Posts Tagged ‘Cuidad de David Hotel’
This unusual phenomenon happens every time I go to David, just 45 minutes from Boquete, Panama. The mornings up here on the side of Volcan Baru are cool and the landscape is often spotted with bajareques, tiny puffs of white clouds. This morning, the Pacific Ocean can be seen from my kitchen windows and Volcan Baru from the terrace, it’s a lovely day.
Most folks up here don a light jacket in the early morning, and sometimes a knit cap to fend off the morning chill. It’s about 60-65F degrees when David and I decide to make our way down the mountain to do some specialty shopping, visit my dentist, and get the car tuned up.
Our little town is quiet at about 8:30am, as most shops here don’t open until after 9am, nothing seems to be a set routine for opening or closing. But, by the time we get to David, the capitol of Chiriqui Province, everything will be up and running.
No air conditioning is needed in our car up here in Boquete, it’s still a bit chilly as we begin our journey. But slowly, I can feel the heat creeping into the car, just about the time we get to Dolega, a small town about half way to David.
This morning I dropped off some “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbooks” with Harold at The Bookmark Bookstore in Dolega. The bookstore is open early, set with tables of bargain books on the front patio. Harold has enlarged the store with several small rooms stacked with hundreds of books in English, nicely organized for easy shopping. My autographed cookbook is available there for $8, including a collector bookmark, of course.
Then, it’s time to turn on the air conditioning for the remaining 20 minutes of our trip down the mountain to David. We slow down through Algarrobos, drive over the Chiriqui River, past a couple waterfalls, and we’re soon entering the lush residential neighborhood of El Terronal in David.
Yes, the temperature is now 95F degrees, the sun is beating down in the city and people are everywhere. This place is alive! As we pull into the Cuidad de David Hotel parking lot in the center of the city and open the car door, the heat hits us like we’re in a totally different part of the world.
The streets of the city are teeming with happy shoppers dressed in light-weight clothing, some carrying umbrellas to protect themselves against the tropical rays. The new city park is full of residents going about their busy lives.
The day is mine to enjoy, I can “shop ’til I drop”! It only took me 45 minutes to totally change my environment from cool, quiet and laid-back to hot, vibrant, and hustle/bustle.
I’ve noticed that the meals offered at restaurants in both locations are quite different, as well. In David, we can have nachos at a casino, fast-food at KFC or McDonald’s, or eat in an open-air cafeteria. Could choices like that be coming to Boquete one day soon?
David is fun to visit, but I like our little mountain town up in the clouds best.
The cool view from the top is awesome, wouldn’t you agree?
Forty-five minutes south of Boquete is the City of David, the provincial capital of Chiriqui, Panama. The city is sprawled out for miles, with streets going every direction inside the “U” of the Pan-American Highway. Whichever way you drive, you’ll end up at this wide Highway, it’s very confusing. Until recently, there were no traffic lights of any kind, anywhere in Chiriqui, but now there are 3! There were no “5-star” hotels, large department stores, mega supermarkets or an International airport. But, that has all changed.
It was fun to arrange for 30 “recent” residents of Boquete to tour some of the new and developing areas in David, which we did last week. Touted as the “Gourmet Tour of David” was quite surprising, especially when being deprived of anything “gourmet” west of Panama City for years.
Ely’s Bakery isn’t exactly “new”, they have been supplying supermarkets in David and Boquete with fine baked goods for years. What was surprising, were all the varieties of breads and fancy cakes that are made in such close quarters, so quickly and so tasty. Owner, Danilo and Pastry Chef, Chomp, gave everyone a close-up tour of the facilities, including a giant, walk-in oven and each of us took home a loaf of his specialty bread. We’ll all be back for some of Ely’s delicate, gourmet pastries, and more.
We toured the Cuidad de David Hotel and inspected some of the beautifully decorated, “high-end” rooms and suites. One had a sunken whirl-pool tub, elegant fixtures and “5-star” amenities.
Chef, Jose Valdes, showed us some of his world-class cooking skills and everyone enjoyed a full “dinner” for lunch, including 3 delightful desserts presented by Swiss-trained Chef, Nicole. Thanks to Idu and staff for such a fine afternoon in this gorgeous, world-class hotel.
Another surprise was the huge housewares department on the 3rd floor of the new Conway Department Store. Thanks to managers, Mr. Taylor, clerks Roberto and Viedna, I was able to arrange 4 of the housewares department’s displays to depict French, Spanish, Italian and Asian cuisines, including recipes from each country. This is a photo of the Asian display, complete with a stone place mat. Everyone enjoyed seeing the extensive inventory of “gourmet” cooking items now available in David.
The final event of the day was a wine tasting at the new Felipe Motta Wine Store, located in the same shopping area as the Conway store.
