April 21, 2010

Maria's Alemania Bakery

I met Shelley and Brian for lunch today. I had suggested Maria's Alemania, on Hermano Miguel and Sucre, because I had read on adventureyes.blogspot.com that they had shrimp quiche and light and flaky empanadas. This bakery is known for its bread but they also have a very pleasant patio in the back where you can have lunch. We were there at noon and the sun was directly overhead and brutal so it’s probably better to get there around 1PM when the sun has moved enough so that half of the tables are in the shade.

I had not intended to write about the food so I didn’t take any pictures of it. I did, however, take pictures of the setting because the sun shining on the scallop-textured walls made them glow and they looked gorgeous. Then I thought I might as well mention the food if I’m going to post pictures of the walls!

I had so been looking forward to the quiche. Now that I’ve been here close to two months I feel like I’m going through a bad case of food withdrawal because, living in New York, I can eat a huge range of fantastic cuisine from pretty much any country in the world. As much as I adore Ecuadorean soups (really some of the best soups I’ve ever tasted) I would kill for some authentic Chinese food (dim sum, I miss you terribly!) or a nice cheese plate.

So you can imagine my disappointment when neither the shrimp quiche nor the beef empanadas were available. Brian and I split the lone shrimp empanada that was there and I ordered the lasagna. The empanada was wonderful, light and flaky and lovely. Other empanadas I have eaten in Ecuador have been tasty but the dough dense and heavy. The lasagna, on the other hand, was not as successful. It did not have any ricotta at all and it had peas and carrots--not what I had hoped for. There are enough Italian restaurants in Cuenca that it’s probably a better idea to eat lasagna elsewhere. Brian and Shelley had the beef crepe (a large crepe rolled around a beef filling) and the vegetarian empanada and rated them quite good. Shelley also had a slice of the Hawaiian pizza and thought it was fine but I would guess that this is not the best place for pizza.

We also bought some pastries to take home. I got a slice of a chocolate and nut cake because it looked amazing. I’ve been nibbling at it for the last hour or so and I still can’t make up my mind what I think of it. It is extremely dense--a layer of cookie dough at the bottom, topped with a thick layer of a nut and fruit compote (figs?) and the whole thing is covered with a hard chocolate coating. And yet it is dry and not particularly tempting--the fact that it's been sitting next to me for over an hour and half of it is still there? Not a good sign. I shall continue my search for a scrumptious chocolate pastry.

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