Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Taste Trippin' Part Tres


*Mouth-watering food pix alert. Do not read on an empty stomach.

Even though I was exhausted from the Blogher and TBEX conferences, my husband and I managed to skip out to Colombia to celebrate our anniversary. Of course, I'm talking about La Fonda Latino Grill in Chicago's vibrant Edgewater neighborhood. We were served up heaping doses of Colombian flavors and hospitality. Melodic rock en Espanol and Latin dance mixes filled the intimate eatery as we stuffed ourselves silly.



The interior is washed in warm colors accented with fanciful paintings that invite leisurely dining. Colombian cuisine, like most South American fare, focuses heavily on red meat and I wasn't sure that I would be able to eat many things on the menu. It turned out not to be a problem, La Fonda features meatless dishes like spinach mushroom empanadas, arepas, and fish options like salmon and red snapper.



We started with fresh fruit drinks whipped up with Colombian fruits that I had never heard of, even though I pride myself with having a large tropical fruit vocabulary. I ordered maracuya, which is passion fruit, pictured on the right and my husband tried lulo, which is a fruit that only grows in Ecuador and Colombia. Thanks to a crash Colombian fruit course given by Fly Brother, I learned that lulo is a very popular fruit used in sauces as well as drinks.



It tastes tangy, sort of like lime and rhubarb, not like the wild apple that was described to us at La Fonda. You can see from the image above that it looks like a tomato on the outside and a fig and papaya on the inside.



My hubby wolfed down an appetizer of ceviche camorones or shrimp ceviche. Colombian food is dictated by region and fresh seafood is popular in coastal areas.



I sampled an arepa with cheese and mushrooms, which I failed to finish. Arepas are corn cakes that are popular street foods but I didn't expect it to be this big! It was slightly bland but still tasty.



My hubby of the huge appetite feasted on cazuela de marsicos or seafood stew for his entree. It was more soupy than anything and he was dazzled by the complexities of the seasoning. He tasted the fresh shellfish and a myriad of spices including garlic, cilantro and pepper. It also managed to fill him to the point of not finishing, which doesn't happen very often.



I opted for the classic arroz con pollo and was not disappointed. The dish was studded with a surprising array of vegetables--lima beans, carrots, peas, that I've never seen prepared in the dish before. It also boasted the required fried plantains and lots of turmeric. I didn't finish that either but enjoyed eating it over the next two days! This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday on Wanderlust and Lipstick. Check out the other foodie posts!

15 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

More lovely dishes! Who would have known there were so many?

Tiffany,Ebony Intuition said...

" Do not read on an empty stomach"

lol thanx for the warning.

So yummy.

Heather Dugan ("Footsteps") said...

I mentally ordered my meal off your website photos. I'd like the lulo drink (that tangy taste sounds marvelous), then the cerviche, followed by the seafood stew (but only if I can try a teensy bite of your arroz con pollo)! ~Sounds like a lovely intimate dinner.

A Girl in Asia said...

Wow - looks/sounds delicious! Am inspired to seek out some Colombian food...

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, there were many more dishes that I have to go back to try.

Tiffany, I'm glad my warning helped!

Heather, I'm sure you won't be able to finish all those dishes!

Asia, I'm happy I inspired you to explore Colombian cuisine. Thanks for dropping by.

kristine said...

I am so jealous of all the different cuisines you must have represented in chicago. we had an indian restaurant to here, but it closed down.....for the rest there is nothing. I am left to befriend people of different nationalities and forcing them to cook for me, hee hee.

Fly Girl said...

Kristine, I think having a wide circle of international friends whipping up native dishes is way better than visiting any restaurant.

marina villatoro said...

Hey!

wow, did didn't know this meme existed, I'm so there now! Your food always looks so tasty, I want to run and eat something and then i open my bare fridge and want to cry ;-)

ps, the link is a little off for the meme.

Fly Girl said...

Hi Marina, I never go look in my fridge after writing these foodie posts, too depressing! I've fixed the link, thanks!

jessiev said...

gosh - we've been to chicago a zillion times and never found this yet - thanks for the great inspiration! i bet you were SUPER full...

Lola said...

Could dive into that arroz con pollo right about now!

Fly Girl said...

Jessie, you've got to check La Fonda out the next time. Thanks for dropping by.

Lola, I'm sure you have some boiled Swedish food that you can substitute!

Wendy said...

Happy Anniversary! I did not heed your warning. Big mistake.

Wanderluster said...

This is killing me because I DO have an empty stomach!

Eileen said...

lulo juice was the only thing that saved a wilty 6 year old when I was in Colombia with my family a couple of years ago. I'm glad you tried it! We used to drink it in Ecuador as well, where it is called naranjilla. Readers in NY will be able to find the frozen pulp (the canned ones are tasteless) at colombian-owned grocery stores or bodegas.

Glad you found some good eats, and drinks! Colombia's far from here, but you just gave me a glimpse of why I should most definitely go back!