Manager, Gina, provided the wine room of the store and 5 interesting wines for us to taste. The plum saki seemed to garner the most raves, but when Gina asked which was my favorite wine, she presented me with a bottle of Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2007 from France. What a delightful way to end the perfect day in the upcoming City of David.
I can’t wait until David and I have a nice, fresh salad, a filete of beef to grill, and twice-baked potatoes for a candle-light dinner some evening soon. Of course, the star will be my “Bordeaux” wine from Felipe Motta. Talk about “gourmet”!
On Thursday, April 22, 2010, a large, air-conditioned Coaster bus will leave Alto Boquete for a “Gourmet Tour of David”. This “gourmet adventure”, all-inclusive tour, will leave the high school parking at 9:00am and will make 4 very interesting stops in David throughout the day, all relating to fine dining, gourmet cooking, and fine wines.
This 7-hour tour will begin with a stop at Danilo’s, Ely Commercial Bakery, where we’ll be treated to a cup of boutique coffee, a personal tour of the bakery facilities, and a take-home loaf of Danilo’s specialty bread. This is a very popular bakery, one that bakes most of the breads and fancy cakes for large local supermarkets, both in David and Boquete. Ely’s distinctive truck may look familiar to you.
The second stop will be at the new Cuidad de David Hotel, for a private tour of the guest rooms, Business Center, Fitness Center and Stylo Restaurant. While visiting the Cuidad de David, Executive Chef, Jose Valdes, will conduct a tour of the hotel’s two kitchens, and present a special cooking demonstration for us.
We’ll enjoy a full-course lunch, with a large soup and salad bar, hot entree of the day, non-alcoholic drink, and 3 desserts.
I would rate this hotel for service, quality of food and elegant atmosphere, among the top hotels in the world. Their stated goal is to “offer you an exceptional experience with hospitality, friendly service and high technology”, and they are meeting that goal every day at the Cuidad de David Hotel.
We’ll continue traveling to David’s newest mega-store, Conway Department Store. While there, we’ll browse the new house wares department and collect recipes and ideas for preparing gourmet meals at home. Four International cuisines will be featured there.
Our final stop will be at the new Felipe Motta Wine Store, where we will be tasting wines from 4 different wine-making regions. This wine store is so new that they will bring in wines from Panama City just for our tasting.
We plan to load the bus about 3:00pm for the return trip to Boquete, scheduled to arrive at the high school a bit before 4:00pm.
The day will be one of adventure, learning about facilities available in David we may not have known before, enjoying world-class dining, exploring new International cuisines and the wines that match them, as well as improving our culinary skills.
The cost of this full-day “Gourmet Adventure Tour” is $35, including everything mentioned above, plus a travel bag and souvenir wine glass. There are only 20 seats remaining, so make your reservations now at firstname.lastname@example.org, call me at 6614-9514, or comment on this blog.
Hope you can join us,
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We enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the new Cuidad de David Hotel this morning, it was full of “typical” Panamanian dishes like corn cakes, salchicha and thinly-sliced white country cheese.
One item I’ve never seen before took my eye. It was a beautifully salmon-pink colored drink served from a frosty, shiny stainless steel juice dispenser. I couldn’t resist pouring a glass and sipping it as I stood before the buffet. I couldn’t wait to carry it back to our table, it was that luscious looking. The taste was fresh, rich and flavorful, not at all watery, like the orange or pineapple juice can be down here. No, this juice was a bit thick, colder than most juices and it reminded me of passion fruit, it was so unusual.
The flavor was obvious, but the form was shocking to me. After my second glass, I asked if it were part watermelon. “Pure watermelon juice, nothing added”, explained the server. “How do you juice a watermelon?”, I asked. Here’s how you do it:
1 watermelon (sandia)
First, you buy a watermelon. On our way back up to Boquete, I bought a lovely ripe watermelon with a few small brown lines on it from our local pick-up truck. Each sandia is $1, there were no huge $2 melons available. The brown lines are marks from honey bees, showing a sweet watermelon must be inside.
When I arrived in my kitchen, I cut the watermelon in half, then into 8ths. It was easy to cut off the rind and to cut the fruit into slender strips. I piled the strips into my blender and added a little crushed ice, which is optional. A quick whiz and it turned to juice. Then, I poured it into my chinois and out drained all the juice, really very easy. The results you can see here, but you miss the naturally sweet, fresh, cool flavor of this freshly-squeezed fruit.
Thanks to Idu and the new Cuidad de David’s Stylo Restaurant for the recipe, it’s excellent!.
I am freezing some of the juice to make watermelon sorbet. David asked how watermelon juice would go with vodka over ice. Good question, I think I’ll try it.