Last week, I took a last minute trip to Cali to visit my cousin. After a whirlwind September, I needed a vacation from my vacation.
I spent five days basking in the sun, lulling myself to sleep more than a few times a day in a hammock and listening to good music with beautiful company. The last couple weeks I’ve been sorting through my thoughts and my life and suddenly, last week, all that seemed less and less urgent. I realized how out of the moment I had been living the last few months; disconnected even. I’ve finally found myself in the moment again. Breathing the air that I’m supposed to be breathing; seeing things for what they are and loving them.
Below is a short essay I wrote while in Cali. Below the essay are photos from the Festival Sultana. Enjoy.
Change In Your Pocket.
I walked briskly down the street, catching the last of the evening light as it bathed the city in shades of purple and blue. The breeze was fresh on my face, like taking gulps of sweet water. I listened to the hum of the boulevard below me. The sounds of buses loading and unloading, honking, grinding, screetching. Far enough from the chaos I observed these sounds. City sounds. My city’s sounds. In that moment, despite the chaos, it all felt peaceful. Life was as sweet as the breeze that drenched me.
I reached into the pocket of my vest and pulled out three coins. Pesos. I thought about how, just four months before, my nightstand held small piles of dimes and quarters, waiting to go back home and be used again. Circulated back into my old life. Or how the bottom of my purse always held a spare quarter amongst loose pesos. Where did those quarters and dimes go? When did this change occur?
This must be what it feels like to call some place home; when the change in your pocket no longer seems foreign. When your dollars are replaced with pesos and you understand the weight of them within your hand.
When I made it to the end of the block, I saw the road in front of me, bustling with rush hour commuters and put the coins back in my pocket. Maybe becoming accustomed to your new life and new home is as gradual as the change in your pocket. My thoughts hovered above me, intertwining with smog and soot from the street, mingling until they diluted each other.
I was at a cross roads. I had walked down my quiet, tree-lined street; as safe and comfortable as my old life had been, until I was met with the chaos of this boulevard’s intersection. Fast, ever-changing, and uncertain: this new life of mine. The intersection of old and new, of safe and unknown. I should turn back and go home, relax after a long day, I thought. I turned onto the boulevard and kept walking into the sunset.
Can someone tell me when September happened!? It feels like yesterday that I was popping champagne (Morgan, if you’re reading this, than you know the incident “HAPPY NEW YEARS!”)… now, 8 months later I’m like, where did the time go? And, just six months ago I was saying goodbye to a lot of people that I love and left on an adventure, full of ups and downs, which I’m really thankful for.
Recently, I looked back on my New Year’s “desos” (goals and wishes) and realized I’m on way to having completed most of them. That was pleasantly surprising. That’s the thing I like about New Year’s goals: a seed is planted when you write them down and, subconsciously, your mind begins to work on them until they finally rise to the surface. Some years are more proactive than others, sure; but other years, no matter how hard they may seem to be, are a result of you’re heart and mind working together to be a little more productive. That’s what happened to me this year. I grew leaps and bounds by–literally– taking leaps and bounds into the unknown. This is what being in your 20s is all about, isn’t it?
These are just some things I think about while eating my breakfast…
Lazy-Girl’s Breakfast Bowl:
1 c. plain yogurt (non-fat, greek or whatever your go-to is)
1 tbsp homemade chai-spiced gluten free granola (recipe coming soon), or your favorite.
1 tsp marmalade (I used berry-coffee marmalade, new favorite of mine!)
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 golden delicious apple, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp raw honey, drizzled
Mix your marmalade* into your yogurt until smooth and well combined. Top with apples, granola*, and chia seeds. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. TA-DA! Super easy, delicious, healthy, and hearty to start your day quickly. Enjoy it with tea on the porch or in any other place you like to sit and spend your mornings.😉
*I prefer homemade, sugar free compotes, but whatever you have on hand will work. I also prefer my homemade GF granola to those weak store bought ones, but I haven’t shared my recipe for that yet so stay tuned!😉 In the meantime, store bought is fine (Ina Garten moment).
One of the things I love most in life is waking up on a rainy Saturday or Sunday with nothing to do but cuddle up in bed with your favorite person/pet, some coffee, and a little music. Luckily, Bogota is chock full of rainy mornings so I get to indulge myself in this simple pleasure often.
