Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taska Kiko

Gran Reserva - it could get crazy tonight!

Sometimes you come across a place to eat that captures the mouth and mind that you always want to return. Taska Kiko in Managua is one of those places. Located in a quiet and dark neighborhood, it's off the beaten path (while being very close to the beaten path) and not well known by the front desk staff. So unknown by the hotel staff that I kinda felt "in the know" in Managua.

Long time readers of this blog may remember my previous visits to Taska Kiko. In 2008, the group waited for my arrival into the city before making the excursion, knowing that I would like the place, and I haven't gotten enough since.

And it begins...

It's a simple Spanish restaurant and while the menu isn't vast, what it does offer it does tremendously. In three meals here, I have yet to try something here that falls short of brilliance. If you visit Managua, a meal at Taska Kiko should be a "must".

Since there's only two of us, I start off boldly but cautiously. With tapas style meals, the temptation for overindulgence is great and we must be careful - especially with so many delectable treats on the menu.

Jamon Iberico.

Since it is a Sunday night, the restaurant isn't too busy which means that our food comes out quickly. We start off with something simple but unctuous: Jamon Iberico - that five year aged ham made from black footed, acorn-fed Spanish pigs. The Jamon is fatty, slick and delicious.

From there it's off to Calamari cooked on the plancha with garlic and it's just stellar. A plate of white asparagus as a nod to healthy eating (as though I learned nothing from that stunt in Salvador) for good measure. Add a basket of lovely bread and we're off to a great start.

White Asparagus in olive oil with tomatoes.

Somewhere along the way in Nicaragua this trip, I've become addicted to the powerful flavor of Flor de Cana Gran Reserva and Coke. The sweet balance of rum and coke is just too powerful and we're off again with bottle service at Taska Kiko. Just a rocks glass, a bucket of ice and a shot glass to measure properly and we're good to go. Literally.

About halfway through the bottle, the Paella arrives. Filled with all the good stuff of seafood glory: shrimp, mussels, fish, clams & calamari, the paella is a delicious treat. For some reason, I've been on a paella kick this trip and I can't seem to slow down.

Garlic Calamari.

By the time we're finishing up the paella (and the Gran Reserva), we're in no mood for dessert. We're not stuffed. In fact, we're just at the right point. Not too full and certainly not hungry. But to add dessert would probably push it right over the edge - and besides, I don't think sweet and creamy desserts go well with Gran Reserva in the digestive tract.

So with contented stomachs, we bid the friendly staff at Taska Kiko adieu and I look forward to my next visit to Managua.

Seafood Paella.

Campeonato de Baristas Nicaraguense, Finals

Ana calibrates with Claudia, Isaura and Juan Pablo.

It's finals time in Nicaragua and we're ready to go. The judges are ready, the competitors are ready and even the gathered public is ready and it's time to go.

A good turnout.

Coordinator Martha Zamora and Edwin Ruiz conference.

Juan Pablo, Indira and Isaura ready.

Everyone Loves Marisela.

Finals Judges: Rebeca Vergeli (s), Juan Pablo Oporta (s), Indira Aria (t), Isaura Zeledon (s), Ana Garcia (t), Claudia Lovo (s) and Yours Truly (h).

Head Judges' Scoresheet.

My signature preserved on the Champion's trophy.

For the Champion.

My lunch: chicken from Tip Top.

Everyone eats.

And eats.

And eats!