Boquete’s Tuesday Market: Something for everyone!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

When you come and stay with us here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast, you will be served a different International Breakfast daily with most of the products coming from the Tuesday Market vendors. Along with that, if you are here on a Tuesday, we will encourage you to go to the Tuesday Market and check out all the different locally made and grown products it has to offer! The market is open from 9 AM to 12 Noon and is located across the small bridge downtown in the building known as the BCP Teatro. The market offers something for everyone. Our special favorites are baked goods by Mort’s Bakery, Gluten Free goods from Gluten Free Gold Bakery, designer “Chox” chocolate and Anna’s fresh produce.  While you are at the market, see what “Tuesday Talks” are about! Below is a story of Joyce Kinnear’s experience with the Tuesday Market and Tuesday Talks:

One of the things we like about living in Boquete is the Tuesday market. For us, it fills our need for a Farmer’s Market—enabling us to purchase organic produce, bagels, hummus, freshly made food from Germany, Hungary, and the Caribbean, and also filling our Trader Joe’s requirement for premade frozen food that we can whip up during the week. The fact that said food is tasty Thai, spicy Creole, or wonderful Indian is even better, since we lack restaurants for those and other spicy foods in the area.

We also enjoy most of the Tuesday talks. One of the women in the community spends a lot of time finding interesting speakers on a variety of topics of interest to expats in Panama, from attorneys discussing changes in laws, to geologists describing the potential actions of our local volcanoes, to so many other topics. Today, we listened to four Peace Corps volunteers in small villages between here and the Costa Rican border.

Two of the volunteers are with the part of the Peace Corps that works in education and English language education. Two others work on environmental issues. They all had interesting discussions about how they live and develop projects in small communities to enable people in those areas to access available assistance and increase community interactions.
Of particular interest to us was one young man who is working to improve the quality of home cooking fires among the indigenous. He has gotten grants from the Panamanian government to construct 14 units (and
is working on 20 more) that will reduce the amount of smoke put off by cooking fires in the home and thus reduce asthma related diseases, as well as improve local air quality.

Another young volunteer is working in a school of 700 students in Volcan, a town of about 15,000 near the border. She is doing many things, from teaching English, to teaching Science classes to leading student clubs and groups. Her school gave her a room and some assistance in developing the first library in that town or school. With funds she was able to get from her own meager stipend and local teacher’s equally meager funds, they have been able to start a library with about 20 books in a school of 700 elementary students.
She told us that among these low income (and many indigenous) students, reading comprehension is extremely low. Families are mostly illiterate, books are not around, and students never learn comprehension. The majority fail college entrance exams, because they are unable to pass tests at a fourth grade level. This volunteer is working with the local government, teachers and community to try to increase reading comprehension and improve future life potential for these students.

It was inspiring. Listening to the talks gave several people in the audience ideas for ways to assist the volunteers and local communities to help to enhance the lives of these students and their families.

This small town surrounded by the Mountains of Boquete, Panama is a wonderful place to gather anything from souvenirs to intellectual stimulation! Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast is extremely proud of our community, volunteerism, and the Tuesday Market. Come and stay with us and experience this special place!

The diversity of food choices in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Terry Richmeier & Manzar Lari

 

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we love different flavors of food from around the world. People of Panama have their own delicious cuisine but it is good to try out different flavors as often as we can! With ex-pats from countries around the globe living in Panama and many of them in Boquete, it’s time for us to meet the needs of the tastes we so love!

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At Casa de Montaña we recognize this need and offer a breakfast with an international flair! Flavors from Mexico, Italy, Pakistan, France, Belgium, North America and of course Panama! Manzar Lari, having grown up in Pakistan has a real knowledge of South Asian and East Indian cooking. He brings this to his Cooking Classes that he hosts to teach and share recipes passed down from his mother and the culture he grew up in. Those recipes can also be found on our website by clicking on the following link: http://www.casademontana.com/recipes/ Please feel free to print them off (since each of them are in a pdf format) and give them a try. Don’t forget to let us know how they turned out or if you have any questions. And while we are sharing the above recipes, we thought we would share a few of our other favorite flavors from other places in the world! Starting right here at home in Panama!

