Thursday, November 13, 2008
Nicaragua: Hilton Le Bistro Garden Court
Traveling the world gives one the opportunity to try foods different (and hopefully better) than one eats at home. Over the years, I've tried split roasted calf, ant eggs, worms and even aso. Here in Nicaragua, I'm interested in trying just about anything they're willing to put in front of me.
Of course, one of the difficulties of traveling and eating is that sometimes you just get tired from all the activity and maybe aren't feeling as adventurous as usual. Sometimes, instead of venturing into the dark wilderness seeking culinary adventure, you just want to stay home. And after a long day training judges, that ended up being the consensus amongst our group: let's stay in and eat at the hotel restaurant.
The heat of discussion.
Okay, I won't pretend that I was excited about this. Hotels worldwide are notorious for offering food that's relatively the same and uniformly 'meh'. The sad fact of the matter is that there just isn't a lot of excitement coming out of hotel restaurant kitchens, and I prefer excitement. Especially when on the road and the window of opportunity for trying something different is narrow. I mean really, I can make tuna carpaccio at home.
But I'm not here to bitch about it. I was disappointed, I'll admit. Disappointed that we weren't exploring some culinary underbelly of Managua, or at least those street vendors down by the casino across the street. Like I said previously, part of the enjoyment of travel is spending it with good friends and I could choose to venture off on my own or dine with my friends. Hell, most of my travel is alone, I can spend time with my friends...
The food was nicely presented and was what you would expect from an international hotel chain: decent, competently prepared and presented but nothing spectacular.
I went with the Shrimp Salad that featured three shrimp set atop a mixed salad of sliced cheddar, papaya and mango. Squeeze that into a ring mold and you've got your salad. It was sweet, tart and not too bad.
Cleofas and I ended up sharing an order of Spring Rolls and the Tuna Carpaccio. Again, the spring rolls were as expected: decent but nothing spectacular. The tuna looked good but, even though frozen, was definitely moving past its' prime as it tasted slightly fishy. In fact, it tasted fishy enough that I was worried that I would get ill because of it.
The highlight of our meal was our beverage. A mixed drink of Flor de Cana rum and citrus, kind of like a margarita without the heavy tartness. Whatever it was, it was good. Like drinking fruit juice, and I had more than three.
A toast to Nicaragua.
Hilton Princess Managua
Km 4.5 Carretera a Masaya