Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ecuador, Day 1

Rainy street in Quito.

Well, I had to leave Peru sometime, right? After ten days I found myself heading back to the airport in Lima by way of the beautiful Costa Verde coastline, where surfers filled the near shore waiting for the perfect set to roll in. In the morning I was still feeling heavy from last night’s gormandizing, so I grabbed a bowl of fruit and coffee and then skipped lunch at the airport. The airline served something like half a chicken sandwich on the plane to Quito, and that was more than enough.

The flight from Lima to Quito was non-eventful other than for two people in first class screaming their heads off in Spanish at the people sitting in the first row of economy. Separate incidents, mind you. I have no idea what happened. I think the space between rows on LAN airplanes is so small that you can’t help kneeing the chair in front of you sometimes. It was all pretty ridiculous. As usual, I’m not sure why I’m sharing this…

By the time I arrived at my hotel – which wasn’t ANYTHING like the photos they have on their website – it was raining pretty hard. I checked in despite my misgivings and then went out looking for a church, or a museum, or a cultural center – something – to introduce me to Quito, but it was after 5 p.m. and everything was closed.

So, since I really hadn’t eaten today, I decided to get my first Ecuadorian dinner. I had no idea where to go, but in the small Benalcázar Plaza not far from my hotel I noticed a restaurant sign outside a cozy looking interior, so I checked it out. The restaurant was called Portal de Benalcázar.

I wasn’t in the mood for goat, which is commonly eaten in Ecuador, especially in a dish called secos de chivo, so I went with another tipico comida called corvina, which is Ecuadorian sea bass.

My meal came with a choice of rice or fried potatoes and a small salad of steamed broccoli, carrot shreds, and artichoke circles, which were really nice. The sea bass was topped with mussels, scattered with small pieces of shrimp and squid, and served in a light cream sauce. It was excellent, and the salad combined well with the seafood. This dish cost $8, the beer $2, and then two separate taxes totaling $3 were included on my bill. (I have no idea why, but my guidebook says that double taxation is the norm.) $13 seems a bit much for dinner in Quito, but so it goes.

Portal de Benalcázar is located on the Benalcázar Plaza and is open Monday – Saturday from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Live music is performed in the restaurant on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tel: 228-0014. Email: portaldebenalcazar@gmail.com.

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1 comment:

  1. The restaurant looks nice & so does your sea bass,...I have eaten goat once before & I loved it,..;it depends a bit of the way of braising & cooking,...