Last night we joined Tahina’s previous crew, David and Edel, for dinner in the Casco Viejo (old town) in Panama City. We met on the corner of the Plaza de la Independencia next to the cathedral, and walked across the street to a place called René Café. The restaurant features typical Panamanian fare in a set-menu style, with dinner including six small plates in courses, followed by a rice dish, a chicken dish, and a fish dish. Oh, and don’t forget dessert!
We ordered a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and settled into the outdoor seating while we awaited our dinner. First came a fresh salad with corn and slices of unfamiliar fruits and a pickled root vegetable, lettuce, tomatoes, and a house-made vinaigrette dressing. After that came seafood wrapped in spinach crepes, a ceviche inside small fried plantain bowls, spring rolls covered in a fruit-based savory gravy, broiled whole shrimp in sauce, and a green olive and chicken tamal wrapped in banana leaf. These courses were followed by a mixed fried rice, chicken coated in a sweet and sour marmalade, fish with a pesto topping, and pork loin in a rich brown gravy. Dessert was a perfectly sized slice of tres leches. All this for only $22.50 per person, plus wines.
It was a great intro to Panamanian fare, and it gave us a chance to get to know some of Frank and Karen’s friends who’ve sailed on Tahina before. The cab ride back was a quick 10 minutes out the Amador Causeway, during which I plucked the cabdriver for info on Panama nightlife.
Today we’re working on some provisioning and boat maintenance as we prepare for Karen to make her way back to the states tomorrow on a delivery mission. She’ll be back Wednesday, and then we’ll get to the business of setting out for Las Perlas and Galapagos.