Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birthday dinner at Central Cevichería

Central Cevichería
I know the subject of my 55th annual birthday dinner is not as interesting and fascinating to you as it is to me. So bear with me on this "even more self-indulgent than usual" post.

Dinner was at the Central Cevichería on Calle 85, which was about eight blocks south of where I am staying. On my first trip to Bogotá, way back in 2012, when I was mere tyke of 52, I did not go out to eat in the evening on my non-tour days because of the horror stories I heard about Bogotá street crime. The stories probably have some truth to them for some neighborhoods -- which is true of any city -- especially a city of eight million -- but this neighborhood is quite safe. So I walked a dozen blocks at night.

I was not that hungry after my long day, so I decided to try the Central Cevichería, as ceviche restaurants are the "in" thing in Bogotá -- Latin America for that matter -- and, you know me, always chasing the new "in" thing.  I ordered the shrimp ceviche "al caribe":

Shrimp ceviche al caribe
This is not shrimp ceviche. It may well have been the absolute most delicious shrimp salad I have ever had, but cooked shrimp in a mayonnaise sauce is not my idea of ceviche. I should have know something was amiss when the menu referred to "cooked shrimp" and "cooked fish" and "cooked octopus," but I thought that was a translation issue given that in real ceviche, the sea creature is "cooked" not by heat, but its acid bath. Nope. These were cooked shrimp. Like I said, it was very good. The best shrimp salad I ever had, but it was not "ceviche."

But the food was quite enjoyable. First, as free appetizers waiting for my ceviche to be served, they served up hot arepas:

Arepas with a sweet tomato salsa on the side
Arepas are made with corn flour and only corn flour, so they are gluten free. These were tasty with just the butter. But on the side they served this sweet salsa of chopped tomatoes so you can make your own Colombian bruschetta. I don't like bruschetta, given that the two main ingredients are (a) bread that I can't eat, and (b) tomatoes I won't eat. But this Colombian-style bruschetta was quite awesome.

And for my adult beverage course:

Pisco sour
The perfect pisco sour. The Peruvian national mixed drink adult beverage cocktail. OK, so I don't know if this was the perfect pisco sour. I have never before had a pisco sour. But this was a ceviche restaurant and I thought I should order a drink with some Peruvian-ness to it, not knowing that my ceviche would be lacking in any sort of Peruvian-ness. This was awesome. The perfect balance of sour, sweet, and alcoholic kick.

Peru has just risen several points on my "next vacation" list.

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