Oh my god, you guys, I’m in love. Yes, ladies and gents, I am head over heels with La Chilenita (64 Marie-Anne Ouest), or more specifically, my new favorite snack; the grilled tofu sandwich on whole wheat, no mayo. If I could marry a sandwich, I would marry it. I want this sandwich to be my boyfriend. I could go on, but you get the point. I discovered La Chilenita when, one late afternoon, after an hour of walking around The Main wondering what the hell we could both eat, my mega-babe camera genius friend Victoria proposed we go eat some “fucking excellent Chilean food!” Ok, I said, why not? We’d exhausted the routine spots (I still love you, Santropol.), and after hearing how vegan-friendly it was, I was a mix of curious and excited. Or maybe that was just hunger. Regardless, I was not disappointed. La Chilenita is the kind of restaurant that deserves to be hyped up. This is real food, authentic, made with love and all the right spices. True to her word, the chalkboard menu boasts many vegetarian and easily veganize-able items, as well as a lovely selection of empanadas, which is what they are most famous for. Vegans beware, however, the empanada’s dough has egg wash, so despite the two vegetarian options, they are not vegan friendly! Bummer, because everyone in sight seems to be enjoying one.
The restaurant itself is small, with only a few tables for indoor dining. The decor is simple, if a little bland, but still warm and welcoming, with an exposed kitchen and lots of natural light. The girl at the counter barely speaks any French, or English for that matter, and like I whispered over to Victoria later on, that is always a good sign when it comes to trying to find authentic food. I order the grilled tofu sandwich, no mayo, on whole wheat. HIGHLY recommended by my dinner companion, who used to come here back in her high school vegetarian days, the tasty tofu is topped with grilled red peppers, tomatoes, home-made gaucamole and onions. First off, the bread. Throughly impressed, and though my researches came up with nothing, I highly suspect them of making it themselves. The gauc itself is a little miracle, so fresh and delicious and pretty much dripping out of every side. The tofu is perfect, marinated with subtle flavor, nothing overwhelming, just a beautiful marriage with the vegetables and the gaucamole. The sandwich is fair-sized, cut in half, and very messy to eat. When eaten in the restaurant, corn chips are served on the side to scoop up all the leftover gaucamole that’s fallen out of the sandwich. There’s mix and match plates, the chair’s are slightly uncomfortable, and it’s noisy. And you know what? That’s all part of the experience.
One of my favorite découvertes 2010 so far. If you’re into really good, really cheap, authentic Chilean food, go. Fuck it, if you’re into good food period, go. Even if you’re not into good food, and eat junk all day, go! Go and try something, I DARE YOU not to fall in love with the simplicity, warmth and deliciousness of La Chilenita. Oh boy, I think I have a crush.
Price: $ – dirt cheap!
Overall: 9/10. It’s pretty much perfect.