For the last two years, foodies have been talking about the exciting restaurant scene in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, particularly its hot food ‘hood, Zona G (which has restaurants from Peruvian star chefs Rafael Osterling and Gastón Acurio). I got to experience it for myself last March. I also spent a week eating around what I believe may be Colombia’s next great food city, Cartagena.
The historic walled city by the sea has finally started to get some excellent restaurants. The most recent addition, Vera, opens next month in Latin fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s amazing new seven-room boutique hotel. Vera means truth, as the food will be authentic coastal Italian prepared by chef Daniel Castaño, a Mario Batali protégé who is also the head chef at Bogotá’s popular Emilia Romagna and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based supper club social experiment A Razor, A Shiny Knife. Opening menus will include a classic seafood risotto loaded with clams, mussels and shrimp and pollo al peppe, black-pepper-crusted chicken breast served with confit thighs and a date, watercress and macadamia salad. Castaño's food will be complemented by a 100-plus-label wine list of bottles from Italy, Spain, Chile and California.
© Tcherassi Hotel + Spa
Vera restaurant in Cartagena's new Tcherassi Hotel + Spa.
© Photo Courtesy of Marni Horwitz
Alive Structures' Planter
Marni Horwitz's company, Alive Structures
, has spent the last three years greening buildings around New York City with garden roofs and walls. My favorite of its works: the East Village's Wild Project
, a gallery and performance space where the rooftop has been transformed with ground covering, wild chives and mint. (There's even a blueberry bush!) The company has also been selling planters, each custom-designed and filled with an array of plants. This spring, they began mixing in edibles like purple cabbage, oregano and strawberries with the ornamentals. Delicious! You can buy these edible gardens
at places like the Brooklyn Flea
or at the company's Brooklyn offices.
© Jen Silker
Porcelain lanterns from Alyssa Ettinger.
Brooklyn-based designer Alyssa Ettinger
has just introduced gorgeous lanterns made from translucent porcelain, which give off a firefly-like glow when a votive is added. The molds are hand-cast from antique mason jars; a thin wire handle makes them perfect for hanging at backyard barbecues. They're available on Etsy
© crEATe book cover copyright Gestalten 2009
crEATe: Eating, Design and Future Food
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to wander through foreign grocery stores, seeing how people in other parts of the world (or the country, even) label, display and buy their food. That’s why I love the new book crEATe: Eating, Design, and Future Food
. The writers, who are British trend analysts
, scoured the earth to find the latest developments in everything from restaurant design to food packaging to fad diets. What makes me want to spend some quality time with the book, though, are the images—of cooking schools, kiosks and food innovators across the globe. Two ideas I fell for were the Illy Push Button House
, which looks like a shipping container but turns into a gleaming white five-room house (complete with kitchen) at the push of a button, and a Japanese designer’s chocolate pencils
, in a range of cocoa blends, that you sharpen over your dessert to get chocolate shavings.