El Cafe Colombia

THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED.

 

A few weeks ago, after my Colombian friend Robert told me about his mother’s delicious home cooking, I embarrassingly admitted that my only experience with Colombian food, was from watching Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”.

If you’re a regular MyLastBite reader, you know how much I love Bourdain. He’s sort of like a “Fantasy Foodie Godfather” to me, and in my eyes he can do no wrong. Well, except for that one time when he ate warthog rectum in Namibia. I get queasy just thinking about that scene. Usually, whatever Bourdain eats, I want to eat it too.

The Colombia “No Reservations” episode was especially intriguing because I personally thought the country was “off limits” for travel. It seemed dangerous and definitely wasn’t on my “global wish list” of places to visit. I had no desire to voluntarily enter a country filled with battling drug cartels and a corrupt government.

Thankfully, Anthony Bourdain (and the Travel Channel) opened my eyes to the real Colombia.

Bourdain wrote:
“What you might not know about Colombia is that it’s beautiful. That the food is really good–with the same kind of fantastic mix of African, European and indigenous influences that makes Brazilian cuisine so interesting and vibrant. That they actually like Americans down there.”

Like so many of his episodes, I watch them over and over, hoping (mostly fantasizing) to someday eat in the exact same restaurants that Tony visits. Colombia is certainly on my travel wish list now!

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.comLuckily for me, since I live in Los Angeles, I don’t need to travel far to experience authentic Colombian eats. Last week I met Robert for lunch at El Cafe Colombia, which is less than fifteen minutes away in nearby Burbank.

I rarely eat lunch (late breakfast, late dinner) so this was a real afternoon treat. Since both of Robert’s parents hail from Colombia (he also went to school there as a child), he knew exactly what dishes (and drinks!) I should try on this first visit.

Owners Reinaldo and Gabriela Alvarez were both charming and very patient with me (and my camera)! Not only did I love the food, but also the imported Colombian treats for sale as well. After a couple glasses of Refajo (soda mixed with beer) and finishing off a hearty lunch, I honestly felt like I had spent the afternoon in South America. Now I can’t wait to take my husband Peter… maybe a breakfast “trip to Colombia” next time!

What we ate:

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Empanadas $1.50 each

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Bandeja Paisa: Carne Asada , Chicharrón (Pork Belly marinated in garlic, then deep-fried), Patacón, Maduro Frito, Pinto beans and rice topped with a fried egg. Also includes a side of salad and Arepa. $12.95 (I did Bourdain proud, that chicharrón went FIRST!)

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Refajo Colombian Soda mixed with Beer

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Pandebono Colombian Cheese Bread. Looks simple right? Far from it! The texture was amazing… a little sweet, crispy and cheesy on top… light and fluffy inside.

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Arequipe Dulce de Leche from Colombia. I don’t love sweets but I LOVE THIS.

El Cafe Colombia, MyLastBite.com
Imported Colombian goodies! Of course I took home some treats.

El Cafe Colombia
222 So. Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 558-3985

Website

Dining Date: 9/29/09

All El Cafe Colombia photos on Flickr

About Colombia

Cuisine of Colombia

Anthony Bourdain’s Colombia Photo Journal

Anthony Bourdain’s Colombia Travel Guide

Robert’s mother is from Cali, Colombia

Robert’s father is from Boyaca, Columbia 

Cafe Colombia on Urbanspoon

About these ads

11 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

11 responses to “El Cafe Colombia

  1. I’ve been so busy at work that I haven’t checked your blog in days. This is fantastic. So glad you liked it. Robert has taken me here many times. I’ve eaten the Bandeja Paisa plate – que rico! I have also learned to appreciate the food of Colombia. If you take Peter, let us know and maybe we’ll meet you there.

  2. WOWOWOW! That is a delectable looking spread! I am especially curious about the Pandebono. If it’s what I *think* it is, I MUST go here ASAP. Those rolls are friggin fantastic.

  3. What is that long tooth looking thing? Was it good? I want to “travel to Columbia” too.

  4. Robert G.

    Jo, it was such fun introducing you to something new – I didn’t think that would be possible! I loved your reaction to the pork belly and how the owner discussed with you how it was made. I bet you never thought that a soft drink and beer would be good. Anytime you wanna go back I would be glad to go!

  5. We are becoming serious fans of yours girl. You have a gift for great reviews and if you are taking your pictures, well, you rock those too. Do you mind if we ask what kind of camera setup you are using? Again, beautiful work and you are a fun read:-)

  6. Next time you guys go count me in, I would love to join you and have me some Colombian eats!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s