48 Hours of Eating in Mexico City

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La Condesa Azul

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Toppings! Including mashed potato with chilies for your taco.

Then head to El Moro for a fried churro, but really, go for the ice cream. It’s served as one of the famous churro ice cream sandwiches, but I just scooped it out — it was sprinkled with speckles of vanilla dots.

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Everything but the oink at El Progreso.

Have their hot chocolate too. It’s a tradition. But, I was liked the ice cream. Call me a heathen!

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Ant egg omelet. The little white and brown things are the ant eggs.
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Sanborn’s grand hall.
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This Sanborn’s waitress had the most forlorn passive aggressive upsales technique. It was amusing. You almost wanted to fall for it.

For lunch, head downtown and eat at the Sanborns de los Azulejos. The building is made up of blue tile and hard to miss. If you eat in the salon on the Cinco de Mayo side, it’s got a soda fountain feel and very local. If you eat in the grand salon on the Francisco Madero, you will have a long wait but the pay off is eating in a GRAND HALL.

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From Lardo: Banana split. So yummy.
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The drink  guy at Lardos.

For dinner, try Lardo, for a feeling of being in Spain. Don’t get the deep fried green beans and you’ll be okay. Good cocktails and people watching.

_SgrY6tOf9F_Y7qOLux_Jfjib-GnodqXqH-cqjQrj9Q0_ywqY4dGwaM5V9bveXGA6dBz-5V9zei3x95IMaURZuJ9wQUkiMYGdXc_DFGvWRYNH0GVX1J2t798OKrdYiaEoR1WaY8yODG8WQmZO0Mq962rinA48k3Stii2M0LpWNtiek32blsRTtk__wThen for breakfast, eat at Forbidden Fruit. It’s located in a posh neighborhood with a nice park nearby. The juices are scrummy, as they are almost everywhere in Mexico, and the breakfast which is also good.

6ypWL5DGXZojHul9UwYJe7PgCU1fcWDLOlLZo3EplFAYeKrCZ_n9sZ2kFwgo2IG2Hf1_H-zXkSaFyLUGKLLt_GnWOiACTHhJN5kaNkBCFZYDWyYNGx6GFN4DGCzBlOH1LiqJwzC93Tgui_l_XC028QIahG9w8JJDGmuMo9MO-8AfEInxElc4_ZmDllFor lunch, go to Condesa Azul. It’s super upscale. Eat upstairs and you’ll feel like you’re eating in a glitzy tree house.

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The hot chocolate cart at Azul Condesa.

The Oaxacan ladies making tortillas are still the most beautiful part of an already pretty restaurant.

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I love a simple dessert. Soft merengue cream (some fruit flavor) and red berry sauce.

Along the way, eat corn on  the cob, spiced chips with lime, and sliced fruit with chili! If you need more, try the tacos in a basket (mainly to see what the hullabaloo is about), and if you must, go to Maison Kaiser for a French pastry.

iYs0c4pYEpRpWHrzwvQU6n8Vx_rRq95Y0HaoJwDfZFxm91SsbSk6Og-hWO2rivPj5TCgVNoPA4pBZn9MAFua0z8L1bD2ZZN5YzEGacQQwdtb2vmVISLO_NKtHQmPSMBkRA5W9eNoEEFnGZIKcQzbFwPvsdx4rzvpzLqtm5hWooAcRaUBeu0WBINcrMIn between, waddle over to the exhibits and dancers on the zocolo, the museum, and the folklore dancers at the Teatro de Bellas Artes.

N0f_DUJmAmqoVIVTHCcguWRVib4P51PxIsTvBUkYNkguc48CCgaR8scoQ9Rj1t9LVuhIJvuPmNbufLbChz8186tx7LpVzyubFCEwoBAQXpBRQwsUaedSpwEkFHoxjUlr-7lW-c9BYv1NDWPuNVj-hZJmV5hHXMHpUN54RQ9AYwb2vn2s7MjvBzoMRhIt’s a good show and allows you to digest.

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And I finally got to see some mariachi!

