I went on a restaurant tour! I found this for $30 on Airbnb Experiences, which was definitely pricy for Colombia, but by far the most fun tour that I’d booked.
I met the guide, Gina, at one of the cool hostels in central Bogota. She was there with two other girls, – sisters – who were going to take the tour, too!
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We started at a fabulous indoor restaurant/cafe that was decorated entirely with front door/porch scenes, as if the tables and the restaurant itself were on a street looking out onto the many patios. We had ajiaco soup (chicken, potatoes, corn) and some super delicious tropical fruit juice.
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Continuing along on our Restaurant Tour of Bogota, we passed by some beautiful murals and then headed into a small market with tents covering tiny restaurant stalls and accompanying tables. Gina knew everyone, and made sure that me and the other two gals on my tour had everything we needed.
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Our first stop here was the tiny tamales stand, with a big ball of chicken and rice and carrots and spices and butter that had been cooking for over 8 hours. It was a big pile of delicious mush that none of us could get enough of. Then we went to the juice stand, where we tried 8 different fruits, some of which I’d seen, some of which were new for me (incredible at this point, because I’d eaten SO many new fruits during my stay in Cartagena and Medellin).
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My favorite fruit this time was the guanabana. It had the texture of a silky pineapple and a sour flavor that kept getting better the more you ate it. It looked like raw chicken, but came in a big green ball that looked like a pokey watermelon. So strange.
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We walked to an eclectic shop and had smashed plantains and a warm salsa. I liked the smaller, sweet plantains and felt that these were a bit undercooked and chewy. The salsa was good though. Most dishes aren’t spicy here, but they did give us some super spicy peppery salsa to try. Mmm! That was no joke, though. SO spicy omg.
Then we made our own empanadas!! We went to a local woman’s house and played with her kids and she had everything sitting out for us. We could choose if we wanted veggies or chicken or beef or plantains on the inside. I chose the veggies and the sweet plantains and she fried it right it front of us and it was DELISH. There was spicy and not spicy salsa sitting out for us that we devoured, even after eating those massive tamales.
Next, we went to a coffee shop that supposedly had some of the best coffee in Colombia. The guy who made the coffee told us all about the process of the beans and how they prepare them (in Spanish, so Gina and one of my fellow tour members translated). It smelled so good and was super tasty!
Then, we headed to our last stop: the chocolate shop! We had hot chocolate and cheese, a staple in Colombian houses. It tasted just like one might expect but not as gross. The salty and chocolate go well together, but still a little…cheesy? Haha I didn’t like it.
The surprising thing for me was the cocoa pod. It was red and opened like a peanut with a hard shell and something yummy inside. Each individual “kernel” of fruit inside the pod was super sweet and tasted like a lychee and a pineapple. It was addicting. There was a hard seed inside the fruit. That’s the chocolate bean. The cafe cleans and roasts them and prepares them to be turned into chocolate bars.
We hung out and talked for a long time about our wonderful experiences in Colombia. We walked down the street full of colorful clothes, happy couples and palm trees swaying in the wind, and parted ways to continue our adventures.
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