One thing that I didn’t expect to stumble upon here was an organic/Italian bakery. But I did, right on the main street. They even have a grinder for fresh almond butter. It’s not a shop that I expected to find here.
Sadly, I didn’t actually like their cake or gluten free cake, but I have to give them credit for trying. They also have other items so maybe those are better.
Located on the Panamerican highway at kilometer marker 52 on the road south of Lima, this bakery is a great pit stop for breakfast. It’s called Tambo Rural (tambo is the indigenous word for kiosk) and there is no sign so you just have to pay attention and turn in at marker 52. They now have a real dirt driveway and expanded parking lot so it’s much easier to stop off the highway.
The coffee is amazingly creamy.
Speaking of breakfast, they sell chicharron which they cook in the wood fired oven (how is that for mind blowing!?), a breakfast item in Peru.
They sell bread that you can buy to take with you including photogenic focaccia.
They have toilets which work on a “bucket of water” flush system.
This place is not super fancy but it is good and covers all the bases. It’s not a secret either but TripAdvisor reviews are only in Spanish.
I enjoyed the fresh warm rolls, some filled with ham (turkey ham) and cheese, and some with olives and oregano. Plus that locally sources coffee. Yum. Great way to start a day and a trip. Go! Enjoy!
I try not to discriminate. So when invited to a vegan’s birthday, I do my research online, mostly yelp and google, to find a place where I can buy some vegan cupcakes. This particular birthday party was northwest of Miami, so I went to a vegan bakery called Parlour, in Plantation, Florida. Those cupcakes cost $4 each. The shop is hidden in a strip mall, but it’s a cute store once you get there.
My verdict on the cupcakes was that they were dry. I was told that this is not usually the case. No fear, I still licked the frosting off them.
In Danish, a danish is a “viennese bread” because it was brought to Denmark in the 19th century by immigrants from Vienna. There are many names and many types of pastry sold in Denmark and the bakeries, although no longer on every corner, are still to be had (today, 7-11 bakes fresh every few hours).
My favorites are actually not the well-known pretzel shaped “kringle” or the “duck breast” or “snail” but, one that is hard to find and the other that is more common. My favorite one is so popular that it’s sold at the airport. It’s called a “tebirkes” or “tea poppy seed” and it’s a rectangular shape with a covering of poppy seeds. Inside, the bottom layers are held down by a thin layer of almond paste mixed with sugar. The tebirkes isn’t overly sweet and I like to splice it open, slather it with Lurpack butter and a slice of smelly strong cheese. The second pastry that I always get, if I can, is called a “rosenbroed” or “rose bread”and it’s made from the basic kringle puff pastry but in a long plank shape. It’s covered with a thick layer of icing and sliced into long strips. Pure sugar, butter, and puff pastry!
Denmark is known for its Danish and in the U.S., there are a few places that claim to do the original kringle or Danish. But, Danish pastry is like New York pizza… it’s something in the water… if you can, go to the source.
I can’t leave Bogota without mentioning coffee. Coffee shops are very popular here. Some of the famous brands of coffee are Juan Valdez, Oma, Amor Perfecto, and lesser know is Bourbon, but it gets confusing because some of the coffee shops use other brands but make the coffee so well that your experience will be changed! One of those places is in the Hilton on 7th Avenue. The barista certainly takes a long time to make your coffee (including asking you how you want it – percolated, drip, etc. etc.) and it is nice. But not good if you actually just need a cup of coffee. The cafe looks like a 1920s location so the decor is appealing as well. I like Bourbon, both for their coffee and their cafe. And the fact that they make coffee with almond milk, for those who care about that sort of thing.
But, the best bakery is Arbol del Pan (Calle 66 Bis, #4-63: they are located up near Gordo and La Fama, on a street parallel to La Fama). Their coffee is okay but it’s their breads that are the best. Plus, they are open for breakfast. They make a poached egg, asparagus and prosciutto croissant that is delectable. This is not to say that I don’t still enjoy Eric Kaiser and Masa’s products. But, I think I like Arbol’s almond croissant best. On top of which, the staff speak English and the owner has one of those great back stories (architect decides to become baker… and it’s a woman-owned business, for those who care about that sort of thing!).
Lima, Lima, Lima! My friends are probably tired of hearing me rave about the food in Lima… turn away now then.
Yet another delicious place to eat in Miraflores is El Pan de la Chola. The atmosphere is a bit like being in San Francisco. Just not quite as expensive. The baker is a young man who started by selling bread on the beach. Now he teaches children to bake in the open-air bakery at the back of the restaurant.
