Thursday, 27 August 2009

Almuerzo del Dia – Part 1

Since we had no transport to get us from our first Finca to anywhere, we were dependant on the once a day Chiva. That took us from Tienda La Chiriguaca to El Retiro. It passed by anytime from 8am onwards and returned at 2pm on the dot.
So before we gut the Chiva back home, we always ate Almuerzo del dia in the Plaza. Everywhere I have eaten the menu of the day anywhere in Latin America, it has been the same. Soup, followed by rice, beans and a meat of some description and a drink, normally a juice or a canned one. It’s cheap, filling and depending in which country you are in, either good or bad. Bolivia for example is normally very bad. Where as in Mexico you are normally guaranteed to get something pretty damn good for your few pesos.
El Pilón Guarceño, in the Plaza Principal of El Retiro is my IN place at the moment. Not only because the soups are pretty tasty, and the meals are simple and nicely proportioned. Not because it is 4800 pesos (Less than £1.50p). But because the place is quite odd. But odd in a good way. One side of the inside is a shrine to everything coca-cola, and I mean everything. They have bottles, glasses, cups and cans on show from over 30 countries. There is a massive selection of all the gifts you can win or buy. My last visit there, I saw 8 clocks on the wall. None of them seem to be working.
The other side of the room has a small collection of different objects. There is the religious part. Lots of paintings of Saints and the Virgin. An odd selection of typewriters, and other bits of household objects dating from a more tranquil time in Colombia’s long violent history. It’s really an odd place, but I have grown to like it a lot.
For me Colombia or Locombia does these places well. Odd rarities that are really bizarre, tacky and generally weird. Like the bar that was made of melted beer bottles. Such a shame that place closed down. I had my first Aguadiente there, over 10 years ago.
On a larger scale you have Andres, Carne de Res (see here). This is the epitaph of everything loco that Colombia is.
The menu del dia at El Pilón Guarceño always consist of a soup. This has ranged from sopa de pasta, sopa de yucca, sopa de guineo (very small green platano’s), and meatball soup. All have the same chicken stock base. With the fat glistening on the surface, and it also leaves a little ring around the side as you eat the soup.
The main meal always has beans, rice, a small salad and you can mix it up by having either grilled beef, grilled pork or minced beef. Now sometimes they throw in a slice of platano or/and a fried egg. You can also change the beans for chips if you desire.
There is also a Trucha menu del dia. This is exactly the same. Except you get trout instead of meat, and it costs 6,000 pesos (£2).
I normally do not have the juice and have a pilsen instead. Which the last two times I forgot to ask for, but the girl brought it to me anyhows. I love service like that. Kinda reminiscent to your favourite bar, when the barman automatically puts your regular drink on the bar even before you have reached it.
Since we are in Medellin twice a week now with my Spanish classes. We are eating around the University. Some good, some bad. The worst so far was in an Argentinean place, where we had a very watery Minestrone with only a few veg. Some dried up rolled pork loin. Nice pudding though. The best has been at a Costeña joint, but more on that in a later blog.

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