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Friday, June 17, 2011

Monoloco, Palace and Cook & Relax

So this has been a really fun week for food! While we are going through a bit of car trouble (if it's not one thing, it's another!) We have had the opportunity to get some really good eats going on.

On Sunday we joined our good friend Mario Chang who was singing a concert in the prestigious Hotel Casa Santo Domingo (where the awesome chef Mario Campollo works). Unfortunately none of us had the budget to sample those delicacies so we moseyed on over to Monoloco afterwards.

After digging in to the gigantic pile of nachos with cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, tomato and beans we dove into the chicken, mushroom and artichoke pizza which really blew me away. I always hear people talking about the nachos but, I have to say, the pizza is by far the best thing we had. I don't know that I would venture to say it's the BEST pizza I ever had, but I can confidently say that it is certainly up there.

Since we had such a great Sunday, we didn't buy groceries so on Monday I went and got some hamburgers for Del Puente but traffic was much lighter than usual so I got a chance to drop in on Chef Juan Manuel Rossi at Cook & Relax. He was featured in an article from the fine folks at GuateDining back in January.

So as we sat down to chat, he pulled up a couple of plates with some of their latest foods including some delicious cous cous with grilled vegetables, rehydrated polenta with bacon and some camote in a cinnamon syrup which was quite a fun mouthful. We'll be going to a class with him today so next week I'll be sure to have some pictures of what's going on in the kitchen.

So as I mentioned, our lack of groceries has had us eating out quite a bit this week. Yesterday, my friend Charlie Quan joined me to go snatch a bit of the famous Pricemart Pizza. Before trying it, I never would have given it a second thought but it’s interestingly quite justified in its reputation! We decided to go for the Pepperoni Calzone which, despite the dripping of grease, was so good I almost didn’t get a chance to snap this picture. It was pretty much gone in no time at all.

So for those of you who have been a bit shy to try it, I say go for it! My only recommendation is, ask for a fresh batch because they’re best when they’re straight out of the oven and into my mouth.

There is another place that I’ve been dying to go to and was finally met this week. The Palace in Z. 4 is a very clean, well kept, vintage looking restaurant. We had a Volovant with a delicious creamy sauce (I had chicken, Susan had mushroom). It was warm and fluffy and everything nice. I was almost sad to see it gone and was strongly tempted to get another but decided against it for the sake of my waistline.

So that’s what I’ve got so far this week, stay tuned because today we have another cooking class, tomorrow a Father’s Day lunch and on Sunday we’re going to check out a Vineyard outside of Antigua which seems very promising.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Del puente and other experiments

Wow so that's frustrating. I was almost done writing this post when it got erased. Yeah, not happy. So, I will now try to remember everything I had written.

My wife likes to eat out. I LOVE eating out. It's better than going to the movies which, for me, is quite a statement. So when we finally sat down to figure out where all our money was going we came to the shocking (or maybe not so shocking) conclusion that we were spending an inordinate amount on food. That was when we decided to change our habits and stopped eating out as often and, even more important, as expensive.

But once we were caught up on credit cards and bills we decided it was time. So on Sunday we went to "Enchanté", a delightful little French restaurant. It has a balcony hanging over this impressive cliff and it's green just about as far as you can see. We got a complimentary glass of an australian zinfandale which was quite refreshing. My wife had the steak with French fries which, though not very evenly cooked, was delicious and was accompanied with a mushroom sauce and some very good French fries (I must admit to having tried a bit of everything).

I had the mussels in a white wine sauce with red onion and, I believe, cilantro. They were quite phenomenal. I had waited a long time to eat mussels and this was well worth the wait. The bill was a little overinflated, I felt, but overall I did enjoy the meal. On our way out the door they showed us in to a little gourmet store they had in the restaurant where the special offer of the day was 2x1 on an $80 bottle of EVOO. not quite having recovered from the check I thought we might pass on that offer.

 So then on Friday we went to Cook & Relax to our cooking class for some Italian cooking. We made one pasta with pumpkin and anchovy, one with pimentos and one with a white sauce and asparagus along with garlic bread. It all came together well (and better with a couple glasses of wine) and a good time was had by all.

Then on Saturday we decided to try a burger join that was in the same area as Enchanté called Del puente. Here's my with the sign:

I have occasionally been accused of hyperbolizing but this was quite certainly delectable. The meat is 100% angus beef with a special mojo made by them and sold in the store along with several cuts of beef and anything on the menu. They have several freezers full of their own stuff which I think I just may take advantage of before too long.

So that was my week in food and I'm planning to hit up that burger joint again soon since the meal total for both of us came to Q58 or about $7.50 and was quite outstanding.

Have you eaten anything interesting lately? Let me hear about it!