Food, glorious food! We like food. Coffee, chocolate, pizza and gelato are favorites. While traveling, we often stop to rest and have a snack. We justify it because we are doing so much walking. The people watching is a bonus.
Walking we are frequently confronted with the smell of fresh bread baking from the bakeries plus the aroma of grilled beef from the Argentinian style Parrillados. Beef is my favorite meat and it has been excellent. We had some of the moistest chicken ever at a fast food restaurant! There are tempting fruit stands selling fruit smoothies and natural juices.
Quiteños eat their large meal in the middle of the day. Lunch restaurants called “Almuerzos” are everywhere; they post on a dry erase board their Menu del Dia for a set price that includes a juice, soup, usually a choice from 2-3 entrees with rice or potato, and salad, and in some cases dessert. Its’s what the locals eat. We have seen these almuerzos for as cheap as $1.50 and have paid from $2 – 2.75 each for some delicious and filling lunches. I love the soups! In the tourist districts, the prices are double! I love a bargain too!
Quito doesn’t observe the siesta custom, but after these lunches I’m ready for one. Again, I justify it because of the walking.
Quiteños eat a light supper. This explains why La Union Panaderia and Cafeteria where we stop for coffee most evenings is so busy with patrons having coffee and a sandwich or a dessert. It seems many are buying tomorrow’s breakfast rolls.
One afternoon we met some office girls in the elevator carrying something delicious looking. They told me where to buy Empanadas Verdes (cheese or chicken) for .50 each at the street stand on the corner. It sets up every afternoon serving coffee and empanadas and is very popular.
Many places also serve American or Continental breakfasts for a set price. One day we ordered one to share. It was huge and came with juice, coffee, eggs served to order, and a breakfast panini for $3.50. We don’t usually eat a lunch if we’ve ate breakfast so the big decision each day is whether to eat breakfast or lunch or dinner – and where!
Last weekend we discovered the city is practically shut down Saturday and Sunday. It was specially hard to find a restaurant open last Sunday. Good for them! I’m glad the workers and business owners get to have a day off for some family time. (The norm seems to be 12 hour shifts!) But we didn’t know this when we went out looking for dinner and coffee. We had just about resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to give up when we sighted a sign for SuperMaxi, a local grocery store chain, and it was connected to a large shopping mall. We climbed the steps, entered the glass doors and smelled food! We went from the prospect of fasting to a plethora of tempting options from which to choose!
Next week we head to the coast for a month where I’m told the fishermen hawk their daily catch right on the beach. Can’t wait! We like food!