Cuenca Ecuador Day In The Life + Lunch at Origami Sushi Cuenca (Episode 91)

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We’re back to business as usual with this Cuenca Ecuador Day In The Life video. Several people have asked us about organic or natural stores here in Cuenca, so we show you two of them in this video. Plus, we had some delicious vegan sushi for lunch at Origami.

As a reminder, we’re leaving for Amsterdam and India in a few days so our posting schedule will be a bit erratic. Please sign up for our newsletter and I’ll do my best to let you know when we’re going to post our next video.

La Chakra Mercado Natural

Our first stop was at La Chakra Mercado Natural on Doce de Abril near La Universidad de Cuenca and next to Samsara Yoga. They have all sorts of natural food and beauty products. They also have a La Chakra Facebook Page.

La Chakra Cuenca

We bought a bag of organic, locally sourced maca powder that we put in our breakfast oats. We also bought a protein snack bar from Panda Cakes Cuenca. My vegan rock climbing friend, Pietro, makes those and sells them in natural stores around Cuenca. Amelia also bought some cruelty free natural deodorant, which is quite a bit more expensive in Ecuador than back in the states.

La Chakra Snack Bar

Museo Del Sombrero

Our second stop was at Museo Del Sombrero to get my hat repaired. It got really wet while Stephen was rock climbing, which caused the band to come loose. We love our panama hats and it’s really nice that they keep them maintained for free.

Museo Del Sombrero

Amelia and I tried on several hats while we waited just for fun.

Museo Del Sombrero Cuenca Amelia Hat

Museo Del Sombrero Cuenca JP Hat

We also went upstairs for a cup of coffee and beautiful views of Cuenca.

Museo Del Sombrero Coffee Shop

Museo Del Sombrero Cuenca View

La Primavera Cuenca

There are several La Primavera stores around Cuenca. They carry a variety of health foods, like protein powders, nuts, seeds, vitamins, etc.

La Primavera Cuenca El Centro

Our friends Jimmy and Sharon told us the one on Mariano Cueva y Calle Gran Colombia sold Mate de Coca or Té de Coca, which helps with altitude sickness.

La Primavera Cuenca El Centro Map

Sometimes I get a little light headed and short of breath when the weather changes, and this tea helps alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, they were out of the tea so we’ll have to try someplace else.

Mate de Coca

Origami Japanese Kitchen and Sushi Bar Cuenca

We like going to Origami Sushi in Cuenca because they have a lot of vegan options and it’s far less expensive than Noe Sushi. Origami is located on Calle Larga y Mariano Cueva. They have a tiny storefront that’s easy to miss. Just look for the Origami sign on the door.

Origami Sushi Cuenca Door

They have an entire page dedicated to vegetarian (it’s actually vegan) sushi rolls and options. Plus, their Miso Soup is also vegan and they don’t use oil in any of the rolls or the soup.

Origami Sushi Cuenca Miso Soup

We ordered the Yasai Combination plus a Mango Roll.

Origami Sushi Cuenca Yasai Combo

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Dos Cumpleaños + Salsa en Cuenca (Episode 87)

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We had a busy Tuesday with two birthday parties and my friend Stephen’s arrival from the states. On Thursday, we went to Café Libre for dinner and then Salsa Dancing at Verde Pintón y Maduro.

Be sure to check out our next video. Stephen does some crazy adventure sports here in Cuenca that Amelia and I would never do!

Abin’s Birthday Party at Namaste India

We’re leaving for India in a couple weeks to attend Chinnu and Abin’s wedding, but today was Abin’s special day! He turned 30 years old and we celebrated with him at Namaste India.

Abin Bday

It’s a tradition in India to celebrate birthdays at midnight on the “morning” of the actual birthday so we left home around 11:15 PM to walk down to El Centro. It’s also tradition to smear cake all over the face of the birthday boy or girl.

Abin Cake Face

In addition to cake, they made lots of delicious Indian food for the party. They’re so thoughtful – they made several vegan dishes that everyone enjoyed.