10 Unusual Fruits To Try In Peru

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  1. Lucuma: orange colored flesh and a green or brown peel. It’s got a taste that is very special, but the closest I can think of is a sort of butterscotch pumpkin flavor. Truly a Peru specific fruit. VOEPnZgVZsEJscpjjTsE3kwIkVDwrlJRk-CmFm1pKepZSLsrLVCHrui3EK7ZyRqwqEvkFNa085ZSImk3S5pD1VAKjXNydEz6selFE_Rtzl3vvIOGk3RlVDyBbfiQH8rtdmiM3MBpbQez4QvyvsBLquZxcQO8optUeogNe8z2dKw2p30FOCAwiJ2lfK
  2. Aguaymanto/goldenberry: These are the yellow fruit with the size and texture of a cherry tomato but a flavor and tartness all their own. These have a carapace which makes people think they are mini tomatillos. TLKk_mF_3kLVCleAICDT0HrWES6ZCQ42KEIgRkqEBj0by6l2jmkVYCkqZJN6oVRZ84Vtq8EgReIfAdyk9b-726-DYTQYgsUxcyuGUiZEX_GqDiw3ToC0-vUlUrzmAFjPdme8YgRS1c790vpcQK63zI_CGP7nfJZxjRb37-inCMTiO3hkiJZd-l6Pb5
  3. Maracuya: Here in Peru, the passionfruit is a common juice choice and used often in a pisco drink. It’s got a heady fragrant drive-you-mad sort of aroma. The purple wrinkled passionfruit that is sold in the U.S. was created by “marrying” the tumbo and the larger passionfruit used in South America. (top right in the first photo – a large yellow fruit cut open in this photo)
  4. Granadilla: these are shaped like maracas and in Colombia, the kids crack them open on their foreheads. Then suck the snotty seeds out or use a spoon. (lower right in first photo, cracked open)
  5. Camu camu: another fruit that everyone says is good for you. From the jungle. Small plum like fruit used for juice. (see drawing in lower photo)
  6. Cherimoya: also called a custard apple in other parts of the world. (the pale green things next to the avocados)_6nCMxDTzOIExIZLSOJYo0MjeB2wzA4DTl3PFc0qFPuk0TO0YyeJqq7_DEmKIRSG5_i6cQrASX2IXnQCMnTf7JhsYl7w8XD_nqBvRqnUdYtjaKWu_SNgYU5fyFGhDQlzWsO1R6_FJcjlzWg7lFIZYA5uoXcm-5SBiXpbjPF54Gd6x1sxit4HIIzpkc
  7. Tumbo: the older form of passionfruit. Considered the “male” or “dad” when someone created the wrinkled purple passionfruit. (it’s a cucumber shape in the middle of the top photo)
  8. Mamey: Or zapote, is a bright orange pumpkin textured fruit the size of a melon. (to the right of the pepino melons below)hmwIoFLbJwCiIlAUgs75gU2gcBfeKlV6vaWHbGxAe-kMT-wuKjyzFAmO_Wa42FnvarCn-wg6jN1oYYjwyDFH_e6xe9jxzCySC9Bd437zhM1jT-AryGoS9-9ImwFBtvCWHiw_3Y2BZj4C977ONmk1zmsnF0mLdjGvQoi8nmKqoTwtXfJlOyM6C94Sx9
  9. Aguaje: these look like brown armadillo eggs. Inside the fruit is bright yellow. I was told, by a taxi driver, that these fruit are “good for women and that in the jungle, homosexuals will eat them to become more feminine”. (see drawing at bottom)
  10. Tuna: is it the fish of the desert? Tuna is cactus fruit of which the Dragon Fruit is the flashy but less flavorful cousin.
  11. Pepino melon: a smallish striped melon. (see photo above with zapotes)
  12. Sauco: is elderberry
  13. Platano de la isla: It’s what they call the sweet banana (as opposed to the plantain type of banana). A “seda” or silk banana is like the bananas in the U.S.

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As I find my photos of these fruits, I’ll add them. So check back! I will try that aguaje!

Then there is also noni which has a cheesy aftertaste.dkCFw-js4R4B1CuZYNVZoDTrSW8N3MUkQ8OSKhmDHuOU11QqwqXdd-3YwnMsvr8Y8BaMjxWosFb0PJUCL-CFLCnOVGnbIuhznUGSFF2fn_vlPTqEt0IE5PgSDM4HV01gFU6SDZ1T3zpyJh7DXx50gn02aXHwiP6ciJZdVlafYrh7Vf0LIgxffP82aR

And these?pE6mzpO5zAn06Q_Upj8DqNoXgOZXSzm1EjziCJg4p3993ROU6DSIhoqbKA1IiR7Jz8YuwK2UfIzrP_UlB1dTYJ8UWx_nOMhhXFzxq7gmZ0LpYgKyL53wzbwpvLTZW73pEzPYKOQdDVah1u0H_1G5R6woQANYHy9IT4xPL8_2ShR4er-o5eZ19IwSWw

