A Culinary World Tour – 17 International Recipes

We’re all stuck at home now, so we can’t quite travel like we want to.  So instead, we’re taking a world trip from our kitchen!  We love food, and we eat far too much of it while we travel.  We were able to hit at least 20 countries before we were forced to come home, but our tastebuds fell in love with many new culinary delights along the way.  We’re working through replicating some of these recipes at home, and we invite you to do the same.  Let’s take a gastronomical trip around the globe!

Rows of nata
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A Glimpse of the Mirador Torres Del Paine

What’s a place you were looking forward to for a long time before you finally visited?

The Torres Del Paine spires are arguably what originally drew us to the stunningly beautiful Patagonia region. When searching for pictures of this place, chances are one of the first images you’ll see is similar to the first one here: a turquoise blue pool in front of thick fingers jutting into the sky.


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A Glimpse of the Rio Pingo Hike

Are you a fair-weather hiker, or will you even go out in the rain?

For our second day in Torres Del Paine National Park, we were still breaking in our legs in preparation for the big hike we were there for. The rain only helped in our decision to do another warmup hike rather than tackle the park’s namesake trek.


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A Glimpse of the Sendero Mirador Cuernos

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been in the world?

Our first day in the renowned Patagonia did not disappoint! With sapphire blue skies and joyful puffy white clouds, we couldn’t have been happier! Torres Del Paine National Park had on its finest and it certainly impressed.


Knowing we had a pretty grueling hike in store to reach the famed Mirador Torres viewpoint, we decided to break our legs in on a much more gentle hike on our first day.

The Sendero Mirador Cuernos hike was just what we were looking for: a couple-hour in-and-out hike to view the backside of the Torres towering over one of the park’s many glacial lakes.


Golden fields punctuated by twisted black trees lined the pools of turquoise. We felt so alive to just be outside in this stunning show of nature. It was windy, and the sky threatened periodic showers, but we didn’t mind.


The trail had everything we wanted, including the massive Salto Grande waterfall spraying water well above the cliff edge. And as we rounded a bend, we stumbled upon a herd of guanaco! Looking like llamas with kangaroo-like heads, we were delighted to just observe these docile creatures for a time.


When we finally reached the viewpoint, we continued along the hill to get out of sight of the spot where all the other groups would no doubt picnic. Instead, we found a quiet rock to have all to ourselves and ate our lunch in perfect silence, admiring the dark spires before us.


Our day wasn’t through with just Sendero Mirador Cuernos… we also made a point to bushwhack our way down to a river on the east end of the park and overall get our bearings to scope out the rest of our time in the park. After all, we paid for the unlimited (more than three days) park entrance, so we had lots of time to play!


A small flock of rhea bid us farewell as we departed for the day. What a great start!


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A Glimpse of Chile From Above

Do you often take pictures from your plane window seat?

I’m an incurable photographer, so I always have some sort of camera at the ready. And it was a really good thing on our flight through Chile down to Patagonia!


We were blessed with completely clear skies on that day, so the farther south we flew, the more stunning the landscape below us grew!

We passed snow-capped mountains and teal-blue glacial lakes. But the real treat was the glaciers!


The first one was impressive, but then we saw Viedma. It actually looked like a river of snow from above! I’ve never seen anything like it!

But the real treat was flying over Torres Del Paine National Park. I’m a bit surprised the plane didn’t list to the side when all passengers swarmed to the left side, vying for a glimpse of the scenery below.


I was thankfully already in the window seat, so I could snap a few coveted pictures of the famed Torres from above before pressing myself back into my seat to let others look out.

We later hiked to those spires, but from above, they looked so small and unimposing!

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A Glimpse of Cerro Cárcel

Where have you found the coolest repurposed spaces?

Atop Cerro Carcel, a hill in Valparaiso, sits a beautiful park. However, this place used to be a prison. The white building no longer houses prisoners, and the old yard has been transformed into a walkable garden.


Inside, the cells have been removed to make room for practice rooms and a ropes gym. The open layout serves as a culture center. When we visited, a dance team was rehearsing their routine in the foyer while a musician tuned his guitar in one of the rooms above. We could also peek into the gym, where a coach was teaching aerial silk and hoop techniques.