Abin Bday Feast

Stephen’s Arrival from the States

That afternoon, my old friend Stephen arrived from the States and he stayed with us for several days. Our next video will feature his wild and crazy antics. He took a buseta from Guayaquil with Operazuaytur for $12.

Stephen Arrival

Olesya’s Birthday Party

It was also Olesya’s 30th birthday on the same day as Abin’s! We have two friends born on exactly the same day: one in Russia and one in Southern India! What a small world!

Olesya

Olesya stays with an Ecuadorian family who was happy to host her birthday party and welcome us into their home.

Olesya Bday Party

You may remember Olesya from our Food With Friends video or her Yoga in the Park video.

Dinner at Café Libre

On Thursday, we went to Café Libre for dinner with Stephen before going salsa dancing. As always, the food was AMAZING!

I had La Especial de la Semana (the special of the week), which was pasta in a cashew cream sauce covered in veggies with a side salad.

Cafe Libre Especial

Amelia had the Raw Lasagna with a side salad.

Cafe Libre Raw Lasagna

And Stephen had the Jack ‘n Jack Gua Bao. YUM!

Cafe Libre Gua Bao

Salsa at Verde Pintón y Maduro

After we ate dinner at Café Libre, we walked a few blocks over to Verde Pintón y Maduro for some Salsa Dancing. Amelia and I didn’t dance but we’ve decided to take some lessons when we get back from India. Stephen loves Salsa so we mainly went for him, but we thoroughly enjoyed watching all the incredible dancing!

Stephen Dancing

They dance several different styles of Salsa here in Ecuador: Kizomba, Regular Salsa, Cha Cha and Bachata. I couldn’t tell  you the difference, but they’re all very beautiful styles.

The venue had a $3 drink minimum, and the drinks ranged from $5 to $8 so the minimum was easy to hit. We spent about $35 on 5 drinks.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Day In The Life + Vegan Lunch at YuraVeg & Shopping at Sukasa (Episode 84)

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Let us know if you’d like to see more of these Day In The Life videos. They’re a lot of work to film and edit, but we really enjoy making them.

In this video, we walked over to YuraVeg for vegan lunch and then on to Gringolandia and Sukasa. We hope you enjoy the beautiful scenery and the interesting people we see along the way.

Amelia’s Bruises

I wanted to get this out of the way first! No, I’m not abusing Amelia! She started taking pole fitness classes again at Samsara Pole & Yoga, which gives her bruises from head to toe, but especially on her arms and thighs. We’ve already had some friends comment about them. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Amelia is a total kid-at-heart. She loves to play, even if it gives her bruises 😂

Amelia Bruise

Vegan Lunch at YuraVeg

Our friend Olesya recommended YuraVeg for some delicious, low/no-oil vegan food so we decided to give it a try. It’s about a 25 minute walk from our house in the Sucre neighborhood near Loja y Remigio Crespo Toral.

YuraVeg is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant so be sure to tell them no queso, no huevo y no mantequilla.

YuraVeg Sign

We had the Arepas Veganas, and they were AMAZING! For $5 per plate, we each got two arepas with 4 different sauces. Yum! We will DEFINITELY be adding this place to our regular rotation!

YuraVeg Arepas

Helado Vegano en Fratello (Vegan Ice Cream at Fratello)

It seems that a day in our life wouldn’t be complete without some helado vegano en Fratello! Clocking over 20,000 steps (that’s 10 miles) really works up an appetite! Although we don’t need an excuse to eat Rene’s delicious vegan ice cream 😋

I had the helado fruta rojas and Amelia had the helado chocolate, as per usual.

Helado Vegano 1

Helado Vegano 2

Shopping at Sukasa Cuenca

We were hoping to film inside Sukasa, but the guard at the front door said they have a store policy against it. I told him it would be promoción gratis (free advertising), but he said it wasn’t his call. El gerente (the manager) makes that call. Oh well. Their loss.