A couple Sunday’s ago I woke up to one of these mornings and a serious desire for pancakes (which should never, under any circumstances, be ignored).I probably saw something on Pinterest earlier in the week about fluffy pancakes and the seed was planted. Usually, my brunch game is more of a savory one: fried eggs on avocado toast, a lox breakfast sandwich, the occasional grilled cheese with bacon and avocado if I’m feeling more of the –unch. French toast, pancakes, waffles, and Nutella crepes rarely make it to my plate…
So anyway, I woke up with that unignorable (is that a word?) pancake desire so I pulled my pantry apart for some ingredients. (Not surprisingly) there was no traditional pancake mix, but I did have a ton of oats and chia seeds! In Boulder, I used to make protein pancakes on the reg (ground oats + one scoop of chocolate protein powder) so that was my inspo for these bad boys. All the ingredients** in this recipe you probably already have so they’re perfect for any last minute-rainy day brunch in bed!
**I didn’t have eggs, but I did have quail eggs on hand (more on that in a following post), which worked just fine!
Here’s what you need for 2 people (multiply/divide as needed):
2/3 cup ground oats (I grind mine in my coffee grinder) + 1 tbsp whole oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (coconut milk would be tasty as well!)
1/2 tbsp chia seeds (optional, I’m currently obsessed so I add them to everything)
3 quail eggs (or one regular egg)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Mix your ground oats, BP, chia seeds, and salt with your almond milk until smooth. In another bowl, lightly beat your egg with your vanilla and combine it with your oats and almond mixture slowly. The lot should be smooth and slightly liquidy. If not, you did it wrong and have to start over… Just kidding! Add a splash more of almond milk to loosen things up if you need. Sprinkle your cinnamon and whole oats into the mix and spoon all those bad boys together.
On the stove heat up you griddle with a tiny bit of butter or coconut oil (<– the preferred choice) and pour a large tablespoon of your batter into the center of the pan. You can make them as large or small you want, but because these don’t have gluten, they will be a lot more manageable if smaller. Let it spread out and sizzle until you see some bubbles on top and give it a flip. Let the other side sizzle for about 3-4 minutes more and move it to a plate. Repeat with all your batter and add a little more butter/oil when necessary.
The night before this brilliant idea, I had a few other brilliant ideas! I had just made a delicious berry compote and some ginger-spiced granola, which were the perfect toppings to my oatmeal pancakes. You could also top them with the traditional butter and maple syrup, or perhaps some warm almond butter and bananas. Or get a little creative and try coconut cream with chocolate chips and berries? The limit does not exist on this one folks. Go wild!
Note: You may have noticed there is no sugar in this recipe. I omitted it because, as I mentioned, my taste buds prefer savory. However, adding about a tablespoon of pure maple syrup will sweeten these right up for you OR balance the heartiness with any sweet-tooth topping combo you desire!
How do YOU like to spend your weekend mornings? Let me know in the comments!!
La Puerta Falsa is one of my favorite places in Bogota. Tucked away in the heart of El Centro (one block from Plaza Simon Bolivar) and a total hole in the wall, it serves up some of THE BEST classic Colombian dishes.
I stumbled upon this place with my cousin a few years ago. We popped in for a quick bite after a long day downtown. It wasn’t until I sat down with a piping hot tamale, that I recognized it as the famed Puerta Falsa, seen on Parts Unknown and other foodie blogs across the web.
The truth is that while this joint happens to be my favorite, there are a dozen like them on the same block, all serving up similar dishes and all fantastically delicious and comforting. The menu is limited, but if you go with a group of 2-4, you can order one or two of each thing and all share (depending on how hungry you are); which is exactly what we did when the squad was in town!
We were all pretty hungry after hours (just kidding, not even close) to museum perusing and exploring El Centro, so we each opted for our own tamales and shared a few beverages. The tamales are GIANT so if you only want a nibble, consider sharing. However, I do encourage the challenge of eating your own + chocolate. They’re too delicious and savory to pass up.
Different than a Mexican tamale, they’re wrapped in a banana leaf and the maza is much less sweet than you’d expect. (Did you know: corn is not sweet here like in the U.S.!) It’s filled with giant chunks of chicken and pork and corn kernels and warms you from the inside. True comfort food.
