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Panaderia Canadiense

eG Foodblog: Panaderia Canadiense - Surf, Sand, and Sierra

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radtek   

Hi!

This has been an awesome pictorial. You have me drooling with the Arepa con Camarones Hoga'o! Shoot I'm due for a walkabout. Ecuador looks totally cool.

BTW a trick to bagels is to add add about a tsp or so of sodium hydroxide (lye) to the boiling solution. This creates that wonderful golden brown crust.

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Radtek, have you tried the lye with doughs high in non wheat grains? I will, of course, but it would be interesting to know if it has the same effect on lower gluten preparations.....

The Arepa Hogao is actually Colombian food with an Ecuadorian twist (and it is fairly common style of fusion here). It is also very easy to make at home. Once I get back to semicivilized Quito, I will borrow my friend`s fusion cookbook and find the recipe for the Hogao sauce.

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PanCan: I just caught up with your adventures and I am enthralled.

I love the tropical bus Bingo! I wish we had thought of that when our boys were younger.

I want that Pulpo en Salsa Mani

Coincidentally, I recently met an old acquaintance who has been running a shrimp farm in Ecuador for the past few years.

More seafood! :smile:

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Shelby   

Every update is amazing. I love the boobie birds--the baby is so fuzzy and cute! And the Salsa de Mariscos--I wish I could stick my face in the computer and have a few bites.

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tikidoc   

Radtek, have you tried the lye with doughs high in non wheat grains? I will, of course, but it would be interesting to know if it has the same effect on lower gluten preparations....

I make my bagels with 25% Kamut (Khorasan wheat), so a non-traditional grain, and I still get great browning using lye.

Loving your blog. I have spent a little time in Ecuador (as well as several other places in Central and South America) and lived in Panama for a year, so I'm getting the travel bug reading your blog.

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JTravel   

I want shrimp, by the water, on an arepa> I love this. Amazed at the quality and variety of the food....and it's interesting about the dishes. Would an "only English" speaker be able to find and buy such things....following your rules of course?

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radtek   

Radtek, have you tried the lye with doughs high in non wheat grains? I will, of course, but it would be interesting to know if it has the same effect on lower gluten preparations....

I make my bagels with 25% Kamut (Khorasan wheat), so a non-traditional grain, and I still get great browning using lye.

Loving your blog. I have spent a little time in Ecuador (as well as several other places in Central and South America) and lived in Panama for a year, so I'm getting the travel bug reading your blog.

I believe it to be the starch reacting with the lye that causes it to gelatinize and turn color, which becomes a nice golden brown while baking- almost like a pretzl.

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Hi folks! No, I didn't fall off a cliff on my way back up to Quito, but it was the bus ride from hell (12 hours, the last three of which on twisty mountain roads in peasouper mist, and the driver didn't want to stop anywhere for bathroom breaks, and in fact wouldn't until all of the women in the bus threatened to pee on his seats...) Yesterday was reserved for the world's largest indigenous market, and I left before internet cafes opened and returned after they had all closed. I have megaupdates coming your way.

I want shrimp, by the water, on an arepa> I love this. Amazed at the quality and variety of the food....and it's interesting about the dishes. Would an "only English" speaker be able to find and buy such things....following your rules of course?

Depends on where in the country you choose to travel. Beach places, like Puerto López, tend to have a high percentage of multilingual people living and working there - the restaurant where I had the shrimp arepa, for example, is owned by a Colombian-Ecuadorian couple who also speak English, French, German, and ISL. However, the place in the market where I went for 6 am coffee? That's Spanish only, since it's not somewhere that a tourist is normally likely to venture. Since I'm not really a tourist, I knew to look for it, but anybody who's just vacationing would never have even thought to go to a market comedor. Highland and jungle places, outside of major cities, are less likely to have English speakers in them.