Sukasa

We did find the queen-size mattress cover Amelia was looking for. The price on the package was $28, but it rang up en venta (on sale) for $18. What a bargain!

Believe it or not, that’s not to protect the mattress from me. I rarely sweat. Amelia, on-the-other-hand, is experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. She’s only 50, but her mom also went through this phase of life early.

Sukasa Mattress Cover

Sukasa is located in the same stripmall next to the Supermaxi in Gringolandia.

Supermaxi Gringolandia

Cuenca is a Big Little City

Every time we leave the house, we bump into someone we know. That RARELY happened in Denver. That’s one thing we love about Cuenca: it has all the amenities of a larger city, but it still has a small city feel.

Pam (on the left) and her husband were the previous renters of our house. Amelia met Susan doing Belly Dance at The Tribal Fusion House.

Pam & Susan

Samara and Samantha are Xavier’s wife and daughter. You met Xavier in our Apartamentos Otorongo video.

Samara y Samantha

Watch Where You’re Walking!

Ecuador is not a safety minded country. They follow the Jeff Foxworthy philosophy of “Let ’em break a bone! They’ll learn!”

There aren’t a lot of handrails in Ecuador and the sidewalks are a walking hazard. You ALWAYS have to pay attention when you’re walking.

These post holes were on a relatively new sidewalk in Gringolandia near Sukasa. You could break your leg or ankle if you stepped in one of these!

Holes

The retaining walls on the sides of bridges rarely have rails, so you could easily step off one of them and fall 15 or 20 feet, sometimes into a raging river.

Tomebamba Bridge

Other Stuff from the Video

Dog Wash

You may have noticed the Dog Wash in our video. It’s located on Calle Federico Proaño, La Salle 2-21. We took Daisy there a couple times before Jessica at Maxi’s Pet Care started offering grooming services. We were very happy with Daisy’s bath and it was very affordable. The sign says a wash starts at $6, but that’s for small dogs. I believe Daisy was $10.

Dog Wash Cuenca

Cuenca’s Bike Lanes

One of our regular viewers asked us about bike lanes in Cuenca. You’ll notice a LOT of them in this video. Cuenca has been adding them throughout the city for several years as part of a health and environmental awareness campaign.

Cuenca Bike Lanes

Pacha Kuna Organic Market

Pacha Kuna is an organic market located next door to YuraVeg. It’s closed on the weekend so we’ll have to go back another day to give you the full tour.

Pacha Kuna

Chakana Coworking

Coworking spaces are very popular here. Chakana Coworking is located in the same building as YuraVeg and Pacha Kuna. Ecuador is a bit behind the technological curve, but they’re working hard to catch up and I’m guessing coworking places like this are helping.

Chakana Coworking

Cuenca Fashion

We video a lot of clothing storefronts to show that Cuenca and South America is a modern city with modern fashion. Weddings are also a huge thing here, so there are lots of bridal shops. I can’t find a website for this one, which is common in Ecuador. Most places at least have a Facebook page, but I couldn’t find one of those either.

AD Bridal Cuenca

Street Performers

Most major intersections in Cuenca have entertaining street performers. You’ll see everything from guitar players to firebreathers to jugglers with clown noses. And they’re extremely talented!

Juggler

Juggler 2

First Tranvía Sighting

We don’t live near the new Tranvía rail system here in Cuenca so we haven’t filmed it in operation until recording this video. We’ll take a ride on it at some point to give you the full experience.

Cuenca Tranvía

Gas Truck Sighting

We’ve talked about the gas trucks in a few of our videos, but we were able to record part of the song today. If you’re curious about the song lyrics, I spent several hours one day translating them: Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics & English Translation.

Gas Truck

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Museum of Modern Art in San Sebas + Marc’s Consignments Tour (Episode 77)

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This day in the life video is a walking tour of the San Sebas (or San Sebastian) area of Cuenca Ecuador.

