Waiting patiently in Bogotá.
Well, I made it back.
Served with pride.
Actually I've been back in the states for nearly two weeks- but you know how first world adjustment takes time. A red light means you need to stop your vehicle, it's not merely a suggestion. Meat needs to be refrigerated (there goes all the flavor!) or else men in suits will come and throw it all away. Oh, and you're actually expected to tip the apathetic looking cashier dude who handed you your $12 artisan sandwich! Yes, I live in San Francisco.
Jugo Naturales. Don't miss out.
In years past I’ve done my best to sum up a country within a single post, highlighting popular or recurrent dishes that I felt represented the country’s eating habits and culture. Twenty five days in a country is a bit too long for one post so Colombia will be broken down into a handful, each post with its own theme. I figured it’s the best way to clearly convey my thoughts on the cuisine without having to bang out a 4,000 word / 34 photo all encompassing novel that nobody (with a job) has time to read.
Grub is basic down here. Sex appeal on the plate is low. As one blogger based out of Colombia put it “Gourmets, they are not”. Contrary to so many times in Asia where I bit/slurped/tasted and immediately thought -what the fu*k did I just put in my mouth holy sh*t who is this old lady and how can I successfully pull off a sham marriage with her daughter in order to poach the family recipe to that sauce- most of my meals in Colombia were honest and homey, if not the most exotic.
Lets be clear before we continue, saying the meals were not exotic or mysterious is not a criticism. I vividly recall eating grilled skirt steak with beans and guacamole in Guatemala six years ago. Clearly one of my most memorable dining experiences...
..and there was absolutely nothing fancy about it. The price? $3. Service? Seven year old waiter who turned tables like a boss. The steak? Seasoned with nothing more than salt and tossed around atop white charcoal. This statement almost comes off as trite but my point is great food can be utterly simple - and I’m sure you know this. If you can take a handful of ingredients and turn them into something fantastic, something that adds up to more than a sum of it’s parts then I give you more respect than a chef with a loaded walk-in at his/her disposal.
So some scrumptious morsels were definitely had down south, and unfortunately some nasty bits as well. It happens. Still glad I sampled. The above crispy fried fish resting in a patacone bed fell into the scrumptious category. No doubt.
Almost more impressive than any meal I ate was the willingness of every cook to show me their ways in the kitchen. They probably noticed my face light up after my first bite of arroz de coco, but everywhere I traveled locals were more than happy to chat comida with the strange wandering gringo with a curious crush on street eats.
Cocadas = Coconut creations.
So hang around for a bit and lets learn about the little known edible wonders found in a place where the aguardiente flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Colombia.