 

 

Trini Food – Trinidad and Tobago Foods

1XMd9O31H87nvZP8RkqIkYecnQY0_lIOd7nAM2wJLqi5vtmgezIT8cgCVdTuS3NTl0BLKGcMSkFM5SfCr39ejG0ndK7GeHAzLCjsflR7KbiZlmG5JLl_k3-yeD9Q_TrSofKhkbBKaKxGqa5jb2m_mM91Z6DFR0fX4MQ2FBsIeq9ApJTbc4ADJ3S3_jTrying the food in Trinidad requires learning the vocabulary:

Pepper (said, “pehpah”) sauce: made from pureed Scotch Bonnet chili peppers. In the lingo of the today, “they don’t play” in “scoville” here. This pepper sauce is flame-thrower hot. Tread lightly. When ordering pepper sauce, it’s “light, medium, and heavy.”

Doubles: this is the most famous of Trini foods. It’s eaten for breakfast and is comprised of two (hence the name) pieces of fried flatbread topped with cooked chickpeas (garbanzos) in curry, with sauces (see one in hand in photo above). Some of the sauces are pepper/chili sauce and some vendors have their own tamarind sauce to add a sweetness to the mix. At most doubles stands, there are two lines. One for eat-in and one for take-out. The take-out line takes longer as the doubles are wrapped in wax paper. The eat-in line is faster partly because some people will eat six to seven doubles at one time. Now, apparently, there are places serving “triples.” You pay after you have eaten.

Buss up shut: A dish of Indian origin with a large stretchy roti in two layers (inside is a think powdery layer inside) which is ripped up to resemble a ripped shirt. Hence the name.

Roti: is a flat stretchy bread. Eaten with curry (curry goat, curry chicken, etc.).

Callaloo soup: Also very popular. Callaloo is a vegetable. The soup is fairly thick and looks a bit like stewed collard greens.

Crab and dumpling (it is a large pasta piece, no filling). See below. In a curry sauce.

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Channa: is lentils.

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Fry Bake: is fried flat bread usually served as a breakfast sandwich with dried salt cod or smoked herring. Both taste slightly fishy so I’d recommend getting them with a good amount of pepper sauce.

Pl8SeAZ0KtSUysAl90Cn-pUP4y7Ctcw_oJHuDan0DdZavcR-yqk2mudunhojJyQLINBL67E7jV5LYCvXCHfPeaZ8CSnS8Opvbm98wpOw3Kdu0qk5tEwQEc8YQTrGYK5-kBrW4Nd166TtV_U_ycSEM-64w5a3NWIRNxDVFR2y3VV_4Q_ToPx8nit9rdBake and Shark: is a fish sandwich like a po’ boy in the U.S. The most famous place for this is Richard’s in Maracas Bay. Stop for some pineapple chow.

Chow: is fruit in a slightly spicy brine.

QDmsKqtmioCSImhaUi0XnFl5RPsKBnp59i6jZBUsVIKqTVCdjMo-rC-ZnUSYA7JWX389sFbdgLbuGqNLDnOQXEmcH1W_i3XoSrLNVbOpn2MTXg7LUPOqmLM09bub5TyLrpLnBuzMK9D_kTTz0ndQiZWRiF3o7rvCHgmIhdBz4Vp17Q8e6JvHIHN4FVOil down: is a stew much like chicken and dumplings in flavor but often made with pigtail. As seen here, it is served with “provisions” which are dumplings, plaintains, breadfruit, potatoes, and other carbohydrate-rich foods.

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Macaroni pie: like mac and cheese but cut in squares.

The drinks of Trinidad and Tobago are plentiful. They drink rum and more rum. I was told that the best rum here was Angostura. They also have a ‘punch’ which is made up of all kinds of other alcohol so strong enough to punch you down for a day or two. One person I talked to told me that he had something to drink that was so strong that it made him stop drinking! Again, the national pastime seems to be “to lime” which is to hang out somewhere to drink.

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I did not have cow heel soup which is also a famous Trini food. It’s a thick soup made with cow hoof.

100 Fruits in Colombia

12045302_10153648238159618_515981556999707268_oAs I mentioned, I planned to try 100 new (to me) fruits while in Colombia. Here they are.

