La Pippona

Empanadas anyone? What we are used to is a fried empanada with more crust than filling. These empanadas from La Pippona are light and flaky baked crusts with filling galore. We have tried several of them and so far our favorites are the Mexicana which is super spicy for Uruguay and the Ham and Cheese which is filled with chunks of great ham and a rich creamy melty cheese.  I failed to tell you we did order a little pizza as well, this went into the fridge for another meal.Each empanada is marked with dots to represent what the filling inside is and is delivered to your door hot and ready to just dig in.

But we have also fallen in love with the Lebanese open-faced Lehmeyun. These thin crusted pizza like flat treats are covered with a meat and spice mixture – this is so different yet so wonderful it sparks your taste buds.  Sprinkle a little fresh lemon juice (slices provided with your meal) on top and you are transported to an even better taste experience.

And to top off an already great meal they have dessert empanadas. Yes, you heard me correct.  We have tried two of the four desserts offered and really loved them.  One is an empanada apple pie, hot from the oven excellent. Just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon, thin sliced apples, divine is the only word that can describe this dessert. Actually tastes like the pies Mom used to make. As well as the National Postre (dessert) for all of Uruguay Dulce de Leche we ordered the one with chocolate chips. Honestly not so overly sweet just right for Joe and I to share.

In our research on Uruguay we saw so many comments about the lack of food choices here.  We have not found that to be true at all. The food varieties are wonderful, you have your pastas even with a special day the 29th of each month where noquis are on the menu at almost every restaurant. You have your choice of flame cooked meats from pork, beef, lamb, chicken as well as sausages galore and if your taste runs to innards they do that as well. Our favorite restaurant so far in Atlantida is Don Vito, the food, the service, the atmosphere are just perfect for our Sunday lunch. They have seafood choices, chivitos, pasta, salads, pizzas and meats as well as a beautiful display case filled with desserts to die for.  While in Montevideo we found Tres Fuegos had similar service and food. We have found hamburger restaurants serving just hamburgers, beef or veggie like our favorite Rudy Burgers on 26 de Marzo in Montevideo’s Nuevo  Pocitos section.  You want Japanese we have found several, even in Atlantida we have Sushi Brothers (will be doing a post on them real soon). Are you into seafood? The supermarkets have several varieties of local fresh fish and in Atlantida we even have a fish monger if you really want it fresh. Montevideo has Indian restaurants even take out Indian is available.

I just don’t see an issue with the choices. What we have learned since moving from the US in 2006 is you may have to do a little work to have what you want to eat. I have learned how to make so many things from scratch and that only makes me a better cook and we have more wholesome food and eat so much better as I can control what goes into my food when I use fresh ingredients. So you like Thai make it at home you can find most ingredients at your local supermarket.  Want Thai Spring rolls, make them. Here the supermarket has spring roll wraps, sushi nori, rice noodles, tahini, soy and oyster sauce, wasabi powder…you want to make Pho they have the spices and other ingredients needed to make your own home-made version.

It’s all part of the great adventure. You need to go with it.

 

Alfajores – A National Obsession?

We read so much about the infamous alfajor that the first day we were in town we were in a small market store (called an almacen here) and asked the young woman behind the counter, which is your favorite?…she was kind of shy and I guess I was kind of forward but she went over and pointed to two. Standing at the counter checking out was a beautiful young woman and Joe saw that she was dying to add her choices, so we asked her and she gave us two more to try.  Honestly every one we have tried, and I will tell you we have tried many, were wonderful. The supermarket has an entire section filled from top to bottom with all different types. You can buy them in a box, not sure how many to a box but I had to have great willpower to keep from buying an entire box. Walk away Nancy, walk away.

They are sort of similar to a Moon Pie when you look at them, but that is where the similarity ends.  Inside you are hit in the face with the most delicate caramel (dulce de leche) – it is not what I have had in the past, Uruguayan dulce de leche is lighter, less sweet and soft. The base is either two crunchy cookies or a soft and chewy cake to hold it all together…Most are covered in some type of good quality chocolate could be milk could be dark, some have a topping of coconut, some have a mousse filling along with the dulce de leche. And I know we will be adding new ones to our “we need more” list.  Below are just a few of the empty wrappers.  YES, YES, YES, they were all wonderful…My favorite of these was the Coco Late and the Mousse…but that could change with the next selection, hee hee

montevideo-2-9-17The confiteria (pastry shops) are up another level when it comes to alfajores.  I am sad to say that they do not last very long once we bring them into the apartment and as of now I do not have pictures to show you.  But when I say they up their game to another level entirely, I am not pulling your leg. Some are wrapped with a coating of coconut around the edges, while others have chopped almonds.  Some have a heart-shaped cut out in the center filled with a cherry or strawberry gel. Others have a macaroon topping that is slightly charred. They make them in bite sized little treats up to a full-sized and bigger beauty that Joe and I must share.  Actually every one of these pastries we cut in half and share with our mid-day meal. And not every day or I would be the size of a house in a few months.

montevideo-2-14-11montevideo-2-14-10montevideo-2-14-9montevideo-2-14-8

The above are just from one store in the Punta Carretas Shopping mall.

They can be addictive.