One of my very favourite things about traveling is getting to try new and exotic foods. In fact, I’ve often said that the only reason I travel is so I can eat more than usual in an attempt to gain a better “cultural understanding” of the places I’m visiting. It seems to me that there’s no where better to see how local people really live than to abandon the touristy restaurants and to squeeze yourself in beside them at their neighbourhood bar.
And, conveniently, Andy agrees. In fact, when scouring far-flung neighborhoods for the very best sushi / confit de canard / tapas, Andy is the ideal partner in crime. So, when our very chatty cab-driver, Javier, started telling us about Ecuadorian specialities that we should make sure to sample, we were all ears. Which is interesting, because ear is one of the very few meats I wasn’t served today.
The thing is, when we’re traveling, Andy ALWAYS gets better food than I do. This is mostly because he’s smarter than I am. When a local person tells him, “You must try the seco de gallina, it’s a classic!”, then Andy orders the seco de gallina. On the other hand, I get over-excited about the idea of discovering some wild and delicious new food and I end up ordering items that are a total mystery. Food whose names I cannot even pronounce. And so, Andy ends up with a plate full of fluffy rice, soft cooked potatoes, freshly boiled chicken, spicy sauce and sliced tomato and avocado. And I end up with a bowl of cow-foot soup.
This is not an exaggeration. This happened at breakfast this morning. Luckily, my cow foot soup was really very tasty if you ate AROUND the cow’s foot, but still. Ordering caldo de pata meant that there was a cow’s foot in my breakfast. Meanwhile, Andy was feasting on seco de gallina, the aforementioned rice and potatoes and chicken with fresh vegetables and a spicy salsa. So not fair.
And, the thing is… I never learn my lesson. Javier told us that the best thing to have for lunch was corvina con arroz y ceviche, a huge, fresh fillet of sea bass that’s fried and served with flavoured rice and a spicy, soupy mix of fresh vegetables and small pieces of lightly cooked sea bass and shrimp. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? I’m sure it was. That was Andy’s lunch. I got creative… again. I ended up with a plate of potatoes, rice and what I’m pretty sure was tripe (cow’s stomach) but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. Whatever it was had the consistency of meaty bubblegum. It was tragic.
Will I ever learn my lesson? Probably not. Will I go hungry as a result? Definitely not. I just steal bites from my muy inteligente husband!