The tamales are a must but so is the Chocolate Completa (hot chocolate, cheese, and bread). If you’re really feeling Colombian, order an Agua de Panela (sugary water, cheese, and bread.) And definitely/absolutely dip your cheese and bread in the chocolate/agua de panela.
When bae and his tamale photobomb you during lunch.
We left with super full bellies and only paid 10 mil (10 thousand) pesos each! (less than $5 a person). For more adventures with the squad check out our album on Facebook!And be sure to give Red Wine and Lipstick a follow on Facebook while you’re at it for BTS updates!
I’ve made and posted this cake a few times already to the blog and to Instagram, but really it’s such a perfect cake that I can’t stop making it! As mentioned, I adopted the original recipe from this Bon Appetit recipe, but have since tweaked and altered it until I got exactly what I wanted: a fluffy and light, yet moist and zesty cake that could be enjoyed with coffee, cava, or early in the morning on your way out the door.
The flavor combos are a delicate mix of earthy and summery ingredients that make me dream of fresh spring mornings back when I was a kid.
So here’s my version of this bad boy:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
½cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1cup fresh wild berries, divided
zest of one whole lemon
zest of half an orange
tbsp lemon juice
8 sprigs of fresh thyme (stems removed and slightly crushed)
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F while you whip up all your ingredients.
Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and non-stick spray OR (like I did) butter that bad boy thoroughly (all around the sides and bottom) and dust lightly with flour.
In a large bowl, mix your dry goods: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and ricotta. Fold this mix carefully into your dry goods with a spatula until just blended (try not to over do this part or your cake might fall a little flat!). Follow this step by folding your melted butter in and then your thyme and 3/4 cup of berries (Remember!! Fold, don’t mix! You don’t want to smash your berries.)
Pour your batter into your greased/parchment-ed pan and sprinkle the rest of the berries on top of your beautiful and delicious cake. I also added a few dehydrated mandarin oranges to mine to accompany the orange zest.
Pop your cake into the oven until golden and your tester comes out clean (about 50-60 minutes, but give it a peak around 40 minutes!) Let rest about 15-20 minutes and share with loved ones.
Easy-peasy right?? Let me know how impressed your friends and family are with you after!😉
“Why does Siri say it’s 59 degrees and raining in Bogota!? It’s July. Anyway, I thought I was going to a HOT country!?”
Yes, you are going to a “HOT country”. However, Bogotá is a city, not a country. And while the climates vary remarkably throughout the beautiful country of Colombia, Bogotá rests above 8000 ft. elevation. The higher a place is, the cooler it is. That is basic atmosphere understanding. It is also just north of the equator, therefor the weather patterns get wonky and a stagnant-seasonless climate occurs. That is basic geography.
Another thing: Any filmmaker who based their film in “rural, jungle, palm tree filled Bogotá” should be banned from cinematography for lack of basic research. It takes one google image search to see what the city is all about. I’ll even make it easy for you: think of a sprawling NYC or Chicago nestled in the mountains.
In short: Bring a jacket. And for the love of god, please don’t try to wear shorts in the city. (You know who you are ;-P)
“Damn, is the blow (cocaine) like really amazing or whaaaaaat?”
Bogotá (and Colombia, for that matter) is not a drug city, despite what history may have you believe. The people do not lock themselves in their offices at 1pm Scarfacing a mountain of coke. Bumps of cocaine are not found on everyone’s keys and most people don’t have hook ups on speed dial.
Sure, like every major city with nightlife, you will find select party-goers indulging themselves in certain recreations in nightclub bathrooms and dance floors much like you would in LA or Barca or London. That doesn’t mean its universally accepted here; nor has it ever been.
Cocaine is a little taboo here, but the foreigners flock to hostels in El Centro to try and score. In my honest opinion (and you know I love a some good fun), cocaine is not worth the hassle it takes to get it. It’s shady and not very “fashionable”. Basically, it’s trashy.
On the same note, the weed here is alright. Lots of sticks and twigs. I just spent 6 years living in Colorado where the green is legal and arguably the best in the world so maybe I’m biased. I still miss enjoying my favorite strand: “WonderWoman” on a snowy night.
In short: ditch the day dreams of “doing as the locals do” (because the locals don’t do that) and drink more guaro (aguardiente). It’s more fun than cocaine.
“Omg you’re probably so tan! How far away are you from the beach??”
