Although this is a review post, it is rightly timed for the Super Bowl, as parties are being planned nationwide. Now, I'm not a big fan of watching sports but I do like throwing parties featuring good grub. So the sandwich, El Lomito, featured in this post could be the starting quarterback to your fiesta bowl.
Just about this time last January, Juan Carlos and I traveled to Chile. You might remember my post, Sunday in the Chilean Countryside about the amazing meal we were treated to by our friend's mother.
After that glorious meal, we were in constant search of good food for the remainder of our trip. We had some hits and some misses. One of those hits was at Fuente Alemania, a cafe joint that we learned about while watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations about Chile. I highly recommend watching the linked episode, as well as the series. His POV of a city is transmitted through its people, food, cultural as he provides a well balanced, insight of the places he visits.
Anyway, back to how we happened upon this sandwich. Anthony visited Fuente Alemania in Santiago and had such love for what appeared to be the most intense pork sandwich ever that we put it on our list of places to visit. Since I don't eat meat or bread, this spot went to the bottom of the list.
However, opportunity struck, and what was once on the bottom rose to the top. After walking for several hours through city center, we were struggling to find a place for lunch. JC wanted to try a few other places but we just couldn't find them. (This was an ongoing issue with maps of Chile streets and then those streets not quite existing in the three dimensional world.) Literally after traversing through alleyways and main thoroughfares, we couldn't find a single one. Desperate for food, and just wanting to land ourselves in any spot that served edibles, I suggested Fuente Alemania. That's right the pescatarian, non wheat/yeast eater suggested a pork sandwich place. This was the desperation/exasperation dew point. But I knew JC would love it and when in Rome...or Chile.
Upon swinging open the doors to this joint we are met with a full house. Packed with locals ordering sandwiches to their liking using the handful of main ingredients... Pork, sauerkraut, avocado, string beans, mayo, cheese and some red relish that I couldn't quite make out. Although there were plenty of items on the menu, it seemed like most people came for that big, honking pork sandwich. The man next to us had steak tartare on toast topped with cornichon, which I must admit reminded me of an old boyfriend.
We got ours without the mayo, for several reasons, but mostly because they add the amount that one would normally consume in a year, and it looked quite sticky. A serious amount of very gooey cholesterol clogging condiment.
Alright, it ain't pretty or elegant. But then again, I never promised it would be. However, I must admit that this was one of the best sandwiches I have eaten. That's right, I gave in and tasted this monster hog heaven. It was delicious. I thought my taste buds might have been over-reacting since I haven't tasted anything like this in quite some time, but JC concurred. It was damn good. It is a bizarre combination of ingredients that somehow worked. I can't imagine what the calorie count was on this creation but then again, it was a once in a lifetime consumption. Which was why I tried it. Several hours later my stomach was gurgling. Not because the food was bad but simply due to my system not being used to meat or bread for so long.
If you are ever in Santiago, Chile I would highly recommend checking this popular locale out. If not for the food then to watch the woman who navigate a center station, cranking out sandwich after sandwich at an incredible pace yet they never seem to be rushed or panicked. The sheer joy with which they pump out orders was a blast to witness. They were the backbone here, sharing an abundance of food with an abundance of love.
Like good choreography it seems simple and well played. The men serve the drinks and NEVER enter the inner sanctum.
It was an exciting afternoon local experience. And as they say in Chile, "If you have eaten El Lomito, you are one of ours," In the end, we were indeed one of theirs and thrilled we got lost and didn't find the other places. Making it possible for us to find our way into a little bit of Germany in the center of Chile. I realize that many of you might not have Chile in your travel plans, but I believe this could be a great game time offering. It's hearty and meaty to stand up to any helmet clashing fan. Jaime Oliver has this pork recipe that I think those ballet-ed German ladies would approve for the sandwich. Then you can just grilled some buns and add all your toppings; tomato, cheese, mayo, smashed avocado, onion. Whatever you like. It will be the Super Bowl of Pork Sandwich. Germany in America, too!