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On a trip to the Uruguayan capital, Matador Trips editor Hal Amen gets coated in airborne animal fat and sausage grease.
My wife and I ride the seesaw between full-on veganism and a pack of hyenas. But when we heard about Mercado del Puerto, there was no question which side we’d end up on in Montevideo.
1. The mercado is situated in an atmospheric building that resembles a train station. Windows in the roof let in lots of light, and there's an old-timey clock tower in the center. Joint's got class.All photos: a song under the sugar sugar + author
2. All the restaurants are basically the same...and they all want YOU! If you don't have the dismissive head shake down, you'll likely be bullied into sitting in the first chair you pass.
3. Each restaurant has up to three side-by-side operations going on: the bar, exposed tables, and a "fancier" enclosed dining room.
4. We finally settled on the bar at Estancia del Puerto. One of the asadores tosses a log into the central fire, while our boisterous host (let's call him Diego) scans the aisles for other passersby to shout over.
5. The full spread.
6. Before long, our selections come out. Let's see...we've got a couple of gigantic sweetbreads (molleja), blood sausage (morcilla), regular sausage (chorizo), "Munich-style" sausage (this was super dense and kinda disgusting), red bell pepper (morrÃ³n), and a baked potato.
7. Nothing like a meal by the fire.
8. My wife tapped out early, so I was forced (arm twist) to put away the leftovers.
9. The work on the parrilla never stopped. Dripping with sweat, Diego joked that he stayed hydrated by downing red wine. He then promptly reached under the counter, hoisted a gigantic cup of iced tea, and took a five-second pull.
10. You can't see me in this one, but by the time it was all over, I felt just like that parrillador in the background. I was ready to stumble home and shower off the meat sweats.