My mom, aunts and grandmother have this fun thing going. They meet up each Thursday for lunch and try new-to-them restaurants around Cali. When I'm in Colombia, I get invited too sometimes. And I sure love trying new restaurants (although I get less anxious going to my favorite restaurants and ordering the same things I always do, knowing I will not be disappointed.)
Last time, they took me to El Escudo del Quijote, a contemporary & traditional restaurant in the north of Cali. Going in, the atmosphere was nice and the decoration was quite lovely. It seemed like the kind of restaurant that gets more customers in the evenings than at lunchtime. We had one room to ourselves and were sat at their biggest, longest table. The menu was extensive and a bit pricier than the usual Colombian places I go to for lunch.
I spotted a couple things on the first page of appetizers that looked great – octopus being one of them (photo below). I am the biggest fan of octopus. But it was only a starter, so I looked for something else. The salmon with kale & aubergine was the next thing I saw, and I didn't need to look any further. Luckily everyone was up to share the octopus starter, just to have a little try. Octopus victory! Our food took a while to come but once it did, we were all quite happy with our choices (I know I was!)
Of course, everyone but me ordered some kind of juice or lemonade (so customary in Colombia) which you can see in some of the photos. The octopus came first. It was small (a starter) and we each got a bite of it. Perfectly cooked with interesting flavors and a Colombian touch.
A few of my aunts got ravioli, my grandmother got fish, and one aunt got meatballs. I'm pretty sure they were a starter though. The flavors were great; our only complaint was the size. I was fine (I get full with little), but my aunt and grandmother wanted more. I know the pictures may not make the food look so appetizing (iphone) but trust me, we were happy!
Because there were many of us, a group decision was made to share three different desserts. While I usually like a say in this, I was quite full already and didn't care if it ended up being something I didn't like. They ordered crema catalana, maracuya cheesecake, and macadamia ice-cream cake (I think). All I remember is that all three desserts were really, really good. So I ate a few bites of each. And was stuffed. Damn... they were good though.
PS. Next door to the restaurant is the less fancy "sandwich" place. They offer a few of the same things, but at a lower cost and in a less fancy setting. Must try next time!