Marc’s Consignments Cuenca

Our first stop was at Marc’s Consignments. One of our very first subscribers, Marla, will be moving here to Cuenca in June and she requested a tour of one of the consignment stores.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca

Marc’s Consignments is located in the San Sebas area of Cuenca just a couple blocks from San Sebas plaza. In addition to brokering furniture sales, they can also help with relocation services. And if you need something special that they don’t have, they can find it for you. Their stock rotates about every 2 months and they get new items every week so check back often.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca Store

There are two other consignment stores that we know about that are popular with gringos: Cuenca Consignments and JD Muebles. We’ve never been to Cuenca Consignments, but JD Muebles is very similar to Marc’s Consignments.

San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

One of the prettiest, old-world plazas in Cuenca has to be San Sebas Plaza. Locals and gringos alike are often seen relaxing near the fountain, surrounded by flower gardens. Café San Sebas is popular gringo hangout with a nice patio and views of the plaza and the Museum of Modern Art.

San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

Cuenca Museum of Modern Art – Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno de Cuenca

We’ve been to Cuenca’s Museum of Modern Art several times. It’s a beautiful, quite and relaxing art museum with several colorful gardens.

 Museum of Modern Art Cuenca

Museum of Modern Art Garden

However, on this day, there weren’t any art exhibits. The museum is in the process of doing a comprehensive renovation so none of the art was on display except for the outdoor sculptures. We still enjoyed ourselves none-the-less.

Pho Vietnamita Restaurant

After we left the museum, we walked a couple blocks to Pho Vietnamita for lunch. As far as we know, this is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Cuenca, and it’s muy delicioso.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Sign

We met Rick, the head chef and owner, during our Visa process. We rode to Machala together to file our paperwork soon after we arrived in Cuenca.

Pho Vietnamita Rick

Rick made us some delicious vegan rice paper spring rolls as an appetizer.

Pho Vietnamita Vegan Spring Roll

We ordered the Vegetarian Pho, which is actually vegan, for our main course. The Vegetarian Ramen uses egg noodles, so it’s not vegan. The Pho bowl was very flavorful and filling.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Bowl

INTI-RAYMI Galeria

After we left Rick’s place, we walked down Simón Bolivar toward Parque Calderon. If you’re in the market for unique furniture and home decor, the INTI-RAYMI Galeria might have what you’re looking for. They have more furniture on the upper level so be sure to check that out, too.

Home Decor Store

The Cuenca Flower Market

A walk through El Centro wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Cuenca’s world famous Flower Market.

Cuenca Flower Market

Cuenca Flower Market Lilly

Fogón del Zorro Peruvian Restaurant

After we left the flower market, a dark cloud appeared from out of nowhere (as they often do here in Cuenca) and the sky opened up. We stepped inside Fogón del Zorro just as it started pouring rain. They do have a few options on the menu for us vegans, but since we had already eaten, we just ordered a delicious Peruvian beer to sip while we waited out the storm.

Fogon del Zorro Beer

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Is It Easy to Be Vegan in Cuenca Ecuador? (Episode 76)

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A few of our viewers have asked us, “Is it easy to be vegan in Cuenca Ecuador?” So we thought we’d record a video discussing this topic. We think it’s VERY easy to be vegan in Cuenca, and here are our top 7 reasons why: 😎

#1 Colorful Mercados

Mercado 27 de Febrero Organic Market Cuenca Ecuador

The mercados in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador are like vegan candy stores. They’re loaded with all the colorful fruits and veggies that we love to eat, and they’re extremely affordable. We spend about $20/week on produce at the mercados, which used to cost us around $100/week back in the states for lower quality, less flavorful fruits and veggies.

#2 Vegan & Vegan-friendly Restaurants

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

When we first arrived in Cuenca, Fratello Vegan was the only fully vegan restaurant. Now we also have Café Libre and Zatua Miski, plus several vegetarian restaurants. Plus, nearly every non-vegan restaurant has a vegan and/or vegetarian section on the menu. It’s SUPER easy to eat out as vegans in Cuenca.

