It’s impossible to nurse a pisco sour. I’ve just not nursed two of them. I’m sitting in a bar/restaurant in a mall. I could swear I’m in Los Angeles. The mall is open to the evening air, which is cool and dry with a hint of smog. I’ve had to walk past McDonalds, TGI Friday’s and Tony Roma’s to get here. I even had to walk past the same two goddamn PF Chang’s lions that we have in our mall in Columbia, MD. The speakers are playing “I want Candy” and “Hungry like the Wolf.”
I’m here in a mall because I’m a man on a mission. I’m tired from my red eye, I’ve walked all over old Santiago, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I just want an early dinner and early bed. I had all the seafood I could ask for at lunch. What else is there in Santiago? It’s not Peru, or Brazil, or Mexico. Plus I’m in a hotel with a few expensive foreign restaurants, near a mall, and not much else. It turns out Chileans can now get great food from around the world, just like we can in the states. Only I just want Chilean. Three things: pisco sours (I can get those anywhere), a pork sandwich, and a famous “completo” hotdog. They’re supposed to be everywhere.
But mostly at lunch. I’m about to give up in the maze of the mall (mall Peruvian perhaps?) when I see the sign for the Tip y Tap (since 1970 something?). Success! I can get my completo, my lomito con paltas (roast pork and avocado ). Along with my pisco sours, it’s more than enough food. (A completo is a hot dog, sauerkraut, tomatoes, and mayo. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)
I’m ruminating on the odds of getting well prepared food at any mall in the states. I’m chuckling at the fact that I’m getting classic bar food for dinner, after getting classic hangover food for lunch. But mostly I’m enjoying the surprising pleasure of eating good food surrounded by happy Chileans also enjoying a lovely fall evening—in a mall. It’s not somewhere that will ever be on tv, or in a guidebook, or that I’d ever seek out to go back to. But right here, right now, in this moment, soy muy contento.