Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dining in a Chilean Grape Arbor

How many times have you eaten in a restaurant far far away only years later to forget the name? My son’s possible move to Santiago caused me to remember my travels there in the 1970's and a particular restaurant that I loved. I knew it was in Providencia, an upscale neighborhood like Georgetown. But what was the name of it?

I could picture the quaint restaurant with its live grape arbor growing inside. I could taste the “carne a la plancha”, grilled steaks that were to die for. I remembered the customized salads that were made to order at the table with green beans, onions, and a host of other things. I remembered the wine – those “reserva” bottles that were never exported. I remembered Sam, the American guy who first introduced me to that restaurant. But what was the name of it?

I had a dream the other night about all my favorites restaurants in the world. There was El Fogon in Tegucigalpa, so named for the bottom-lit clay pot in which succulent beans were served. There were still nameless restaurants in Bogota. There was the restaurant in New Delhi where I ate masala dohsa every day. There was the Nazi hangout restaurant in La Paz. And there was the restaurant in Santiago with the live grape vine.

Then I recalled that it was named for the vine itself. And suddenly it was called El Parron – meaning a wild grape vine. It made perfect sense.

But would searching for El Parron be like trying to find El Bodegon or The Rive Gauche in Georgetown? These were restaurants that had known their popularity many years ago and been replaced by more modern fare without Henry Kissinger in attendance. So was it even possible that El Parron could still be open in Providencia, a 12-hour plane ride away?

I Googled “El Parron Providencia” and found not only that it still exists, but that it is still a popular place to eat. So guess where I will be taking my family for my first dinner in Chile if and when we actually go there. I can’t wait!

But perhaps more importantly, this favorite restaurant of mine once again has a name, until I forget it again that is. Maybe that’s where my Blog will come in handy...

2 Comments:

Blogger steve said...

Un punto de encuentro, donde la comida típica chilena y las parrilladas se adueñan del sabor, mientras otros encantos como el dominó y el cacho avivan el ambiente del Parrón de Providencia y Las Condes.

Mucho gusto, Barbarilla!

(I'm still trying to figure out how to do an upside down question mark)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I've been out of it. Chile? How wonderful. I have friends and family relocating to Argentina. I feel that I might be visiting South America a lot more in upcoming years.

7:52 AM  

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