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Two Birthday Parties + Salsa Dancing in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 87)

We had a busy Tuesday with two birthday parties and my friend Stephen’s arrival in Cuenca Ecuador 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!

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

Happy Valentine’s Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019!!!

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

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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Zatua Miski Drinks

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

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

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

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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Café Libre Abreboca

Abreboca

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Café Libre Tartar

Vegan Tartar

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Café Libre Risotto

Vegan Risotto

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Café Libre Dessert

Cacao y Sal Postre

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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! 😁

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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!!!

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

Valentine's Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 Café Libre Toasting

Red Wine & Mojito

This was a TRULY special Valentine’s Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 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.

See More: Nighttime In Cuenca + Dinner at Café Libre (Episode 34)

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!

Café Libre Cuenca for Dinner – Nighttime in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 34)

Before our delicious gourmet dinner at Café Libre Cuenca, we walked around El Centro. Nighttime in Cuenca Ecuador is really stunning. The city is alive with lights and energy. There are lots of street musicians, rappers, jugglers and dancers to entertain the passers by. The atmosphere is electric!

Nighttime In Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia says we don’t stay out past 11:30PM… HA! I don’t know who she’s trying to fool! We’re usually in bed by 9PM every night and rarely accept invitations to go out after dark. We get up at 5AM either to workout or because the dogs wake us up so we go to bed early to get our 8 hours of sleep.

The architecture is incredible at night, too!

Nighttime Cuenca Ecuador New Cathedral Night 1

Nighttime Cuenca Ecuador Museo 1

Nighttime Cuenca Ecuador Iglesia San Alfonzo

Café Libre Cuenca Ecuador

This video was the first time we ate dinner at Café Libre because they don’t open until 7PM and that’s a late dinner for us. We normally eat lunch there, but it’s the same menu.

Paul has a great story of how he backpacked through South America and cooked for a plant-based restaurant in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, before returning to Cuenca to open Café Libre. Ask him to tell you the story sometime!

Cuenca has a LOT of amazing restaurants, but Paul is a truly talented plant-based chef! If this restaurant opened in LA or NYC, there would be a constant line around the corner! It’s THAT GOOD!

Café Libre Cuenca Ecuador Appetizer

Café Libre Cuenca Ecuador Beet Quinoa

Café Libre Cuenca Ecuador Cauliflower

Café Libre Cuenca Ecuador Dessert

See More: Valentine’s Day Cuenca Ecuador 2019 + Aphrodisiac Dinner at Café Libre (Episode 68)

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