We had been eating on the light side in Cartagena, partly because of the heat and partly because I believed that eating on the light side would help my digestion adjust to the different fruits, vegetables, spices, fish, and food combinations. John, on the other hand, has more of a “cast-iron” digestive tract and was looking forward to eating more meat in Medellin. In particular, he had enjoyed the Lonely Planet review of the Restaurante Hatoviejo which was said to feature regional dishes for carnivores.
While I requested a few days to “work up to it,” John scheduled dinner there for our second night in Medellin!
Easy to find, the Restaurante Hatoviejo at Carrera 47 No 52-17, La Candelaria, was not far from the subway station Parque Berrio. The décor reminded us of steak houses in Montana, decorated like a ranchhouse with a Colombian flair. Dark-stained wood formed the ceiling beams and the counter and furniture and the floor featured polished reddish tiles. Waiters, wearing hats and apparel of the region, were friendly and enjoyed advising us about the menu.
John chose the plato montañero, or mountaineer’s dish, as an example of typical regional food. Never mind that the Lonely Planet had described it as artery clogging because it included sausage, ground beef, possibly another kind of meat, pork cracklings, rice, beans, platanos, and even a fried egg. There was probably a vegetable floating around there somewhere but hard to see within that mountain of food that might usually serve a family of four…
In my less courageous fashion, I chose a simple dish featuring a lesser amount of pork and the typical beans of the region. Unsure of my digestion, I requested a half-portion. Our waiter was pleased to oblige. Thank goodness because my bowl was brimming: I was sure to have enough left to feed another diner, even though the meal was divinely delicious.
John loved every bite of his typical dish and took an uncommonly long time to eat, a rarity for him. We shared bites and every food was superbly cooked and tasty. He somehow managed to consume nearly everything, probably thankful he was wearing travel pants with an adjustable waist.
At the end of our meal, the waiter brought us each a glass of aguardiente, sort of a cross between brandy and moonshine and very good. Espressos afterwards were an appropriate finale to the meal. No, we did not taste any desserts.
Quite an excellent experience. We took a long walk afterwards, both before and after the subway ride back to our hostel. The morning meal was certain to be very light! (May 2009)