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Posts Tagged ‘Panama City’

Updating Panamanian Market Cuisine

Written on February 5th, 2011 by no shouts

As Chef Juan Linares was designing his new cooking class to include fresh and different ways to use ingredients found at most markets in Panama, he began thinking about the rich supply of farm products we have here in Boquete, often called “Panama’s market-basket”.

So many of Boquete’s newer residents and visitors see these various ingredients in markets, and they can’t imagine how they would ever learn to use them in their daily lives the way most locals do.

We commonly see otoy, tree tomatoes, plantains and tiny red peppers offered on menus in local restaurants. Achiote seeds, culantro and packs of panela fill the shelves of our local markets, but so many of us don’t know how to use them.

With that in mind, Chef Juan opened up his second series of classes offering techniques and tips on how to prepare more of these common foods to make our local Boquete cuisine even richer and more appealing.

Twelve lucky participants gathered in my kitchen to help Juan prepare Tropical Cosmopolitans, Plaintain Chips, Ceviche, Red Sweet Chili Rice, Round Salad with Fresh Tomato Dressing, Fish Moqueca, and Corn-Coconut Pudding. Each dish was made using farm-fresh ingredients such as those listed above.

Well, not every ingredient was found in the local market. The Herrerano Seco comes from Panama City, Boquete’s favorite alcoholic beverage. Juan and I both demonstrated how local residents use it with tree tomato syrup to make a very appealing and tasty cocktail.

It was fun to see Juan’s Round Salad take shape as eager participants assembled the variety of ingredients into gorgeous, colorful towers and then topped them with fresh tomato dressing and chiffonade of culantro.

To my good fortune, photographer Betty Dabney joined in on the fun, and she graciously contributed all the photos in this blog.

Thanks very much for your photos Betty, you captured the essence of the evening.

We understand that you’re an excellent cook as well as a photographer, having attended a couple of the finest International culinary schools. It’s so nice to have you join in some of our culinary events here in Boquete.

This little mountain town has so much to offer, especially when it comes to sharing talents of its residents and visitors. Chef Juan and Betty, two very talented friends, are busy doing just that.


Enjoy the markets in Boquete, they’re bountiful!
Cora

Explore the New Kitchen Store in David

Written on September 16th, 2010 by 2 shouts


La Cocina has recently opened their doors in David, offering low-cost housewares of all types, lots of plastic containers and cookware.

To get to La Cocina, take the first left off the highway and drive past Romero’s until you get to one of the 3 traffic lights in David. Elmec is on the left and the new La Cocina Kitchen Store is on the far right corner, right across from Elmec.

The owners are very helpful, and they have items that are not readily available in other shops. Actually, I believe this is the only exclusive kitchen store between here and Panama City.


The first thing I noticed was the huge selection of mixing bowls beginning at only $1, the stacks of aluminum cookware and good-quality 5-piece wooden spoon sets for $2. I bought a set of spoons, which are just right for mixing up some artisan bread dough. I painted orange stripes on the handles to match my kitchen and to make them easy to find in my drawers.

If you are looking for plastic containers, pitchers, plastic and ceramic plates or bowls, La Cocina is the place to visit.

You won’t find any electrical appliances at La Cocina, which is unfortunate. I’d really like to find a place to buy an electric juicer, a big electric fry pan and a milkshake maker. With Lauretta’s “Gourmet Burgers & More” cooking class coming up, I know I’ll need a milkshake maker.

The owners were very glad to have us visit their shop. They are trying to bring items for the kitchen together into one place, making it easy for cooks like us. I asked if they handled wooden cutting boards, and the response was “Yes, we will be getting them soon.”

A very nice stainless steel thermos bottle was $4, just what I needed to keep a delicious cup of Boquete’s fine coffee hot to drink anytime. It fits perfectly into my car’s console.

I love kitchen gadgets, and La Cocina has a limited supply of basic gadgets. In the photo below, you can see their selection of gadgets on the back wall.

I’ll keep checking back to see the new items La Cocina will be offering and pass along interesting acquisitions to you, as they appear.

Upon leaving La Cocina, I turned left and walked one block to the new Cuidad De David Hotel, the perfect place for lunch!

Don’t you just love David?
Cora

City of David is Going “Gourmet”!

Written on April 27th, 2010 by no shouts

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”!

Cheers!
Cora

Come on a Gourmet Tour to David

Written on April 6th, 2010 by no shouts

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 boquetegourmet@gmail.com, call me at 6614-9514, or comment on this blog.

Hope you can join us,
Cora

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