When we lived in LA, delicious food was in no short supply.
But it was expensive.
Cold-pressed juices and coffees. Whole Foods for lunch. Uber Eats delivered to our door almost every single night. We were busy. Tired. And indulging often felt more like a necessity than the costly luxury it became due to our hectic lifestyle.
Since moving to Ecuador, things have changed. I love to cook. And have learned to provide for my family in the way I had always imagined. Lots of fresh vegetable and fruit. Organic. Whole grains. Farm fresh eggs from chickens I have personally met. Beans and lots of them. And meat that is locally and humanely sourced. All cooked from scratch limiting everything processed and packed in plastic.
Even still, it’s nice to treat yourself.
Tumbaco is famous for it’s rotisserie chicken. In the village adjacent to where we currently live in the valley just outside of Quito, you can get a pollo completo for as low as $8. This includes soup, rice, beans, salad, fries, a whole chicken and a drink. And it’s delicious. This easily feeds my family of three, and my son is a big eater. An appetite that rivals that of both his hungry parents at times.
Afterwards, I save the bones and skins and make a stock throwing in potatoes, onions, carrots and whatever other vegetables I have on hand, stretching out that cost to another couple of meals.
Street food is also in abundance. Crispy fried empanadas filled with shredded beef or chicken. Pinchos, which are sticks loaded up with sausage, chicken, plantains and a potato. Or cheese stuffed corn patties toasted over a griddle. Each available for the very reasonable cost of $1.
After cruising the streets for our grub, we almost always top off the night with a little ice cream. By far, the most popular sweet treat amongst locals. You can get a single cone for – you guessed it. A buck. Topped with the most incredible cream for a quarter more. It’s worth it. Flavors ranging from the traditional chocolate and vanilla, to fruity reflecting the country’s tangy exotics like maracuyá and guanabana. My son loves lemon and strawberry, while I go for mandarina.
All in all, our family can get a satisfying Friday night dinner for what amounts to less than the price of my former go-to lunch salad.