One of the greatest sweet breads you can ever sink your teeth into is the local Hojaldra! This is usually served with breakfast and has an incredible texture of crispy on the outside and a soft, succulent interior. Of course the locals will enjoy this bread just the way it is, however, we love to dunk it into a delicious imported maple syrup! Here is the recipe:

 

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Intl. Food: Panamanian                            Yields: 4.5 Servings                      

Ingredients:

1 2/3 Cups Flour + 1/3 Cup Flour for kneading

1 teaspoon Salt

2 ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder

½ teaspoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Butter, softened

2/3 cup of water

 

Procedure:

  1. Keep 1/3 Flour for kneading.
  2. Soften Butter.
  3. Mix the Flour, Salt, Baking Powder, and Sugar before incorporating the batter.
  4. You will want the mixture to look like wet sand.
  5. Gradually add Water until you end up with very wet dough.
  6. Begin to add the additional flour and knead it in.
  7. You want the dough to feel soft, but not sticky.
  8. Turn it out onto your counter-top and knead it for about 5 minutes.
  9. Separate it into balls, whirl a bit of oil on the bottom of the mixing bowl before dumping the balls of dough in.
  10. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, the more they rest the more time it’ll have to rise.

FRYING THE HOJALDRA:

  1. You can roll them out with a rolling pin and stretch them out like a pizza dough just before dropping them in preheated oil on medium high heat. Should be about 5 inches in diameter.
  2. They fry very quickly, about 2 minutes per side, so don’t wander off! Enjoy!

 

Asian cultures have been known for hundreds (if not thousands) of years that wrapping things in lettuce makes an amazing snack or meal. This Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps are Vietnamese-inspired version of a blissful, healthy, flavor-packed return to the wrap’s humble roots.

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Ingredients:                     Yields: 2 Servings

12 oz flank, skirt or sirloin steak

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp hot sauce (we like Siracha)

2 Tbsp fish sauce

Juice of Lime, plus wedges as garnish

1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

½ red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 carrot, grated

1 head Bibb lettuce leaves separated

 

Procedure:

  1. Heat the grill to hot or heat a grill pan over high heat for at least 5 minutes. Season the steak with salt and pepper and toss it onto the grill. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until its firm but yielding to the touch. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine the hot sauce, fish sauce, and juice of 1 lime in a small saucepan over low heat.
  3. Slice the steak thinly (if it’s flank or skirt steak, be sure to cut across the grain) and drizzle half of the warm sauce over it. Set out the jalapeno and onion slices, cilantro, carrot, and lettuce, along with the lime wedges and sauce. Use the leaves like tortillas to wrap up the steak slices with the other ingredients.

 

Note: Are you a vegetarian? You can grill mushrooms with goat cheese

2nd Note: You can use curry chicken or grilled fish and guacamole or ground turkey sautéed with ginger, garlic and soy sauce and last of all you can use pulled pork as an option for changing up this recipe. Enjoy!

 

When people look for Subgum chow mein they usually have an idea or memory of a wonderful time and place where they enjoyed this dish with friend and family; it is a difficult thing to replicate. Directly translated “sub gum” in Cantonese means “diverse and varied”, whereas in Mandarin “sub” or “sup” means “10” and “gum” means “Sticky.” So altogether we have a diverse and varied combination of 10 fresh ingredients to accompany your preferred protein in a thick sauce creating a delicious, classic dish for you and your loved ones. This recipe was given to us through the chef of our favorite restaurant in the Minneapolis MN area in the US. It’s by far one of our favorites!

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Subgum Chow Mein

 

Ingredients:                     Yields: 4 Servings

2 Cups diced chicken (or protein of choice)

½ cup vegetable oil, (2 tablespoons if only using veggie, seafood or steamed tofu)

4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)

The “Sup” 10

2 cup celery

½ cup each of the following:

Onion, bell pepper, water chestnut, bamboo shoot, peapod, cabbage, carrot, white mushroom, & roasted cashews

 

Sauce (Mix together)

4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons Michu rice wine or sherry

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ – ½ tsp white or black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons cool water

 

Note: Chopped green onion and extra cashews for garnish are optional

 

Procedure:

  1. Cut all your veggie diagonally, about 1/2” long and ¼” thick
  2. Heat oil in wok until bubbly, toss in chicken, stir fry until ½ cooked (just white outside, this is called blanching) 1-2 minutes
  3. Turn off flame & pour off excess oil, discard, or save for later
  4. With the small amount of oil left sauté garlic and ginger, medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds, toss with meat, brown a little for roasty flavor
  5. Add broth, turn up heat to high
  6. When rapidly boiling add veggies (if too soon veggies overcook)
  7. As it comes to a boil again, add cornstarch/water mix, cook for a minute longer to fully incorporate the starch

Note: Total cook time is about 5-7 minutes over high flame, check your chicken to make sure it is cooked through. Serve over crispy noodles with side of steamed rice.

At Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast we would love to receive your favorite international dishes and recipes! Feel free to send us an email at: info@casademontana.com with your most delicious dishes and if you are planning a trip to Boquete, Panama, take a look at our specials and book now through our website and you too will enjoy the delicious tastes of an international breakfast here with us! We also schedule cooking classes from time to time. Make sure you ask us about the next cooking class. See you soon!!!

 

Restaurants in Boquete

By Eliecer Andres Lay

 

I have dined in pretty much every single restaurant in Boquete searching for ones that are going to meet my “high” expectations! One of my favorite restaurants is La Posada Boqueteña which is an Argentinian restaurant that offers mostly grilled food. My favorite dish is the huge plate of nachos which includestortilla chips, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, chicken and more. Another one of the tasty dishes is the mixed tray which includes grilled steak, chicken, yucca, potato, pork and more.Here is an example of the mix tray that they offer.

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In Boquete, the cuisine options have been growing for the past few years.  Not too long ago you could not find many varieties of restaurant as you do now. From American, Italian, Chinese to Argentinian – these are some of the type of cuisines you can find when you visit us in Boquete.  Depending on what you are looking for, there is a likelihood that there is a restaurant waiting for you that will meet your needs. The prices in Boquete are affordable depending on what you are desire. Panamanian food is usually less than $5 dollars and it will include a full meal. There are some Panamanian restaurants in Boquete that are known for their low prices and good food, giving a great value for your money. El Sabroson, Los Orquideas, Nelvis and Km 35 come to mind as some of the best Panamanian restaurants around town.

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As a general rule, tipping in Panama wasnot obligatory so people did not need to give any tip unless they really wanted to. Nowadays, depending on which kind of restaurant you are visiting, the tip (or propina) will be included on your bill as the government is starting to make it obligatory.  Most of the restaurants will include the tip on the bill so you do not need to worry about adding a tip to the total bill. Just make sure you look closely at the bill to see if there is an additional amount listed under “propina”.

Lee Seltzer has shared his personal reviews about some restaurants of Boquete in his blog, and this is what he wrote:

American

Baru Restaurant: Right at the central park, open 11am- 10pm for food longer for a bar.

Big Daddy’s: I have not had a burger but the word on the street is they are excellent

Argentine
La Posada: A good grill, great pizza, live music on Saturday nights. In my opinion they have the best pizza in Boquete and the best steak.

Breakfast
Punto de Encuentro Cafe: Olga is wonderful. The food is good and the atmosphere is still good.

Panamonte: A past Sunday brunch favorite. It has been several years since I have had breakfast there.
Central ParkWatch the town wake up and enjoy something tasty. I love the liver and onions for breakfast.

Chinese

Yings: Good food a little more expensive than David but better than most in David and a lot more convenient in Alto Boquete.

French
Art Cafe (formerly La Crepe: Excellent crepes and more. Revisited several times and I can recommend their specials, excellent food.

International
The Rock:The Rock is solid. This is the place for a dinner undisturbed by loud music or a blaring television. It is all about good food, good service and consistency. The management is international, the cuisine international and the quality of product as good as you will find in all of Panama, not just Boquete. The Rock has withstood two floods literally destroying it and hopefully it will withstand the test of time.

Mikes Global Grill: Good food, good entertainment and worth the trip for a truly international menu.

Italian
some people like Il Pianista.

Mexican
Antojitos:Trini’s food is as always excellent.

Panamanian
El Sabroson:One of my favorites for fast cheap eats. Try the trout (trucha).

Cafe Nelvis: Still my favorite for fried chicken. They have moved across from the elementary school Bajo Boquete.

Central Park:Was my favorite Boquete Breakfast spot before Sugar and Spice, a great view of the park and usually good eats.

Milquiburger: I still have not tried a burger because the fried chicken so damn good.

Seafood:

Boquete Fish House: Excellent fresh seafood prepared as you want it. Check the board for the daily specials.

Sandwiches

Sugar and Spice:I call Sugar and Spice a Bakery because it is, but it is also a great place to have a sandwich on fresh baked bread. Highly recommended.

New restaurants keep opening up in Boquete so it is important to ask us about the latest list of restaurants and our recommendations. We have an updated list available in our office of all the restaurants and a map showing the locations. Just recently a restaurant called “Black & White” (a Spanish Tapas place) opened up in Bajo Boquete (Boquete downtown). We have been there a few times. The food and the service are excellent! As Boquete keeps growing and changing, so does the restaurant scene. Now if Boquete would only get some Thai, Pakistani/Indian, and Vietnamese restaurants, we would be all set! Any takers?

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