Warren Schwartz: Chef Dispatch from Nicaragua
Chef Warren Schwartz of Whist at the Viceroy Santa Monica hotel in Los Angeles is such a travel fanatic that he has a separate menu, "Warren's Culinary Journal," to showcase his finds. Here he reports on a trip to Nicaragua: "Now that Costa Rica is so expensive, Nicaragua is the new frontier. I was in Las Salinas on a surf trip; the food was plain, but its simplicity made it exciting. Tostones (fried plantains) are served everywhere. They're like a cross between a banana and a potato. I'm going to serve them just like they did at our hotel, La Gran Francía, in Granada (doubles from $105; 011-505-552-6000 or lagranfrancia.com): with fried fresh cheese, diced tomatoes and onions and hot sauce. I also want to recreate the roasted chicken I had at Doña Olga, a shack on a corner of Avenida Bodan in Granada. Café Las Flores (cafelasflores.com), a plantation on the Mombacho volcano, grows great Arabica coffee. Viceroy's hotel manager has already asked for more."