Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coffee Country

With the heat of Cali, it is occasionally nice to retreat to a cooler locale, somewhere where a hot cup of coffee, agua panela with cheese or a hot chocolate can keep away the mountain chill.  I've been to much of the eje cafetero (coffee region) before and have come to know it as a fantastic reprieve from the bustle of Caleño city life.  Its proximity of about three to four hours by bus is also agreeable. During a recent long weekend I traveled there yet again with some friends to the colonial town of Salento and then on to some natural hot springs outside the town of Santa Rosa de Cabal.


Homegrown coffee on a lazy, rainy afternoon.
Countryside surrounding Salento.
Salento nightlife.
At the hotsprings in Santa Rosa.
San Miguel waterfall above the hot springs.
Along the way we enjoyed many of the local foods and novelties of the paisa region including very fresh coffee, buñuelos, river trout, and my personal favorite: bandeja paisa (say: ban-day-ha pie-sah).  This hearty meal consists of beans, a pork rind, an avocado wedge, an arepa, fried plantains, rice, a shredded lettuce salad, and some sort of meat - usually chicken or beef, but sometimes fish or sausage. It is also not uncommon to get a fried egg plopped right on top of it all.  The best part of stuffing yourself with this plate at lunchtime is that you will be full for the rest of the day and all for the incredible price of $3-4 USD!

The bandeja paisa in all its delicious hearty glory!

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