The Endless Road Trip: Colombia–It’s More Than Just Coffee!!

Editor’s Note: Colombian-born, Oklahoma-educated, lover of avocados…sounds like an ES-er! Please welcome our newest contributor, Cyborg.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking: “There’s more to Colombia than coffee (and drugs and violence)—say whaaa?” to which I say “Damn the media AHH!!” but there is. From a Colombian foodie to you, let me open your mind to a new world of opportunities and deep-fried dreams.

First of all, let me get this off my chest and I’m sorry for what I’m about to do but the world needs to know: America has robbed its people of avocado greatness. Last time I was in Colombia I decided to take photographic proof of what the real deal is so voilà. Buenos dias, avocado the size of my face!


OK, now that I’ve set the record straight, let’s get serious. Here are four can’t-miss Colombia foods.

1. Arepa Rellena


Where do I even start?  Imagine a corn patty that you stuff with eggs, cheese, shredded beef, and/or chicken and pretty much anything your heart desires; and then you deep fry it in heavenly oil. The result? Oh Em Gee you wanna call this place your new home. Not convinced? Spread some suero costeno on that puppy and it’s a first class ticket to foodtopia. Suero costeno is the Colombian version of sour cream but it tastes more like cream cheese, which gives it that perfect amount of slight acidity that makes you go NOM!

2. Plantain Platters


Now, on to some serious food for thought. What in the world is better than fried chorizo, spicy guac, thick bacon and meaty chicharrones??? ALL of the above served on a dish made of deep fried plantain is the correct answer!! Yes, this happens and it’s glorious!!!!!

Also, note the bean dip and hot sauce dip on the side cause–duh, who doesn’t wanna dip all of this stuff in hot sauce and beans? Man, if this doesn’t make you wanna book a ticket right meow, I know what will, and the answer is: Ajiaco.

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Baking for Friends: Linzer Heart Cookies


With the Beyonce Bowl come and gone, it must be about time to start focusing on the next food-obsessive holiday on the calendar.

Yes, Valentine’s Day can be dumb, but it also can be an excuse to bake up some over-the-top deliciousness, right? One of our favorite New York-based bakeries, Tate’s Bake Shop, is here to share this recipe for Linzer heart cookies from their cookbook, Baking for Friends.

Anyone who has picked up Tate’s crazy-crispy chocolate chips at a store around NYC understands that these folks know how to do cookies right. And, if you’re in need of a V-day gift, hop over to Tate’s website and get 20 percent off any cookie-centric just for being an ES-er. Use the code BLOG213 at checkout.

Tate’s Bake Shop Linzer Heart Cookies

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Cooking with Booze: Bourbon Bananas Foster

bananas foster

It’s never too early to start planning Valentine’s Day! And single folks, it’s definitely never too early to start planning a mid-winter, anti-romantic gorge fest, right? We’re thinking a weekend staying in Vegas, ordering up ridiculously lavish steaks and tracking down various booze-soaked desserts like the ridiculously good banana’s foster at Hugo’s Cellar in Four Queens Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. It’s prepared tableside, bananas served up over vanilla ice cream and then set on fire! Who’s with us?

Or you know, either way you could just stay home and cook up your own lavish mid-winter feast. Chef Nisa Burns of and author of the new book Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food, shares a sweet, spiked dessert. This bananas foster is made with bourbon rather than rum (we like), and is actually quite easy to make.

Easy Bananas Foster with Ice Cream

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Citrus and Cheese: Baked Feta with Thyme-Infused Candied Kumquats


We first discovered kumquats a few years ago, and were amazed that you could just pop the tiny, elliptical bright orange fruits into your mouth, rind and all. The unconventional citrus fruits have a tart pulp on the interior and sweet pith on the exterior. The contrasting flavors tantalize your taste buds in every bite. While often a rarity in grocery stores, we recommend you keep an eye out for them around the winter months and enjoy them whole, or as a standout in any tart, sweet syrup or puree.

For a quick and stunning hors d’oeuvre, we recommend thinly slicing the kumquats, and candying them over the stove with a touch of thyme. We then spoon the vibrant compote atop a block of baked feta cheese. The creamy, pungent, salty feta melts slightly in the oven and pairs perfectly with the super sweet kumquat topping. We spread the decorative melted cheese atop toasted sliced bread with a sprinkling of pleasantly spicy pink peppercorns.

Baked Feta with Thyme-Infused Candied Kumquats 

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twinkie key lime pie

The Twinkie Key Lime Pie

So after doing extensive research for an up-coming blog post involving whiskey with a couple of friends who own a medical marijuana dispensary, I was on my way home when, for some unexplained reason, I had a sudden urge to consume multiple packages of Hostess Twinkies. Maybe it was spawned from recent reports announcing their soon demise (or perhaps I just had a sweet tooth), but I was suddenly jonesin’ for some serious sponge cake face time. Luckily for me (and those around me), I was not driving but had a sympathetic chauffeur who gladly pulled into the next 7-Eleven in order to shut me up, as well as to record my drunken, zombie-like stagger into the store on his iPhone.

While at the cake and cookie display I found that indeed the Hostess Twinkies were no longer being stocked. In its place was the ‘Cloud Cake’ made by Little Debbie which looked to be a Twinkie clone. I encountered two young skateboard enthusiasts who were eating out of opened packages of cherry pies and mini donuts. They had blazing red slits for eyes and looked to be in a mild state of euphoria as I reached across them and grabbed a box of those golden crème filled delights. “Dude, those are awesome!” said the taller of the two. “You’re gonna be soooo stoked!”

I thanked him for his support, paid for my treasures and then treated my chauffeur to a YouTube-worthy clip of me face planting after tripping over a parking curb. Thirty minutes later I was alone in my kitchen and just about to sample one of the Cloud Cakes when I noticed that on my counter was a large bag of un-used limes. For some reason a key lime pie also sounded like something that would taste really good at this moment and I realized that I had all the ingredients. I decided that now would be a good time to make that pie since I needed something to keep my hands busy as I was desperately trying to regain sobriety. I un-wrapped my first pack of Twinkies, eh…Cloud Cake, and then went to the freezer and pulled out my store-bought, pre-made deep-dish pie crust. And just as I was about to take my first bite of that bright yellow love log, it slipped out of my hand and fell into the pie tin. Suddenly, there was a bright light and the sound of angels singing! The room began to slowly spin and the music started to intensify! Could this be a sign from above?

Nah, I was pretty wasted. So I thought I’d combine the two and this is what I came up with.

Katt’s Twinkie (Cloud Cake) Key Lime Pie

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