Outside Medellin’s MAMM (Museo de Arte Modern de Medellin) it begins to rain. First, a light rain. Then, a downpour. People are rushing across the brick plaza in front, ducking for cover anywhere they can. At Bonuar, the bar and restaurant on the side of the museum, patrons are arriving on the patio with a flurry, closing umbrellas and shaking the water off of their heads. One man takes off his jacket and reveals a t-shirt that asks “Que es arte?” I have been to Bonuar twice now and this sequence of events has happened both times. Well, most of it anyway.
A glossary. That does it for me on a restaurant’s menu, such as that of Leo Cocina y Cava in Bogota. Particularly when the ingredients being defined are of the food of that place. Many Latin American countries only vaguely know what is edible outside of their region of birth. You learn that name is a Caribbean tuber, that guayusa is a highly caffeinated Amazonian plant, and that cabeza de mico is a mix of shredded coconut and green banana that is common in the Afro-Colombian communities of Cordoba. The glossary tells me immediately that this chef, Leonor Espinosaa one time ecponomist and publicist, is a sort of culinary explorer, testing which ingredients work together, and which do not. In a place with the level of biodiversity of Colombia, this is important.
Though Peruvian food in New York City has seemed to suddenly have become a fascination among culinary minds with the opening of Gastón Acurio’s La Mar in September of 2011, there are dozens of Peruvian restaurants in the five boroughs. The sleeker, trendier ceviche centric restaurants are primarily in Manhattan, though in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and parts of New Jersey where the Peruvian immigrant community mostly resides options for pollo a la brasa, ceviche, and even chifa are plentiful. Here is a run down of New York’s best Peruvian restaurants.
The first review of Gaston Acurio’s La Mar in NYC are out. Here’s where they have got it right, and wrong.
In 2005, Gaston Acurio had just opened his second restaurant in Lima, Peru. It was called La Mar. It was a modern rendition of a typical Limeño lunch only cevicheria, like Sonia, a closed door Chorrillos haunt that Acurio had helped rediscover with his television show, Aventuras Culinaria.
Though I don’t need extra incentives to eat Latin American Food, I do wish I was dining at the latin fusion restaurant Nuela a couple of nights ago, and not just because of their arroz con pato.
Jet Blue’s $800 million Terminal 5 at New York’s Kennedy airport is what might be the holy grail of American airport dining. Most of the typical fast casual chains and fast food regulars – only Jamba Juice and Dunkin Donuts appear – are missing, but in their place are many carefully chosen restaurants whose menus were designed by prominent New York chefs and independent restaurateurs.
Mistura is Lima, Peru’s annual gastronomic festival. Now in its 3rd year, the festival is running for longer and attracting bigger names than in its previous incarnations.
Somewhere far, far away, hanging off the end of the Chilean Lake District, in a wooded stretch of coastline near the far end of the island of Chiloe, there’s an upside down boat. The wooden structure was built purposely upside down, somewhat like the island’s UNESCO world heritage wood shingle churches, which were also modeled after boats turned on their heads. It’s at least two hours from anywhere. In this boat is Espejo de Luna (www.espejodeluna.cl), aka Lef, a restobar and café serving some of the most resourceful food in Chile.
The largest city in the world not connected by roads is a hotbed of interesting restaurants and markets. Peru’s Amazonian capital is a good place to sample the oddities and range of the region’s fruits, vegetables, meats, and traditional plates along with several rather bizarre takes on North American restaurants.