So Good, I’ll Publish it Thrice

Three years ago, when I first ate in Lima, I did not foresee that I’d ever be able to call Lima home. But, after the first 48 hours of constant eating, and the subsequent many visits, eating modern classics (ceviche classico) and trying less famous dishes (pejerrey roe sandwich), my cultural advisor (and friend), said to me one day, “you’ll just have to move here so we can try more dishes.” So I did.

My original posting was written in 2014 but, three years later, I still include the same places in the food tour. I include a photo from El Pan de la Chola, as I did not include that in my original posting, but it is part of my current food tour of Lima for my visitors.



A Restauranteur’s Recommendations in Bogota

On a sunny Saturday, Mike of Gringo Cantina, told us where he eats. I was going to try all his recommendations but I’m not sure that I’m that motivated. So here is his list.

12711000_10153887735189618_6178588179453468448_oSalvo patria, Calle 54A, #4-13

El Chato, Diagonal 68, #11 a-29

Bandido, Calle 79B, #7-12

Bruto, Carrera 10A, #70-50: I’ve been here and it was so so. But, many other people like it.

Tomodachi, Diagonal 70A, No. 4-66: This place is so cute, like an authentic ramen shop in Tokyo. If only they had Tokyo Ramen’s broth and the other guy’s noodles.

12698519_10153887740754618_5789744926502575402_oLa condessa, Calle 85 (and other location): I hoped it would be great. They have fancy beer… But, the Florentine salad was a revelation. The lettuce was delicious. Completely undressed.

Les Amis – 86 – 14. A bakery.

(in La Candelaria) only open at lunch. I can’t recall the name but it’s also owned by an American.

10 Best Restaurants in Bogota… Well, at least where I eat…

As I have mentioned before, I’m not going to eat at 100 restaurants in Bogota. Now that I’ve been in Bogota for over a year, these are the restaurants where I’ve found the food good or acceptable:

La Brasserie (which, along with Agadon, is part of the Di Lucca restaurant family) Carrera 13A, #85-35 (12/13): Only once have I been here and had a bad piece of food and a strangely odd waiter. Otherwise, this is my go-to restaurant in Bogota because, whether I arrive sweaty and in short pants — or with a reservation and long pants, the service is always good. I have never felt racism when walking in or eating here (does that seem amazing? Sad, no?). Plus, some of the food is stuff i want in my life on a daily basis. They have a house made chicken pate which makes me want to smuggle in a banh mi sandwich (if I could find one that I liked).

La Diva, Calle 93A, Carrera 12 (12/13): El Tiempo just listed this place as the best pizza in Bogota. Hope it’s not getting too crazy with long lines… this is my favorite place away from home. It’s warm, cozy, and the food is good. Plus the dresser takes his dressing job seriously. He may not use tweezers and spray nitro-spray all over the food a la fancy pantsy style… but, it is some of the prettiest food in Bogota. I also love the Sistine chapel style painted ceilings and the Euro-pop music. Plus, on Sundays, they have a “brunch” set menu for 35,000 pesos which is one of the best deals around. Oh, and they are always open (well, not at 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday… but still).

Gran China, Calle 77A and Carrera 11 (12/13): You’ve already heard me talk about this place. It’s good. The waiters like to go home around 9:00 p.m. so it’s amusing (to me) to watch them turn off the lights and “encourage” us out… only place in Bogota for truly spicy food. IMG_7266

Gringo Cantina, Calle 80, 12A-29 (12/13): This place opened in January 2016 so let’s see how it does. IMG_2651

El Cielo, Calle 70 #4 – 47 (11/13): It’s fancy. Wait, FAHHNCY. Yup. They probably have the best ceviche in Bogota (but, we’re at 8,500 feet above sea level — so go to Lima instead). But, that makes for interesting people watching for the Margaret Meads in us all.

Taj Mahal, Calle 119b #6A-34 (10/13): I wish they would bake their own bread and serve it warm. It’s Indian food. The only place in town. This town of nine million.