The cheese used in the melted cheese sandwich is so locally sourced that it doesn’t even have a name! The juice drinks are refreshing, the yogurt home-made, and simple dish of “palta fuerte” avocado, oil, and bread is simplicity itself.
Even the cafe con leche is one of the best cups of coffee that I’ve had (the coffee is one found by the “coffee hunter” of TV fame).
Never mind the hype. Go for the melted cheese sandwich.
“Prepare to have your mind blown,” said Mr. X. I stepped into Afternoon Tea, a two-month old Taiwanese bakery and I was indeed bowled over to find such a delicious bakery. Their baked goods, especially the Taiwanese cream bun, were soft and sweet. They also make bubble tea (tapioca balls were pretty good with a bit of chew at the center) with fresh juices. I had passion fruit today but I’ll be back to try the others. Supposedly, soon, they will have the red bean paste buns as well. They are located on Carrera 15, No. 94-51 and they have plans to expand, including providing delivery (domicilio as it’s called here). Their cakes are delicious too. I ordered a cake to take to a birthday and for 45,000 Colombian pesos (about $22), I got a spongy delightful eight-inch white cake decorated with fruit. Their cheesecake is good. Not cloying but it does have fibers from the fresh mango and passion fruit (thanks for the roughage in my diet). They can also make a chocolate cake with alcohol, but I haven’t tried it so I don’t know how it is. ***I was in for a chat when I picked up my cake and I commented that they should post photos on their Facebook page… and they did! I hope that they’ll soon post delicious food photos…
It was a great day for finding Asian (or “oriental” as they call it here) grocery supplies. Earlier, I found the Global Gourmet on Carrera 14, No. 90-12, and nearly collapsed from joy at finding fresh tofu, edamame, fish sauce, wonton wrappers, sesame oil, sesame seeds, peanut oil, woks, chopsticks, mango chutney, seaweed, green curry paste, cookbooks, rice bowls, miso paste, tapioca flour, somen noodles, rice noodles, 10 kilo bags of rice, and so much more. Unfortunately, they do not have fresh vegetables. Not a cheap store but at least they have all sorts of hard to find items. They have been open for nine years so there must be someone buying the goods. The folks in Afternoon Tea didn’t even know about this store.
Then, I found the Asian section at Jumbo, the mega supermarket near Calle 110, No. 9B – 4 (like a Walmart) located in the Santa Ana mall. This mall also has a taxi service in the basement so it’s easy to catch a cab home with one’s groceries.
For kimchi, I bought some at the Casa de Coreana restaurant, Calle 104A, No. 11B-61. It cost 10,000 Colombian pesos ($5) for about a pint. It was acceptable, and according to the lady in the restaurant, the best in town. We’ll see.
Carulla also sells some imported goods like sushi seaweed and rice.
Now, the most difficult part of shopping for Asian food is finding vegetables. I found out from the folks at the Taiwanese bakery that Paloquemao market sells Asian vegetables on Tuesday mornings.
I’ll update this as I find more sources. Later, I’ll blog about the Asian restaurants… as I taste test them.
If anybody knows of more sources of Asian food or good Asian restaurants in Bogota, please share this with me by commenting or sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Someone told me that Maki Roll, a restaurant, was also an Asian grocery store. I went to investigate. The restaurant smelled of bulgogi and sesame oil. They had a few items for sale in the glass counter and on the shelf between the kitchen and the cash register. They sell Korean spicy ramen (which makes them the only place to carry this brand so far). They also sell kimchi (not as good as Casa de Coreana’s), individually prepped seaweed, and kochikang, the spicy Korean red paste.
All in all, between these stores, it is possible to almost find everything I’d need to make the basics of Korean food. Tonight, there’s a bag of bulgogi beef happily marinating away.
As someone who loves good bread, I find it hard to find European-style yeasty bread in Dhaka. There is plenty of pillowy naan, stretchy rhumali, chewy paratha, and flaky dhosa. When I want European style bread, I go to the following places:
Kings Confectionary: This is where to get long baguette-like hoagie or subway rolls. Plus, the sugared doughnuts are chewy, doughy, and sugary.
German Butcher: They bake their own bread. They call it black bread but it’s more of a whole wheat blend. You can even buy a half loaf if you want to start out with that.
Do Mi Ok: The best sliced white bread in Dhaka. It’s doughy. If you squeeze it, it will hold your finger imprint. They also sell a few other types of fresh bread but it’s the white that I like.
Le Souffle. It is slightly ridiculous how expensive they are. They have a bakery and sell French baguettes and other types. The bread is hard crust sourdough style. They sell croissants and cakes as well.
Nordic Club: They do great cinnamon rolls… the black bread has too much molasses and tastes slightly off.