A friend from college came down here a few weeks ago. Adam is his name, being doctor is his game. Adam is studying to be a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. He’s been in school for the past 22 years and he’s looking at 9 more. He loves it. He even helped realign my spine and informed me on the benefits of Flaxseed oil. Even better, Adam is blind. He can’t even see his patients, he just knows…..
Adam isn’t a blind Taiwanese masseuse at all, he just loves Almejas (“Clams” for those of you who don’t speak Spanish). When Adam arrived and because Matt was busy building Panama, Adam and I set about exploring this place called Panama, looking for Almejas.
Almejas, or Clams, can be found at most restaurants in Panama. And if we had more time, our search would have broadened to maybe 3 restaurants, but for the sake of time. We’ll go straight to the verdict.
Our first stop was this place called Playa Langosta in Allbrook Mall. Adam was talking to his neighbor on the flight from DC and this guy was chatting up the place because it was so cheap, some of the best seafood in town, a quality restaurant, yada yada yada. Hmmm….insider knowledge. A little local flavor. A little goldmine. High-Five! Let’s go!
So as this place was touted as “one of the best,” we assumed our cab driver would know the place. So after the usual jokes “Keenan is a ball of meat of cat…”, “Adam is a dirty monkey…poor little Adam,” we started asking about Playa Langosta. We told him it was in Allbrook Mall and that a friend of ours who “knows seafood” said that this restaurant served some of the best in town. Now I’m not sure if the cab driver was still reeling off the fact that he was driving, not human beings, but a ball of cat meat and a dirty monkey, but he just kept giggling. Didn’t say a word. Adam even poked him, and he still continued to giggle – I began to think we found the Pillsbury dough boy, IN PANAMA. Sneaky.
Well, after finally finding this famed restaurant we took a seat, ordered Almejas and some fish. Nothing special. Actually, really subpar. Not a place I would ever go again. A great suggestion from Adam’s “friend on the plane”…. bastard. With the disappointment of that adventure, we set off for Casco Viejo to sulk in the misery of our last meal. Upon arriving at the office, we told Matt and a friend of his about “Playa Langosta” and how we planned a day around a mediocre meal. After our little rant Matt’s friend informed us that Playa Langosta is a chain restaurant, and moreover, what McDonalds is to the hamburger world, Playa Langosta is to the seafood world in Panama.
That would explain the cab driver’s incessant giggling. It made sense. It wasn’t the fact that Adam wasn’t actually a primate in need of a bath nor I a meatball made of cat, but that we were basically touting Playa Langosta as a world class establishment with world class seafood. When in reality, would we describe McDonalds as a world class establishment with world class burgers? Maybe, maybe not. Oh well.
After that debacle, I decided to take Adam to a place Matt and I frequent on the Causeway called K.Y.U.C.O.S. (I think that’s the name). It’s the last stop on the Causeway and you’ll know the place because it’s right next to the piers, tourists haven’t found it and it’s outdoor seating only. On a cool Panamanian night, it’s one of our favorite places to go. The prices haven’t been affected by the surrounding boom and the menu doesn’t get anymore straightforward than this (an assortment of grilled kabobs). And, it also happens to have some great Almejas. Since neither Adam nor I really eat clams all that much and I know neither of us can claim to have tasted clams from all over the world or even Panama for that matter, the clams might not be all that special. But for now, it doesn’t matter. Until I get sick of them and Adam returns to continue our search, you can find this ball of meat of cat here on any given Thursday or Friday eating clams and feeding fish.