La Fama, Calle 65 Bis #2-85 (10/13): They are a bit pricey. They aren’t open all the time. It’s barbecue. The meal for four would be the meal for one in the U.S. It’s good. But, I get my ribs at Agadon.

Xarcuteria, Carrera 12 #93-43 and new location on Calle 85 (10/13): I don’t usually eat here because sometimes the service is too much attitude for me. And slow. But, the food is good. Only place for a reuben sandwich in Bogota.

Tokyo Ramen, Calle 98 and Carrera 11 (10/13): They have a variety of Japanese foods and ramen.

Others: Wabisabi, NN (speakeasy with great desserts), etc. As for the rest of the famous ones (Andres Carne de Res, Cuatro Estaciones, and Harry Sasson), I have had some negative experiences at them… or, I don’t think the food is all that. Or worth it.

As you can possibly tell, I’m just not all that excited by the food scene in Bogota. But, still, there is progress. I’ve noticed it.

10 Iconic American Eats In Washington, D.C.

Recently, some of my Bangladeshi friends visited the U.S… which made me think about iconic American foods to make them try while visiting D.C. The following are some of my recommendations.

1. Krispy Kreme: Who does not love a freshly fried yeast doughnut, hot and fresh from a sugar glaze waterfall?

2. Five Guys and Shake Shack: The last decade has seen the rise of the new hamburger restaurant which makes me happy. Freshly made with fresh French fries – it sounds simple but we, the consumers, put up with so much less for too long. Five Guys is a nationwide chain that started a few miles from D.C. and if you have peanut allergies, you must stay away…

A burger from Shake Shack.
A burger from Shake Shack.

3. All-American classic restaurants and bars: These are classic modern restaurants and bars in the “old boys’ club” style of dark wood, etc. — The Hamilton, The Lincoln, and also Old Ebbitt Grill, the Willard, and Ray’s the Steaks.

4. Ben’s Chili Bowl: Visitors like this historic place which has recently become a chain and it will soon be opening a branch at National Airport.

5. Honey Pig (noisy Korean BBQ restaurant), To Sok Jib (hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant), and Bon Chon Chicken: Annandale, Virginia is a well known Korea-town but Bon Chon has just opened a branch in Clarendon. There is also Lighthouse Tofu which serves more than tofu and Oegadgib which serves all-you-can-eat Korean including shabu-shabu (shabu-shabu are the words you should say to time how long you swish your meat in the broth to cook it.).

6. Pho soup: Eden Center is a little Vietnam in Falls Church, Virginia, where the restaurants serve pho and other Vietnamese food.

Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.
Vietnamese pho soup, fried rolls, and summer rolls.

7. Ravi Kabob: It’s a northern South Asian/Pakistani place that is “hole-in-the-wall” and serves delicious food. The most famous local chain is Moby Dick’s.

8. Edy’s Chicken or El Pollo Rico: It’s Peruvian style rotisserie chicken. Anthony Bourdain went to El Pollo Rico but I like that Edy’s serves yucca fries. There are also several other Peruvian style restaurants in the area where you can explore some of this world famous cuisine, although I’m still waiting for the celebrity chef level restaurants to open.

9. Ramen shops: This is a fairly new trend in American food, thanks in part to David Chang of Momofuku, and I like the trend. Yummy, homemade soup. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is.

10. El Salvadorean food: Try a fresh pupusa as the El Salvadorean population begins to emerge on the culinary scene (there are not that many Mexican places in this area but Jugalita is authentic).

Of course there are also many Ethiopian restaurants to try and loads of food carts serving all manner of new American foods (Korean kalbi taco, anyone?). Every new group of immigrants contributes a new flavor to American cuisine.

When tourists visit the U.S., many want to try Chipotle and other famous restaurants. I recommend using Yelp to find the locations. Speaking of American foods, there is, of course, pie, lobster, grits, collard greens, chicken and waffles, barbecue, etc. to be had here in D.C., but, maybe I’ll write about that another time. And not to forget, I’ve done some research and it looks like there is only one Colombian restaurant in the area… y claro, por supuesto, voy a visitarlo.