Uchuva (cape gooseberry/yellow berry): These cherry-sized yellow fruit inside a paper cover (they look like small yellow tomatillos) have an aroma that I can’t describe (a subtle tomato-ish aroma), are slightly sour, and have a tomato-like texture. img_3630

Lulo: This fruit is unique to this part of the world (grows in Ecuador and Peru as well). The Colombians have really made it part of their daily juice selection (fresh juice is a part of daily life here). The lulo looks like a tomato but is super sour so only used for juice. The juice is greenish in color even though the fruit is orange. img_6600

Pitaya (yellow dragon fruit): This fruit could change the world. I call it the “110-minute fruit”… as in, you know where you will be 110 minutes after you’ve eaten it. I like to scoop out the insides sort of like eating a kiwi. It is part of the cactus family. img_6597

Maracuya (passion fruit): When I went on the fruit tour, I learned that the passion fruit sold in the U.S. is the brown version created by mixing a “mom” and a “dad” fruit. In the photo, the big round greenish one on the right is the “mom” and the long narrow one on the left is the “dad” (called a “caruba”) and the one in the center is the one I think of as a passion fruit.img_7999

Tree tomato: I tried three different kinds of tree tomato in Colombia. They don’t have much flavor and look like long narrow tomatoes. img_6599

Chirimoya (custard apple): This green pear shaped fruit that looks a bit like an artichoke is a surprise. 10421300_10153347353934618_6551906275350936819_n1

Kumquat: Looks like a grape-sized orange. Supposedly you can eat it, rind and all. I find it very bitter.

Papayuela. The only fruit that must be boiled with sugar before consumption.905967_10153648165584618_2113259764934613346_o1

Orange: The oranges used for Colombia are often green on the outside and orange on the inside. And sweet.10295299_10153154808029618_6497864187278336944_o10649655_10152941158444618_304262838288101202_n

Mandarin: I mention these because the juice is great. Most of the mandarins I tried in Colombia were in juice form. When I would go to my favorite market, Paloquemao, the vendors would often give me a free mandarin. I appreciate the freebie but really I don’t like the mandarins because they are too papery and fibrous. But, great as juice! And so incredibly orange colored (the green juice in the back is feijoa – mentioned later)!10295925_10153141348034618_1238038620572353122_o

Zapote: Baseball size and dirt-colored. Inside is the texture of a pumpkin and it is bright orange. This is just one of the fruits you can try on the fruit tour in Bogota. img_7981

Obos: It looks like an olive and one chews around the hard seed inside. It seems like a lot of work for what you get.

Mamoncillo: Little round hard fruit a bit like lychee but without the same aroma.img_0606

Curuba zanahoria: The fruit from a palm tree. It’s a bit like a pumpkin. It needs salt, sugar, and lime juice… is it worth it?img_14371

Feijoa (pineapple guava/guavasteen): It tastes like kiwi with a soapy aroma. Not so good for those who don’t like cilantro. Used mostly for juice. Named for a Brazilian explorer.img_7994

Guayaba araca (wild acidic guava): These are yellowish and the size of an apple. The aroma of these led me to them in the produce section. Inside the flesh is pale custard color with flesh like a peach. But, they are super sour. Once I read about it, I found out that it needs to have sugar added and it needs to be diluted to 1 part juice to 10 parts water.

Granadilla: This was the go-to fruit for Colombian school kids because this is a sturdy fruit (and apparently the kids would smash it against their forehead to crack it open). 12109738_10153648238154618_4031459241144594892_o

Guamas: looks like a mega green bean pod but you just eat the inside white fluff that surrounds the beans.fullsizerender62

Carambola (starfruit): You have seen them on many a cocktail. I assume.

Papaya: This is a meat tenderizer and the Colombians eat this for breakfast — like they are trying to tenderize the night.

Pepino melon: a long attractive melon. photo53

Agraz (blackberries, but like a small bitter acai): This small berries are so bitter that they must be good for your health. 11223961_10153648176094618_8871581844640326146_o

Higos: The fruit of the cactus fruit. img_1512

Cashew fruit: The fruit of the cashew tree is great if you can get it. The nut hangs off the end of the fruit. It’s much better as a juice. img_1477

Mango: There are many sorts of mangoes. Colombia has the larger reddish kind.

