Ecuador Essential Eats Part 1: Quito

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8 days, hundreds of photos, and a slow crawl back to reality later, I present to you the good, bad, and bizarre eats from the world of Ecuador. ¡Bienvenidos!

Our stay in Ecuador began and ended in its capital city, Quito. Located 9,350 feet above sea level, it is summery enough to stay warm during the day but cold enough to bring a jacket, similar to San Francisco. It is a bustling city, divided into Old Town and New Town with food that ranges from traditional cuisine to American burgers.

Coffee menu from Tianguez

I wish I could have spent more time in Quito, as it’s a big place with lots to explore. But of course, we never have enough time, so the motto during our excursion was, appropriately, #wheninecuador. Everything eaten on this trip lived and died by this mindset, and it’s how I believe we all should act when visiting some place new. How else will we find the most delicious noms?

As much as I missed me some ‘murrican food, I committed to eating as traditionally as I could during my stay. Check out the highlights from Quito and get the links for everything below!

Capital cuisine.

Breakfast in Quito is a mix of old and new. We stayed in Hotel Quito, a renowned and modern place, so our morning meal matched the ambiance. Fruit is a big deal, especially passionfruit because there are three different local varieties. I liked topping my fruit with coconut and granadilla seeds – they taste like crunch boba! I can’t remember what the second item was, but it was essentially semolina steamed in a banana leaf, a common cooking method in Ecuador.

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Tianguez is an arts and crafts shop and restaurant at San Francisco Plaza, in Old Town. It has a lot of local goods, such as passionfruit jams and cacao liquor, which tasted like a much better version of Kahlua.

Coffee in Ecuador is extremely tasty and it fueled many an early morning for us. Tianguez has great coffee – strong and flavorful, so a little goes a long way. Our favorites were the espresso, el sagrario, and café cantuña, that had enough rum to keep us buzzing for the day!

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When in Ecuador, eat ice cream before lunch, because you can and it is delicious. However this isn’t ice cream the way we consider it to be. Made only from sugar and fruit juice, these helados are made by hand by vigorously stirring everything in a large copper pot (the paila). The resulting dessert is fresh, light, and super fruity. I had a double scoop of two passionfruit varieties and yes, if anyone is noticing, I kind of developed a thang for passionfruit after this trip. It happens.

Linkables

Hotel Quito: Highly recommended; knowing Spanish is helpful, as there is a language barrier with some of the staff.

Tianguez: Great shop for souvenirs and a midday pick-me-up. The shop stretches underground for a mile with dozens of rooms showcasing different knickknacks. It’s easy to get lost and spend a lot of time here, so keep an eye on the clock if you have a schedule.

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24, Lezgo!

Cupcake assortment from Susie Cakes in the Marina, courtesy of my lovely co-worker

First off, THANK YOU ALL for the amazing birthday wishes, smiles, and treats. Even while awkwardly at the center of attention, it was extremely heart-warming to feel the love from all around the world. It was even more exciting to hear and read all the positive comments about this blog! What began as a small side project is coming to fruition more and more each day, and I owe it all to readers and food lovers like you.

24 is apparently also the year to be picky. #sorryimnotsorry

 

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In true Shikhalamode form, I spent the first day my new year eating an assortment of sweet thangs that resulted in a food coma and mile-high sugar rush. From office-made coffee ice cream floats to free slurpees spiked with cake-flavored vodka to beautiful desserts from this restaurant, it’s safe to say that I effectively spanned the entire spectrum of culinary class in a 24-hour period. Call it #yolo; I call it #adayinthelife.

Mango-lemonade slurpee + iced cake vodka = creamsicle-tasting snack. Odd, yet satisfying.

Here’s to the not-so-big twenty four. I’m one year away from a quarter-life crisis (so I hear), so this year, I plan on pushing the boundaries of my pastry power, expanding this blog’s bite-sized reach, rampaging this city (and maybe the next one?!), and exploring myself. As my talented sister and friend made me realize – this is the year where I stop taking breaks, either from the people I love or the passions I pursue. T-Sweezy, you may be feeling 22, but I’m feeling 24 and that’s just fine.

I can haz?

I still haven’t gotten my cheesecake, though.

Menus at Perbacco restaurant. I usually go for Bulleit rye, but I gave the Bulleit bourbon cocktail a whirl. It’s sweeter, but has a ginger kick which balances it out nicely. The lighting wasn’t good enough to photograph the meal, so I shared a few dim snaps of the desserts below.

Clockwise from top left: Espresso to end the night; chamomile panna cotta with toffee and apricots – the apricots were too syrupy for me, but the panna cotta was excellent with just barely enough gelatin to twerk beautifully on the plate (yes, I used twerk to describe a dessert); complimentary brutto ma buoni (ugly but good) cookies, Perbacco’s signature; torn ricotta cake with berries, pistachios, and whey gelato, an easy summertime favorite

New cookbook! I know nothing, I mean nothing, about cooking fish, so wish me luck!