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10 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Joys of eating locally

Caribe Heladeria and Café

Busy lunchtime at the Caribe

We’ve seen plenty of  fast-food outlets across Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, but Poor John and I have a policy to avoid them. Every now and then we end up at a food court—when the truck stops at a shopping mall—but even then we avoid the big names.

Our favourites are the little holes-in-the-wall or the restaurants that look like they have been there forever. We also try to find a place that’s a few streets away from the main tourist crush. As Poor John says, tourist traps only need to get your custom once, but the best places need to have their hometown customers keep coming back for more. Plus we think it’s good to support small small businesses.

We found a real gem on a busy corner in downtown Quito. The Caribe Heladeria and Café has been going since 1950 and I bet the decor hasn’t been changed since they opened for business.


Baked chicken empanada

The place was packed with locals rather than tourists—we had to scout for a table. The narrow upstairs looked promising, so we climbed the wrought iron spiral staircase and waited at the top until a group of lingering customers decided it was time to surrender their booth.

Before we went upstairs, we ordered a couple of baked chicken empanadas (every other choice was already sold out) that were delivered to our table shortly after they’d been reheated. They were delicious, but I wished there’d been a dipping sauce to go with it. Guess I need to remember to order ‘salsa’ in future.

Ice creams

Blackberry, orange, rum and raisin, and chocolate

Given that we’d walked all over town that morning, Poor John and I figured our waistlines could also afford to take advantage of the Caribe’s heladeria (ice creamery). Two cones with four different flavours of ice cream cost less than $3. Poor John picked the two best flaovurs—blackberry and orange. He shared—but only just!

P.S. We’re pleased to report that our travelling companions on this truck aren’t all that interested in fast food either.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise Scrivener / Oct 10 2012 5:06 pm

    Hehe, if your travelling companions WERE interested in fast-food, they wouldn’t be on the truck at all!


    • leggypeggy / Oct 10 2012 10:21 pm

      Some of our previous travelling companions have made a beeline for the fast-food chains when we get near them, but have managed in-between stops.


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