Mangosteeno (mangosteen): Not from Colombia but they are very proud to grow them here. This is my favorite fruit.img_9791

Piñuela: This was a small shallot-shaped fruit. To eat it, one peels the leaves it like a banana. Inside is a white floss around a large black seed. Eat the floss. 11703215_10153432786054618_6224118621775175662_n

Yacon: I first heard of this in the U.S. as it was being used in dried form as a diet tea. It’s sold on the streets of Bogota. On the outside, this fruit looks like a dirty potato. On the inside, it looks like a pear. Sort of. 11428034_10153347356384618_6703100946318414907_n

Plantain: It is a fruit. It’s eaten like a starch. It is. But, it looks like a banana. A word about bananas in Colombia. Most of them are spotty. There are many different kinds. If you want unblemished Dole bananas, you need to buy “export” bananas. And good luck finding them. 10629567_10152764664629618_2203745753734451276_n

Breva: This fruit looked like a styrofoam. I had lots of discussions with my Colombian colleagues about what it’s actually called. I believe it has to be boiled with sugar for ten hours.11893871_10153648327319618_3449185676384618469_o

Noni: And then there were these “noni”… so ugly. Apparently, they also have to be boiled for 24 hours with sugar. I couldn’t find anyone who had ever had these.

12038856_10153648327109618_4873066923029458107_o

Actually, the rarest fruit to find in Colombia are lemons.

While researching the names of the fruits, I found this photo contest. It’s amazing to see what fruits are out there for us to try: Some links to other fruit adventurers: A blog about all kinds of things.

I did not find 100 new fruits to try, but these are a sample of the ones that I tried. Many of the new fruits were variations of other fruits. And frankly, a lot of the fruits were not very tasty and had to be boiled with sugar for 24 hours to be edible… stick with the pitaya, lulo juice, and mangosteeno.

 

Danish Strawberries

Once upon a year, in a little tiny land, at the top of Europe, there are strawberries so ruby and sweet. They arrive just after the sweet pea season. Visit Denmark in late August and you may may be able to get both. The strawberries are red like claret in the sun. Eat them fresh or covered in fresh cream. img_3802

Then, if you can find sweet peas in the pod, enjoy them as they are as succulent as crisp morning dew. But nuttier.img_3834

Oh, and they are healthy for you. How sweet is that!

Will I See You Again, Charco? A Restaurant I Will Return To In Uruguay

Warm, freshly baked rolls and olives to start the meal.
Warm, freshly baked rolls and olives to start the meal.

“How is the food?” “Delicious, but it makes me sad.” “Why?” “Because I can only eat this.” “But, we have more food in the kitchen.” “But I have only this one night.”

Smoked salmon, calamari with tartar sauce, and panko crusted shrimp with mango salsa.
Smoked salmon, calamari with tartar sauce, and panko crusted shrimp with mango salsa.

This was the conversation I had with my young waiter who looked like he had stepped out of a commercial for polo and Polo.

I had wandered around Colonia for a few hours when I heard the lap of waves at the end of a cobblestone street. Charco restaurant is down at sea level, perhaps even a bit below. They have a counter along the windows so that one can sit facing the waves while eating.

The shrimp with mango salsa.
The shrimp with mango salsa.

I managed to get a table because I wanted to eat dinner at 5 p.m. Apparently later that evening, all the (seven) tables were reserved. Charco is the “house” restaurant of a hotel. The hotel only has seven rooms (or something like that) and next time I visit Colonia, I might try to stay there.

A seat with a view.
A place setting with a view.

My seafood platter was good. I loved the fresh tart pomelo juice (I like my juice fresh and I’ve tried quite a few!).

Fresh pomelo juice in a curvacious glass.
Fresh pomelo juice in a curvacious glass.

But, what I really impressed me was the freshly baked mini breads (and the olives) which came out as an appetizer. The bread had been baked like Italian pizza with corn meal on the bottom. This helps to keep the bread from sticking to the oven but it also adds a crunchy sweetness to the rolls. Warm, buttery, and sweetly corny. All six for me!

The hotel as seen from the street.
The hotel as seen from the street.

When I chatted with the waiter, who spoke beautiful English, I asked him if he was from Colonia. He was. I asked if he had seen some of the world. He had. I asked if he thought that Colonia was the best town in the world. That was why he came back.

A mysterious door at the end of a street. Don't resist!
A mysterious door at the end of a street. Don’t resist!

Peruvian Food Tour in Lima

The modern version of ceviche at Brujas.
The modern version of ceviche at Brujas.

