I just love finding new items in the supermarket. This may not make any sense to folks living outside of South America but here it is a wonderful idea.
What you see here is a 4 pack of toilet paper where the center of each roll has a mini roll for your purse. Some – okay, many – places in Ecuador do not supply toilet paper so it is necessary for us women to carry a small roll in our bags. This little DUO roll will have a honored place in my purse. Sometimes in life, it’s the little things………
We spend a good amount of time, especially in the early mornings, on the balcony each day. It is soothing and calm to watch the waves and hear the surf. Sunday, as we sat, a group of people gathered under some palm trees and started clapping and singing. Then a portion of those donned white full length robes and lined up on the beach.
One of our favorite restaurants here in Manta is Las Velas. It is located right on the malecon. We have eaten there at least five times on our past visits and have found the food and service excellent each time. On Sunday afternoon Joe and I walked down to the malecon and took a table for another excellent meal.
This is swordfish in a white wine sauce with clams and shrimp. The side dish is mushroom risotto. I have ordered this every time I have been to this restaurant and have enjoyed it every single time. Why order something different if this is so perfect? Actually, the gentleman sitting near us overheard me raving about this dish to our waiter and asked the waiter what it was and could he have it also!The restaurant is outdoors with a great wine selection and an outstanding menu all with a view of the beach. Always ready for a great meal.
When we last visited Manta and on earlier trips we stayed at the Oro Verde Hotel and really fell in love with the area. So when we made the decision to take an extended vacation to Manta we wanted a place on the beach but in the Murcielago area. We found a wonderful Realtor Elena of MantaHome – she showed us this lovely apartment on the 5th floor of a small building and we were hooked. We moved in on the 15th of January and have been exploring old haunts as well as finding new places to visit.
One of our favorite walks takes us to the malecon where you can enjoy a great lunch or dinner, walk on the beach at all times of the day or night (this area has a police substation and constant police patrols for your peace of mind). The malecon has kiosks where you can buy many items including clay figurines, books in Spanish, hand-made earrings, clothes, hats and even get a refreshing agua de coco as well as our favorite coffee Cafe de Pacoche from local family Eunice Jacome and her son Diego. This is where we discovered this exceptional coffee.
When Joe and I have traveled in the past and stayed in hotels, we end up longing for a bit more, so having a fully furnished apartment works so much better for us. I do love a fancy hotel but after just a few days the routine of leaving the room for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with allowing the staff cleaning time starts to get on my nerves. Here if we decide not to leave the condo at all we can do that easily. Being in a bigger city allows for easy access to taxis. more options for dining and much more entertainment available. It’s just a nice change of pace from the small town for a bit.This is the view from our balcony.
Our only negative was the time it took to have internet installed here. Our phone line was installed in two days but it took over two weeks to get the internet back on-line. The weather has been beautiful a few nights there was a light rain leaving our patio with a sheen of water and a full day of cloudy skies but nothing to stop us from enjoying walks on the beach and adventures around the town.
The only bad thing about making pirogies is rolling the dough. So I have found an easy way to make them using empanada wrappers.
- one package empanada wrappers (24 individual wrappers)
- a few small potatoes
- 3-6 ounces of a hard cheese like cheddar
- one small onion chopped fine for filling
- 4 t butter
- salt and pepper to taste
First I boiled a few potatoes in their skins, grated some hard cheese (it should be Sharp Cheddar but use whatever hard cheese you can find). Saute an onion in butter until the butter is infused with the onion flavor, if you have a ricer, rice the potatoes, if not mash the potatoes with a fork, adding cheese and cooled butter onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Take one of the empanada wrappers and add a teaspoon of potato mixture, with your index finger add a small amount of water to the entire edge and then fold the wrapper to cover the potato mixture. Set aside until all empanadas are filled.
Bring a large pot with water to a boil adding a tablespoon of salt right before you add your pirogies. Drop 6 to 12 of the pirogies into the boiling water. Allow to cook for approximately 8 minutes. They will rise to the top during cooking. Drain and serve with more onions sautéed in butter.
These can be filled with almost anything from sauerkraut, farmer cheese, fruits and even cooked meat. And you can top the savory ones with sour cream and the sweet ones with whipped cream for a very nice dessert.
Or, add the potato pirogies to your favorite soup – yum! This is something I learned from my friend Eva. What a heavenly and filling soup with pirogies.