10 Days in Chile | 1 Week in Santiago: Day 5

My fifth day in Santiago was the day that was completely ruined by the rain. It wasn't even ruined by the rain that day but by the previous days of rain. I had checked the weather and found out that it was going to be mildly sunny that morning so I made arrangements to go on a hike.
I hopped in an Uber first thing and headed east of the city towards the mountains.

Unfortunately for me, the park was closed due to the weather. My Uber driver offered to stay with me until I figured out what I wanted to do and said he was concerned for my safety (he claimed this could be a dangerous area) but I sent him off. I thought he was being nice but L said he was probably just trying to get a date, ha.
I had really been looking forward to having a hike and seeing some beautiful scenery, getting into the mountains, listening to babbling brooks and all that jazz but instead, I ended up walking around the area, which ended up being great because there were still awesome views of the mountains and the city itself.
And even though Mother Nature had been so rude and gone so far as to cause the park to close, she treated me to a rainbow.
I only walked around for a half an hour before I decided I should call another Uber. I waited on a busy street and this little pup kept me company (probably because I had a peeled orange in my bag and he wanted some food). The Uber worked out perfectly because the car I was assigned was dropping a guy off right at the spot I was waiting.
Since I couldn't get in touch with nature, I just wandered back into the city to do a little more sightseeing. I decided to take a look at the Palacio de la Moneda which is basically like the White House of Chile.
I walked a few blocks over to the main square where it was busy and bustling with loads of people, which I assumed was a good mix of locals and tourists.
On the corner of the Plaza is a cathedral which is free to enter. It's a gorgeous church and I just learned that it's the seat of the Archbishop of Santiago; I'm not Catholic so I have no idea what that means, but it sounds fancy.
I had a little time to kill before my lunch spot opened up (most places in Santiago open at 12:30 or 1PM for lunch) so I decided to walk around a local park. I had my headphones in (listening to Spanish language tapes) and it was really relaxing.
For lunch, I decided I wanted to try some indigenous cuisine (since modern day Chilean food really wasn't doing it for me). I cannot recommend this place enough. Not only was the food fantastic, but the staff were incredibly lovely. My server understood I was really trying to practice my Spanish so she entertained my desire by speaking slowly so I could understand her and let me stumble over my own tongue.
I was brought a verbena tea to sip while I perused the menus. It's a prix-fixe menu and there are three options: land, sea, and vegetarian. I chose sea.
While I waited for my drink, my server brought me an amuse bouche, which was a little sopapilla (puffed pastry) topped with chicken and pico.
I ordered the limonada betarraga (beet lemonade) and it was fabulous. Not only was the color fantastic but the flavor was so delicate and sweet. I'm going to try and recreate this at home.
Before the first course, I was brought a bread tray. From left to right: milcao made with oxidized and dehydrated grated potatoes, catuto made with wheat and drizzled with honey, millokin made with lentils (white) and chickpeas (green), milcao made with regular grated potatoes, po'e made with bananas, q'alant'a crisp bread served with a spicy sauce, and muquna made with quinoa. These breads were delightful and I was instructed to leave the po'e and the catuto for last since they were sweet. I particularly loved the milcao and the po'e.
For my starter, I was given another tray of little bites. From left to right: rose meat with sweetbreads, pate, rabbit salad with a vinegary sauce, seaweed salad, and beef belly. Everything was delicious. The balance of savory, acid, and sweet was perfect across the board but if I had to pick a favorite, I'd go with the seaweed salad.
As a palate cleanser between courses, I was presented with a deep fried seaweed stick. It looked weird but it was so good. It was light and crunchy and the smear of avocado holding it to the board was a perfect dipping sauce.
The main course consisted of three items. from left to right: fish with beetroot, a wheat risotto with fried fish skewer, and a potato dough pastry filled with crab. The fish with the beet sauce was delectable.
And finally, the dessert course consisted of a pastry called a chochoca stuffed with seaweed jam, coconut panna cotta, chocolate cake, and chañar mousse. The chochoca was deliciously chewy and I think that might've been my favorite. But the chañar mousse was great too; I asked what chañar is and I was told it was a leaf. It had a sort of bittersweet flavor like a cross between caramel and maple syrup.
After lunch, I tried to go shopping at Pueblitos Los Dominicos because I wanted to get a ceramic pig like the one my check was brought to me in at the restaurant. They're made in Pomaire, a nearby town, and the server at the restaurant said that Pueblitos was the best place to buy them. However the market was closed so I ended up just heading back to the apartment.
For dinner, I made fried rice and more spring rolls. The spring rolls went over so well on Tuesday, I made a few more except this time, I added avocado. This was the last time I was cooking for the girls so I wanted to make sure it'd be a good one.