Champiñones Risotto de Cebada

Notes: For risotto rice is used due to the amount of starch it gives off thickening the liquid surrounding the rice and creating a very creamy sauce. Though barley has less starch a similar result and an equal amount of delicious flavor can be produced by using it instead of rice. To help with the creaminess we are looking for and to add a great flavor a puree is made from caramelizing mushrooms is mixed with barley as well. We then top things off with a salad of fresh zucchini and Bagaces cheese. If we remove the cheese we can have an amazing vegan dish for our guests. 

Preparation: A stock is made from vegetables and mushrooms scraps. Barley is cooked in the stock until it is 90% finished. Mushrooms are cut and sauteed until they are very brown and caramelization is achieved. The mushrooms are then pureed with vegetable stock and set aside until ready to use. When we are ready to make it the nearly cooked barley, mushroom puree and vegetable stock is heated up in a pan. When its ready and creamy its placed onto the plate and topped off with sauteed mushrooms, bagaces cheese and a salad of fresh zucchini.

Yuca Frita Con Mojo

Country: Cuba

Notes: Yuca con mojo is a Cuban side dish made by marinating yuca root (also known as cassava) in garlic, lime, and olive oil. Often, onions are included in the marinade. Also known as one of Cuba’s national dishes it is most often served boiled. Our version is served fried giving it a crispy texture to the outside of the yuca. It is then coated in mojo sauce.

Preparation: Yuca is simmered in water until it is soft and then left to cool. The mojo is made by mixing garlic, oregano, olive oil and salt.

Rondon Vegano

Notes: Rundown also known as Rondon is a stew in Jamaican cuisine. The traditional Jamaican dish is eaten in several Latin American countries that share a coast with the Caribbean Sea.

Normally it consists of a stew made up of reduced coconut milk with different types of seafood (fish, crabs, small lobsters or shellfish), plantain, yam, tomato, onion and seasonings. Rundown is typically available in Jamaican restaurants and it is a common dish in the Antiles, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Venezuela too.

For us this dish has a special significance for a few reasons. Our owner Michael Katz had a version of the dish served in a vegan variation while visiting a permaculture farm on the Caribean coast. The farm version did not use the seafood normally used for this dish and highlighted root vegetables instead. That is what we wanted to recreate for our version here at Alma de Amon. It is the first dish put on the menu with our new direction of focusing on healthy ingredients and indigenous cuisine.

Preparation: Malanga, Nampi, Camote and Yuca are cut into cubes and mixed with thyme, chile panameno, coconut milk and turmeric are all put into a pot and cooked. The starch from the vegetables helps to thicken the reduced coconut milk. The dish is garnished with Cilantro oil and Crispy Yuca sticks.

Pargo a la Veracruzano con Arroz Guacho

Notes: Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Red Snapper) is a classic fish dish from Veracruz, Mexico. It combines the use of olives and capers give something of a Spanish-Mediterranean flavor to the Mexican preparation. Traditionally, a whole red snapper is used, gutted and de-scaled and marinated in lime juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic. A sauce is made of onions, garlic, tomato, jalapenos, olives and herbs, and the fish is baked with the sauce until tender.

The dish is traditionally served with Mexican-style white rice but we wanted to change the rice to represent Costa Rica. We chose to make a version of arroz guacho because the flavors go perfect with the Veracruzano. One big characteristic of the arroz guacho is that it still has a lot of liquid when finished. Our version has less liquid than a traditional recipe.

Preparation: Pargo is seasoned and put into a pan with white wine, fish stock, olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers and glazed onions. The pan is covered and placed into the oven until cooked. Meanwhile arroz guacho is warmed up on the stove until just heated through. When the fish is finished the guacho is placed in the center of a plate and the fish on top. The other ingredients in the pan are placed on top of the pargo as garnishes.

Causa de Pejiballe

Country: Perú, Costa Rica

Notes: Causa, in its most basic form, is a mashed potato mixture mixed with lime, chili and oil.  Salads can have avocado, chicken, tuna or even shellfish added as a filling in the middle of the potato mixture. Causa is popular in Lima Peru, where it is distinguished by the name Causa Limeña. Causa is usually served cold and garnished with hard boiled eggs and olives. When thinking of how to incorporate Costa Rican ingredients we decided to use Pejiballe puree to mix with the potatoes making our Causa unique to Alma de Amon.

