Giselle and I spent the last couple of days laying low and just taking walking tours around the streets of Cotacachi. What we did notice was the amazing number of Almuerzos or lunch spots. You can get a basic meal that is totally satisfying from anywhere between $2.50 and $8-10.00. We checked out two of them over the last few days.
The first was a ceviche/seafood restaurant. Very clean, with a simple menu that consisted of the lunch of the day for $5.00. We were served a delicious fish soup in a vegetable broth with an avocado slice and topped with fresh cilantro as the first course. Then came the main dish – shrimp in a rice/vegetable mix with a small salad on the side topped with a slice of fried plantain and a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. We were given a couple of fresh sliced limes and a press to squeeze out the juice onto our food. The lime juice really spiced up the entire meal. We forgot to take pics of the dishes!
Today we ventured a bit further off the main street and found this tiny little chicken place. It was very busy with local indigenous people, so we ventured inside for a taste. A young girl not much older than 11 or 12 served us. There is no menu – you get the food of the day. We were served a delicious potato soup, again with a slice of avocado and topped with cilantro. Potato soup in Ecuador is a staple in almost every restaurant. Each place does it just a tiny bit different. The head cook then came out and asked us if we wanted fried, broiled, or BBQ chicken – at least that’s what we thought he asked. Our meal came shortly after, brought to us by the little girl, along with a glass of fresh squeezed pineapple juice. We got a small salad, some rice and half a chicken breast that was broiled, and finished off with a small plate of watermelon. Price per person – $2.50!!
Just a short walk from our apartment is the local mercado (public market) where we buy most of our fresh veggies and fruits. Just in front is a “food fair” with about a dozen booths selling different foods. We will eat there sometime this week and report back.
Another treat that cannot be missed is the Helados Pailla – handmade ice cream made with fresh fruits and cream produced by spinning the ingredients in a large copper bowl sitting in a bed of ice. The town of Ibarra, about 40 minutes away is famous for this treat. We were there a few fays ago with our friend Wilson, who, as usual, treated us to his favourite place.