I’m Back: The Del Montemoon: Part C: Cartagena

The final leg of our mammoth trip was a week in Cartagena trying to find the big emerald from Romancing the Stone. It’s never made clear in the film that this is discovered by Jack T Colton. Sure, he owns a dirty great yacht and he’s wearing crocodile skin boots. But he could have inherited a fortune or had some luck on the stock market. We just don’t know.

This gave us ample time to explore the many restaurants for tourists and a couple not for tourists.

The La Cevicheria is apparently recommended by Anthony Bourdain, but recommendations from celebrity drug users aside, the food was excellent. The ceviche was so sharp it took me a full evening to unpucker.

The La Estrella De La India and the Fogon Costeno were excellent cheap places to go. Estrella has little box in the corner from which a bulky mamacita dispensed dishes to the haunted server with the terrifying effiency of a Gulag overseer. Fogon was a little cosier with an excellent fellow who made himself understood even with my inept Spañish who served up some good, cheap scran.

Oh La La was a datey place which was adorable and I should have gone back, but the sleazy run-down charm of El Bistro next door was too much to resist. If you want to feel like a Graham Greene antihero, sipping a mojito in the oppressive humidity under an ineffective fan then this is the place for you. Confusingly Teutonic staff give it an additional twist and we went back 3 times for happy hour and some decent pasta.

Being in South America I imagined we’d get good beef so I forced us to visit Pepe Anca (http://www.pepeanca.com/) and was not disappointed. I enjoyed a long, succulent slab of Wild Bull. Highly recommended.

Finally, Mrs Del Monte and I enjoyed some (slightly overpriced) pasta at Andante Allegro Vivace (http://www.andanteallegrovivace.co/), an attractive little restaurant with an open kitchen:

I think you need a mouthy Napolitian shouting at everyone in this sort of venue.

One of the best things about Colombia and Ecuador in general is the lashings of fresh fruit juice at low, low prices. Getting the same thing here is to be extorted and disappointed. The food is generally quite good, with some lowlights as well as highlights; but the freshness of the ingredients cannot be argued with. Well I suppose it can, but how would you? Leave me alone.

Next stop? To find the money Steve Buscemi concealed in the snow outside Fargo! Hollywood is a goldmine suckers.

!CARTAGENA¡

LA CEVICHERIA

Amazing ceviche!

Amazing ceviche!

Calamari. More food should come in hoop form.

Calamari. More food should come in hoop form.

Outside the La Cervicheria. The traffic cone makes the outside tables impervious to oncoming traffic.

Outside the La Cervicheria. The traffic cone makes the outside tables impervious to oncoming traffic.

El especial menu.

El especial menu.

La Cevicheria
Calle 39 # 7 14

LA ESTRELLA DE LA INDIA

The meat was tough, but for $2 I'm not complaining. Tasty stuff.

The meat was tough, but for $2 I’m not complaining. Tasty stuff.

Estrella, busy at lunchtime.

Estrella, busy at lunchtime.

La Estrella De La India
Calle 36, 152

FOGON COSTENO

I always like my lemonade served in lab beakers.

I always like my lemonade served in lab beakers.

A typical Colombia meal - something for everyone, cheap as chips, but tastier.

A typical Colombia meal – something for everyone, cheap as chips, but tastier.

Jug-eared rice. Carribean flavoured, riddled with chicken.

Jug-eared rice. Caribbean flavoured, riddled with chicken.

Another dark interior enticing customers in.

Another dark interior enticing customers in.

Fogon Costeno
Calle 36

OH LA LA

Random salad.

Random salad.

A salad of mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes. Its hip to be square.

A salad of mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes. Its hip to be square.

Outside Oh La La. You can see Del Monte reflected!

Outside Oh La La. You can see Del Monte reflected!

El menu.

El menu.

Oh La La
Calle de Ayos, Calle 35 # 4-48
Tel: +57 5 6601757

PEPE ANCA

Rump steak. Food photography doesn't come much better than this.

Rump steak. Food photography doesn’t come much better than this.

Wild Bull steak. A little tough, but flavoursome and it now features in my dreams. Encrusted with cracked pepper which crackles like popping candy around the steak. Too peppery? Maybe for some, but I think it worked rather well.

Wild Bull steak. A little tough, but flavoursome and it now features in my dreams. Encrusted with cracked pepper which crackles like popping candy around the steak. Too peppery? Maybe for some, but I think it worked rather well.

Commence chomping!

Commence chomping!

Outside of Pepe Anca. Where you can sit in your ball sweat rather than rare air conditioned bliss.

Outside of Pepe Anca. Where you can sit in your ball sweat rather than in the air conditioned bliss within.
El menu.

El menu.

Pepe Anca
Calle 35
Tel: +57 5 6604334
http://www.pepeanca.com/

EL BISTRO

Every seedy bar needs its resident hooker. I'm not saying she's the one.

Every seedy bar needs its resident hooker. I’m not saying she’s the one.

Del Monte, red-faced and sweating, ordered a third Mojito.

Del Monte, red-faced and sweating, ordered a third Mojito. Then he sweated some more.

El Bistro
Calle 35

ANDANTE ALLEGRO VIVACE

Isn't my beard big and pointy!

Isn’t my beard big and pointy!

The art work is pretty cool.

The art work is pretty cool.

El Menu.

El Menu.

Andante Allegro Vivace
Centro, Cll Don Sancho esq. Cll de la Mantilla
Tel: (57)+5 664 01 56
http://www.andanteallegrovivace.co/

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