The first picture wasn't even clear enough to see, but it was Tara holding a glass of white stuff just as we got across the border into Ecuador. It tasted like melted ice cream and was really good. We later discovered that it is a popular drink made of cream, milk, and oats. Really tasty. And it had oats, so it was healthy.
Once we made it to Puerto Lopez on the Ecuadorian coast, the street food abounded. We jokingly call this city the Brigadoon of street food. You would find the most amazing food, walk a block to try something else, come back for seconds, and the vendor was gone. Ecuador was the first place we had been where street vendors apparently roam rather than staying in one spot for the day.
Here is Tara trying a sweet coconut bread in Puerto Lopez. The bakeries were not bad, and very cheap. What I don't have a picture of is her eating the first cheese bread of the trip. More on that later.
We discovered these people that sold a big pile of fries covered with tasty chicken breast (and doused in ketchup and mayo) for $1. Not surprisingly, they disappeared after our first night in Puerto Lopez.
Sometimes, we go wrong with street food. This most often occurs when I see something that looks tasty, knowing in my heart that it probably isn't as good as it looks, but thinking, "what if it is the best food around and I miss out on it?" That thought resulted in this purchase of some dry rolled up cake stuff with the fairly tasteless sugary icing from a homeless looking guy hawking them to a bus of senior citizen tourists outside our hotel. Nonetheless, I ate all of them.
The underwater macro mode made this photo look much better than it probably would have otherwise been. Tara looks like a devil fish accepting her meat sacrifice. This spiral sausage had some nice french fries stuck on the end for Tara's enjoyment.
Our biggest victory in Puerto Lopez was milkshakes. I had been craving real milkshakes for at least a few weeks. We came upon some teenagers in the street who would mix homemade ice cream with fresh fruit and sell a big milkshake like the one in the lower right of this photo for 75 cents. We each had a strawberry one and a pineapple one. We came back the next night before our bus left town, but, alas, they weren't there.
We took a long walk in the cloud forest outside Puerto Lopez, and it was really beautiful despite not seeing any birds. Our talented guide, Juan, saw a grapefruit still hanging on the tree (it is past the season), chopped off a stick with his trusty machete, and perfectly hit the branch above the grapefruit to make it fall. I generally find grapefruit to be bad, but this one was almost sweet enough to be edible. (Those who know me are aware that sweetness is my primary determinant of good or bad in food, and really in people, I suppose.)
At the store, I pointed out to Tara that Ecuador was really her kind of country. It was the only place we have been where yogurt comes in gallons.
Tara got a mix of guanabana and raspberry juice at the market in Otavalo. It was fairly good. I don't have a picture of a guanabana for those reading, so look it up on the Internet. It looks sort of like a mutant pineapple.
From Otavalo, we traveled to Ibarra, a town specializing in ice cream. And specifically specializing in fruit flavored ice cream. Fortunately, my stomach had forgiven me for the earlier fried food and was good with ice cream. We started at Rosalia Suarez, the most famous of these ice cream places (and apparently the original). We wanted to try a couple places, so we started with the cones, which were smaller than the cups. I had raspberry and coconut while Tara had taxo (related to passionfruit) and coconut.
So, after eating ice cream from four different places, we caught a bus to the Colombian border. Ecuador left a positive food impression on us, and I don't think we ate a single banana while there (though there was some in the fruit salad that stayed in my body for only a few hours). Tara could live on cheese bread and yogurt forever (I would starve on the same), and we could both eat street fries and shakes for most of our meals. It also helped to keep our food cost down for Ecuador. In conclusion, hooray for cheap street food and boo for the bacteria contained in cheap street food.