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Eating My Way Through Bogotá

From the Editor: In search of the best the Colombian capital has to offer

Pastries at Masa in Bogotá
Amanda Kludt

This post originally appeared on July 28, 2018, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

I’ve been traveling all week in Bogotá, Colombia with our travel editor Lesley Suter, laying the groundwork for our next international city guide (see Rome, Libson, Tokyo, etc.). TL;DR is I’m very well fed and very tired.

Our goal with these travel packages is to find in-the-know locals to write the pieces and guide the process, because literally no one wants to read a guide to Bogotá written by a New Yorker and an Angeleno who went there for a week. But it’s important for us to go to the city to meet the writers on the ground and get a sense of where they’re coming from, to get a feel for the city itself as we figure out which stories to assign, eat at the more compelling restaurants to get context on the scene, consume as much traditional food as possible, and keep an eye out for ideas, stories, and pro tips that a local might overlook but an outsider would want to know.

A few quick takeaways while it’s all still fresh. 1. The most interesting and delicious food can currently be found at the new wave Colombian places, where local chefs, often trained abroad, are finding new, creative uses for local ingredients and techniques. This sounds like a trend that’s happening everywhere, but it really was striking to see how much better the food was (more acid, more heat, more flavor) at these places than at the traditional restaurants and street carts (which is not the case in, say, Mexico City).

2. The role that food has and will play in the peace process with the FARC is going to be really interesting to watch, and it’s nice to see a small outcropping of retail locations selling the wares of farmers who in the last decade switched from growing poppies or coca to chocolate and coffee.

3. Leonor Espinosa (who we’ve covered a bunch before) just continues to inspire with her dedication to learning about native ingredients and techniques. She and her restaurant Leo, where I had one of the most delightful tasting menus (with exotic fruit juice pairings, no less) in recent memory, deserve all the international accolades they can get.

Candelaria, Bogotá
Amanda Kludt

So I’m leaving very amped up to put this guide together. And also … kind of wiped. It’s nice to get out of the office but I forget how exhausting these trips can be when you’re covering so much ground and consuming so much, all while anxiously dragging a non-subtle camera around giant food markets and historic plazas. So I’ll be happy to sleep in my bed tonight and see my kid tomorrow and eat a non-restaurant meal.

And speaking of home, while Lesley and I were on the road, the team at Eater HQ published one of our major tentpoles for the year, our Best New Restaurants in America list, created by the most well-fed and well-traveled man in America, Mr. Bill Addison. The year’s list is a true beauty and I can’t wait to hit up the places I haven’t gotten to yet. Please check it out.

Opening of the week: Guerrilla Tacos

Guerrilla Tacos
Wonho Frank Lee

LA chef (and cookbook author) Wes Avila opened the first brick-and-mortar Guerilla Tacos after years serving food out of trucks and carts across the city. Located in the Arts District in a former taqueria, Guerrilla serves tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas, and perhaps eventually new options like pozole and albondigas soup. It’s started with dinner, but Avila hopes to expand to lunch, brunch, and a takeout breakfast window with breakfast burritos.

Read more here.

On Eater

A new mural of Jonathan Gold

This Week on the Eater Upsell

For this week’s show, we asked Jonathan Gold’s friend and contemporary Robert Sietsema, friend Peter Meehan, and Eater special correspondent and Los Angeleno Meghan McCarron to share their personal stories and discuss the legacy of the legendary food writer.

Off Eater

  • Nice Gold tributes in the New Yorker: Helen Rosner on what he meant to food writing; Dana Goodyear on her friendship after she profiled him; and Molly Lambert on how he paved the way for young writers to pursue local journalism. [NYer]
  • Just a reminder that people came to the U.S. seeking asylum and we just kidnapped their children and sent them home and are now telling them they are “ineligible” to get their kids back because they agreed to be sent home in the first place (which they did JUST TO GET THEIR KIDS BACK). [The Daily]
  • The woman charged with making 12 perfect ducks every night at The Grill. [GS]
  • Huffpo’s deep dive into an internal watchdog fighting the incredibly screwed-up culture at HSBC. [HP]
  • This week in charming female scam artists, Anna March. [LAT]

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