Cherimoya and Chontaduro at Café Atlantico
The past month has been a whirlwind of events. A sumptuous dinner at Café Atlantico (I was peeking over my shoulder to see what exotica was being concocted in the Minibar laboratory) prepared by the stunning 29 year-old, Chef Catalina Velez, flown in from Columbia, to join Atlantico’s Chef Terri Cutrino. Velez, whose two restaurants, Luna Lounge and Kiva in Cali, Columbia, cooks in the style of Nuevo Latino. She promotes ingredients from her native country and had more than a few unique delicacies from Columbia’s Pacific Coast woven into her menu.
Here’s what she prepared: Velvety avocado soup topped with shrimp and bonito with sweet “cherimoya” fruit, aka custard apple; crab ravioli with “chontaduro”, a delectable palm fruit, indigenous to South America; grilled squid salad; seared duck breast with duck confit tamale and lentils; beef tenderloin with tamarind sauce and plantain puree; dessert was a delicate corn cake with banana mousse. All perfectly paired with wines from Chile and Argentina. Tonya Fitzpatrick, creator of World Footprints and www.WorldFootprints.com, the ecologically-correct travel site, was my ever-delightful dinner partner.