Our Trip to Atlanta Georgia in 2018 to Help the Family

We took our trip to Atlanta Georgia in 2018 to help Amelia’s family deal with some serious medical issues. We also spent a few days in South Beach Miami.

Return to Cuenca Ecuador + Tour of Quito Airport Suites Hotel + Quito & Cuenca Airports

On our return to Cuenca Ecuador from Atlanta, we stopped in South Beach Miami for a day before heading to Quito. Our plane arrived in Quito very late at night and our flight to Cuenca left at 9:30am the next morning so we stayed in the Quito Airport Suites that was about a 5 minute cab ride from the airport.

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

The last time we flew back and stayed overnight in Quito, we stayed in a completely different hotel with the same name. Tripadvisor still has the other hotel info on their site, but when you click through to view the rates, it goes to the hotel we stayed at. We’re not sure what happened, but it appears the other hotel is gone or operating under a different name. Regardless, this Quito Airport Suites was MUCH nicer and closer to the airport, our room and bathroom was very comfortable, and the grounds were beautiful!

Our only complaint was the lack of vegan options for breakfast. Most places that we’ve stayed at in Ecuador offer a large selection of fruit, bread, juice and coffee for breakfast, some even have oats, but that wasn’t the case. They only had banana and pineapple, which Amelia is allergic to. The coffee was very weak and they only had butter for the bread. We asked for marmelada (jam), but didn’t get any. The lady who works in the kitchen was very late opening it so we were in a hurry and didn’t have time to wait.

Quito Airport – Mariscal Sucre International Airport

Quito Airport Mariscal Sucre International Airport

The Quito Airport is only about 5 years old and it’s beautiful. It looks like any nice airport anywhere in the world. On this trip, they had a new process for the express bag drop that was confusing people, including the people who worked there. Plus, the band Molotov was on our airplane with all of their gear, which occupied one of the clerks for the entire time we waited in line, over 45 minutes. We almost didn’t make our flight due to the long delay checking our bags.

Molotov

Return to Cuenca Ecuador

Mariscal Lamar International Airport

Cuenca Airport Mariscal Lamar International Airport

The Cuenca Airport is very nice but very small. They don’t have gangways so you have to walk down the stairs of the plane and onto the tarmac. The baggage claim is just inside the door from the tarmac so be sure to get your luggage before leaving the baggage claim area.

Our Driver Edwin

Our Driver Edwin

We scheduled a pickup at the airport with our personal driver, Edwin. He has been driving us to and from both the Cuenca airport and the Guayaquil airport, as well as around Cuenca on occasion, for quite a while. He’s a very safe driver with a large van to carry all our luggage. If you’d like his contact info, drop us a note and we’ll email it to you.

Pet Care in Cuenca Ecuador

On our way home, Edwin drove us to get our dogs from Jessica at Maxi’s Pet Care. Jessica offers doggy daycare, long-term stay and grooming services for small dogs like our Toy Poodle, Alicia. Daisy is actually considered large in Cuenca, but Jessica made an exception for her so she could stay with her sister while we were gone. Jessica also posts pictures (like the one below) and videos of our girls on Facebook and Instagram so we can see them while we’re gone.

Maxi's Pet Care

Jessica is also involved with one of Cuenca’s dog rescues. We highly recommend all of the services she offers!

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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South Beach Miami Art Deco + Noe Sushi Quito Airport

Walking around South Beach Miami, it almost feels like you’re in a comic book world. The South Beach Miami Art Deco style looks a lot like Gotham City. It was even more beautiful at night, but we weren’t there long enough to get any good night footage. Our brief video montage really doesn’t do justice to the beautiful architecture.

South Beach Miami Art Deco

We’ve been to South Beach Miami several times on our travels between the USA and Cuenca Ecuador, but we never get tired of seeing the 1920’s era Art Deco designs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much footage as I intended due to a malfunction with my camera.

South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Senor Frogs South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Tudor Hotel South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Leslie

Miami Airport Vegan Food

The Miami Airport vegan food options are abysmal. We walked from one end of the D Terminal to the other and found only a couple of truly vegan options, none of them healthy.

