Mick's Picks: A couple months ago while waiting for the light at the Woodlawn Lynx station, I noticed the Antojitos mi Colombia bakery swapped their drab old signage for a brighter, cheerier logo. Until that point, I would have sworn it was a front for more illicit activities. Then last week I was running around without breakfast- trying to resist swelling another Bo Round closer to angioplasty, and I figured I'd give the Colombian bakery a shot.
The middle-aged couple behind the counter smiled at me when I walked in the door but regarded me and my camera with a wary curiosity. The place is small, brightly lit with flags and decorations, and was mostly empty. I mumbled a bit in Spanish about a recommendation and Mrs. Hernandez responded with a clear grasp of English. There were homemade donuts, pastries stuffed with fruit preserves, churros, a couple links of chorizo, loaves of bread and rolls beneath bright photos of the featured selections.?? I was exhausting my Spanish vocabulary and flung my finger at a roll shaped like a Hershey's Kiss.
"Ah, the pan de bono," Mrs. Hernandez said. "This is a typical Colombian bread made with eggs, some cheese, and corn flour."?? I learned it also contains starch made from yucca or cassava. So I ordered the cheese bread and black coffee and paid about two and a half bucks.
Crusty and still warm from the oven, the bread tasted especially light and airy despite the lack of leavening. Pan de bono is not like biting into a calzone- you can only detect a small hint of cheese in the dough. I knew one roll wasn't going to cut it for a guy accustomed to Cajun Filet biscuit combos so I looked over the featured dishes while I sipped the strong coffee and polished of my roll.
A glossy photo above the counter showed a plate of scrambled eggs that looked inviting and I returned to the register for an order of huevos pericos con arepa. The eggs came violently scrambled with a colorful helping of chopped green onions, peppers and tomatoes that blended like the flavors of an expertly-made omelette. Two round arepas (white corn cakes) accompanied my eggs. The outside of the cakes were firm enough to break apart but the inside was delicate, soft and delicious. Each table came with a creamy green or red salsa. I tried both and spooned on the spicier red option. I finished it feeling like a farmer- ready for work all fueled up on eggs, veggies, corn and coffee. Not bad for $3.50.
Mrs. Hernandez explained my huevos pericos are Venezuelan, that she and her husband are Venezuelans, and they purchased the Colombian bakery about five months ago and added a couple Venezuelan lunch and breakfast options to compliment the Colombia baked goods.
My only regret is not paying closer attention to the menu of features and missing the arepas venezolanas rellanas. It would have been the same meal except the cook stuffs a larger arepa with huevos pericos (or shredded beef or chicken salad).?? I'll save it for my next order and see how it holds up on the go.
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