Sunday, November 13, 2011


The next half of our friend-iversary took us to Bolivia.  We crossed overland via Lake Titicaca enroute to La Paz. In between Cusco and Lake Titicaca, we were on a local bus.  The local bus was a very interesting experience. Every stop along the way, someone new got on with some kind of treat to sell. Since I was feeling hot and cranky, I didn't actually buy a single thing. But, maybe Bolt bus should consider picking up hitch hikers who sell snacks along the way to DC. We finally arrived in La Paz after a border crossing and a Oregon-trail style river crossing (we chose to ferry across, not ford across). The only thing I knew I had to do in La Paz was to eat a salteña.

We arrived in La Paz pretty late, after getting all of our bus items sorted out (ha. haha.), and we tried to find a Bolivian restaurant recommended by our hostel, but to no avail.  Instead we decided to just pop into a restaurant we walked by, Angelo Colonial.  Surprisingly enough, this place was a suggested restaurant by my trusty (?) Lonely Planet.

Becca ordered the ajicama soup, which was very spicy.  We also had a similar soup in Bogota.

More alpaca.  This time, with sauteed vegetables.  I wish I had remembered to write down the actual name of this dish!

I ordered a "crepe", which really was a monstrous skillet of cheese and ham, with a crepe underneath.  Oh, I'm not complaining.  It was the best savory crepe I've ever had!

When we walked into the restaurant, I eyed the pie section.  Of course, dessert is always on my mind.  I couldn't pass up a slice of one of the drool-worthy pies! I ordered the lemon meringue and Becca ordered a cake with dulce de leche.

I also ordered a cafe con leche.  One thing I noticed about all the cafe con leches I had in Bolivia was that something tasted weird.  I couldn't put my finger on it - maybe it was a different type of milk, or the way the drink was prepared, unclear.  It didn't really taste rich and creamy, it was bitter and dry.  Maybe I just had bad luck!

{Pausing to take a photo}

The next morning, we decided to eat our way through Zona Central.  We started our day with breakfast of bread, freshly squeezed orange juice, and french toast.

We toured through hilly La Paz, and found a coffee shop, in which I had more freshly squeezed juice (this time, banana and papaya).  I suppose the original blue print cleanse was founded in South America?

Our Lonely Planet suggested a few chocolate shops (of course the section on La Paz was written by a girl - so it included this), and we found chocolates with quinoa, amaranth and the more traditional mani (peanuts).

Becca and I were catching a bus to Uyuni later that night - but didn't have enough time to grab food to eat. We received dinner and breakfast on the bus, but nothing spectacular (to be expected).  Oh, did I mention we were stuck in Salar de Coipasa for almost 24 hours? It's okay though - they gave us a fried chicken dinner towards the end, it was so worth it!

{Breakfast in Salar de Coipasa}

The food on the Salar de Uyuni tour was better than I expected - I was thinking we would get dry bread with a piece of cheese tossed on the inside! We had some quinoa, some chicken, and some alpaca, and there were also veggie dishes that included lots of potatoes.

{Breakfast in the Salar - eggs, cheese and bread}

{Lunch in the Salar - chicken, veggies and potatoes, including oca,
a type of potato}

{Dinner in the Salar}

On our last night, our guide and drivers shared a bottle of liquor with us.  This liquor is made out of coca leaves - I think it might have been pre-sweetened to serve as a post-dinner beverage. Look out Skinny Girl Margaritas!

We returned to Uyuni and we were in need of pizza (and by we, I mean me).  Actually, I would not have thought about it but our guide mentioned that there was a great pizza place in Uyuni. A guy from Boston moved to Bolivia with his (Bolivian) wife and opened up said pizza shop, so we went there for dinner.  We ordered the spicy llama and also the hawaiian pizza.  Wow, the crust was perfect! Sidenote: just looking at this photo while typing up this blog spot is making me REALLY hungry for some hawaiian...

The next morning, our breakfast included more fresh fruit, and omelettes! I of course had more granola (I love those puffy rice things!)

A western omlette with a tortilla chip!

I was hoping that our flight from Uyuni to La Paz would serve breakfast, but, um, there wasn't exactly room for a cart.  There wasn't really an aisle, per say. Oh, I know, you are probably thinking "didn't you have an omlette and fruit already".  Remember, I love airplane breakfasts!

{No aisles means no breakfast}

Back in La Paz, our only goal left before our 5pm flight was to eat a salteña.  I didn't really know what it was, but my friend Anoop had told me not to leave without trying one.  So off we went in search of our perfect afternoon treat.

We found a place quickly enough, after all, where there is a will, there is a way! The first thing I thought of when I bit into my salteña was, "oh, this is just like the french onion soup dumplings at Stanton Social".  Except, it is fried, not steamed.  We had added on a traveling companion, Alan.  Alan is from the US but currently is living in some Amazonian jungle researching indigenous people for his PhD disseration, so he has been in Bolivia for quite some time.  Anyways, long story short, there is a "correct way" to eat said salteñas, of which Alan did not care to elaborate on until after our dumplings were cut into pieces and the stew spilled out everywhere.  Apparently you are supposed to hold it like an eggroll or a taco, bite off a part on the top, and slurp up some of the stew, a very seamless and clean task.  We however, spilled the stew all over our hands, face, and jeans, much to Alan's amusement.  Regardless, the insides were spicy and sweet and seriously amazing. Salteñas will be added to Dumplingfest 2012!

{Looks like an empanada}

{Do not slice into a salteña. Eating Fail.}

We also found another dish that look very interesting.  Actually, it kind of looked like that rice thing you order at dim sum that has pork in it and is wrapped in bamboo.  

The inside was actually stuffed with something that tasted like maize - you can also see some unidentified spices.  It wasn't as tasty as the salteña, but we did find some melted cheese on the inside! I'm pretty sure this was a Bolivian version of a tamale.

The restaurant also served a small portion of Chile Relleno, which is essentially stuffed peppers, but with a bit more heat.

This is Alan's dessert, very similar to flan/custard.

On our walk back to the hostel, we came across a bakery - I've never seen loaves of bread that looked like this!

Our flight from La Paz to Lima was quick and had an aisle.  Yay, meal service!

We flew out of Bolivia eating chocolate and reading about Caracas and Patagonia in South America on a Shoestring.  I think we were both in denial that our wonderful South American adventure was quickly ending. Bon voyage! 

I didn't realize our flight from Lima to Newark was delayed, so I was in for the biggest treat of all in Lima: Astrid y Gaston.  Post to follow shortly! 

1 comment :

Lavina said...

That bread picture was so cool!! so unique. Food in bolivia sounds good and somewhat veggie friendly :P