Far. I live far from the beach. About a 20 hour drive actually. I am pretty tan right now, but that’s a combination of last week’s trip to Miami and Colombia’s constant long weekends spent in tierra caliente. However, since it’s nearly always rainy here, plan de piscina (pool days) are kind of out. No bueno for my tan.
I’m in the mountains far away from sandy beaches and coco locos. I do, however, love the la costa (Cartagena, Baranquilla, Santa Marta, Palomino,etc etc) and would gladly accompany you to the beach! It’s a short flight (about one hour) and they are fairly affordable if you buy in advance. Check out Avianca for the best deals and flight service.
In short: Bogotá weather is not conducive to bronze-ness, but Colombians have about 1-2 long weekends a month which allow for quick escapes to the beach via plane.
“Do you have internet in Colombia?”
Wtf. I’m not going to even going to get into this because it’s just dumb. The person who asked me this was actually chatting with me via AIM.
Another hilarious one I’ve been asked: “do they have work out classes in Colombia?” After I had just spent five minutes talking about how I love taking Zumba classes at my club’s gym… This person worked for Goldman Sachs.
In short: don’t be a fucking idiot.
“When we stay with you, are we going to be like, sleeping huts?”
When I told people I was moving to Colombia I received a couple good natured comments about fields and cows and other farm stuff. Much of the country is rural and some areas are jungly with indigenous people living off the land. Many of the people who live in rural country have a cow or horse or a few gallinas; but there are also many major cities which are nothing like the countryside.
Bogotá, Medellín, Calí, Cartagena, Bucaramanga (to name a few) are all major modern cities with high-rise buildings, cafes, museums, private schools, parks, and corportate buildings. People take Uber and drive BMWs, Volvos and Hondas. Some enjoy fancy spa days and country clubs and macro supermarkets. They talk on cell phones and use paved roads to get around. Kids are glued to their iPads just like in the U.S. and watch cartoons on Saturday.
Personally, I don’t live in a hut. I live in a beautiful apartment in Bogota with a view of the mountains.
When the city folk have had enough of all this modern tech shit, they pack up for the weekend and go out into the country for a bit. You know, to get back to their roots😉.
In short: Like most countries, Colombia is extremely diverse. You will find everything from country living to very American-ized lifestyles.
“God, we’re not going to get kidnapped are we?”
Nah, bruh. We good. Once upon a time, Colombia was dangerous. When I was six years old, I remember dropping my dad off at the airport here in Bogotá and seeing eight armed men with insane guns surrounding one man and escorting him to a waiting car. Whether I witnessed a kidnapping or an insane entourage of bodyguards, I’ll never know. Those days are (hopefully) long gone and Colombians and tourists can live and roam pretty freely around most of the country.
In the last 10 years I have been on more cross country road trips than I ever imagined and have seen the most beautiful places and people because of it. I’ve been to places that most Colombians have never been and never once have I felt threatened or uncomfortable while exploring them.
In short: While precautions should always be taken when traveling, I don’t believe in letting fear dictate your experience or your home. Embrace the good with the bad, the beautiful and the ugly and learn something from them.
“Colombians are soo gorgeous. I bet everyone looks like Shakira or Sofia Vergara!”
Alright this isn’t a misconception or stereotype. This is a fact. The people here are beautiful.
Disclaimer: This post is obviously poking fun of some of ignorance I’ve seen from people about Bogotá and Colombia, however, I understand that the media depicts a lot of “untruths”. It’s my hope that through this post, and my blog as a whole, (and maybe a quick google search on your part) we can begin to debunk those misconceptions and people can start to see beyond the stereotypes and find all the beauty and experiences Colombia has to offer. They call this place the land of Magical Realism for a reason and I hope you won’t be afraid to come see for yourself!
I say this from the heart:I love Colombia for everything that it is. From the beautiful and delicious to the scary and rough. It’s all part of what makes this new home of mine so unique. So full of character. The adventure and life experience that present itself here is once in a lifetime and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. For those of you thinking of traveling here, please come! For those who are on their way, I can’t wait to see you! 💛💙❤️
This post is strictly for the foodies. And those who like food pics. And those who are interested in food porn.
One thing to know about my family is that we really love to eat and drink well. Some members of my family would prefer not to eat all than to eat something prepackaged or processed. It’s a preference I am completely on board with and wish to incorporate into my life…except that I am hungry 24/7.
