For Thanksgiving this year, we ate stone soup. Oh, and leaves. I guess I should mention the leaves, since there was a plethora of leaves.
Nope, I’m not even joking.
I guess we did it because we’re totally authentic, old-school Pilgrims. And that’s what the Pilgrims probably ate that first Thanksgiving.
(Actually, that first Thanksgiving menu was a lot better than our meal at Borago in Santiago, Chile. And, at least we had wine. Sorry, original settlers. Sucked to be you—on so many levels.)
Not really. We did it because we jumped on a low-cost fare and went to Chile for Thanksgiving week. And, well, you gotta eat somewhere on Thanksgiving, right?
Borago is the no. 36 restaurant in the world. As the World’s 50 Best explains: “owner-chef Rodolfo Guzman’s interest lies as much in the pastures and woods as much as it does the markets and kitchen.”
Let me tell you, this Guzman dude has been spending a LOT of time in the pastures and woods. So get ready to masticate some dusty flowers and lick sticks—literal sticks, aka: “pre-spring flowers skewers”—because eating at Borago means you will be eating items picked from the nearest tree and foraged from the wild woods of Chile.
Especially leaves. So, so, so many leaves. A cornucopia, if you will.
We had dry leaves next to a cube of grilled lamb.
Pickled leaves sheltering some grilled octopus, aka: murder-y plate.
Slimy seaweed type leaves over a tiny piece of fish.
Leaf sandwiches with a couple of water crackers and a schmear of cream stuff in between.
Then, of course, there was the rock soup. Literal rocks—one of which is covered with a black bean paste and two are covered with some sort of gelatin—over which a rock broth is poured. You are then instructed to “scrape the rocks” and make your own bean soup.
It was all….a bit much. We’re pretty adventurous eaters. Sidenote: My sister was asking me about this just recently, and said: “When did y’all start…..or why do you…. eat stuff that’s like…ummmm….not American?” Which legitimately made me chortle and snort. And then I said, “I don’t think you mean un-American, I think you mean, like, unconventional stuff.” Which—thankfully—she confirmed was what she meant, pointing out that I have willingly eaten rabbit, which she considers a no-go.
Oh, dear younger Poe. I’ve eaten so much weirder stuff than rabbit. Like, (below) raw kambucha fashioned as meat and a side of Pewan (aka, tree bark, I think!)
And we love a big tasting menu event. We trust chefs and want to go on a journey with them into what inspires them. We consider it all very much theater or art you can eat.
But Borago definitely had us scratching our heads. We’re cool with being inspired by your country’s flora. But honestly? Almost nothing was very tasty. We just weren’t into the flavors. Or the flowers. I feel bad about it, but that was just the way it worked out this time.
That’s fine. When we got back home on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, my own personal-forager/chef-for-life XFE struck out into the wilds of our local Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter stores and made me a fantastic, totally American Thanksgiving feast with nary a leaf or rabbit in sight. My Thanksgiving meal at Borago made me appreciate and love it all the more.
(XFE was also inspired to rake up all the leaves in our backyard that weekend, while I toyed with the idea of reaching out to Borago to see if they’d like to buy some.)