Here’s our list of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

The best vegan-friendly restaurants in Cuenca Ecuador:

Plus the vegetarian restaurants we haven’t tried yet:

#3 No Negative Vegan Stigma

Unlike in the states, people here haven’t been brainwashed by animal ag for the past 100 years to think that animal products are healthy. No Ecuadorian has asked us where we get our protein or if we get enough to eat. The attitude here is that a vegan diet is healthy. A common response we hear when we say we’re vegan is, “That’s great. I need to eat healthier, too.”

All of our doctors (GP, neurosurgeon, physical therapist, OBGYN) know that a plant-based diet is healthy. My GP asked if I’m taking B12, which should be recommended for everyone, not just vegans. And he tested my calcium levels, which are in the normal range. Our doctors didn’t say anything negative or derogatory about the vegan plant-based diet and they weren’t at all concerned about our health from eating it.

The traditional Ecuadorian diet is a starch-based diet. They eat lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, rice and potatoes, while meat, dairy and eggs are used as a garnish. Animal products have not traditionally been the central component of meals, although that has been changing over the past 10 years as the country becomes wealthier.

And guess what… Along with the increase in consumption of animal products and processed foods, we’re also seeing an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all the other preventable western diseases of affluence. It’s a very sad development here.

#4 Vegan Skin Care in Cuenca Ecuador

Vegan Skin Care Cuenca

You may have seen our earlier video on Vegan Skin Care here in Cuenca, featuring our fellow vegan friend, Dr. Rosy. In addition to Rosy’s skin care treatments, there are also several stores that sell vegan and cruelty free beauty products. One that’s very close to our house is called Annoa. The husband designs and makes the products, and his wife runs the store.

#5 Volunteer at Dog Rescues

Dog Rescue Cuenca

We featured Los Amigos de Manolo in another video, but there are at least two other dog rescues in Cuenca Ecuador and they all welcome volunteers and donations. If you’re really ambitious, we could use a farm animal rescue here!

#6 Growing Vegan Community

Group End 1 Cube of Truth Cuenca Ecuador

When we first moved here, Rosy was the only vegan we knew. Since then, we’ve met more long-term vegans from Ecuador, as well as new vegans and vegans from other parts of the world. We’re excited to see the vegan community growing here, and we’re hoping to grow it even more.

#7 Vegan Activism

Cube of Truth 3 Cuenca Ecuador

We conduct Anonymous for the Voiceless Cube of Truth peaceful street activism events on a semi-regular basis so if you’re interested in activism, Cuenca has those opportunities for you, as well. There are also slaughterhouse vigils and movie showings. Rosy showed Okja at Fratello and she’s planning a showing of Dominion en La Universidad de Cuenca.

If you have any questions about vegan products or services here in Cuenca, or anything relating to living as vegans in Cuenca, please let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

1 Day In Our Life During Carnaval 2019 in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 75)

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Another beautiful, tranquilo Sunday in Cuenca Ecuador and another Day In Our Life video. We logged over 24,000 steps walking around Cuenca, and we share many of those steps with you.

We started the day with a long walk around our vecino (neighborhood) de El Vergel. Daisy even made a couple of friends along the way.

Daisy

It’s Carnaval here in Cuenca, which means you need to watch out for water balloons and spray foam. It’s tradition to get people wet by any means possible during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. We barely missed getting hit by two water balloons thrown from a moving car on our way home from Supermaxi on Friday. The threat is real, people.

Carnaval Foam

You may be wondering if we have recipes for the dishes we ate in the video, but we don’t yet. We’ll post them to LottaVeg.com as soon as we finalize and enter them. They were all delicious, but the spicy choclo (Peruvian field corn) that we put on our salad was my favorite.

Quinoa Barley Breakfast

Quinoa Barley Breakfast

Salad with Spicy Chocolo

Salad with Spicy Choclo

Teriyaki Seitan

Teriyaki Seitan

We stopped in for jugos at Café de Alicia next door to the Old Cathedral in Cuenca’s El Centro. Amelia had a jugo de guanabana and I had a jugo de mango. They were both delicious and only cost $1.70 each. In the states, an orange juice that size would easily cost $4, and good luck finding guanabana or mango juice.

