best thing i ate last week: "Amazon's Tree of Life" at Cobaya del Cielo
It was a runner-up a few months when I first tried it; it will get top billing this week. Juan Manuel Barrientos is the chef of El Cielo, a highly regarded restaurant in Colombia which last year opened a branch in Miami. JuanMa's creative, theatrical style fit well with our Cobaya thing, so we asked him to host a dinner for us.
We usually ask chefs to go completely off-menu, but I can understand why he'd include a staple from the restaurant, which he calls "Amazon's Tree of Life." Visually it's a stunner: an undulating copper frame mounted to a stone, supporting a flatbread whose surface is pocked with bubbles, almost perfectly duplicating the appearance of a baobab tree. And it's delicious too, the chewy, crusty, cheesy bread meant to be torn and dipped into a a bowl with a creamy coconut sauce dusted on top with a black squid ink powder. It was the best thing I ate last week.
(You can see all the pictures from the dinner in this Cobaya del Cielo flickr set).