Today we head to Freeport to visit La Calidad Bakery and Restaurant. This Colombian bakery and eatery is in the heart of the town and steps away from the railroad station. Daniel is in school, and now with three boys, I appreciate the opportunities to spend some “one-on-one” time with Johnny; Matthew sleeps in the stroller nearby.
We walk in and seem to have stepped into Colombia. The restaurant is in a predominately Spanish-speaking neighborhood, and we are soon out of our element as the Spanish-speaking staff attempts to offer help. I hear my husband’s voice in the back of my head telling me yet again how important it is for our sons to take Spanish in school. I am convinced and rely on the kindness of other patrons for help ordering, as well as offers for explanation on the vast array of beautifully laid out and delicious smelling pastries that fill the display cases.
The bakery’s bold colors are eye-catching and evoke a spunky and eclectic spirit. John is drawn to the sprinkle cookies. I am drawn to the treasure trove of goods beautifully laid out before me. I tend to go mad for things I don’t know much about and seem to always find something that I tend to dream about for weeks to come. I am forever in search of things I have never had, and here, I have found it. Pastries by the dozens, baked to perfection, and according to the locals, “the real thing” when it comes to Colombian pastries.
We order pandebono, the soft Colombian bread that looks like a bagel and is filled with a touch of cheese. Many of the pastries—meant to be served warm—are filled with cheese; they comfort the mouth with each bite. We have a hard time choosing just one so order a bag of everything recommended by my kind hearted translator. She is Colombian and comes here for a taste of her former homeland. She recommends her favorite, the deditos de queso, cheese fingers; it seems John is likewise hooked.
The center of all the pastries are soft and delicate and I can’t help but wonder where they have been all of my life. We eat at the green and yellow counter. John climbs up in a hasty excitement: one, for the treat to sit at the counter, and two, to marvel as the spread before him. He, too, likes to try new things, and dives in with an unabashed hunger. My favorite are the bunuelos, cheese fritters that look like a rice ball and melt in your mouth with cheesy goodness.
I think what excites me the most is the real Colombian coffee served with, “hot or cold milk.” I rarely find this: Something supreme coffee lightened with rich warmed and creamy milk that infiltrates the steamy beverage and creates a perfect moment with each sip.
We leave here with a deeper appreciation for our new discoveries. We also leave with, perhaps, a new found commitment to learn Spanish.