Shula’s has a veggie burger, but it isn’t even close to vegan. The manager was kind enough to get the package for us and it has cheese and milk. There is a Mexican restaurant with the obligatory “Rice & Beans” vegan plate, but we opted for the Impossible Burger at the Corona Beach House restaurant again. That was before we finished walking to the other end of the terminal where we found a TGI Friday’s that had a Beyond Burger.

NOE Sushi Bar in the Quito Airport

The Quito Airport is actually more vegan friendly than Miami and Guayaquil because they have a NOE Sushi Bar with several vegan options. We got miso soup, a veggie roll and a Japanese veggie pasta dish with mushrooms.

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Miso Soup

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Roll

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Noodles

Be sure to tell them you’re vegan and list the things you don’t eat in Spanish:

  • somos veganos – we’re vegan
  • soy vegano – I’m vegan
  • no queso – no cheese
  • no crema – no cream
  • no huevos – no eggs
  • no carne – no meat
  • no pollo – no chicken
  • no pescado – no fish
  • no salsa de pescado – no fish sauce

Sometimes we say “sin” (without) instead of “no” but that often seems to confuse people so we find it’s easier to say “no carne” to minimize confusion.

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

Since our flight from Miami arrived very late and our flight to Cuenca wasn’t until the next morning, we stayed in the Quito Airport Suites Hotel overnight. Our large room cost $35 and it came with breakfast, although as you’ll see in the next video, it wasn’t very vegan friendly. You’ll also see how beautiful the grounds are in the next video.

See More: Return to Cuenca Ecuador + Tour of Quito Airport Suites Hotel + Quito & Cuenca Airports (Episode 43)Atlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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South Beach Miami Day On The Beach + Lunch at Plant Theory & Dinner at Full Bloom

We spent a day in South Beach Miami on our way back to Cuenca Ecuador. In this video, we spent a lazy day on the beach, and had a delicious lunch at Plant Theory and a decadent dinner at Full Bloom. On the first night when we arrived in South Beach from Atlanta, we ate at Planta South Beach and it was amazing!

South Beach Miami Beach Day

We always enjoy a relaxing day on the beach when we stay in South Beach Miami. When we fly through Miami on our way to or from Cuenca Ecuador, we always try to have at least one day to lay under a beach umbrella and enjoy the ocean.

South Beach Miami Amelia South Beach Miami

Plant Theory South Beach

Plant Theory is a fully vegan burger restaurant located inside The Whitelaw Hotel. We got the Ruben and the Portobello Mushroom Steak Burger for the main course, and the Rawesom Cheesecake (made with cashews) and the Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert. We loved the atmosphere and the food was amazing!

South Beach Miami Plant Theory Burgers

South Beach Miami Plant Theory Vegan Cheesecake

South Beach Miami Plant Theory Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich

South Beach Miami Plant Theory Sign

Full Bloom South Beach

Full Bloom serves “Gourmet Vegan Cuisine” and boy do they ever! Amelia’s Gnocchi and my Carbonara were indistinguishable from their conventional cousins, as were our desserts of Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Lava Cake. Same goes for the Cheesecake we had at Plant Theory.

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Cauliflower

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Beet Balls

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Gnocchi

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Carbonara

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Ganache

Full Bloom South Beach Miami Lava Cake

If you ever find yourself in South Beach and looking for delicious plant-based vegan food, we highly recommend Planta South Beach, Plant Theory and Full Bloom. You can’t go wrong at any of these places.

See More: South Beach MiamiAtlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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Planta South Beach Dinner in Miami FL

Our dinner at Planta South Beach in Miami was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! We ordered the chef’s sampler that came with NINE courses, including a delicious dessert!

       

Planta is comparable to Café Libre in Cuenca, Ecuador. They’re both fully plant-based vegan restaurants with delicious food, but Café Libre has a much more artistic presentation.

