El Chato – The Food Revolution Is Coming

12719416_10154035309304618_2582625394252442684_oEven if I’m not a fan of molecular gastronomy, I can deal with a bit of foam on my plate once in a while, if it tastes good! The desserts at El Chato (Diagonal 68, #11-29) are light and refreshing (note cucumber foam in the photo). The amuse bouche of pork rind was as light as pop rocks candy on the tongue. Delicious! The main courses and salads seemed healthy and did not taste as fancy as the treatment they received (pork shank brined for six days, then smoked for three etc.). Several of the dishes had smoked components which is not one of my favorite flavors. But, that’s just me.

When we went, one of the chefs came out to introduce each dish to us. Leonardo was extremely friendly. Plus, he worked at Noma in Copenhagen for seven months. Chefs like him could be the start of the Colombian food revolution. He told me that El Chato is closing for a re-vamp of their menu and restaurant. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. 12916965_10154035309209618_2448080628793039209_o

Organic Market in Bogota – Secret Garden Sundays

1933483_10154043988409618_6452458893857797466_oThere is an organic farmers market in Bogota. Every Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The address is Calle 69, 6-20, up from Carrera 7 (up the street from the gas station). The google location will show Impact Hub Bogota. The farmers market is located in the courtyard. From the street, you will see the white tents above the brick wall.

12968170_10154043988554618_3847116889824795280_oThey have quinoa in multiple variations, and acai food stand (move aside ice cream!), other ready-made foods, vegetables, soaps, and organic cleaning products.

12916956_10154043988744618_345777456803251367_oThis place is small and hard to find. There are only about seven stalls. The market has been there every Sunday for three years. Many of the vendors supply some of the restaurants in Bogota.

12525299_10154043988159618_1414647751940569563_oCheck it out. It’s like a secret garden market.

12916287_10154043988229618_3870378921313816089_o

Secret Bar in Bogota with Hand Crafted Cocktails

IMG_3325*******Update: The location has changed! It’s now in the neighborhood of Quinta Camacho. Calle 69A, #10-05. *********

Yes, it’s a speakeasy, not illegal, but kept a secret like back in the days of prohibition. Yes, it has no name. Yes, it’s not well known yet…

IMG_3339The craft cocktails are good. That’s the important thing. The drinks have names like “J Bird” and “Shi-taque” and “Ayguey” (or something like that) and other cleverness. The drinks are gin or whiskey based with infusions and chartreuse as ingredients. They are refreshing, strong, and delicious. The bartender takes great care making the drinks as he mixes, shakes, squirts, dusts, and coddles the drinks (Plus, he has a magnificent beard).

It’s the kind of place where one can hear oneself, and ones friends talk (although it’s so dark you may not be able to see them) because the music is blues or other old school music played loud enough to enjoy but not so loud that you have to yell. The two booths have chains which activate a red light when you want to call for service (so you get to yank their chain). Fresh water is always served with the drinks to make sure that you won’t be hung over the next day.

IMG_3342The location has changed! It’s now in the neighborhood of Quinta Camacho. Calle 69A, #10-05. No longer secreted behind the Pan Asian food restaurant, Thom Ngon, on top of Xarcuteria near Parque 93. Go up the stairs and ring on the doorbell. Someone will open the little window (just like in the prohibition movies) and let you in. Maybe. The owner says that he wants this place to stay secret and hidden so that only those who like a good hand crafted drink will hear about this place by word of mouth. He says that he doesn’t want the meat market “seen scene” (my description) types here. We shall see.IMG_3340Unlike the other speakeasy, this place does not have food or snacks. Yet. Our waiter, Jesus, told us that snacks like peanuts or albondigas (meatballs) will be coming soon.

But no fish fillet sandwich… which some of us wanted… did I mention that the drinks are strong?