Once Again, Old Town Quito

Jamie and I met up again yesterday for our monthly rendezvous in the Old Town. Normally we go down in the morning, but Jamie had a workshop so we agreed to meet at the trolley station at noon. By the time we got downtown, it was past one o’clock, so lunch was naturally the first order of the day.

There really isn’t a wide selection of “decent” restaurants to chose from in this part of town. I mean, there are a lot of little holes in the wall where you can get a tasty meal for as little as US$2, and we don’t mind doing that occasionally. But since this is our special time together, we tend to look for places where ambiance is part of the charm. Or the food has to be spectacular. Finding the right combination is not always easy. So this time we had set ourselves the challenge of trying something new. I had heard about this little place, somewhat tucked out of the way, up on the fifth floor of this old building. We found the place easily enough and when we walked in saw there was an elevator. Pushed the button, and nothing happened. Pushed again and waited for a while until we finally decided it was either out of order or simply an antique and part of the decor in the vestibule. So we headed for the stairs and up four flights. Kind of an eerie experience, as they were very dimly lit. When we finally got to the fourth floor, there was no one there. Empty tables… obviously no service.

So we headed back downstairs. As we reached the bottom floor and started to leave the building… the elevator opened! And it turned out it is just very slow, and we just needed to wait a little longer. Live and learn. Anyway. I had read mixed reviews about this place. Some people held the food was nothing to brag about, but the ambiance more than made up for it, with a 360 degree view of the city. Others thought the food was fantastic, but too little of it… and agreed about the view. Maybe when you live locally you look at things differently. As far as we could see, you only get that view of the city if you go out to the terrace and climb some rather narrow stairs to a small platform above. I didn’t get a good shot, but what you see is the elevator door, and off to the right those narrow stairs…

We did sit at a window table, however. Once again, it probably has to do with being a local, or maybe because it was a rather gray day, but I have seen better views of the city. Jamie did get a nice shot of the Basilica, though (some day we should do that tour to share here!).

The decor? A very odd and eclectic assortment of (wonderful) antiques and travel souvenirs (somebody here really {heart} NY), including some large Beatles posters at one end of the room.

The food? Very good… and abundant. We decided to share a salad, and were so glad we did. What you see here is not a plate, but a platter… enough for four!

Jamie chose the chicken lasagna, and I went with a bowl of locro – the local creamed potato soup with fresh cheese and a slice of ripe avocado. Delish!

We will definitely be bringing my brother here when he visits next time. And my mother…soon!

After lunch we headed to the Metropolitan Cultural Center – if you follow my blog you know this is a must for us once a month. Today there was a ceramic exhibit by Jorge Ortega, an Ecuadorian sculptor and artist (recently deceased). Photos were not allowed this time around, so all I can share are the pics from the promotional material. Interesting.

And then, a little shopping. Jamie needed to pick up a few supplies for her silversmithing, which was quickly done. And then we headed down to purchase some yarn… of course. We were sauntering along when, quite suddenly, we noticed a police car draw up and stop at the next intersection, quite obviously headed against traffic. When I looked back, I noticed another police car at the intersection we had just come from. We were wondering initially if there was some emergency – after all, we were only one block down from the presidential palace. Since we are still under an emergency decree and the area continues militarized, our first thought was… a riot, perhaps? We stayed in place for just a bit, in time to realize it was actually a demonstration in support of the government. Obviously, these were people from different communities. At first we thought it was from communities around the province, but then we noticed groups of people carrying signs from other provinces, as far as the coast. Wow.

We watched for a while, and then continued on to the yarn shop a couple of blocks away. Half an hour later, we jumped into a cab and headed home. As our cab came out of the Old Town we were able to glimpse the tail end of the demonstration, and just then became aware of how huge it was. The last time I saw a demonstration this large was in 2005, which ended in the president at that time being overthrown. The difference this time was that this was a show of support, and the tone was set by music and chanting. Actually quite fun to watch.

And so ended another of our downtown trips. I really do enjoy these Fridays.

This entry was posted in Life in Ecuador. |Comments closed

One Comment

  1. Leni
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    que lindo leer sobre tus “days out” con Jamie en el Quito Viejo!!!! Es como escuchar tu voz al leer las palabras escitas!!! Me da pena no poder charlar contigo…!
    No puedes responder a mis e-mails algüun de estos días?!?!?
    Te extrano aún hoy día!
    Un abrazo, también para tus hijos!