My Great South American Escape – A Guest Post by Vinnie

My mom and grandma are in South America. It’s no secret, they’re having a blast. Now I won’t spoil any stories from their trip but each day that they’re gone, I’ve been receiving updates from the “Me” of “Molly B and Me” and her South American adventures.

Meanwhile, the “Vinnie B” of “Vinnie B and College Stress” is smack in the middle of UW-Madison exam week in a month that should be spent picking apples, making fall treats, and apparently traveling to South America.. So on Wednesday at noon, in my one hour break between two exams, I decided it was time for a vacation. But where to on such short notice? South America was on my mind and sounded mighty appealing..

Behold  UW-South America! Also known as Library Mall… It also goes by other names such as UW-Ethiopia, Thailand, Jamaica, etc. It all depends on which food cart you go to, but for me between noon and 1pm it was UW-South America. I only had the option to visit the Peru and Venezuela carts but together they completed my Great South American Escape.

I actually went to South America three summers ago with “Molly B and Me” and Grandma Peggy but have since craved its cuisine. Luckily my friend Will Villavicencio is half Venezuelan and loves to cook gourmet family meals for our a cappella group, Fundamentally Sound.

Here’s Will’s Cachapas recipe, recently featured in our groups cooking show Poached Perfect:



  • 3 cups (24 oz.) fresh or frozen corn kernels (I just used canned corn – It’s much easier)
  • 1 tablespoon cream, or milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or fine corn meal
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, or oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Butter and/or queso fresco for serving


  1. Place the corn, cream, salt, and melted butter in a food processor or blender, and process until you have a fairly smooth, thick batter. Let sit for five minutes to absorb the moisture.
  2. Heat lightly oiled skillet (teflon is also good and will stick less) over medium-low heat. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of batter to skillet, and spread batter with a spatula to make a circle.
  3. Cook pancake until it is starting to bubble, and you can place the spatula easily underneath it to flip it. Be patient, as if you flip them too early they’ll fall apart. Make sure not to use high heat or you’ll burn them before they cook through. Flip and cook the other side.

Serve with beans, cheese, sautéed vegetables/meat, or whatever you’d like! I used chicken, black beans, onion, tomato, poblano pepper, cilantro, and queso fresco.

First stop, Peru. Surco is known for its Super Lomo Sandwich, a sourdough bowl filled with steak, camelized onions, cheese, avacado and lettuce. Muy bien!


Next stop, Venezuela. I’ve been to Caracas Empanadas a few times and have pretty much tried every option. Today I went with Pabellon Empanada: brown rice, black beans, sweet plantain, and shredded beef. Delicioso!


Together (Lomo Sandwich in front, empanadas in back) they complete my Great South American Escape. Viva Sudamerica!

Here’s the video for Poached Perfect that features Will’s Empanadas. I wrote, directed and edited Poached Perfect and in exchange I got to eat all of the food!

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