However, almost the first vocabulary that any decent traveller in a foreign country accumulates (apart from please, thank you, and pardon me) is to do with food, so it's not really all that difficult even in areas where a little English isn't spoken. I learned basic Spanish by hanging out in farmers' markets in small towns in the south of the country, and asking ¿Qué es esto? (what's that?) You figure out pretty quickly what you like and don't like, and for the first while I kept a little list in my pocket with translations of most of the more common foods, so that I could figure out menus quickly. If you like shrimp, for example, you'll learn pretty quickly that they're the camarones on the menu. What took me the longest was figuring out the difference between Langostinas and Langosto (crayfish and lobster, respectively) as the seasons for both are relatively short and even if they're on the menu, they're not necessarily in the kitchen....

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Update time, part 1: Bus trip from Hell, to Quito. This was a second opportunity for two things (besides a roadsore tush and a serious nap deficit): bus food, and bus bingo. I won the bingo, and in keeping with this blog's theme of not eating the same things twice (I omit coffee from this, of course) here's the haul.

Pretrip, it was back to the comedor for a last cup of coffee. We got there before the fishermen, so I can actually show you the establishment. It's three plastic tables, about 18 lawn chairs, and a cooking nook.

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For breakfast, a Tres Leches purchased from the bakery across from the bus stop. This was a fabulous example of the dessert - a piece of Brazo Gitano (a rolled cake but in this case with a condensed milk filling) bathed in vanilla cream, with whipped coconut cream on top. It was cold and very fresh, an disappeared promptly.

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This was followed by a tub of Milk Fudge from the bus station in Portoviejo - not technically bus food but rather bus station food, but who's counting? This stuff is marvelous - all the flavour of gooey manjar de leche, all of the texture of smooth, creamy fudge. And I'm also going to show you the stand I bought it from, which was stocked with all manner of milk-based confections. Portoviejo is in coastal cattle country, and the main breed are Brahma cattle; the sweets available to me here remind me strongly of Indian gulabi.

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Next up, a scary empanada from, I think, somwhere near El Carmen. This was an ill-advised purchase, really - I was very hungry and they smelled lovely. However, it was filled with some sort of... well.... how do I describe it? Nondescript goo? Plantain, or tapioca, or what? I'm not even sure I want to consider what it was. Oh, and some shredded chicken as well. Ugh. I finished it out of sheer morbid curiousity, as I was at the time more curious about what the goo was than I was prudent about what I was eating. In other circumstances I'd probably have chucked it out the window.

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These coconut cookies, however, were quite nice. Sort of like mildly coconutty digestives.

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And the final thing I was able to get on the bus, before the driver decided to close his doors and push onwards like a mad fiend, were in the town of Chone, and were a pair of coastal specialties: Muchines de Yuca and Corviche. The former is finely grated yuca (manioc) formed into sticks around cheese and then deep fried. The latter is plantain dough around a fishstick, also fried. The muchine (gold) was stellar, the corviche (brown) uninspiring and dry.

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We woozed into Quito at 10 pm, and the only thing open, bless its caffeinated little soul, was Coffee Tree, a 24-hour latte joint. Mochaccinos for everyone, and off to bed!

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Yesterday was a trip into the northern hemisphere (it's possible here, and yes, I stopped on the equator and stood with one foot on each side of the line - I do it every time I pass!).

Breakfast was a mochaccino and a slice of mora cheescake. Thoroughly lovely.

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And onwards and upwards to Otavalo! This town, in the province of Imbabura, hosts the world's largest indigenous market, which is at its peak on Saturdays. Despite what it may look like (it was in fact a balmy 23 C), it's winter here right now, which means that the market is primarily dedicated to alpaca products (everything from scarves and sweaters to alpaca leather slippers and rugs). In the summertime, it switches over to cotton, which is grown in the surrounding areas. The outskirts of the market are farmers' territory, although everything is sort of mixed in together. It all spans an area of about 100 square blocks. The Otavalos are an autonomous government within Ecuador, and are perhaps one of the most successful native groups in the world - all commerce here is owned by guilds of producers and goes back into the community's wellbeing. If you've ever seen Alpaca Camargo branded woolen goods up north, this is where they're made.

In the van on the way up, we ended up stopped at a traffic jam. Lovely sunny day that it was in the desert between Quito and Otavalo, enterprising souls were selling ice creams. From left to right, these are: coconut-strawberry, mora-cream, and coconut-cream.

