Subject: Re: Best and Worst Meals (while traveling)
Good topic Debbie!

The most recent best meal was in El Calafate, Argentina at Michelangelo's. Confit of liebre (hare/rabbit) in a reduction of the rabbit stock with just the right amount of ginger seasoning the rich brown sauce to give it a wonderful tanginess. The confit preparation removed any hint of gaminess and tenderized the meat to a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Amazed at the huge size of the hare's hindquarter and our suspicions raised we inquired of the waiter as to the type of hare served. He confirmed my thinking that the meal was in fact mara, the Patagonian hare,which far exceed the size of the European hares also found throughout Patagonia. Our one encounter with the Patagonian hare had our jaws agape when we realized the animal was as large as our 55 lb. shepherd/pit bull mix.

The worst meal on this trip was in Punta Arenas, Chile where my wife ordered some mussels that were oversteamed to the point of having their flavor completely destroyed. My conger eel was bathed in a gelatinous white sauce obviously thickened with corn starch which gives it that mucilaginous coating. Yuck! Everywhere else in Chile we were quite pleased with the preparations on seafood. Including the best oysters I've ever had at Ostras Caullin in Chiloe. The proprietor, Don Ramon, proudly presented his oysters and proceeded to regale us with his insight on all manner of topics; from raising oysters to the local Chilote mythology. Look for an article about his oysters in an upcoming Saveur magazine.

By the way, in an effort to fan the flames of previous discussions on the world's best ice cream/ gelato, etc. I now must fervently bestow my vote upon the Argentinians who's helados, I think, have surpassed the Italian's gelato. We were impressed with Freddo's in Buenos Aires (anything with dulce de leche), then even more impressed with Kebom Heladerķa in Puerto Madryn with their house helado, named appropriately enough Kebom (nuts, rum and sabayon), but the best were artesanal shops in El Calafate with their different berry helados, especially the calafate.

I retreat now to my corner and challenge all you gelato fans (don't get me wrong I love the stuff) to head down to Argentina and sample their stunningly delicious helados.

John Ducking in San Diego to avoid the subsequent ice cream flames