Monday, April 14, 2008

Searching for great food in Guatemala

I haven't written for so long because its been a rough winter, and we were planning a big trip to Guatemala. The picture on the side is of me at a vegetable market in Antigua. I persuaded the seller to let me sit on her crate and pretend to sell vegetables just for the picture. I love Central American food, but I have to say we were infrequently impressed with the food. We stayed at an amazing place on Lake Atitlan near Panajachel--Casa del Mundo -- and they had very good food, but not very original and not really Guatemalan. They used fresh ingredients, though, and the setting is unreal (check out the photos on their website or on my facebook page).

The best idea we took from there was a breakfast of fresh fruit (papaya, mango, pineapple, apple) with yogurt, honey, and homemade granola (made with fresh pepitas that are ubiquitous in the country). We'll definitely be looking up some recipes for granola and sharing them here.

Two other notable dishes: a honey-and-sesame-glazed carrot dish with olives in the middle; and an amazing black bean soup at Cafe No Se, a place that took me in years ago as a volunteer helper when they first opened and I was desperate to not return to the U.S. You can read about the founder and the cafe here, but I'll post photos of the place on a slide show once I figure out how to use it.

The dish? Black bean soup. I know, it sounds basic, but they used just the right amount of fried tortilla strips and cheese, the consistency was wonderful, and there was a bowl of fresh avocado on the side. Yum. The setting was also lovely.

We got some other ideas (cardamom dishes, chocolate panqueques, and chicken stews...) but they'll take some development, and we've both been so busy with our jobs, I don't know when we'll get a chance.

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