Snack Trek: Rincon Chileno (#SethBuyMeLunch)

It has a face!

As you probably know by now, I’m the type of person who will do relatively crazy things in the name of food– especially free food. So when my friend Heather tweeted about blogger Seth Madej‘s #SethBuyMeLunch Twitter-based weekly contest, I threw my hat into the ring. (Heather had gone to lunch with Seth and had returned from the experience seemingly unscathed.)

It took me two weeks to actually WIN the lunch, which made me lucky luncher #7. Seth suggested we check out Rincon Chileno, which turned out to be a stone’s throw away from my old apartment. Little did I know (until I googled it later, as I was labeling my photos) that the churrasco sandwich, recommended to Seth “by a friend,” is one of  Serious Eats’ “Best Cheap Sandwiches in Los Angeles.”

On a side note– I think my Serious Eats cookbook got lost in the mail. (Amazon told me to keep waiting but sent me $7 for my trouble… suddenly this post has a numerical motif.)

Other than the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” bumping around in my head, I wasn’t nervous about meeting up with Seth. My mother was a bit uneasy that I was so willing to hang out with a stranger from the internet… and then I reminded her that I’m a veteran of Jdates, Craigslist roommates, etc. That (and Heather’s alive-ness) didn’t make her feel any better, but… whatever. Off I went.

Seth and I were both expecting to eat at plastic (or metal, I didn’t consult with him about the material) tables in a deli-like setting, but instead we found ourselves in a “fancy” restaurant setting. Pleasant surprise. (There WAS a take-out deli, next door.) We also expected greasy, fried empanadas– but no! They were baked.

Foreground: spinach and cheese. Background: chicken.

And in another unexpected twist, the chicken in the empanadas was not ground up, but shredded.


Yet another surprise– the sandwich came with french fries. I’d eaten fries the night before, and I try to maintain a once-a-week-rule for fries (because of my cholesterol). But… fries in my face? I couldn’t resist. (Oh woe is my willpower.)

French fries... We meet again, my favorite nemesis.

But it also came with salad… so… I’m okay?

While we ate we had a nice conversation and found out that we have been living parallel-ish lives. For more on that, read Seth’s account of the day. (And that’s one of the reasons why I’m posting this before other promised posts… have to keep up with the blogging Joneses.) (I laughed a lot while reading his post because I was relieved that I didn’t seem terrible– and because he’s funny.)

For the record, my mom– relieved that I lived– enjoyed Seth’s post and was impressed by his recollection of minute details. (“Was he taking notes?”) (He was not.) (And– as Seth pointed out– how is he to know that his lunch-winners are not creepers? They are ALSO strangers from the internet.) (We’re ALL just strangers from the internet, until we’re not… deep life moment.)

As far as the churrasco sandwich goes– we didn’t discuss it at the time, but parallel livers that we are, Seth and I seem to concur in our analysis. The sandwich wasn’t greasy, per se (and props for all the mushed-up avocado), but there was something rich about it that made me fill up really fast. Maybe the bread was buttered/oiled? (We got French bread, out of three choices. The waiter recommended it.)

It was a good sandwich, but I’m not going to dream about it. If I went back I’d try others. (Or I’d… go to Porto’s?) (Also a Serious Eats favorite, by the by.)

But hey– I had a good time. I tried a new place. I got to eat avocado AND steak AND empanadas AND french fries. And I wasn’t murdered by a stranger from the internet. All in all, very successful– for a free lunch.

Thanks, Seth! (And if you want to vie for a free lunch, keep an eye on Seth’s Twitter.)


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