i love dominican food: rice, beans, chuleta, sancocho, asopao. nelfy, our nanny-cook-housekeeper extraordinaire, is an excellent cook (and i love that i don't actually have to cook), but i get tired of the same thing over and over again.
we eat rice every.single.day.
case in point. this past weekend, we hung out at a friends house. we ate pizza. and breadsticks. and brownies. samil was full. to the brim. belly-ache full.
that night, i went out, and when i called to see if i needed to pick anything up, katherine (amalio's cousin), tells me "samil says he didn't eat anything today, so i made him dinner."
when i got home, i asked him why he lied to katherine. he said he didn't lie. "mom, i didn't eat any rice today at all."
his dad is the same.exact.way.
for more background on this phenomenon, check out this blog post, no food allowed in the fridge, on the peanut-butter and jelly blog.
when i first moved here in 2004, it was hard to get away from dominican food. imported food was cost-prohibitive, and restaurants were few and far between. the market for different flavors has grown, though, and little eateries have sprouted up all over santiago.
to say that i'm happy about this is an understatement.
many of these places are still out of my price range - especially with a 26% restaurant tax - but i've found some real gems: the adventist-run, vegetarian cafeteria in the city, a vegetarian, asian-fusion place close(ish) to the university, an amazing sub shop, casa bader, there is even a lebanese/turkish place right.next.door to a favorite pizzeria. OH! and a pizzeria with real, real pizza.
this gem of a place was an accidental find. it's called (i think) el castillo de avena or something else healthy sounding. it's in the plaza paseo on the 27 de febrero. i was making a baby shower registry (not for me) at a store in the mall and we came here for yogurt. delicious. their yogurt is made in-house, topped with fresh fruit and honey and cheap. i've been back a few times, and i'm stuck on their babaganous and pita bread, but i tried a lentil fruit salad last time i was there and it was excellent. (also, fresh, natural fruit juice).
this place. jewel and i had heard about this pizza place on the internets, and i had heard some positive reviews from co-workers. we definitely underestimated the popularity of monchi's pizzeria and planned to just pop in and out. we waited 45 minutes for our pizzas, but it was so worth it. it was real. authentic. pizza. not pizza hut. not dominoes. it was also much cheaper than the american chain stores. *next to JFK Language Institute in the city center.
i am by no means a foodie. but also on the list: yaway subs - decent sandwiches, good price, nice owners (villa olga). sushi ya (los jardines). la guarnacha - mexican cuisine (los jardines). naturalis te - veggie asian fusion (reparto coquette). the veggie asian place in las colinas mall. and square one for convenience.