Can you guess what I'm eating in this photo? Well, it's an invertebrate and I studied it in my lab at Harvard last summer. I'll give you a big hint:
That's right, folks, I ate a sea squirt. This goes down in history as the weirdest thing I've ever eaten (thus far).
We took a guest speaker, Kevin Lafferty from UC Santa Barbara, to eat lunch after his presentation. He told us that he wanted to try 'piure'. People from the lab grimaced at the suggestion and recommended he get a half portion. Anxious as I am to try new foods, I told him I would help him out. But I didn't really catch what exactly 'piure' was. Then the waitress brought out this bowl of red lumps in a red broth. When I asked what it was, that's when they told me it was sea squirt. I then told Kevin to go first. Here he is before he puts it in his mouth (also notice the bowl of sea urchin in the background):
And here he is just as he takes his first bite:
His face basically sums it up. He really disliked it, but actually I didn't think it was that bad. It was true that it had a weird iodine flavor that I had never experienced before in my life. But I actually liked it more than the 'herizo' (sea urchin), which I thought had gone bad because it had a really strong sulfur flavor at first before it started tasting creamy. I prefer S. franciscanus, the red urchin that's common in Southern California, myself.
I'm off to La Serena, a beach town north of Las Cruces, tomorrow for a conference. It was a last minute opportunity to meet with one of my collaborators for a few days to plan our experiments and get to know a little bit more of Chile. I'll post pictures when I return!