WARNING: This is yet another blog entry about food! I just can’t help myself!
Last Saturday, Seth and I enjoyed an early afternoon meal at Chela, a restaurant down the street from our apartment. We had been curious about the place for a while, as it is consistently busy during the work week. Saturdays at the restaurant, however, are a bit more quiet and intimate. We showed up around one, snagged a table under the dining room’s great big skylight, and sipped some jugo de lulo as we poured over the menu. We quickly noticed that Chela specializes in cazuela, a hodge-podge of a South American dish named for the pot in which it is cooked. Generally speaking, cazuela is a thick stew consisting of beans, meat, and vegetables. (Although, sometimes the dish consists only of seafood, sans beans, which makes it very difficult to categorize.) I tend to think of it as Latin America’s answer to the South of France’s cassoulet—a slow-cooked casserole which contains meat (typically, pork sausages, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin, and white haricot beans. At Chela, the cazuelas range from very meaty—containing salchicha (sausage), tocineta (bacon), and chicharrón (fried pork rinds)—to very starchy—containing papas criollas (small potatoes), mazorca (Colombian corn), and plátanos maduros (ripe plantains). Served with a side of buttery rice, the dish is both inviting and comforting.
[Restaurante Chela: Calle 9A # 60-47, Bogotá-Colombia]
[original image courtesy of Wikipedia]
UPDATE: This restaurant closed in October 2012.