Although this dish already existed in ancient times, there seems to be many different versions of how this dish came to be. Even with so many varieties and claims to the origins it seems the dish was popularized when making it to feed soldiers during war times. There are also many stories of how the dish was sold to raise money to feed the military to help support “The Causa”.

It is hard to avoid the many potato-based recipes in Peru when you know that Peru offers no less than 7 potato species and more than 5,000 varieties of all shapes and colors. Potatoes are also not expensive and you can see why they would be preferred to cook when feeding large groups of people such as an army. The fact that you can mix pretty much anything with a little mayonnaise and place it in the middle of the potato puree makes this dish very versatile, convenient and easy to make with basic ingredients.

Preparation: The potato base is made by stirring mashed potatoes with Pasta de Rocotto puree, oil, salt, pejiballe and lime. For the salad mixture heart of palm, avocado, and mayonnaise are mixed together. A base of potato is placed in the center of the plate and then the heart of palm mixture is placed on top and then another layer of potato/ pejiballe mix on top. Then the plate is garnished with cherry tomatoes, plantain chips, heart of palm and watercress.

Música y Arte para tu Alma

(Change is coming)

We are celebrating our new vision by inviting some cool new friends we recently met to help celebrate our rebirth. We hope to see you this Saturday May 18th! The fun will start at 8 pm.

Matthew Human–an amazing performer that sings songs of hope, consciousness and responsibility.

Nicole Malick–Also knows as Pipa Fría will be painting live. She is an urban artist with a psychedelic sense of style and an approach that’s rooted in grace, kindness and creativity.

Along with our regular menu this night, we will have some specials that will soon be appearing on our menu and that we are sure you’ll enjoy.

–Causa de Pejibaye relleno de Palmito Cremoso (vegano)
–Escabeche de Macarela
–Rondón Vegano – receta inspirada por Iveth Sanarosia, residente de Gandoca y chef de Punta Mona permaculture farm.
–Risotto de Cebada con Hongos Ostra Salteados

The idea of Alma de Amón has always been to serve our guests food for their souls. We know the dinner table in Latin America has always been where family meets, eats and celebrates life and love. That’s the exact kind of environment we want to flourish in our restaurant.

We’ve been inspired to be better and we want to share our new vision with you.

We want Alma to be a place where you can not only nourish your soul with our food, but can nourish your body and your mind.

We want our restaurant to be a meeting place for kind, generous, open-minded, conscious people.

We want our employees to feel loved and respected, to work with a sense of purpose and to foster a sense of community with their coworkers and our guests.

We are currently making adjustments to our menus to offer up some healthier options. Our food will still be tasty and delicious, but we will make it better for you. We will be getting to know our suppliers better, visiting their farms and production facilities and insuring that we are delivering you the freshest and tastiest food we can.

We will be choosing providers that are organic, sustainable and treat their employees well. We will invest in providers that help those that most need our help and share our values and ideals.

We will be planning events that will help to educate our employees and our guests, fill their minds with knowledge and fill their their hearts with love and joy.

We will be doing a better job of taking care of our environment, eliminating all plastic from our restaurant, reducing waste, implementing a recycling program and building relationships with providers that are also doing their part to care for Mother Earth.

We will be planning music and art events that will provoke thought, inspire and help teach us to be the best human beings we can be.

Since we opened , our mission had always been clear: Alma de Amón wants to create an experience for our guests and to lift their spirits. We want people to come to Alma to forget about their problems, feel a sense of community, and to leave with smiles on their faces. We now know exactly what we need to do to make that happen! We can’t wait to show you!

Trio de Empanadas Argentinas

Country: Argentina, Latin America

Notes: In Latin American cultures, an empanada is a type of baked or fried pastry, consisting of pastry and filling. Empanadas are made by folding dough over a stuffing, which may consist of meat, cheese, corn, or other ingredients. For our trip of empanadas we have three types, ground meat with chimichurri, shredded chicken with tomato and then the Caprese. The caprese version is the one that has an Italian influence but is very popular in Argentina.

Preparation: The masa is rolled out into circles and then the fillings are added to the center. The dough is then folded over the filling to form a half circle and then the edges are pressed together to seal the filling inside. When ready the empanadas are fried to order to give a crispy texture.

Tres Leches

Country: Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras

Notes: The cake consists of a cake soaked with three types of milk: evaporated milk , cream of milk and condensed milk, which give it its name. It is usually accompanied with a meringue of egg whites and with maraschino cherries and sprinkled with cinnamon powder. Usually the recipe does not have butter and therefore has a spongy texture. The decoration may vary depending on the region or the taste of the diner. You can use fondant, chantilly or meringue .

It can be prepared in different ways, for example you can add chocolate to the decoration or add dulce de leche (cajeta / manjar / arequipe), or some alcoholic beverage ( rum, brandy, anise, etc.) to the mixture of the three milks.

We have specialized ours to have espresso to the milks mixture.  We then top ours with a merengue and toast it tableside with Flor de Cana rum.

Preparation: The cake is baked off in individual portions and left to cool. The cakes are then soaked in the coffee and milk mixture until very wet. The merengue is spread on top and then tableside the flor de cana is heated and then lit on fire. While the rum is on fire it is spooned on top of the merengue which starts to blacken the merengue.

Mixto Peruano

Country: Peru

Story: In Peru it is served with garnishes of boiled roots such as sweet potato or cassava and grains such as corn (boiled or toasted), legumes such as zarandaja, fried plantain (chifles), seaweed and lettuce. Sometimes it can be accompanied by chilcano (broth based on fish heads). In Peru, ceviche is basically a national dish with too many variations and styles to cover in a brief description.

The most common type of ceviche is prepared from slices of fish in a square shape that are then mixed with lime and salt. Fillets mostly used are corvina, flounder, kingfish, mackerel, grouper, dogfish, parakeet and trout. Mixed ceviche like the one we serve is the one that contains the same ingredients as the common ceviche, to which various seafood or fish have been added.

Preparation: Mix all of the ingredients with leche de tigre into a bowl and let marinate then place in a bowl. Garnish with corn, lolarossa lettuce, red onion and sweet potato. Finally, it is served with homemade corn tortilla chips.

Arroz Y Frijoles Con Pollo

Country: Jamaica, Caribbean

Notes: This is by far our number one seller here at Alma de Amon. Our Rice and Beans con Pollo is a dish that is inspired by the Jamaican style of cooking called Jerk. Jerk is a style of cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Normally Jerk seasoning is very spicy but our version is not as spicy as a traditional Jerk. Historians believe it was originally developed by African slaves who escaped into the wilds of Jamaica adapting to their new surroundings. The former slaves created the spicy sauce and slow cooked the meat over a smoking wood fire. The meat is normally, but not limited to, chicken or pork, and the main ingredients of the spicy jerk marinade sauce are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers.

Rice and peas is how they say arroz y frijoles in the Caribbean. It is traditionally cooked with coconut milk in the Caribbean which is what we have recreated here as well. The ‘peas’ are the name that refers to the frijoles in the Caribbean. We also add green mango salad to finish up the dish.

Preparation: Our wet marinade is made and chicken thighs are marinated in it. We then bake the chicken in the oven until it’s tender. The rice and beans are made with coconut milk and served on the sides with green mango salad.

Patacon Pisao

Country: Venezuela, Colombia

Story: Patacon Pisao is a patacon that has been crushed and fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dish can have a variety of toppings but some of the most popular ones would be lettuce, sour cream, tomato, avocado and shredded pork. For our version instead of the pork we use shredded chicken. Although the dish originates in Venezuela and Colombia many countries now have a version of this.

Preparation:A patacon is made using an entire green plantain. Black beans are spread on to provide a base layer. This is topped with pico de gallo, melted shredded cheese, chicken arreglado, sour cream and chopped lettuce mix.

Lechón con Mojo

Country: Cuba, Dominican Republic

Story: Lechón in Spanish is a pork dish in several regions of the world. Lechón is a Spanish word referring to a roasted suckling pig. It’s a popular food in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The dish is similar to what we serve. Lechon asado is a slow-roasted pork shoulder that is marinated in mojo, a marinade made from sour orange, garlic, onion, oil, and herbs. The ending result is a fall-apart plate of pork that is succulent and luscious, served alongside caramelized onions and topped with even more mojo.

