Mate (not the Aussie pronunciation)

Upon arrival in Argentina we have noticed the trend of carrying a thermos under one arm whilst sipping something out of a gourd through a silver straw.
This is Yerba mate, basically a type of tea which people seem to drink constantly all through the day. (In fact as I am writing this we are sipping Mate while we cross the river from Montevideo to Buenos Aires)
We were told that you share a quick cup of coffee, but over a mate you laugh, cry and really bond with a person.
So we have bought ourselves a kit and now look like we were born and bred here!! Until we open our mouths that is!! T

  
Some classic mate drinking poses

  

  
This is an official mate hot water dispenser.  Free hot water available at the bus stations!

Eating well in Uruguay 

The first Uruguayan delicacy we discover was quite by accident but boy were we happy about it. Asado is basically a form of BBQ. The center piece of which is a log fire which is burnt down to produce the coals to cook over an a large grill which is often angled over the coals to give a variety of heating options.
The best bits I have had have been the blood sausage and the chorizo, just fantastic but to be fair the steaks have been really good too! For sides we have noticed that fries seem to be the most popular, although they are often hand cut which is a bit nicer. We have had some grilled capsicum and roasted potato and sweet potato too which is nice.

            
The second Uruguayan delicacy we also stumbled upon by accident and was done in our usual way of not understanding anything on the menu and so blindly pointing at a couple of items which look exciting. So we picked Chivito which I presume is the Spanish for “heart attack on a plate”. 
They start with a mountain of fries and then place a steak on top of it, on this goes some cheese and then about an inch of bacon and ham on which is some more cheese and a fried egg! Oh and I almost forgot, some lettuce and a slice of tomato. Luckily we ordered two!! T

Some tasty Brazilian

   
Breakfast Brazilian style, there at loads of these street side cafes and bars where you just stand on the street enjoying anything from coffee, smoothies and breakfast to beers in the evening (or morning as we have noticed)

 
A pretty common cheaper option we have noticed recently, battered fish with a cocktail sauce.  So far the fish has actually been really great and the batter really light.

   
We decided to try these parcels one night.  Unfortunately due to the language barrier I am not sure what they are called but they are mushed up corn wrapped in corn leaves.  I will put that into google translator and see what I get. 

 

Chitlins and Hog Maw

I guess this was the equivalent of eating liver in the UK, certainly an authentic local dish from a time gone by.  All the local guys were very excited that I was trying it.  The hot sauce certainly helped but after all eating the intestines and stomach of a pig is always going to be an acquired taste.  Glad I have tried it but won’t be rushing to serve it up for dinner. T

Jambalaya!!

Coop’s Place in New Orleans had a huge line up outside it when we first passed it so we couldn’t help but try it, how lucky we were it was the best Jambalaya!! So rich in flavor it was great, coupled with the chefs smoking and drinking in the kitchen…maybe that’s the secret?!!

 
Throw in some stuffed jalape├▒os and that was just perfect.  
 

Coopers Old Time BBQ Pit

Today we followed up a recommendation for the best BBQ in the area and ended up at Llano at Coopers Old Time BBQ pit! 
The town itself only had a population of about 3000 but as we arrived at Coopers we could see that the car park was full and there was a huge queue. A good sign so we joined the back of the queue full of excitement!
The food was wonderful and the whole place was so well done topped off by eating straight off the butchers paper it was truly excellent!!
  
The queue outside would have had at least 50 people in it.

  
There were loads of BBQs outside and about 5 guys working them

  
You just point and pick and this guy cuts it all and puts in on a tray for you.  At this point Sarah said I was drooling!

  
Pork ribs, brisket and pork loin!  Brisket voted the best and easily enough for dinner too.  Absolutely delicious!