We stayed at the Blue Moon Hotel, which was amazing! Our room was small but very nice and the location was perfect. It was centrally located on Collins Avenue in South Beach only one block from Ocean Drive and the beach.

When we arrived, I asked the concierge if he could recommend some vegan restaurants nearby. He spent quite a bit of time making a list for us and showing us menus on the computer. But none of his recommendations were vegan restaurants! They all had some level of vegan options (one steakhouse offered rice and steamed veggies as the “Vegan Plate”), but we had heard that South Beach was more vegan-friendly than that.

After we went to our room and got settled in, I did some searching on the Internet and found Planta, as well as another vegan restaurant that’s less than 1 block away from our hotel (we’ll eat there in the next video) and one that’s not too far from the hotel (we’ll eat there in the video after next).

I told the front desk about Planta South Beach and left a business card for Full Bloom when we checked out.

See More: South Beach MiamiAtlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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Aveda True Salon Marietta – Amelia’s New Haircut

Amelia has a new hairdo from Aveda True Salon Marietta! After months of pestering, I finally convinced her to let her hair go natural. She may look like she’s in her 30’s, but she’s actually 50 and her hair is mostly gray. I don’t like the idea of her putting chemicals on her head every month, so I’m very happy she has decided to let the gray grow out. Plus I LOVE her hair when it’s short and curly!

Aveda True Salon Marietta

In order to make the process of going gray look natural and attractive, she went to an Aveda True Salon Marietta to get a cut and a blending color. The process will take several months, but once it’s done, Amelia will be mostly gray.

Aveda True Salon Marietta Amelia New Do

UPDATE: After our trip to India fried Amelia’s hair, she had it all cut off when we got back to Cuenca Ecuador and it looks great!

Sojo Spa Hair Salon Cuenca Ecuador Amelia Haircut

Sojo Spa Hair Salon Cuenca Ecuador Amelia Haircut Back

See More: Sojo Spa Hair Salon Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 110).

Fuji Hana Thai Peppers Kennesaw GA

We also had a delicious vegan lunch at Fuji Hana Thai Peppers in Kennesaw, GA. We like going there because they will cook without oil for us, in addition to making everything vegan. We ordered off their menu in this video, but we’ve also been to the hibachi several times and it has always been amazing. They prepare our oil-free vegan food before any non-vegan food touches the grill. They can accommodate food allergies, too.

Fuji Hana Thai Peppers Kennesaw

Fuji Hana Thai Peppers Kennesaw Broccoli Dish

Fuji Hana Thai Peppers Kennesaw Basil Dish

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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Nature’s Corner Market in Marietta GA

While visiting Amelia’s family, we often go to Nature’s Corner Market Marietta GA for our vegan supplies and B12 supplements. They also sell delicious vegan desserts and coffee with non-dairy milk.

Amelia’s niece asked us for some kid-friendly vegan recipes, so we decided to make Tofu Fingers. They were super easy to make and tasted delicious. You can find the recipe on our sister website, LottaVeg.com.

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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Hiking in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Marietta GA

When we’re with Amelia’s family in Atlanta, hiking in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is our favorite cardio activity. The scenery is breathtaking and the Civil War history is interesting, but it’s sad to think how many Americans died on this mountain fighting over the right to own another human being.

Some canons still remain, along with the trenches and embankments dug out by soldiers on both sides. It may be beautiful now and full of wildlife, it must have been hell on earth back in 1865.

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. We really appreciate it.

 


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Our Return to the States from Cuenca Ecuador

Most of Amelia’s family lives in Atlanta, GA so we went back to help them out for a few weeks. We took a $12 buseta with Operazuaytur from Cuenca through Cajas to Guayaquil the day before our flight and stayed one night in the Courtyard that’s close to the airport before our return to the states. Our flight left Guayaquil for Miami at 6:40 AM so we wanted to be nearby.

Return to the States from Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia was a regional sales rep in her previous life so she logged a lot of points with Marriott by staying at Courtyards. This one in Guayaquil was the nicest Courtyard either of us has ever seen. Plus, we were able to use Amelia’s points so it didn’t cost us anything.

