Sunday, September 4, 2022

Market - The Best Kept Secret in Panama City

Market and Allen Brothers 

ALLE 48 # 27



  +507 6678-4052


Once in a great while you run across a restaurant that speaks to you like an old friend. Like you've always been together and an you always will. Time may pass, but you can pick up right where you left off. Market in Panama City is a restaurant that makes you feel that way about it.
I'm embarrassed to say I've lived within walking distance of this restaurant for almost exactly a year but never even knew it was there. It never showed up on my radar and no one one the expat groups talks about it. Crazy. It is actually probably a good thing as I wouldn't have found so many other good restaurants in the city if I'd hit this one sooner. 
The only reason I found myself dining there two days in a row is that my friend Mark who I walk with every day mentioned it and got me to go with him for lunch as a goodbye celebration. I'm leaving Panama City in a couple of days and will certainly miss his company as well as this restaurant.
It's a block off Avenida Balboa. You'll see this sign about a block past Gaucho Steak House. 
This is the actual entrance to the restaurant. You walk through this market door. There is a lot of retail including sauces, truffled products, chocolates, wines, that type of thing. I'm hoping to chat with the owner a bit to hear the story of this concept and the connection to Chicago.
The retail section.
They have a full raw bar with clams and oysters from North America. I've missed cold Atlantic oysters dearly.
They're pricey, but they're a slice of home.
The space itself is reminiscent of a lot of North American restaurants. Subway tiles, big industrial ceilings a central bar, and very, very loud (acoustic absorption is zero). 
The wine list is big and the walls are adorned with numerous choices including out-sized bottles

The big draw for me was the steak. Finding steaks I've liked here has been difficult. They're either extremely expensive or not very good, and unfortunately sometimes they're both extremely expensive AND not very good. This place has extremely good steaks on both ends of the price spectrum. The day I was there for lunch I had twin tournedos of domestic beef and they were outstanding at $16. I was really shocked at how good they were. They're served with a head of roasted garlic and a popover as well as a roasted tomato. Great value.  
Then you can step up from there. I'm sure the dry-aged beef can get well over $100 for a big tomahawk or a ribeye. I went with an American Wagyu mid-rare. Great piece of meat and perfectly prepared.

For dessert we split a Coconut Pavlova. The center was filled with a passion fruit creme. Nice way to wrap it up.
If you go, note that there is parking on site but it fills up fast. There is also a paid parking lot across the street. 
Be sure to get some beef. Tell 'em the gringo from MD sent you. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Onde El Gringo - Texas BBQ In Panama City

 Onde El Gringo

Plaza 69, San Francisco Panama

Hi all. I know you've missed me. Well, frankly, I've missed you too! Panama is a wonderful country and I've been enjoying myself tremendously. What I haven't been doing is writing or taking an obnoxious amount of pictures of what I'm eating. Well, it's time to stop that nonsense and start all that up again.

First stop: Onde el Gringo. It's a Texas-style bbq joint that sits right next to a couple of other good restaurants including TaiSei Ramen and La Rana Dorado. Both of those deserve separate posts and will get them.

The owner of Onde el Gringo trained in the US in Texas and his brisket is second to none. Mine included. It's not cheap at $15 per 1/2lb, but it's worth it.

When going by Uber you'll note, much to your driver's dismay, that the location reads dead center in the block so they will generally take you to the middle of the next street over and look around. You need to continue to the next street and take two rights to get you to Plaza 69. It's towards the back. There is ample indoor and outdoor seating.

You can request fatty or lean. Everything is sold by the pound. They offer brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs (sometimes) and pulled pork. Sides are minimal and also sold by the pound. Cole slaw, Mac'n'cheese (seemed pretty much like Velveeta, not that that's a bad thing) and a few others.
Menu pricing is below.
Below is what we got for Father's Day.

I managed to score some burnt ends once and they always throw in some pickled onions and pickles with a couple of buns. 
Expats, rejoice. There are other BBQ joints in the city, but so far this one has my heart.
As always, questions/comments are welcome.

Marzola Parrilla Casco Viejo

 Parzola Marrilla Argentina in Casco Viejo

Calle 8 Oeste 

Don't be fooled by the word entrails. They're not serving entrails, they're serving entrana, which we call skirt steak in the US. That being said, let's talk about the restaurant.

It is quirky and colorful. When you walk by they have a grill right by the front door that generally has a huge chunk of pork on it, sizzling, to attract people walking down the sidewalk. It's just off Herrera Square and it's a very lively area.

When you walk in you'll note that there is no wifi. They suggest that you talk to the people you came with via signage to that effect. There are tables, chairs, and mannequins on the ceiling and all other manner of weird things.

As far as the food goes, it's the best steak I've had since I got here. I miss Liberty Delight Farms in Maryland where I used to get my ribeye and other steaks. This place has imported USDA Prime and I believe some Argentinian meats. There are nine entrees and two sides to choose from. They have fries and grilled tomatoes. Both are excellent.

This is the Entrana Importada. I've had it a couple of times and have never been disappointed. The seasoning is awesome and the it's grilled to perfection. 
It's a feast for the stomach and the eyes in here. Pretty crazy.

The New York Strip. It's pretty good, but I prefer the skirt.
If you go, do not skip dessert. They have ice cream, but this is the bomb. It's a crepe filled with dulce de leche and striped with some chocolate and Kahlua if I'm not mistaken. 
Definitely worth the calories.
It's expensive, but you are eating the best steaks in town in the trendiest part of town, so you know what you're in for. Enjoy. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Miranda Bakery and Café

 Miranda Bakery & Cafe

Calle 75

Panama City, Panama

What haven't I had in Panama City up until now? A good chocolate chip cookie. I'm also a fiend for Tres Leches, so as luck would have it Cheryl was googling tres leches and came up with this place. It's in San Francisco. A trendy, happening, bustling neighborhood a $4 Uber ride from our apartment.

There are a ton of restaurants and bars. This particular place has a small indoor dining area and a lot of space outside. There appeared to be a roof or covering of some sort in the back.

It was served warm with gooey chocolate chips. It tasted like the original toll-house recipe with a little more fluffiness. 
This cafe also has brunch and lunch with paninis and other things. I'm looking forward to getting back there to try some lunch.

The cappuccino art was on point. The blend they used was high quality.
I'd definitely stop in if you're in the 'hood.