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La Piojera is one of two down-home, traditional restaurants in Santiago that celebrate the cultura guachaca, or urban cowboy culture (the other one being El Hoyo
) in an almost old-west like enviroonment. At La Piojera, which means "the lousery" (but don't worry, you shouldn't pick up any critters there) for how hopping it is, Chilean specialties like cooked pork shoulder (perníl) and pichanga (an appetizer comprised of cheese, pickled veggies and hunks of bologna and mortadela) fight for space on the tables with the traditional libation of terremoto (earthquake). The terremoto is a green wine with pineapple ice cream scooped on top, drunk with a straw, mixed, or not, as you like. The version at La Piojera has a little Fernet mixed in, so it's particularly strong, and the second one is referred to as a réplica (aftershock).
In addition ot the food it offers, La Piojera is a classic stop for an after-work snack and drink, especially for those who don't mind getting a bit dirty. The floor is strewn with sawdust to keep people from slipping, and graffiti lines the walls. This is not pretending to be authentic, it really is.
La Piojera is just steps from the Cal y Canto metro (the Puente exit), and the Mercado Central
. It's a great place to go in the afternoon or early night, but staying past 10 or so the area becomes quite empty, so proceed with caution, and leave valuables at home.