Across the open lawn, there also sits a much newer building, wherein we discovered a free art gallery. This featured a small mural contest outside and works by Loro Coiron inside. He carves his artwork into giant sheets of linoleum and then uses these as a sort of stamp to “print” the final works. It’s a very distinctive style with more of a white-on-black look.


I particularly like that he “animates” some of his characters within a single piece by duplicating them in various poses. With this, we could watch birds fly across the sky or a little girl follow a stray cat through the market.


I also like that he seems to share in our affinity for cats; we could find one in almost every work. And I really love the banner of a cat falling, landing on its feet, and then running away.

How cool is that!


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A Glimpse of Valparaíso Street Art

Where is the best place in the world you’ve found for street art?


We saw lots of street art in Porto. We stumbled upon an entire painted alley in Ghent. We spent a day exploring the colorful streets of Shoreditch. We even have many murals sprinkled throughout our hometown of Portland.


But Valparaiso puts them all to shame.


This is an ENTIRE CITY of street art. It seemed that every expansive surface was a canvas. Walls, doors, stairs, poles. It was everywhere! We loved Valparaiso so much we visited twice.

We even found a painting of a cat we also saw in Porto – crazy!

But my favorites were the ones on the stairs. These often played both with the vertical space and with the distancing perspective when viewed from below. It’s all so beautiful!


Street art used to be illegal, and those caught politically expressing themselves through it were mysteriously “disappeared.” But with narrow alleys and winding streets, the rebellious culture thrived. Now, the practice is sanctioned, with businesses holding friendly competitions to produce the best murals.


And with the constant need for expression, you can be assured the city’s tapestry is constantly changing; there’s always something new to discover!


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A Glimpse of Valparaíso

What city have you found that has some unique culture?

From the moment we saw pictures of Valparaiso, we knew we had to check it out! Known as a city full of remarkable street art, it has amazing character.


It was once a vibrant and rich city, frequented by ships on their way to the west coast of the United States. However, with the opening of the Panama canal, the city’s economy plummeted, and the wealthy left for greener pastures.


Now, the city looks a bit ramshackle, but in the most charming way. Instead of looking rundown, each building fits into the haphazard puzzle of a city, adding a unique chapter to the story. And it’s all woven together with extravagant murals.


We fell in love with this city of hills and pastel-painted buildings as we navigated the many stairways that connect each neighborhood. And we even found some kitties wandering the streets!


With so much to look at, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit at one of the many restaurants that overlook the bay.. with a couple of pisco sours, of course!

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A Glimpse of Viña Del Mar

Which cities do you think have the best coastal views?

After our relaxing cat-sit in Las Cruces, El Tabo, we made our way up to Vina Del Mar. There, we stayed with a modest gentleman in his house on a hill surrounded by four dogs. He cooked us breakfast, and we barbecued in his large backyard with him, his cousin, and a fellow couchsurfer.


He spoke only moderate English, so we got to exercise our Spanish some more. And telling our host we got to choose our own names in Spanish class back in school led to Aaron choosing a new name every day of our stay. He was Armando, Javier, and Carlitos, among others. It was fun for him to pick a new name each day, but it does mean our host couldn’t remember his real name!

Our fellow couchsurfer was pretty cool. Always sipping on mate, he was visiting Chile from Argentina and spoke next to no English. However, that didn’t stop him from taking us on a little tour of the coastal city.

We stumbled upon some folks in costumes at the center of town, and I gotta say – that Iron Man was pretty convincing!


We even found a kitty! After seeing them everywhere in Istanbul, we found South America to be sadly lacking. Instead, the streets were absolutely full of stray dogs – something we’d never see back home.


We also walked all the way up the hill to a lookout over the city. The walk was a bit sweltering, but the views were worth it! We opted to simply take a taxi back down.

Down at the beach, the sand was packed full of people! It was a far cry from the more sparse beaches we could find in El Tabo. And out on the pier, dozens of fishermen jostled for a spot on their own dedicated platform. Seriously, it was a wonder they never got their lines tangled.

Each city has its own unique flavor, and we love getting to know each one!

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