Café de Alicia

Amelia loves being physically active. She does yoga almost everyday, as well as belly dancing and pole fitness. That’s on top of our 10,000 steps on an average day. That’s why I call her my little hummingbird. She’s always fluttering around doing something.

Since Fratello was closed for the holiday, we ate lunch at home and decided to go to Namaste India for dinner. While we were there, Chinnu taught us some words in her native language of Malayalam. She grew up on the southern tip of India in a rural fishing village so Hindi isn’t her native language. That has to be one of the hardest languages to learn. It’s all vowels and the words go on for miles!

This is what “nice to meet you” looks like in Malayalam: നിന്നെ കാണാനായതിൽ സന്തോഷം. And here is the phonetic pronunciation: ninne kāṇānāyatil santēāṣaṁ. Good luck with that!

We had such an amazing day here in Cuenca during Carnaval! And we’re excited to share it with you! Just remember, if you’re ever in Cuenca during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, stay on the lookout for water balloons because they may contain more than just water. 😬

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

San Francisco Plaza Cuenca + Old Cathedral Tour + Vegan Lunch at Funky Sauce Cuenca (Episode 70)

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This was our day of firsts. It was the first time we visited the newly renovated San Francisco Plaza here in Cuenca Ecuador. It was the first time we toured the Old Cathedral art museum. And it was our first time having lunch at Funky Sauce, a new vegan and vegetarian restaurant here in Cuenca on the corner of 3 de Noviembre y Benigno Malo by the Tomebamba River.

San Francisco Plaza in Cuenca, Ecuador

The San Francisco Plaza here in Cuenca has been closed for renovation for well over a year. When we visited Cuenca on our exploratory trip in early 2017, we bought a few things from the pre-renovated plaza. It was super crowded and kind of dirty. Now it’s a wonderful place to hang out with friends, let your kids play in the fountain or shop for clothes and souvenirs against a backdrop of the iconic blue domes of the New Cathedral.

San Francisco Plaza Cuenca

Some people have complained that the merchandise is mostly cheap Chinese imports. While there is a lot of that, there are also some handmade Ecuadorian clothes and knick-knacks. You can’t make everyone happy, especially cranky gringos.

The Old Cathedral Tour in Cuenca, Ecuador

After wandering around San Francisco Plaza for awhile, we ventured over to The Old Cathedral Museum of Religious Art. We weren’t sure they would allow us to film inside since some of the older cathedrals in Quito don’t allow photography. However, I asked the lady at the front desk, “¿Puedo filmar?” (Can I film?) and she said, “Sí. Claro.” (Yes. Of course.) So we went in.

The Old Cathedral Cuenca

We were very impressed with The Old Cathedral Museum of Religious Art. The cathedral was built in 1573 making it almost 450 years old. Several of the murals in the cathedral have been restored after being painted over with industrial paint. How could ANYONE think that painting over 400+ year old murals was a good idea?! It’s mind boggling!

The Old Cathedral Cuenca Mural

We avoided the museum because we thought it might have graphic religious art like some of the cathedrals we visited in Quito, but we were pleasantly surprised. For the most part, it was just a lot of really old paintings and a nice photography display showing old pictures of Cuenca. If you haven’t been inside the Old Cathedral in Cuenca yet, it’s worth the $2 price of admission.

Vegan Lunch at el Funky Sauce Cuenca

After touring the Old Cathedral for over an hour, we walked back to el Funky Sauce for lunch. It’s a relatively new vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Cuenca that we hadn’t tried yet.

Funky Sauce Sign

The atmosphere is adorable and the people are super friendly. We had a nice relaxing lunch with classic rock on the stereo and the sounds of the Tomebamba in the background as a gentle breeze flowed through the open windows.

