Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Food

I'm compiling my food experiences into this post. 

The day I arrived, I wanted soup after the rain let up a bit. I headed to La Casa de las Sopas - the house of soups. 
Small, cute setting. There was a TV on in the background and shortly after arriving, I hear a familiar tune - The Star Spangled Banner. Do what? Oh, NBA playoff game #6 was on in Spanish. 
Anyhow, the soup. They had a menu of traditional soups-black bean, tortilla, tomato. I found the "tipical Guatemalan" part of the menu. I asked the waitress which one I should get. She did not hesitate when she said Pepian. The description was simply "toasted seeds, vegetables, rice, and chicken." Works for me! 
So it was amazing. The broth was rich, a bit so it after a few bites, and layered with flavors. It was served with salt and a green sauce plus some thick, rustic corn tortillas. The vegetables included potatoes, chayote squash, avocado of course, and it was garnished with cilantro. I could not come close to eating it all - I tried. This is know as the national dish of Guatemala. I've already found a recipe- Somehow, I don't think mine would be as good. 

Friday, I had a traditional breakfast - fried eggs, black beans, plantains, and bread with Crema. Oh, and oatmeal. I don't like oatmeal, but this was good. It was thinner than ours and sweetened and garnished with cinnamon. The Crema is something between our cream bad better. It's similar to the natalla I've had in Costa Rica. 

For dinner Friday, I was to Tenedor del Cerro on the side of the mountain. I wasn't that hungry to opted for a salad of grilled tomatoes and eggplant, cheese, and arugula with a kalamata olive mousse and soup. The salad was amazing-flavors were so fresh. 
The mousse may have been a bit much, but it didn't take away from the rest of the salad. 

The soup was just a chicken soup with vegetables and avocado. Nothing memorable. 

I had dessert - the chef's special of Nutella and vanilla panna cotta with caramelized hazelnuts. This was disappointing. The Nutella side was too thick. Both had a bit of a "skin" on top so it was not made or plated to order. The blueberries were frozen. 

After my volcano hike, I was so hungruux I went to a place that had good reviews online. I'm now skeptical of using trip advisor and the like. It seems like a place that is used by primarily North Americans with those tastes will rank highly American like foods. I was disappointed in the menu. Flour tortillas, quesadillas stuffed with cheddar cheese, fajitas, fried mushrooms, fried jalapeños get the idea. That's not what I came here to eat! 
I had tortilla soup and some guacamole. Avocados grow all over here so that is one thing I am eating every chance I get. 
My soup was bland but filling. The guac had no spice. I added some habanero sauce to spice it up. It just seemed like the entire meal/menu was to cater to traditional American tastes. Blah. 

I did have a view of Volcan Agus through the clouds. The big tree is an avocado tree. Maybe I'll have a chance to pick one off of a tree while here. 

I picked up a tart of sorts last night for breakfast today. It was pear and chocolate with a flaky crust. Very tasty. I could not eat it all. Not the best picture but it was in my room. 
I guess I haven't eaten that much while here? I also had some mango on the hike and a strawberry basil fruit drink made to order. And coffee. Lots of coffee. But none today, which is unfortunate because ...Now it is Sunday morning at 9:35. The shuttle is stopped and there is a traffic jam. We are just sitting and waiting. Sigh.

Oh but the coffee. I so want one of these. I really don't need one of these. 
Her is mkre information, as I did some research while waiting for my avocado salad. 

Lunch in Panajachel after the shuttle was simply avocado salad, black beans, and tortillas. And a mango drink. Basic but good. 

And then dinner in San Marcos. So. Good. I was iffy about walking to town as rain was coming in and I wasn't that himgry. I finally decided to go ahead and chance it, and in glad I did. 

I had that Guatemalan pork plate. It was way too much food, but so good. I snuck some to the dog that was hanging out. The sauce in the middle was spicy-something most of my meals here have been missing. The salad dressing was a peanut dressing, which I love. I may be going back here. Oh, and 50Q is about $6.50, so far from a cheap meal by local standards. 
Guatemalan street food - .65. Smilingly black beans, guac, cebolla (onion) m, salsa picante, cilantro on a crisp tortilla shell. This was breakfast one morning. 

I thought pizza was universal. I mean, I guess it is, but that doesn't mean universally good. This was ok. I used salsa verde in place of crushed red pepper. I also had sweet picante and mayo offered. 

Avocado soup with vegetables (broccoli and potatoes is what I detected), and was not what I was expecting. And since this is the last meal I had before j got sick, well. I don't even want to talk about it. 😳

Lunch in Santiago, my first meal after being sick. It's not what I had planned on, but I finally caved and quit looking. I just needed food. This is a very "tipical" Guatemalan meal- carne, arroz, avocado salad, and plantains plus the sauces and homemade corn tortillas. It was very good, even if the meat was a bit overdone for my tastes.

Pizza Sicialano. Unfortunately, this is a meal I should have passed on only because I wasn't that hungry. On the bright side, the stray dogs on the way home had pizza. It was good - brick over pizza made to order - but my appetite still wasn't 100%. The dogs enjoyed it!

Breakfast in Pana - three sauces. The dark sauce was my favorite, a bit spicy and pungent, similar to a black bean sauce seen in Asian grocers. I have no idea what it was. I also liked the green sauce. 
Desayaño tipical - scrambled eggs (revueltos), plantains, black beans, fruit, and chorizo with butter and tortillas. It was delicious. 

My final dinner in Guatemala - 
Chinese food! Haha. Hey, I was just going wit the flow. It was a short walk from the hostel. My new friend had eaten there and said they were so nice - and they were. Even though they do not have outside searing, they made us some. 
The view before cars came.
This stuff will grow hair on your chest. I have no idea what it was but we had it on ice and then added sugar and water. 😂

A bit wet from the walk, but glad to be outside. 

Sopa mixto and noodles mixto. There was shrimp, squid, beef, chicken, pork, veggies. It's weird ordering Chinese food in Spanish, btw. 
Dumplings! Camarones! They were devoured. 

And the set up. In spite of the cars parking in front of our view, it was awesome. It was raining, cool but not cold, and just great to be outside. Not a bad way to end my travels here. 

Overall, my food experiences were average. Some things really good, some ok. My favorite might have been the Pepian my first night, but the Guatemalan pork and the last breakfast were both really good as well. I would have gotten any again given the chance. The Chinese food was really good as well. 
Thanks for reading! 

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