Thursday, May 7, 2015
Dinner at 1492
Last night in Bogotá. So that called for going to eat at someplace fancy-schmancy. I did my research and I chose the 1492, in the "Zona T" nightlife district of Bogotá, about eight blocks very safe walking distance from my hotel.
I was not to going to make my last meal here be tres tacos at El Carnal. That is a local chain Mexican restaurant that is a cut above fast food (but only one cut), sort of like a like a Bogotá Baja Fresh. Nothing wrong with El Carnal. I had it (and enjoyed it) the other night when I was curious about how Colombianos would do Mexican.
1492 was definitely on the upscale side. The name is a reference to the fact that the restaurant supposedly serves up the cuisine of the Americas, although from the menu it looked like the "Americas" consist of Colombia (de claro), Argentina and Cuba. Chile if you include the wine.
The bar was huge and even more impressive when viewed from the second floor balcony.
So what did I have? Chicken stuffed with mangos and ham, served with plantain fritters and a side order of coconut rice (not visible in the picture below).
The chicken had more flavor than the flavorless industrial chicken we get in the Western USA, but, as almost always is the case with boneless chicken breast, it was a bit dry. And the "ham" in the stuffing was more like an undercooked bacon. However, the dish was great because of that buttery herb sauce served with it. I cannot recall the name of the special Colombian herb -- please keep your Cheech & Chong style humor to yourself here -- but the sauce was awesome. It could make an old shoe taste tasty. And the slightly but not excessively dried out chicken was, in point of fact, superior to an old shoe.
And for dessert?
I ate something I shouldn't have. A crepe (probably made with wheat flour, meaning gluten, but, hey, you only live once, even if that one time gets shortened by food allergies). The crepe was filled with "arequipa," the Colombian caramel sauce that is the equivalent of Mexican dulce de leche, topped with a guava sauce, with two small scoops of vanilla ice cream and a vanilla sauce on the side. Muy excelente.
I was somewhat disappointed to see that Bogotá had a Krispy Kreme right there in the upscale Zona T. But the U.S. chains are a minor presence. Well, except for the fact that the local Hooters franchise had about 30 people in line waiting to get in. And more than half were women! Even though the Hooters' girls did not wear orange shorts and white tank tops. They wore grey shorts and -- get this -- white polo shirts. Which were not especially tight fitting by Latin American standards. Some Hooters.
This will conclude the Bogotá portion of the vacation programming. I absolutely love big sprawling messy Bogotá, if I failed to make that point before. The people are very friendly. And amazingly patient with my poor Spanish language skills. But Bogotá has a very light tourist presence. But this means that people are friendly because they are friendly, not because it is their job to be friendly to (or sell things to) tourists. You don't have to look to find "the real Bogotá" that exists outside the tourist bubble ... because there is no tourist bubble! Some people may not like it because English language speakers are scarce and it takes more work to find the fun things to do. Personally, it fits my preferred travel style perfectly. Which is why I was there.
So. One last look at Bogotá before we head off to Cartagena. From Monday, the city as seen from the cable car descending Monserrate: