My friend Chuck O'Boyle was in town last week and treated me to a meal at Pura Vida. Chuck, as longtime readers may remember, served briefly as our (hyper-literate) cheap eats writer. He has moved to Providence, RI, with his partner Rick Rambuss who was hired by Brown after years at Emory.
I've got to say that Chef Hector Santiago's tapas may be my favorite dishes in the city. They are brilliantly conceived with heart meeting intellect in a way you rarely see.
To nearly every foodie's regret, Hector and wife Leslie closed their sandwich shop, Super Pan, located behind Pura Vida. Leslie told me that they are still looking for a location with considerable foot-traffic. Ideally, it would also provide space for a bakery and serve breakfast as well as lunch.
Here are some iPhone shots of my dinner with Chuck:
This was our favorite, a special. In fact, it was so much a favorite that we ended up ordering two. It included local sunburst tomatoes and chunks of Ataulfo mangoes, scattered lightly with ground peanuts. A chamoy sauce made of pickled plums and chili peppers added a borderline-fiery touch. I don't think I need to elaborate the range of flavors and textures.
Below is another special: dumplings stuffed with huitlacoche (from Buckeye Creek Farm) and mustard greens. Other flavors included egg, queso fresco and mild, crumbled chorizo. It was brought to the table in a tagine, bubbling hot to steam the dumplings.
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