Sunday, June 12, 2016

Esencias Panameñas Celebrates First Anniversary

Patacones Rellenos de Ceviche (Photo: Rey Lopez)

From our friends at Esencias Panameñas...

Esencias Panameñas Takes Guests on a Panamanian Culinary Adventure, Region by Region, in Honor of the Restaurant’s First Anniversary

Esencias Panameñas, located at 3322 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20010, showcases authentic Panamanian cuisine with a Caribbean twist. From June 19th through July 23rd, guests are invited to partake in an exciting culinary adventure exploring dishes from the different regions of Panama. This unique dining experience will be artfully prepared by Executive Chef/Owner Yadira Stamp, a native of Panama, who brings over 30 years of experience in the culinary arts to Esencias Panameñas, which opened one year ago on July 20, 2015.

The country of Panama is divided into ten provinces and three indigenous regions, each famous for different regional dishes. From June 19th through July 23rd, Esencias Panameñas Restaurant will feature a variety of entrées, desserts, and beverages from different provinces. These specials will be available during lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and will change weekly.

Chef Stamp plans to highlight regions of Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí the week of June 19th, Coclé and Colón the week of June 26th, Los Santos and Veraguas the week of July 3rd, Darién and Herrera the week of July 10th, and Panama and Panama Oeste the week of July 17th. These specials will be available in addition to the restaurant’s regular a la carte menu, with items priced from $7 to $20 each.

Located along Panama’s West Coast bordering Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí are known for their national parks and banana plantations. Christopher Columbus and his crew first visited the area in 1502 while searching for the passage to the Pacific Ocean. Items from these provinces that will be showcased include “Yanny Cakes”, coconut flatbread, as well as Almojábanos, “S” shaped corn fritters stuffed with cheese. For dessert, guests can enjoy Enyucado, pudding made with shredded yuca, raisins, coconut and star anise. On the beverage side, guests can opt for a “Secosa”, Esencias Panamenas’s signature mimosa made with Champagne, Seco (Panamanian white rum) and orange juice, or the non-alcoholic Chicha de Raspadura con Naranja y Limón, orange juice, lime juice and cane sugar.

Next, it’s off to the central Panamanian provinces of Coclé and Colón. Much of the Coclé province is agricultural land with sugar and tomatoes as major crops, while Colón is a seaport lying near the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal. Dishes from these provinces to be highlighted include Tasajo, dried beef spiked with V8 juice, and the Pastelitos de Carne, puff pastry turnover stuffed with ground beef.

Next up are the Panamanian regions of Los Santos and Veraguas. Los Santos is located in Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, which juts into the Pacific Ocean, and is known for lively celebrations during the nationwide carnival. Veraguas is a province in central Panama, bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its vast wilderness areas. Items from these provinces are the Buñuelos o Torrejitas de Maiz Nuevo, fresh corn hush puppies and the Corn Tortilla Asada "Changa," cast-iron corn flatbread.

Darién is the smallest province in Panama located on the eastern side of the country. It is home to a vast wilderness commonly called the "Darién Gap," which refers to the road-less swath of forest that's the "missing link" in the Pan-American Highway. Herrera ranks third in sugarcane production. Other prominent industries in the region include dairy, cattle, and commercial fishing. Items from these provinces are theArroz con Coco, coconut rice and the Empanadas de Harina de Carne o Queso, beef or cheese (flour) patties.

The last two provinces to be featured are Panama, which is the capital of the Republic with the highest population at 1.4 million and Panama Oeste, or West Panama, which is the 10th and newest Province added to the country in 2014. Items from these provinces to be savored include 
Ropa Vieja, shredded beef served over a bed of white rice and Chicha de Arroz con Piña, a popular non-alcoholic drink made of rice and pineapple.

Esencias Panameñas is located at 3322 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20010. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, from 11 AM to 3 PM. Dinner is served on Sunday and Monday, from 3 PM to 9 PM; Wednesday and Thursday, from 3 PM to 11 PM, and Friday, from 3 PM to 12 Midnight. Esencias Panameñas is located four blocks from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro accessible on the Green and Yellow lines. For additional information or reservations, please call (202) 688-7250, or visit