The congri we serve with the lechon is started by cooking onions, garlic, and bell pepper commonly known as a sofrito. To this sofrito are added the white rice and pre-boiled black beans, as well as the water that the beans were boiled in. Other seasonings such as oregano and bay leaf are often added to the dish to give additional flavor. Congri is different from simple arroz con frijoles in that the beans and rice are cooked in the same pot instead of separately. We also serve traditional garnishes with the dish using platano maduro and yuca frita.

Preparation: Cerdo is slow cooked with mojo until very tender. The meat is then shredded and mixed with the mojo and placed on top of congri. The garnishes are fried yucca and platano maduro. Pickled onions garnish the top to finish it off.

La Frita Cubana

Country: Costa Rica (Alma restaurant)

Notes: The Frita Cubana won the Silver Spatula at the Burger Fest 2015 and is now part of our menu. The patties are made from beef and chorizo with pineapple ketchup, onion and served inside of cuban buns. The burgers are made into sliders and two are served with every order.

Preparation: The dish is started by grilling the patties until they are cooked through. Then sliders are made using cuban bread, pickled red onions, the cooked patties and finally yuca con mojo is served on the side.

Flan de Abuelita

Country: Europe, Asia, Latin america, North America

Story: Nearly every part of the world has a version of flan. The earliest version of flan was more of a savory dish in the roman culture. The ability to make the dish ahead of time and keep until needed is most likely a good reason why it became so popular. Also, many cultures have sugar, eggs and milk readily available.

There are so many varieties of flan that it would take pages to get through all of the differences. In an effort to keep things simple we can just say that Costa Rica is one of the countries where you also find coconut milk in the base recipe. Also, like so many other countries, a caramel is made and poured at the bottom of the container that flan will be cooked in. The milk mixture is added and then all of the containers are put in a Bain-Marie. After the flan is cooked, the container is turned upside down onto a plate to serve and the caramel which was cooked on the bottom becomes the top giving the flan its very famous dark brown color.

The Bain-Marie traditionally is a wide and usually metal container that holds hot water. Then, a smaller container that fits inside the outer one which holds the material to be cooked is placed inside. Typically, the inner (smaller) container is immersed about halfway into the hot water. When the water and the bain-marie is used the maximum temperature of the water in the lower container will not exceed 100 degrees Celsius (212 °F), the boiling point of water as long as there is a cover on top to catch the steam. Because the temperature can not exceed 100 degrees Celsius it is a very secure and gentle way to cook certain foods, especially custards that use eggs that get scrambled with high heat.

Preparation: A caramel is poured into a container that will cook the flan and left to set and get hard. The milk mixture is then poured on top and the container holding the caramel and flan mix is placed into a Bain-Marie filled with water. The flan is cooked until barley sets and then removed to cool. Once ready, the flan is turned onto a plate and garnished with toasted coconut.

Entraña Argentina a la Parrilla

Country: Argentina

Story: Argentina is not only one of the highest consumers of meat out of the Latin countries but they’re also consistently among the top consumers in the world. The quality of beef in Argentina is very high which is another reason why they consume so much beef. Asados in Argentina are the techniques and the social event of having a barbecue. An asado can consist of beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, and morcilla which are cooked on a parrilla. It is safe to say that Asados are the national dish of Argentina.

The Entraña cut of meat is one of great flavor though it isn’t the the most tender cut. It is generally not the most expensive cut of meat nor the cheapest. When cooked and sliced correctly however it becomes as good as any cut of meat on a cow. All of these factors make for a cut that has become very popular when choosing a cut of meat to cook.

The Chorizo in Argentina is not as hard as the Spanish variety or as soft as the Mexican variety and is generally not as spicy as other styles. It is one of the most popular items to grill on the parilla and is almost always included in asados. At Alma, we serve grilled vegetables added to the asado.

Preparation: Chimichurri is used to marinate the Entraña before cooking. Then the chorizo, Entraña and vegetables are grilled separately until finished. Finally, it is placed on a wooden board and served with chimichurri.

Ensalada de Mango

Story: In Central America, mango is either eaten green mixed with salt, vinegar, black pepper, and hot sauce, or ripe in various forms. The mango has become one of the world’s most popular ingredient. In Latin America, Brazil and Mexico have become some of the largest producers but nearly every country with the appropriate climate cultivates mangos.

Our green mango salad is a salad that focuses on the love that Latin America has for mangos. Using the green mango instead of the ripe one offers a slightly more savory flavor with crisp texture. It is paired with a tamarind dressing and mixed with some tajin showing respect to how many people enjoy eating mangos with chili powder.

