Cartagena de Indias, Day 2 with El Santísimo
February 28, 2011
Early on our second evening we walked to the Naval Museum in a beautiful old building by the ramparts next to the harbor. The displays are of many aspects of the Colombian Navy, including ship models. There is extensive history of 16th and 17th century naval attacks on Cartagena by the British. This was also one of five venues in Cartagena for a festival of contemporary figurative Colombian artists that was not to our taste.
For dinner we walked to the far, or north, side of Cartagena’s historic zone, which only took twenty minutes. El Santísimo is near the upscale Santa Clara Hotel.
We ordered a bottle of 2008 EQ (Chile) Sauvignon blanc: nice.
Linda started with
Mixto de fritos cartageneros
Caramañolas, bean buñuelitos with shrimp and corn buñuelitos with coast cheese
The corn with cheese and the bean with shrimp beignets were crisp and good. The light-colored cassava rolls with bean paste inside were mushy and not thoroughly cooked. Partially successful
My starter was
Chicharon es de Pargo
Chunks of red snapper, crispy with hogao.
The red snapper had been overly crisped and had lost its flavor, but the hogao, tomato and onion based sauce, which is much used in Colombian cuisine, was nice.
Linda’s main was
San Antonio Bendito
Fresh fish fillet grilled with ginger, garlic, fruit of passion, honey and coriander
We ordered fish each evening in Cartagena, but sometimes it had little distinctive taste, as in this case.
My main was
An exquisite seafood vegetable casserole with coconut milk and an aromatic accent of coriander served with coconut rice.
This had good local flavors, but was too soupy for a “casserole.”
We did not have dessert. We enjoyed the walk home through streets, which were still very active.
The next morning I had the same tipico breakfast as the morning before, except that the orange juice was replaced by luscious papaya juice. We walked to the Cathedral where there seemed to some kind of do-it-yourself service in progress. We also visited the Museum of the Inquisition in a beautiful old building that had been used for that purpose. It also has a museum of the history of Cartegena. The nearby Zenu Gold Museum is excellent with interesting pre-Colombian pottery as well as gold and other metal works.
It didn’t appear to be a place where we would find fresh fish so Linda had a filet mignon with fries and I had a pepper steak with coconut rice.
It was good meat; my sauce had a nice cracked pepper flavor despite its unattractive gooey appearance that is all too common in Colombia. We drank Club Colombia beer.
That evening we dined at Restaurante Don Juan, an excellent restaurant. See our report on the meal click here.
Linda painted some watercolors of typical Cartagena balconies and Colombian tropical flowers. To see them click here.
El Santísimo’s website: