I could not take my eyes away from the T.V. screen at El Portón Colombiano. Not only the places that appeared on the screen were breathtaking but the people looked absolutely beautiful. If you want proof, have a look at the singer Shakira and actress Sophia Vergara and imagine a country full of them. Contradictory to all that beauty, the walls of the restaurant was decorated with the art of famous Colombian painter Fernando Botero who depicts all humans quite large. One of my favorite of his is his interpretation of Mona Lisa:
Obviously food from where everything else is beautiful raises your expectations for satisfaction - we were not disappointed!
Our drinks were authentically Colombian. My native soda Colombiana - which the waiter called "the national drink of Colombia" - was a sibling of Peruvian Inca Cola with a prettier color and a similar bubble gum taste.
Rick's two drinks were both creamy white. First one was Limonada de Coco - yes you guessed it - lemonade mixed with coconut milk topped with shaved coconut.
His second drink was Jugos Naturales en Leche with Soursop.
Empanadas have become a natural appetizer for us to compare with other versions from other countries and these were very different in their texture. Also were smaller and less doughy.
From the appetizer menu, we also ordered Aborrajado. Even though what came to the table looked like a strangely shaped potato, it actually was slices of fried plantains wrapped around a cheesy center.
Last appetizer was Yuca Frita con Hogao. The large chunks of Yucca fried and served hogao sauce tasted like potatoes of an elite kind.
Rick's order of Bandeja Paisa had so much meat on the plate, it came with its own knife as usual. The meat was accompanied with white rice, beans, fried plantains, a small round corn cake, slices of avocado and a sunny-side-up egg.
My Tamal Paisa plate was much smaller in comparison. Cornmeal stuffed with various meats and vegetables were wrapped in plantain leaves like an edible gift.
After having the leftovers packed to go, we ordered one Obleas con Arequipe to share. This is a seemingly simple dessert blending Dulce de Leche, Blackberry Sauce and Cheese between two layers of thin wafers.
We each had two cups of world famous Colombian coffee while watching food travel to other tables deciding what to have next time we visit.