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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Panama Hats, Casa Museo Remigio Crespo Toral, and La Mejor Comida En Cuenca (The Best Meal In Cuenca)

Aloha Everyone,

Today, J.J. and I had our best meal in Cuenca!  But before I tell you all about this, J.J. and I had two other activities that I wanted to share about.

The history of Panama Hat (a brimmed straw hat) made from the plated leaves of toquilla palm or jipijapa palm, a palm-like plant has an Ecuadorian origin. When the Panama Canal was under construction, these light, brimmed hats were used by workers to protect their heads from the heat of the tropical sun.

The name stuck and when we visited Panama, many street vendors were selling "Panama Hats" as if they were indigenous to Pansna.

There are two Panama Hat museums in Cuenca. The one we visited this morning was very commercialized and were more interested in making sales than providing information to visitors.

There is one type of hat with weaving so fine that you could actually roll it up and carry it around in a small tube. However, my interest in purchasing one was quashed when I found out such hats are priced $250 and up. The museum salesman tried to explain that these are not the best quality. The highest quality ones are special orders only and they cost $2,000 and up. I will look for one which is within my budget.

Salesperson urging me to try a $250 hat.

Our second activity before lunch was to visit the Casa Museo Remigio Crespo Toral. This small museum is housed in a private home just a few homes away from Hotel Victoria.

Remigio Crespo Toral was a national poet, and a handsome and educated man from a very prominent family of Cuenca. Among his many accomplishments include being the lawyer of the Republic of Ecuador to defend Ecuador in its diplomatic conflict with Peru.

Now on to the best meal in Cuenca!

El Jardin Restaurante has stunning views towards the Rio Tomebamba. Located in Hotel Victoria, a first class hotel on Calle Larga, it was an easy walk for us from our apartment.

Our table by the window offered a gorgeous view of the garden and the river. At times, we were entertained by blue hummingbirds with luminous wings frolicking in the branches of a tree.

The Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) had 3 choices for soup or salad, 3 main courses and 3 desserts. One thing we noticed was that there were no prices which we translated as being muy caro "very expensive".

To say that the meal was extraordinary and the service was impeccable seems to be an understatement. J.J. and I agreed that it was the best meal we have had in Cuenca.

Almejas Al Vino Blanco - J.J.'s first course

Ensalada Riquefort - my first course

Our waiter, Robert

Chimeras De Cordero -J.J.'s main course

Filete De Trucha Al Ajillo -my main course

We both chose Flan De Coco Con Salsa De Fresa for dessert.

Our total bill inclusive of tax, service charge plus additional tip came out to $50. It would be impossible to repeat such a dining experience in the United States for the same price. We were giddy and happy as we walked back to our apartment.

Aloha -- Cathi