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.
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!