I write from my friend’s apartment in Bogota, Colombia reflecting on the gourmand side of my journey thus far. Melbourne, Los Angeles, Bogota have all varied greatly in their cuisines on offer.
In the last 6 months I’ve become a mild healthy eating nutter. I can’t say what exactly inspired such a drastic change, but once I felt the results of healthier eating I was a convert. The one problem with travelling though, is you can’t afford to be a fussy eater nor do you want to miss out on anything delish.
I stayed on the North side of Melbourne, just out of Brunswick, and saw a whole new side of the city. Vegetarism and Veganism are huge. Huge. I felt like every 3rd cafe or restaurant in Brunswick had a Vegan sign adorned with hearts and flashing lights. Raw food was also trending. Whole food stores littered the streets of every suburb I visited, and what pleased me most was all the green smoothies and fresh veggie juices on offer.
I’m not sure exactly what inspires such a food movement, but I feel like it was fitting with the locals – there was a rustic, bohemian artist vibe. I visited Ceres an organic veggie farm, market and cafe. Here the children, chickens and even parents seemed to roam free. Unpretentious and happy with the simple things in life. Good coffee, fresh produce, and mismatched woollens.
Los Angeles was a whole different story. It seemed to me, a place of stark contrasts. Diners and juice bars populated the streets. Huge meals typically hamburgers with fries seemed to be the go. There were of course variations, but these too generally involved white bread of mammoth proportions. I ordered the chicken salad once, but it wasn’t worth it. The chicken barely resembled meat, and plain iceberg lettuce isn’t really my thing.
Then there were the juice bars. There were so many equally delicious smoothies I had difficulty choosing. I was given a full dietary rundown on the fibre, calorie and nutrition of each, and all of course were endorsed by some famous LA nutritionist I’d never heard of. The fact that the smoothies were described as “soooo filling” and the same price as a burger combo, made me wonder if these were in fact intended as liquid meals. Do the masses eat the combos and the rest smoothies? It is possible. My visit to LA was so fleeting, and the city is so vast, I think I missed all the hidden gems.
On route to Colombia I stopped in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I found even the airport food was pretty impressive. As soon as I’d gotten off the plane I knew there was a Carribean flavour here. Afro-Carribean and Latinos voices sung out across the airport in Spanish. Menus boasted local flavours and fresh organic produce. This place was heaven to my stomach. I ate breakfast at 430am.
And now Bogota. My first meal was a steak with an egg and tomatoes on top, salad, potatoes and guacamole. It was so huge I couldn’t eat it all, and that rarely happens to me. There is definitely a strong American influence in this Colombian capital but you have the best of both worlds. Fresh fruit juice is huge, local superfood berries are in the rise, and the coffee is strong.. so I’m pretty happy. My Spanish isn’t quite good enough to request any of my usual orders but that’s probably a good thing.