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And here's the market at Otavalo itself. I am now kicking myself for not taking more photos for you, but we were heavily into the shopping vibe. The outskirts are an interesting blend of commerce - here dry goods are being sold right next to clothing.

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Lunch here was a hastily grabbed fast-food chicken sandwich and fries. Caravana is a locally owned franchise with (and this strikes me as slightly odd, since I'm used to the North American method of doing things) table service. The food is inexpensive, fast, and reasonably tasty, although I must say I'm not a fan of the untoasted, soggy buns.

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Dinner, however, more than made up for lunch's faults. This is one of the best things that can be eaten in Imbabura province.... Just north of the provincial capital, Ibarra, lies Lago Yaguarcocha, site of a famous battle between the Inca and the preincan Ibarra culture. It's now a destination for locals to relax and spend a pleasant afternoon; we arrived as the moon was rising over the ridge and my photos didn't turn out at all, but we were really here for the fish. The lake is an extinct volcanic crater fed by subterrenian springs, and it has been stocked with Tilapia, which grow to an enormous size in its cold, clean waters. Numerous eatieries devoted to catching and cooking these fish line the banks of the lake. Between five of us, we managed to devour three Tilapia, two of which were classed as ''small'' (they were only 25 cm long, and about as broad), and one of which was a ''medium'' (30+ cm and fat!). For reference, the inner surface of that plate is 30 cm long. The fish was lightly flour dredged and then fried in hot oil, and came to us still sizzling. On the side, you can see patacones and some fried yuca as well. The fish had been out of the lake less than 5 minutes, and it is probably the best in the world (and I've eaten a lot of tilapia in a lot of different places).

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*slurp* *burp* *yum*

Needless to say, I never visit this province without visiting the lake.

Cheers! Sunday is my mother's birthday, and we'll (with great luck) be dining at an Ecuadorian haute cuisine restaurant, so I can show you how one of the country's more famous chefs treats what you've been seeing all week. Off to reserve a table! (For the curious, the restaurant we'll be going to takes reservations in the morning for the evening's dining, and you have to make them in person.)

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Anna N   

I, too, am amazed by the sheer variety of foods available. Glad you are taking us along with you.

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And to finish off, here's Sunday. We had Helado de Paila for breakfast - what was freshest were the fruit flavours, so that's what we got: Maracuyá, Mango, and Taxo.

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Lunch was a simple affair - a big bottle of Pilsener, split four ways, and pasta carbonnara. Not much is open in Quito on Sundays, and we were thrilled to encounter a sidewalk cafe that wasn't selling seafood!

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And dinner? That was plan B. The restaurant we wanted to go to, Boca del Lobo, had a little sign on the door saying ''I'm on vacation, no sittings tonight'' so we went to El Arabe for Syrian instead. The chef, Salaama, is a good friend of the family, and he stuffed us with all manner of delicacies.

Hummus and Metabel (attacked so quickly that I didn't get an establishing shot!)

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Shislik (marinated tenderloin beef cubes over carbon)

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Chicken Special (the menu simply calls it ''unmissable'' - it certainly was!)

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Mixed lamb kebab

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Felafel

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''Oh, just bring me something tasty, please'' - ended up being an eggplant stuffed with lightly spiced ground lamb, very good!

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And the ever popular, bit of everything plate.

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Everything was delicious; I'm going to go pass out now.

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Darienne   

Go rest, my child. You deserve to after this tour de force. :smile:

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judiu   

Hope you had a good sleep! Thanks for a great trip! The seafood is magnificent, as is the scenery :smile: . Thanks again.

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Lindsey   

Thank you sooo much for this, I have loved every word and picture!

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And thank you all for coming along with me! Believe me, I'd like nothing better than to just keep travelling up the Ruta del Sol and eating seafood until I hit the city of Esmeraldas, but my bakery clients would all have heart attacks and suffer from severe cookie withdrawal symptoms if I did that....

As always, if you've got any questions about anything I ate, please feel free to ask, and if those of you who are saying you'd like to come see me are serious, the whales return to Puerto López in August and I'd be more than happy to show you around!

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heidih   

Thank you so much for the ride - I am inspired and feeling satiated just from the descriptions. I must explore the world of plantains and revisit my love affair with yucca.

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