**** March 2015 — this blog posting got translated and re-blogged on a luxury tour site: in Spanish and in Portuguese. Thanks to Intiways for finding my blog and teaching me the correct Spanish translations! ****

Peru’s cuisine is the megastar on the international food scene. Lucky for me, I have a friend in Lima who took me on a personal food tour. Here are the highlights of a weekend eating tour of Lima. Buen provecho!

The witches.
The witches.

Friday night: Eat at Brujas de Cachiche. It might be my new favorite restaurant (their franchise, the Brujas de Cartagena is not a good copy — go to the original). Brujas have a white table cloth area for more formal dining or dates, a lounge with low slung comfy chairs for chatting with friends, a nightclub area upstairs, and a wine cellar for private dining amongst the amphorae. The menu is huge and includes an array of Peruvian cuisine, both traditional, and presented as “taster” platters. The decor is festive and because Limenos eat dinner late, you can eat a full dinner at 11:30 at night.

Lomo saltado. Shaken beef=stir fried beef.
Lomo saltado. Shaken beef=stir fried beef.

Try the pisco sour and the pisco maracuya (passion fruit). The “ceviche asiatico” with seafood is a visual and gustatory blend of the traditional Peruvian ceviche and Japanese (from the Peruvian Japanese community) sashimi. From the Peruvian Chinese community, you could try the “lomo saltado” or stir-fried beef which includes French fries as one of the stir-fried vegetables (of course, the potato is from here so meals include both rice and potatoes!). Try “picarones” for dessert. They are donuts.

The wine "cellar" at Brujas.
The wine “cellar” at Brujas.
Causa, a savory cake of potatoes.
Causa, a savory mash of potatoes.

Saturday noonish: After some coffee or espresso (lots of Peruvian Italians here too), make your way to the Plaza Mayor or main square. It’s very attractive and perhaps you’ll catch the changing of the guards at noon at the presidential palace. From there, wander over to Cordano’s a restaurant frequented by civil servants, inexpensive and with the feel of an Italian bistro. Try the “causa” which is a mashed potato lasagna or mash with many layers. Don’t be put off by my literal translation. The potatoes used are special yellow potatoes and they are mashed and flavored. It reminds me a bit of the Turkish meze, Jordanian mezze, or Bangladeshi bhorta. Perhaps, have a pisco sour at the place where it was invented? It was invented at the Hotel Maury.

Family room.
Family room.

Saturday lunch: After visiting the Church of San Francisco and the Palace of Torre Tagle (with the famous overhanging balconies), head over to the Museum of Food which is housed in the Old Post Office. While this museum could do with a Gaston and Astrid (the internationally acclaimed chef pair) restaurant and shop, the displays are interesting. In the museum, you will learn about “pollo a la brasa” or rotisserie chicken, and the cultures that influenced Peruvian cuisine including “Oriental, European, African, and Moorish” (Japanese/Chinese, Spanish/Italian, African, and Arab/Middle Eastern).

The original cevicheria.
The original cevicheria.

Then, with whetted appetite, grab a cab (yup, there’s an app for that) and head to La Red for lunch. This restaurant was started by a lady who wanted to serve ceviche to the mechanics who worked in the garages located in this part of town. Now, of course, the area is gentrified and the restaurant is run by the lady’s sons. Try “chicha,” a corn drink which tastes like mulled wine without the alcohol. Try the “ceviche classico” here. At 32 soles ($12), I would eat this every day if I lived nearby.

Classic ceviche.
Classic ceviche.
Ocope.
Ocope.

Also, try the “ocope” which is like “papas a la huancahina” which is one of my favorite potato dishes (it’s a spicy deconstructed potato salad which is served with hard boiled eggs and olives). The ocope sauce has vanilla and peanuts in it which makes it a utterly new sort of flavor in a savory dish. Also, try the “chupe de camarones” which is a hearty seafood soup served with a fried egg on top. I really liked the “tiradito” which is a modern ceviche with sliced fish and Peruvian sauces on top. I also had juice of the “aguaymanto” fruit. Pricy but nice.

Chicha and a juice.
Chicha and, of course, a fruit juice.
Where the students are...
Where the students are…

Saturday early evening: After a siesta, go to Parque de Miraflores for street food. I had, I think, “mazamone morade” which is sort of like a warm tapioca pudding. Like warm jam.

Clean food stall.
Clean food stall.