Guayaquil airport vegan food and Miami airport vegan food is sorely lacking! We did manage to find a few vegan options in Miami, but other than plain fruit and processed junk food, we couldn’t find any vegan options in the Guayaquil airport. More on that below.

Vegan Food at Noe Sushi Bar

After a $5 taxi ride from the buseta station, we arrived at the hotel in time for dinner. A short walk down the street in Mall del Sol is a sushi restaurant called Noe that’s vegan friendly. We have a Noe near our house in Cuenca and eat there for special occasions. It’s a beautiful restaurant with delicious food (think P.F. Changs), but it’s pricey for Ecuador. This meal with sake cost about $80.

Noe Sushi Bar Guayaquil 1

Guayaquil Airport Vegan Food

A wakeup call from the concierge and another $5 cab ride had us at the Guayaquil airport by 5AM. It’s a beautiful, modern airport with NO vegan meal options. A couple vendors sell fruit and snacks that might be vegan, but we didn’t see any vegan options on any of the restaurant menus.

It’s the worst, most unhealthy food you can imagine; mostly fried animal parts. Hopefully they’ll catch up to the times soon and start offering some vegan meals, ideally not fried.

Miami Airport Vegan Food

The Miami airport wasn’t much better that Guayaquil in terms of vegan food. We walked a LONG way up and down the D terminal and found only a few vegan options and no healthy options. The Veggie Burger at Shula’s is NOT vegan. They were kind enough to get the package for us and it contains both milk AND cheese.

Impossible Burger

There’s a Mexican restaurant that has a vegan option: rice and beans topped with fried veggies. But we opted to try the Impossible Burger at the Corona Beach House restaurant that’s right by the security entrance.

We were both really impressed with how authentic the Impossible Burger tasted. It could easily pass for a conventional burger. However, we later learned that it’s not 100% vegan because it was tested on 140 rats to get the GRAS certification from the FDA.

Impossible Foods’ CEO Patrick O. Brown has been vegan for over 14 years and agonized over the decision to test their genetically engineered heme iron (the ingredient that gives the burger its meat taste) on animals, but he said “Avoiding the dilemma was not an option. We hope we will never have to face such a choice again, but choosing the option that advances the greater good is more important to us than ideological purity.”

Amelia and I had a long conversation about this moral dilemma. If they didn’t test on animals and didn’t get the GRAS certification, a lot of meat eaters might avoid the Impossible Burger and choose a cruelty burger instead. The Impossible Burger is also a lot more environmentally friendly, too. However, testing on animals goes against everything we stand for as vegans.

In the end, being vegan is about doing the least amount of harm and testing this product on 140 rats, which were killed and examined, may be doing less harm if more people eat the Impossible Burger because it’s perceived as safe. It’s impossible to know if that’s the case, but it seems like a valid concern.

Besides, we vegans aren’t totally free from harm either. A lot more than 140 rats are killed during the harvesting of our foods, especially wheat, corn, soybeans, oats and legumes. It’s estimated that 7.3 billion animals are killed each year during the harvesting process. Most of these deaths result from harvesting the 80% of grain that’s grown to feed livestock, but that still leaves a lot of deaths on our vegan hands. There are wild animal-friendly farming methods, but they’re not widely used and they aren’t used at all in factory farming operations.

Since the Impossible Burger was tested on animals, it can’t be considered vegan under the strictest definition of the word vegan. However, if more people choose it over a conventional burger because it tastes the same and/or because it carries a much smaller environmental footprint, I’d say that’s a big win for veganism and for the poor cows that would have otherwise been bred into existence, tortured for their entire lives and then brutally killed to make a greasy hamburger that people spend less than 5 minutes eating.

Sometimes life just isn’t black and white, as much as we might want it to be….

See More: Atlanta Georgia 2018

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

 


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This newsletter covers topics we don’t share ANYWHERE ELSE! You’ll get all sorts of timely information about living abroad and expat-relevant news that might affect your plans to travel or move abroad.