The day most of the birthday party guests left Cartagena, I went through party withdrawal. So many conversations yet to finish, so many people I hadn't even had conversations with -- where did the time go?? But, I rallied. I decided it was in the best interest of the universe that I continue to have fun.
Monday night, Eric and I went on a date night to Club de Pesca, which is located outside the Old City and right on the water. Our taxi driver took us on a twist-and-turn route through iffy neighborhoods that I wished I could walk through; I was sure there was more exceptional food to be found there.
When we arrived at the restaurant, there were hardly any diners. Such is the case when Americans arrive at the too-early dinner hour of 7:30 p.m. We were seated outside with a fantastic view of the new part of Cartagena: tall buildings lit up, and in front, boats passing back and forth.
After we ordered our meal, more people appeared and by the time we were at our main course, the place was packed and there were all decibels of chatter.
I started with Scallops con Pimienta Verde y Mermelada de Setas (scallops with green pepper and mushroom jam). What was so striking about this dish was cut-in-half green peppercorns in the sauce. I was wickedly happy every time I bit into one. The scallops were fine, but the sauce really stole the show. There was enough to scoop on to torn bread -- fantastic!
Next came the Cazuela de Mariscos Boquilla (traditional fish soup with coconut and cilantro). After I removed the large pieces of sea creatures that still had their heads intact, I consumed all of the soup -- it was so delicious. Flavors of lobster, squid, and other fish were mixed so well with the coconut milk and cilantro. I also used the bread to dip into the soup.
I had not paid attention to Eric's appetizer, but I noticed halfway through our main course that he was not saying anything about the food. Not a good sign, and with good reason. He had gotten the crab risotto for his main course and it was terrible. There was no flavor -- none. The disparity was odd.
We drank white wine throughout the meal and kept going back to the basket of fresh bread with basil butter on the side. I added to my list of culinary goals: learn to make basil butter.
I have not mentioned in any of my Cartagena posts how out-of-the world the customer service is here. Incredible. Everyone has been intent on our happiness. What a concept.