Funky Sauce Amelia

Since it’s a vegetarian place, some of the menu items have queso (cheese), huevos (eggs) and leche (cow’s milk), but they also have several vegan options. Be sure to tell them you’re “todo vegano” and they’ll show you the vegan items on the menu. They also have free Wifi, as do most restaurants in Cuenca.

Amelia had the Quinoa Burger with a side salad and a cup of Americano coffee. It looked delicious, but she didn’t let me taste it. Didn’t even offer! And she had SEVERAL bites of MY lunch!

Funky Sauce Quinoa Burger

I ordered the Vegan Pesto Penne Pasta dish and boy was it delicious. The pesto was made with nueces (nuts) instead of parmesan cheese. It was also made with olive oil, which I generally don’t eat. Most of the time, I ask restaurants to cook without oil, but we were so excited to try a vegan pesto that we didn’t think about the oil, which is a major ingredient in pesto. Next time I’ll ask if they have anything “sin aceite” (without oil).

Funky Sauce Pesto

They also brought us out a complimentary waffle that was made with oat flour and bananas. It was so moist and delicious that we ate it plain without anything on it!

Funky Sauce Waffles

We’ll definitely be returning to el Funky Sauce for bebidas y comida (drinks and food). It was super relaxing with great service and delicious food. It would be a great place to meet friends for drinks.

We really enjoyed our day of firsts and hopefully you did, too. If you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Valentine’s Day in Cuenca 2019 + Aphrodisiac Dinner at Café Libre (Episode 68)

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Cuenca Ecuador!!!

Our friends Jimmy and Sharon who recently moved to Cuenca from the US requested a Valentine’s Day video and we were happy to oblige.

I was going to make it a surprise, but I decided against it because that’s not really who we are. We’re very practical people and I would rather have Amelia pick out her favorite flowers and chocolates instead of trying to guess what she wants. And she chose flowers and chocolates that I would have never bought, so everything worked out.

We also had a very special Valentine’s Day Dinner at Café Libre in Cuenca. This was an experience we’ll remember for the rest of our lives!

The Cuenca Flower Market on Valentine’s Day 2019

The Cuenca Flower Market was PACKED with people and flowers on Valentine’s Day 2019. The explosion of colors was truly amazing and beautiful.

Cuenca Flower Market

Amelia bought some maroon lilies and white margaritas. We had never seen maroon lilies before so that’s what Amelia wanted. The margaritas have such an incredibly strong and wonderful aroma and they fill our entire house.

Cuenca Flower Market Lilies

Zatua Miski for Chocolates & Snacks

We stopped at Zatua Miski for some chocolates on our way back home from the Cuenca Flower Market. We bought a box of truffles to go.

Zatua Miski Truffles

Since it was still early in the day and our Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac dinner at Café Libre didn’t start until 8PM, we decided to have a snack, as well. Amelia got a delicious cappuccino and I got a mango, maracuya and lemongrass smoothie.

Zatua Miski Drinks

Then we split a delicious fruit smoothie bowl. It was the perfect amount to last us until dinner.

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

Aphrodisiac Dinner at Café Libre

Café Libre often has special dinners by reservation only, but this was the first one we attended. And boy are we glad we did! It was one of the most amazing dinners we’ve ever had!

Everything was timed perfectly. Paul opened the doors exactly at 8PM. They had personalized place cards on the tables directing us where to sit.

Café Libre Place Card

The abreboca was delivered to the table soon after we sat down. After each course, we had just the right amount of time to let the flavors linger while we enjoyed each other’s company before the next course was delivered.

Café Libre Abreboca

Abreboca

Café Libre Tartar

Vegan Tartar

Café Libre Risotto

Vegan Risotto

Café Libre Dessert

Cacao y Sal Postre

Café Libre Verrine Dulce

Verrine Dulce

The surprise Final Energizante was a shot of Shilajit, which is an aged and fermented Himalayan moss that is believed to be an aphrodisiac. It tasted a bit like vegetable bouillon, but I can’t say for sure it had any affect on my libido. Thanks to my beautiful and intelligent companion, my libido always runs pretty high! 😁

Café Libre Shilajit

Shilajit

We forgot to mention in the video that we actually had THREE desserts! The grand finale was a couple of heart shaped bon bon’s with a gooey chocolate center. YUM!!!