When we get together for family events, there is always wine, fantastic cheeses, homemade bread, homemade honey (from my aunt and uncles farm), or the best cuts of meat, farm fresh veggies and eggs, decadent desserts or, occasionally, sushi being hand rolled in the kitchen or the little cousins are mixing ingredients for a dessert. It’s always 100% delicious and full of Jaramillo love.
So, a weekend spent in Raquira with my grandpa and family is always going to be a good one. In other words: Foodie Heaven. Should you ever join us on one of these weekends, please don’t arrive with notions of a diet. Leave those in Bogota. The food is too good to pass up!
As I said, wine and cheese are always a staple in our family. So is homemade cheese (queso campesino, from the cows on the farm) and homemade bread.
I still remember waking up every morning as a child during my summer vacations at my grandparents house in Bogota to the smell of warm, fresh baked bread. I think, 18 years later, I still wake up every morning, subconsciously looking for that smell and running to the dining room for it. That’s probably why I have such an affinity to artisanal breads.
[Colombian custom lesson!] In previous posts I’ve mentioned that dinner isn’t the meal of the day in Colombia. Lunch typically is, with dinner usually being a small tapa, leftovers, or an arepa with some cheese. I think the custom stems from el almuerzo (lunch) being a long, drawn out affair on most days. Unlike American’s, Colombians refuse to take their lunch at their desk in front of a computer or paper work. Instead, you head home (or to a friend/family’s home) for a 3-course lunch: first caldo (a soup or broth), next meat or fish with rice and some kind of veggie/plantain. After that is dessert, which could be as simple as guava and cheese, a spoonful of arequipe (dulce de leche-esque), or a beautiful cake. The meal ends when your cafe tinto (black coffee) arrives to wash everything down. [Now you’re familiar with some lunch culture down here!]
Because of the aforementioned custom, dinner with my family is basically bread and cheese and some ham (unless it’s a special event), but don’t be fooled by the simplicity! We love a good, strong cheese and some imported ham with our wine. This particular late night feast as seen on my FB and Instagram was a variety of Stilton, Roquefort, Truffled sheeps milk, homemade queso campesino, bread, wine, and jamon iberico. I told you, foodie heaven.
The following day was Sunday and Sunday’s always mean brunch, no matter where you are or who you’re with. My grandpa whipped up a salchicha and veggie scramble, accompanied by arepas, queso campesino, honey, papaya and a special reserve cava.
Everyone needed a nap after that so we dispersed to the hammocks and sat and chatted for a few hours. Right before lunch, I decided to whip up a cake for my grandpa to celebrate Father’s Day a bit early. It was a spin on the Bon Appetite ricotta cake I made for Easter, but with an added twist: Wild berry, orange, and thyme. The night before my grandpa dehydrated mandarin oranges so I used some of those for an extra kick. Recipe to come soon!
When the champagne buzz finally wore off, we started on a few tapas: slow cooked oxtail tartine on potatoes, foie gras drizzled with truffled honey (ohmagawd, I was loving every crumb of that) and a tuna and onions cooked in white wine and vinegar. Sorry, but more foodie heaven.
Eventually the cake came out of the oven and that was devoured too.
More wine and reading and naps in hammocks. And eventually a card game that lasted late into the night with my great grandmother.
The next morning (our last morning), after a long walk and some coffee, we feasted on a calentado. Calentado is essentially “leftovers” or rice, meat, maybe some beans and veggies if you have them on hand. For breakfast, an egg is thrown on top or scrambled in, but not always. It’s very classically Colombian and you can find it in most homes and even local restaurants.
We paired it with more coffee, cheese, arepas, and bread and some fresh green tomatoes (picked that day on the farm!) and indulged.
After returning from a day in town, we lunched on some excellent cuts of meat (which I never snapped a photo of) and leftover tapas. Eventually it was time for dessert!
We decided to stick with the theme from the previous day’s dessert. Before lunch, my grandpa and I made an agraz(blueberry), orange, and thyme marmalade to drizzle on top of a Normandy brie my uncle picked up on the way to Raquira. Let me just tell you: I will never buy marmalade again! My grandpa’s recipe is the only way to go and it’s SO simple!
Look at how beautiful it is:
I love being able to come together with my family, share amazing food, and make all these memories. It’s one of the reasons I love living in Colombia.