The Great Bagel Hunt in Bogota

A bagel with lox from Fratelli's.
A bagel with lox from Fratelli’s.

What I consider a real bagel is actually a “New York style” or a “Montreal-style” bagel. The Montreal style is more freestyle in appearance (according to Wikipedia). The major characteristic of these two types of bagels are that they are round breads with a whole in the center with a stretchy and dense dough. I have been on the hunt for a decent bagel here in Bogota.

Capital Bagels on Calle 95.
Capital Bagels on Calle 95.

I went to the international chain, Capital Bagel. Their bagel was not doughy and it had a weird taste. Then someone told me that the best one was at Fratelli’s. So I went there. It was the best one I’ve found here so far. While it was not doughy, at least the flavor was not bad. But it was not a New York style bagel. So ends my hunt. Clearly, this is not the place or the time for bagels. Instead, I’ll enjoy the fresh orange juice I can find on every street corner.

Ciclovia, Every Sunday and Holiday From 7 – 2

Ciclovia blocking access to Septima, the main road of Bogota.
Ciclovia on Septima, the main road of Bogota.

Every Sunday and holiday, in Bogota, 120 kilometers (74 miles) of streets are closed to motor vehicles. It’s called Ciclovia and although there are now Ciclovias all over the world, it was invented here in Colombia in 1974.

There are lots of signs with advice.
There are lots of signs with advice.

Bogotanos love to exercise.  Every day, the weather is always 65 F here, so every Sunday is a great day to get outside and exercise. Ciclovia starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. There are bikes for rent, food stands, bike repair stands, and a vast array of non-motorized conveyances. Hundreds of staff work as crossing guards, counters (I don’t know exactly if that’s what they are doign but that’s my guess), and sign-movers.

All forms of non-motorized transport are welcome - like these bouncy things.
All forms of non-motorized transport are welcome – like these bouncy things.

I’ve seen more kinds of wheeled vehicles here than I knew existed. Tricycles, scooters, duo-scooters, skateboards, inline skateboards, bikes, trikes, unicycles, tandem bikes, quatro-bikes, strollers, and a reclining wheeled things (I don’t know what it’s called). Some people even transport their own stereos in their bike basket.

Is it a street luge?
Is it a street luge?

Not everyone uses wheels. There are joggers, walkers, dog walkers, and bouncers (shoes with bouncy springs). There are people of all ages and all shapes. Even some with parasols.

A worker at an intersection and various types bikes behind her. The green one is a four person bike.
A worker at an intersection and various types bikes behind her. The green one is a four person bike.

And lots of dogs.

A duo-scooter? This is the first I've ever seen. Where can I buy one?
A duo-scooter? This is the first I’ve ever seen. Where can I buy one?

Secret Restaurants and Speakeasies in Buenos Aires

Eat, drink, and be merry on four continents.
Eat, drink, and be merry on four continents.

There’s a well known secret about Buenos Aires. Actually, there are more, but here are two gastronomic ones.

One is that there are “secret” restaurants to go to (sort of like the inadvertent secrets in Dhaka). The concept is a fixed menu in someone’s home and you pay a suggested amount. It’s all sort of furtive and illicit, therefore enticing. The concept is the same as in Washington, DC and other cites.

Nola, come on in.
Nola, come on in.

 

In BA (that’s what the they call Buenos Aires), I went to a former secret restaurant. Instead of being located behind the closed door at the back of a garage, it’s now open to the street. Called Nola, it was started by a Louisiana expat, and it serves some good ol’ food. It was the best fried chicken in the city. The fried chicken has crispy batter. The sweetbreads with red pickled onions makes a savory bowl of crunchy goodness. The cornbread was more like a bread pudding and the tea, it was sweet. Best go early for BA, around eight, so that you don’t have to stand while eating your chicken. As the place filled up, the patrons spilled out onto the sidewalk through the open front. The restaurant looked like a former garage. They have a few desserts as well, including a cupcake sized blueberry pie. While the prices were not cheap, Nola was as sweet as its pie.

Blueberry pie, single portion.
Blueberry pie, single portion.

The second secret in BA is the “speakeasy,” A speakeasy refers to a bar that is hidden, just like back during Prohibition in the U.S. In current-day BA, these are bars with a fake entrance. The one that I went to had an innocent looking bakery as its facade. We went in and walked to the back “brick” wall. I imagining a secret knock or handshake would be required. But, we simply told the hostess that we wanted to go “to the back” and she let us through. Once through the looking glass, we entered a world of Victorian England, and I half hoped to see Johnny Depp swish or sway past wearing a cape. Alas, other than the disproportionate number of tall blondes, the only swaying I saw was a short gold lamé skirt that glittered and glistened as its owner made forays to the powder room.

A cocktail for 10 bucks.
A cocktail for 10 bucks.

Perhaps next time, I’ll blog about the 48-hour eating tour of BA to match my 48-hour food tour of Lima.

Lima Food Tour Translated Into Spanish and Portuguese

Classic ceviche.
Classic ceviche.

My blog posting about my 48-hour food tour in Lima got picked up by a luxury travel site. They even translated my blog posting into Spanish and Portuguese. Thanks, Intiways! The fascinating part was reading my blog posting in Spanish. I learned new words (“dona”) and new terms (not “Japanese-Peruvian” but “nikkei” for the Japanese influence in Peru).

Here’s a sentence for Spanish speakers to enjoy:

El “ceviche asiático” con comida marina es tanto una mezcla visual como gustativa del ceviche peruano y el sashimi japonés o nikkei (de la comunidad peruano-japonesa).

I wonder if they will pick up my other blog postings…

It’s Colombia; Not Columbia

Products for sale at the airport.
Products for sale at the airport.

It’s Colombia. Not Columbia. Columbia when spelled with a “u” is a university in New York and a brand of sports apparel, and many cities. The country of Colombia is spelled “Colombia” in both Spanish and English.

Bogota, is spelled with two “o”s and so is Colombia: Bogota, Colombia.

Here’s the video about the “It’s Colombia; Not Columbia” campaign.