Try a “sanguche de chicharron” and a “sanguche de jamon del pais” both of which are pork sandwiches (sanguche is how they’ve peru-sonalized the word sandwich) from the famous “sanguche” chain. Also try their french fries called “papas huayco” which are a specific type of thick cut fry (recall that the potato was invented in Peru). Having such a specialty fry is like Five Guys in the U.S. where each store tells you, daily, the provenance of the spuds being fried.

A pork sandwich with yam. And fries.
A pork sandwich with yam. And fries.

After gawking at a wedding in the cathedral (they have weddings every hour to make sure that the audience can catch at least one on their way to dinner), have a juice of the “lucuma” fruit which is one of those divine juices that reminds you of why fruit is nectar.

Fusion ceviche. Sashimi style fish with Peruvian sauces. At La Red.
Fusion ceviche. Sashimi style fish with Peruvian sauces. At La Red.

At the Larcomar mall (a modern, clean, and safe hanging garden style mall built on the rock face of Lima’s coast), I tried some of the galactically famous Gaston y Astrid’s desserts. I tried the national dessert (well, one of them), “suspiro limeno” which is like a “fool” in England or a mousse of dulce de leche (caramel). I also tried a chocolate mousse with maracuya fruit on it (the tartness of passionfruit goes well with chocolate).

Dessert with a side of dessert.
Dessert with a side of dessert.

I rounded off the evening with a “cafe tapade” which is sort of watered down teensy coffee served in a teensy cup. Very wee. In my notes, I also wrote that I had a “palta fuerte” but I have no idea what that was. Good, whatever it was.

Sunday: Eat pollo a la brassa, or rotisserie chicken, at one of the famous restaurants (can’t recall right now, had the word chicken in it), and enjoy a full meal for four people, giant bowl of fries, sauces, and a heavy-weight salad with beets, carrots, and avocados, for around 100 U.S. dollars.

There is so much more, but perhaps I’ll mention them another time. Enjoy!

Larcomar mall and the coast of Lima.
Larcomar mall and the coast of Lima.

The Market in Bogota – Paloquemao

A salesman peeks out from his herb stall at Paloquemao market.
A salesman peeks out from his herb stall at Paloquemao market.

Paloquemao is possibly the most famous market in Bogota. Paloquemao is located in the west of Bogota. As people often refer to it as the “flower market,” I had expected rows and rows of flower stalls under and open roof.

One of the passages in the market.
One of the passages in the market.

Instead, Paloquemao was a warren of narrow stalls all bunched together like a souk. There were separate sections for fruit, meat, house plants, and food stalls. The prices were better than at the supermarkets.

The fruit lady was very friendly and kept making me try new fruits, once I told her that I only wanted to try fruits I’d never tried before. I left with a backpack full of produce for 30,000 Colombian pesos ($15). It didn’t even occur to me to bargain. Should I have?

There is an even bigger market, Abastos (also called Corabastos or Central de Abastos), which is the wholesale market and apparently the second largest in South America. I’ll visit it one of these Sundays.

The array of fruit and vegetables from the market.
The array of fruit and vegetables from the market.

The Best and the Worst Fruit in the World

The mangosteen, succulent luminescent segments inside the dull hard padded
The mangosteen, succulent luminescent segments inside the padded exterior.

In preparation for my goal in Colombia to try 100 kinds of fruit that I’ve never tasted before, I was thinking back to the best and worst fruit I’ve had so far. Surprisingly, it is not durian.

So far, the best fruit I’ve tried is the mangosteen. The mangosteen, which is commonly found in Southeast Asia, has an aubergine brownish color and carapace-like leaves on the top. Inside, the pulpy exterior is red and bleeds like the blood of berries. The edible parts are the white segments inside. A few of these segments have a large soft pit inside. The other segments have no pit so they glide down like manna. Having looked coast to coast for this fruit in the U.S., I had just about given up eating it here. But, then I went to a local “Little Vietnam” or Eden Center, in Falls Church, Virginia, and there, sitting on the sidewalk, was a lady selling mangosteens. At $16, the price for a bag for these well-traveled, dessicated, and bruised fruit was exorbitant.

The worst I’ve tried so far is the wood apple. The wood apple, which I tried in Sri Lanka, is brown, pulpy, and fibrous with the flavor of tree stump.

When I told one of my friend about my new challenge, it turned out that he had actually written a book on fruit. With the weary look of a man who has chewed his way through hundreds of bushels of fruit, he said to me, “Get a juicer. You will get tired of all that chewing.”

