light enough to not get in the way of them. Don't you hate it when you're eating a sandwich and the fillings threaten to escape its bready vice because the force of the too-tough bread causes the softer innards to squish out? You end up with a pooping sandwich. Nobody wants food that poops on you.
The chacarero was possibly better than the one I had in Chile as it contained more moist, baby's butt-tender beefiness and more green bean action (although, unfortunately lacking in the mayonnaise department). Yes, a sandwich full of green beans is a glorious thing; 'tis a seriously underused sandwich filling ingredient. Tristan actually ordered a custom, vegetarian-friendly sandwich of just green beans and...well, every other vegetarian-friendly ingredient. Even though my heart cries for pork, I'd totally go for a green bean and avocado sandwich. For those innumerable times when I'm feeling too fat. Like today and yesterday and most of the days I've breathed air.
The cheese empanada was surprisingly of the flaky sort. Not that I know much about empanadas; I had just never seen a flaky one before. Cheese and flaky dough can't fail.
The beef and onion empanada was more of what I had in mind. Fortunately, it was quite similar to the one I had in Chile, stuffed with diced beef, onion, and somewhere deep inside, chunks of hard boiled egg. I would've preferred a slightly softer crust, maybe something in between that and the cheese empanada's flaky crust.
Each table had its own bowl of pebre, a chunky sauce of cilantro, onion, tomato, olive oil, garlic, and aji peppers. I didn't use this sauce to its fullest potential; instead, I mostly poked at it with a spoon, just one of my few dazzling talents. Was I supposed to eat it with the empanadas or sandwich? When will the mysteries reveal themselves? Wheeeeen?
For dessert, we moseyed over to the dessert counter filled with fat cake slices, fat alfajores, fat slices of pie, and other things of a fat nature. I found the cookie of Olivia's alfajor too dry for my tastes, although that might be standard, meaning that alfajores just aren't my thing. It's sad to think that something full of creamy dulce de leche might not be my thing though. Truly saddening. I liked John's lemon meringue pie more with its surprisingly light, crumbly cookie-like crust and meringue fluffs that I actually labeled as "tasting good" when meringues rank low on my "List of Dessert Components That I Enjoy."
I liked my lucuma cake the most, even if it didn't blow my mind like the similar cake I had in Chile (which was probably quite a unique dessert, even in Chile—it was deliciously semifreddo-esque). If I hadn't already eaten a sandwich, part of a hot dog, and bits of empanada, maybe I could've actually finished the whole slice. Never having eaten lucuma before, I couldn't tell you how much the cake preserved the fruit's flavor. But ooo, frosting! alternating with cake! alternating with dulce de leche! and again with the fluffy cake and the barrier of frosting. That's good in any flavor. I mean, normal cake flavors. Not like "gravel" or "breakfast sausage."
Although I am a water drinker 90% of the time, I allow myself to enjoy in a fizzy beverage every so often like millions upon millions of other people on this earth in the name of "exploring the offerings of an unfamiliar cuisine." And thus, I had Pap, one of the two most popular Chilean soft drinks, neither of which seems to have made much of a splash outside the Chilean community. As Pap is supposedly papaya flavored, I assume that's where the name is derived from. And by that I mean it has nothing to do with pap smears, even if that's what Tristan would hope for. Indeed, it does taste like papaya, as long as Chilean papayas taste like bubblegum. Methinks some of the fruit's essence was lost in the manufacturing process.
I must give props to my three eating buddies, John, Tristan and Olivia, for trekking out to Astoria to help me indulge in my moment of Chile-longing. And I thank them by showing you this weird photo where no one looks like their normal selves. That's what happens when you're full to the point of intestinal displacement.
Oh, if I didn't make it clear, you too should visit San Antonio Bakery #2, even if it's off your normal fooding path. The people who work there are really nice and obviously proud of their creations or else they wouldn't enthusiastically encourage you to eat more things. Not that you should need encouragement.