One of the best things about my placement to Colombia is I know almost nothing about it. One thing that comes up over an over again is the fact that the food is great, yeah! But what is Colombian food? I truly have no idea. This is why I was so excited to make a stop at Mekato’s Colombian Bakery during a trip to Chicago today. It was an experience!
We arrived at around 10:30 AM on a Saturday morning and it was packed. After a short wait we were able to get a couple of seats at the counter. The first thing we learned was that there was no menu. OK . The only Colombian food that I have heard of is empanadas so I asked for those, “con pollo”, (thank you Duolingo). There was also a poster with a picture of a tamale so I asked for one of those also. Everyone around us was drinking coffee, so we ordered this (plus hot chocolate for my two sons. )
The coffee was hot, (heated cups, thank you!) The hot chocolate was spiced. The empanadas were like little dumpling made of cornmeal that had been deep fried, with a potato chicken filling. They were crispy and fresh, and best of all, my sons, who can be notoriously picky , loved them. The “tamale” was more like a corn pudding wrapped in a banana leaf with stewed chicken and potatoes mixed in. The waitress asked if we would like some “green sauce”–yes! of course! It turned out to be what seemed like pickled chilies that had been slightly sweetenen–delicioso!
As we ate we started noticing the bakery items in a display next to us–guava filled and coconut covered pastries. We noticed fruit drinks–my son ordered the “orange one” , (it turned out to be passion fruit.) The costumers seemed to know the waitresses by their first names. Families were coming in and ordering bags of empanadas to go. It felt like I was taking my husband and sons on a little mini trip to Colombia. More than any guide book I have read, people I have talked to, or movies I have seen, being in that bakery gave me a sense (or a taste) of my adventure to come!