Caldo de Costilla

The first time the craving hit, I didn´t have a name for it.

It´s cause, however, I knew all too initimately. The night before, my latina alter ego, Adriana, had a night on the town at the much heralded restaurant Andres Carne de Res in the posh north end of Bogota. While Andres masquerades as a steakhouse, one could easily mistake it for a cultural experiment.

The reactants: grilled meat +  folk art  +  discoteque. The product:  a night of eating, drinking, and dancing from heaven (as the top floor is called) all the way down to hell (the bottom floor) which is naturally where I ended my night. It´s  virtually impossible to go for dinner and leave after dessert.

Fortunately, Adriana  made it out of the inferno and back to her friend Andrea´s house to rest her aching feet (as usual, she was flaunting a new pedicure and high-heeled dancing shoes like real latinas do) and sleep off the night of...dancing.

Andrea is a 30 something geographer who treks around Colombia with GIS equipment and 20 armed soldiers in tow. She surveys land reclaimed from the FARC. The people who were displaced from these lands will supposedly receive compensation from the government as per her calculations. Andrea is fiercely independent.

Thankfully, she still lives with her mom.

(In Colombia this is common; more often than not children (and young adults) live with their parents until they get married. It was Andrea´s mom who helped me name my craving.)

I awoke to sunshine piercing the curtains and my eyes. And to my nose, the smell of tinto, black coffee, sweetened with unrefined sugar, which Andrea´s lovely mother brought in tiny cups on  tray. That little elixir warmed us to the possibility of breakfast. Andrea pulled some bills from her purse, sent mom on an errand to get ingredients for the cure-all soup of Colombia: caldo de costilla. 

Some call this beef consume, made with only onion, garlic, cilantro, a potato, and the key, chunks of beef rib-- "levanta muertos" (wake the dead), especially when it is eaten like we ate it that day at breakfast. With aversion at first, then, after breaking a sweat, with gusto at having discovered the best beefy cure for a night at Andres Carne de Res.

As I slurped the last bits of broth Adriana and her ramblings faded into the steam of the soup.