Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's for Lunch?

Written by Karen.
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here in Bogota, and is usually served between 12:00 and 3:30 pm.  We discovered the wonderful concept of set menus early in the month and have since tried different restaurants throughout the City.  

Not only do the set lunch menus provide delicious and hearty meals, they are also very reasonably priced.  We paid between 7,000 COP and 15,000 COP per person ($3.89 USD to $8.33 USD) for a filling and tasty lunch.  Because there was often a line of business people waiting out the door for a table, we were usually finished within forty-five minutes!  This is truly fast food in a very delicious way!

Our lunches were freshly prepared and our meals usually included the following: soup; choice of freshly grilled meat; salad; vegetables; arepas with melted cheese; potato or rice, sliced avocado or fried plantains; and, soda or a fresh fruit juice.  And, of course, lots of my new favorite spice condiment: Aji!  

Here are some pictures of the lunches we enjoyed.  Due to the portion size, lunch also turned out to become our primary meal of the day while we were in Bogota. 

A tamale filled with rice, peas, a chicken leg and other chicken parts. This is typically a breakfast dish, but we tried it for lunch.  
Potato soup with fried potato garnish.
Grilled steak, arepa (a soft, thick corn tortilla) with grilled cheese, chopped green beans and carrots in a mayonnaise sauce, baked potato and avocado. The cup of chicken soup that also came with this meal is in the background.
Some of the best tortilla soup I've ever had.  This bowl was full of fresh and savory chicken chunks, avocado, chili, cilantro, tomato broth and tortilla chips.  
Grilled steak, green vegetable salad and french fries.  Fresh pineapple juice and condiments are also pictured.
In addition to the aji that was always on the table as a condiment, chimmichurri was also sometimes provided.  This is a delicious combination of chili, parsley, garlic, lime juice, oil and vinegar.
Hot chicken and vegetable soup with a bit of chimmichurri in the middle. 
Chicken cooked in tomato, mandarin and chili sauce.  In addition, fresh avocado, cooked carrots and peas, steamed white rice, boiled yucca and a fried plantain are served.
A rice mixture of vegetables and three types of meat.  In addition, freshly-made potato chips, avocado and fried plantain are served. Ketchup and a hard-boiled egg are the garnishes.
Grilled chicken, arepa with grilled cheese, baked potato rolled in salt, green salad, beans and carrots in a mayonnaise sauce, and fresh avocado (already eaten!)
My favorite new spice condiment! There's a lot of different ways to make aji, but the recipe usually includes chili, cilantro, scallions, tomato, parsley, oil, lime juice and water.  You can spice it up with the addition of more peppers. The typical way to use this condiment during lunch is to put it on your potato or rice. 
Empanadas with aji and fresh lime.  Beer and fresh blackberry juice on the side.
A side of salad comprised of lettuce, fresh peas, chopped peppers, fresh mango and chopped avocado tossed in a light vinaigrette.

Longanita sausage in gravy with potatoes.  The sausage was lean and delicious, with plenty of spice and flavor and grilled perfectly.
Grilled steak and chicken with rice, carrot and cabbage slaw, french fries and fried plantains. The grilled chicken usually received a squirt of mustard vinaigrette while it was on the grill.  
Chicken, rice and vegetable soup, with a tablespoon of chimmichurri in the middle. 
Grilled steak with stewed onions and peppers, along with lentils, chopped salad with tomato, pepper and melon, steamed rice and fried plantains.


David in SF said...

That food looks absolutely delicious! How nice to be able to sit and take your time to savor it, and really appreciate it without a rush! Probably fun to watch all the businessfolk rushing off to their jobs, too :)

Observers of Life said...

Hi David!

Those meals are wonderous! I've eaten more beef in the past 30 days than I have in my entire life! It's all good! :)