Café Libre Bon Bon

ALL of the courses were decadent and delicious. Vegan risotto is one of my absolute favorite dishes and Amelia about died when she tasted the Cacao y Sal postre (dessert). Paul went to each table to explain (in Spanish and English) the ingredients, preparation and significance of each course, enhancing the experience even more.

Café Libre Toasting

Red Wine & Mojito

This was a TRULY special Valentine’s Day Dinner! Experiences like this make it hard for us to believe we live in a small city in the mountains of a small country in South America. With two glasses of wine, two mojitos, plus tip, this experience cost just $76. In the states, this would have easily cost over $200. In fact, we had a similar experience (although not nearly as special) at Planta in South Beach back in November that cost $220 with tip.

If you’re in Cuenca, Café Libre is one of the must visit restaurants.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 46)

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One of the things we love about living in Cuenca is running errands on the weekends. Instead of hopping in a car, driving through traffic and fighting for a parking space, we simply put on our walking shoes and head out to front gate. It’s common for us to log nearly 20,000 steps (that’s about 8 miles) on Saturday and/or Sunday!

In this video, we ventured down to El Centro to get some papas deliciosas (delicious potatoes) at Mercado Diez de Agosto, and some café y dátiles (coffee and dates) at a speciality store called Café Cubanito across the street from the mercado.

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador Cafe Cubanito

Cafe Cubanito 2

Then we walked down through the flower market and Parque Calderon where we saw a marching band. We’re not sure what the band was doing or if it was part of a parade, but it’s common to see things like that here. There is always something to celebrate!

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador Parade

We like Bermeo Hnos. (that’s short for Bermeo Hermanos or Bermeo Brothers) for our sporting good needs. We looked all over town for a pair of athletic shoes for me, and Bermeo was the only store to have them in my size and a color that I liked. Most of the mens shoes run very small here and the colors are very bright (think neon red, pink and yellow). I wear a men’s US size 9 so my feet aren’t that big, but apparently they are for Ecuador.

Bermeo Hnos

Bermeo Hnos Weights

On this trip, we bought some 10 pound weights for our at-home exercises and physical therapy, but we’ve also bought yoga mats, exercise bands and swimming goggles there on previous visits.

We walked right by Zatua Miski on our way home and couldn’t resist stopping by for some delicious vegan treats. Zatua Miski is an all vegan, plant-based bakery in Cuenca. Paola is the artist who creates the cookies, cakes, truffles, waffles and smoothie bowls. Her dishes are not only decadent and delicious, but true works of art. You’ll want to have your camera ready when you visit.

Zatua Miski

Zatua Miski Waffles

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Vegan Fare at Namaste India + Cuenca’s Christmas Lights (Episode 44)

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Namaste India in Cuenca Ecuador is one of our favorite places to eat. Cuenca now boasts at least 7 vegan or vegetarian restaurants and we frequent several of those, but Namaste has two full pages of vegan/vegetarian options in the very front of their menu. Plus, they cook without oil or coconut milk for me as I continue my battle with high cholesterol.

In addition to amazing Indian food, we love the atmosphere in the restaurant, the Bollywood videos on the TV and the staff! Chinnu and Abin are wonderful hosts and they make us feel like we’re part of the family. We look forward to our Sunday evening vegan dinners at Namaste every week.

One thing to note is paneer isn’t vegan. It’s some sort of tofu looking cheese. A few of their vegetable dishes have paneer so don’t order those if you want to eat vegan.

After our delicious and relaxing dinner, we went for a walk along the Tomebamba river, which is aglow with holiday cheer. We ended our walk in Otorongo Plaza, which is the location of the giant Christmas Tree of Lights.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video