01 March 2010

Food therapy

got out for some local food goodness.

with this recent weather shutting me in, encouraging me to work from home and be even more of a hermit than normal, i was really in the dumps. i needed some inspiration. so, after a morning of lying around bemoaning life, i organized a plan of attack centered around food.

first stop, was lunch at café aroma latino. we hadnt eaten here yet but it looked promising. owned by an actual guatemalan woman, the place features central american food, tapas style. located on a busy street corner, on the ground floor of a non-descript apartment building, the place doesnt stand out or seem to have much character. but, if you can convince yourself to find a parking spot somewhere further down the street and walk in to this place, you will be rewarding yourself.

on the menu is a fabulous selection of items from guatemala, el salvador, columbia, and mexico. we tried 5 of the savory items on the menu for lunch: the chicken empanada with chimichurri sauce, a bean pupusa, a cheese arepa, the chicken tamale wrapped in a banana leaf, and the chicken chuchito wrapped in a corn husk. everything was flavorful and fabulous. this region isnt known for spicy, fire food so we werent going for heat, we were going for the combinations of well-spiced meats, authentic cheeses, moist (or fried) corn-based dishes with real character. this place delivered. if i had had more room, i would have ordered the rest of the menu, but i can see now that we will go back again.

(my plate with the bean pupusa [brown colored thing in back], a cheese arepa [pancake looking thing in front], and a chicken empanada with green chimichurri sauce [yellow taco looking thing]; daves plate with a chicken chuchito [on left] and a chicken tamale [on right]...yes, they are very similar. i found the chuchito to be more moist and its sauce was great.)

to finish off, we had two of their desserts that were basically different versions of cornbread. mine was simple, with a little sweetness to it and daves had an anise flavor. when we went up to pay we discovered that they have a fridge/freezer with many pre-made latin food items. yes! and the cash register area is enveloped in a little latin food specialty corner. a variety of beans, dried peppers, sauces, chips, and hispanic sweets and other goodies. joy! now we're on to something.

afterward, we ran some errands which included a stop at the gleneagle bakery. we have been to all three of their locations now and i must say that while they have some sweet treats (we picked up an apple smile cookie and a date smile cookie), they also have some really wonderful breads. super soft, packed with whole grains, and more creative than just your average bread recipes. i am delighted that this place exists.

then, at the grocery store, we loaded up on nectarines (my latest fruit mainstay. so fabulous! i havent really eaten them since my dad would cut me pieces from his nectarine when i was a kid) and the ingredients for a new recipe we wanted to try for dinner. what was just an average list of veggies and other items (zucchini, beans, lentils, broccoli, carrots, onions, etc) turned into one of my favorite dishes of recent memory. the spices were spot on for making everything blend well together (we skipped the suggested fennel) in this "yoga pot" recipe. it doesnt sound like it would be filling enough for the main part of a meal, but for me it was. i hope to see it on the table more often. yum!


Mary Ann said...

Cafe Aroma Latino sounds heavenly. I MUST check it out.

mdcarter said...

you mean there's actually good, authentic-anything food in Halifax? We'll have to check this one out! My husband and I are from Windsor/Detroit, and miss all the authentic food options and have been less than impressed with what we've found here. Any other recommendations?

amw said...

hey "mdcarter" i totally feel ya on the no authentic-anything food of halifax. its been a bit depressing on the food front here. we have found some decent middle eastern (Issa's Saj House and Tarboosh) and sushi (Doraku...though i think they changed their name to Suzuki or something) thankfully! we went back to cafe aroma latino once after this post, but havent been back since my daughter was born. i hope its still as good as we remember it! if you wanna commiserate about hali food on a less anonymous level leave me a comment and i can figure out how to get you my email address.