Preparation: All ingredients are mixed into a bowl and served raw and fresh on the plate.

Croquetas de Platanos

Country: Costa rica

Story: Our Croquetas de Platanos is actually inspired from another type of dish eaten in Costa Rica. Empanadas de Platanos are made as a form of empanada that is special to Costa Rica. One of the most popular versions of this dish is when it is stuffed with cheese. Our chef has taken this idea and turned it into a dish suitable for Alma by incorporating other influences. A croqueta is made from the platano mixture instead of an empanada and chorizo is added to enhance the flavor of the plantain and center of melted cheese. The croqueta adds a crispy layer to the mixture. Also added to enhance flavor is a black bean mole sauce underneath and a salad made from chayote for freshness that is placed on top.

Preparations: Sweet plantain puree is formed around shredded mozzarella cheese and chorizo into a ball. The ball is then rolled in flour, eggs and then panko bread crumbs to form a crust on the outside. The balls are then fried until golden brown. On the plate some of the black bean sauce is placed down and on top the croquetas and then a salad of chayote and cucumber.

Aztec Molten Chocolate Cake

Country: Mexico, USA

Notes: The United States-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres disputes this, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. Regardless of who invented the dish, Vongerichten has been credited with popularizing it in the United States, and it became almost a de rigueur inclusion on high-end restaurant dessert menus around the world.

Mayan and Aztec chocolate was very different than the chocolate we know today. It was a liquid made from crushed cocoa beans, chili peppers, and water. (There was no sugar yet in Central America.) They poured the liquid from one cup to another until a frothy foam appeared on top. In fact, the word ‘chocolate’ is said to come from the Mayan word ‘xocolatl’ which means ‘bitter water. Cocoa was often consumed during religious ceremonies and marriage celebrations. Eventually Cocoa got to Spain and eventually lost the chiles and spices in place of the addition of sugar.

For our chocolate we give a nod back to the origins of chocolate with the addition of spices. We add just a small amount of cayenne and cinnamon to our molten chocolate cake.

Preparation: The chocolate batter is placed in the oven and cooked until the outside is cooked but the inside is still liquid and just warm. A compote of uchuva is made to add an ingredient local to Costa Rica and then the cake is finished with ice cream.

Tacos De Lengua

Country: Costa Rica, Mexico

Notes: When cooking meat, it is important to know how often the muscle was used by the animal. A good way to think about it is that the more the muscle is used, the better it will taste but the tougher it will be. If a muscle is not used very often it’s going to be very tender but doesn’t have the same taste as muscles that are used more often. The tongue has a lot of flavor because all a cow does is eat grass all day! So, very gentle and moist cooking is the way to go to make it super tender. The most popular way to cook it is to place it in seasoned liquid with aromatics and then simmer it on low until tender. In Mexico, the most popular way to eat it is to shred it up and put it in a taco.

Here in Costa Rica, another popular way to cook a classic dish is to make Lengua en salsa: tender beef tongue in a savory tomato-based sauce. For us here at Alma, we have mixed the two popular ways to serve it together, taking the Costa Rican version and making it into a taco and topping it with escabeche.

Preparation: Beef tongue is slow-cooked in broth with aromatics until tender. The tongue is then diced and cooked on the plancha until it gets a brown color for extra flavor and then it seasoned with cumin salt. Tomato sauce is spread on a fresh tortilla and the tongue is placed on top. Finally, a garnish of escabeche is put on top of each taco.

Tacos De Gallina Con Mole Tico

Country: Mexico

Story: The flautas, also called flautines, is a Mexican dish. They are tacos made of rolled golden corn tortilla. Its name derives from the great similarity that these have with the musical instrument (the flute) of the same name to be rigid (crisp) and thin. They can have different fillings such as shredded meat, picadillo, potatoes, beans and cheese, among others. They are served accompanied by any sauce, lemon, lettuce or cabbage, with tomato, and sometimes sour cream. We use a filling of shredded chicken cooked with achiote and tomato.

Preparations: Chicken Tinga is rolled in a golden corn tortilla and then fried. Black bean mole is put onto the plate and two crispy tacos are placed on top. Finally, it’s topped off with sour cream and cabbage salad.