South American foods

Peru Caribe in Barranquilla Revisited

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I had written about Peru Caribe and the story of the owner, Rosario.

Now I bring you a revisit. Rosario remodeled the restaurant and together with Raul, her co-owner they have revamped the already delicious recipes.

Take a look and see their amazing menu items and the beautiful new look of the place. 🙂 Enjoy the pictures!


Palenqueras and Fresh Fruits in Cartagena


Palenqueras slowly walk Cartagena streets offering: Papaya, watermelon, pineapple, guava, mango, nísperos (louquats) and more. They sing their tune as they gracefully cover downtown and the beach areas. Songs start with a low cord and they go up as they list the many fruits they carry on top of their heads. The song goes like this: “Home-cooks come get mangos, guavas, watermelon and tamariiiindo….  ”  It’s amazing to see their beautiful, generous smiles.

Palenqueras are native from San Basilio de Palenque,  a village near Cartagena, in the Municipality of Mahates, Bolivar, with a population of about 3,500 Afro-Colombians. Regarding its origin, during the 16th century Spaniards and slaves traveled together to South America. As slaves escaped, they slowly settled as this village came to be founded. Since then, Palenque natives have kept their traditions, language (similar to Creole) and their Afro-Colombian race intact. It’s truly a privilege to have such cultural richness so close to home!

Often I remember how I used to listen to them very early in the morning. Daily, Palenqueras carry centuries of history as they patiently make a living selling fresh fruits.

To read this post in Spanish click here.

Cuba Cuba – Havana-Cartagena Culture Connections

A native from the Caribbean cannot help but look for any evidence of his/her colorful, unique culture, even if it’s in a sandwich bite along the Rocky Mountains. With that in mind, I had to visit Cuba Cuba. Simply, a Cuban Sandwich place. I was gladly surprise to see ’empanadas’ and ‘tostones’ (or ‘patacones’) in their menu as well. I had both as appetizers accompanied with a gloriously strong ‘cafe Cubano’ and a ‘Café con Leche’ (obviously.) The Cuban Coffee options were amazing: “Cafecito”(single or double shot), “colada” (triple shot), “cortadito” (single shot with evaporated milk) and “café con leche” (single shot with steamed milk.) Then the Cuban Sandwiches came. Fantastic!

Pictures of Cuban men playing dominoes decorated the walls. My eyes turned right away! Cartagena and Havana share a great deal of the picturesque but relaxed tone. To my point, in Cartagena (my home town), elderly gentlemen play dominoes all afternoon long, at the “Plaza Fernandez de Madrid” between the Inquisition Palace and the Cathedral. This tradition is as old as my dear 480 year old UNESCO world heritage city. When you walk by, time literally freezes… Consequently, worldly worries, stress and little vanities become meaningless. It’s contagious. You want to stop. Actually, you do. It’s quite relaxing!

As we were leaving Cuba Cuba, the shift manager told us that the restroom had an awesome picture of Cuban boys playing baseball in the middle of busy narrow streets. We took the picture and I had to include it in this post, without any doubt. The boys in the picture are wearing sandals. In Cartagena, kids go a bit farther and play baseball bare-feet, while keeping the same setting: Among cars awkwardly parked on the sides of the old city’s narrow streets. Also, a game can last a long time as it’s often interrupted by pedestrians, or passing-by cars. Amazingly, every one knows your name and where you live. This comes in extremely handy for when a “hit” manages to break one or two windows. 😉

Havana and Cartagena enjoy the same rhythm roots and wonderfully refined Latin jazz, salsa, fast as well as slow beat softer melodies, all often accompanied by honest, simple messages. Cuba Cuba had the music too, so I was truly enjoying a full taste of home. In the end, Cuba Cuba fed me great flavors and authentic familiar memories. 🙂

Old-Fashioned Home-made Crackers


Little “tiendas” (corner home-based food stores) in Cartagena still carry old-fashioned home-made crackers. When I travel back home, I definitely make an effort to get them… Indeed, they bring back wonderful childhood memories!

Four simple, affordable ingredients (at hand in most kitchens), and a straightforward recipe yields anywhere from 32 to 42 crackers, depending on how you decide to cut them out.

I make the dough by hand which works out just fine. If you prefer to use a mixer, that is OK too. You can make them look fancy and tidy, or not. In my case, I let my kids ( and their imagination ) be part of our home baking crew. Fun! That surely means… No fancy home-made crackers for me.  🙂


Ingredients: 4 cups of flour, 1-1/2 tsp baking powder, 3/4 cup butter (or 1.25 sticks of butter), 1-1/2 cups water.

1. Sift the flour with the baking powder.


2. Add butter cut into slices and mix in with the flour.


3. Add water.


4. Mix by hand until a dough is formed.


5. Transfer the dough to a clean kitchen counter covered with some flour. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Roll out until a thin layer of dough forms. Transfer to an non-greased cookie sheet and prick with a fork. This is my kids’ favorite part! 🙂

Tip: You may also cut the dough into squares (or rectangles) on the counter, before transferring  the pieces to the cookie sheet.

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6. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 F degree oven.

Serve with jelly, chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter or simply by itself!




My kids love them, especially as after-school snacks. Certainly, these old-fashioned home-made crackers are guaranteed to go fast! 🙂