In Colombia, they have 150 official commercial types of fruit so my goal of 100 shouldn’t be too hard. Some of the names of the fruit I may find dance like sugar plum fairies in my head: curubas, badeas, caimones, chontaduros, guamas, mamuncillos, mairoños, grocellas, piñuelos, zapotes, and nísperos…

 

Artfully Learning Spanish Two

Here’s another doodle about learning Spanish. The previous one was not as much fun to draw as this one with the octopus.

A glass of juice with squid, por favor.
A glass of juice with octopus, por favor.

It makes me laugh to think how delighted I would be if I used this phrase incorrectly and someone actually brought me a glass of juice with an octopus in it (that would be a lesson I would never forget!). Considering my “100 challenge” to match my 100 in Dhaka, I imagine that I have many glasses of juice in my future. I don’t think any new list I compile will match the popularity of my list of 100 restaurants in Dhaka… but, who can predict what the google bots will pick up?

FAQ: Where’s the Best…. in Dhaka?

As I mentioned in previous post about the 100 restaurants I’ve eaten at in Dhaka, I will now answer some of the most frequently asked questions I receive. Most of these places are on my map of 99 expat places.

Where is the best sushi in Dhaka? At Izumi. This is probably the leading Japanese restaurant in Dhaka. On road 119 or nearby.

Where is the best sashimi in Dhaka? If you want sashimi (raw fish), then go to Goong, the Castle (a Korean restaurant that does many seafood dishes, raw and cooked).

Where is the best Thai food in Dhaka? Pan Thao on road 12 in Banani. Thai Kitchen in Gulshan is okay too. There is a new Thai place in Banani (two parallel streets behind Banani Supermarket) called Luam that makes a few dishes that are passable as well… Thai food is one of those ubiquitous cuisines you find advertised everywhere in Dhaka (along with Chinese and Italian).

Best steak? Goong. Even though it’s a Korean restaurant, they have imported beef there including Kobe beef (also called Wagyu — the famous Japanese breed of cows that get fed beer and get massages). The Steakhouse also has good steak. As does Diner 360 which has a bargain price as well.

Kobe or Wagyu beef at Goong restaurant.
Kobe or Wagyu beef at Goong restaurant.

Best Korean? Goong, the Castle.

Where is the most romantic restaurant in Dhaka? Mermaid Cafe has a few booth cabanas. Spaghetti Jazz has candles (well most do) and is dark. Panini in Banani has seating arrangements that allow for canoodling. See question below.

Where should I take my wife for our anniversary dinner? Le Souffle (it’s fancy and French), Spitfire, Saltz, Soi 71, Panini, Goong, Steakhouse. The restaurants in the Westin are expensive but they are romantic.

Which restaurant is best for taking children? Soi 71, Diner 360, Goong all have play areas or rooms for children. Istanbul has a castle for children.

Where is the best pizza in Dhaka? For American style, La Forchetta and Pizza Hut. For Italian thin style, Spaghetti Jazz and Bella Italia.

Where is the best burger in Dhaka? Have not found one I could eat all of but some like American Burger and the one at Panini was not as bad as I thought it would be.

What is the best ice cream in Dhaka? Movenpick.

Best cafe to hang out in? Northend Coffee Roasters, Cafe Italiano, Roll Express, Gloria Jeans

Where can I get the best dessert in Dhaka? Movenpick (eat in the cafe), Mr. Baker, King’s Confectionery.

Best bakery? King’s Confectionery, Mr. Baker, Do Mi Ok, Northend Coffee Roasters, and Bellagio.

Where are there nachos in Dhaka? Panini.

Where is the best fruit juice in Dhaka? Panini (ask for no added sugar, watch them make it in the sound muffling room), Roll Express, Saltz, and most places.

Best Turkish? Istanbul on road 118.

Where is the best fuchka (many spellings) in Dhaka? That guy in Lalmatia that I blogged about. If not him, Malaka (go up the escalator) in the mall next to the Agora shop on Gulshan.

Where is the best biryani in town? I can’t say. The Dhansiri restaurants do good local food.

Where is the best dhosa in town? Best in town is Roll Express, Time Out, or Dhaba.

Best Bangladeshi? Someone’s home but otherwise, it depends on what you want. Go to BBQ Tonight, Dhaba, or Nirob.

I will try to update this if I get asked other questions. These are my personal opinions since I have not been to the thousands of other restaurants in Dhaka.

***Is there an Ethiopian restaurant in town? Nope.***