Fun Food Friday — Hostería La Andaluza; Dinner is served

Individual grills — super-heated lava rock

La Hostería la Andaluza presented to us perhaps the most memorable meal of the trip, which is saying quite a lot if you’ll recall my review of the Cositas restaurant in Cuenca. The name of the restaurant here is El Establo, and in my view it should share equal billing with the hotel. Not only was there live Ecuadorian music, which you’ll experience next week, the food here was uniquely presented and cooked to individual tastes by the diners. The beef, pork, chicken, sausage, and seafood were brought to us on super-heated lava rock. Surrounding our individual cooking trays were salad, vegetables, and local condiments:

Individual grills — super-heated lava rock

There was simply no excuse for anyone to return something not cooked to their liking, as the guests each attended to the preparation of their own meal. Just don’t touch that stone!

Salad, vegetables, and local condiments

By now you’re asking, where’s the fish? Patience. That comes separately, and very expertly, prepared. You first hint is a long section of very thick bamboo, split lengthwise and hinged:

What could be inside?

Lift open the bamboo and inside is a bundle of banana leaves. Unwrap the leaves and you expose a perfectly steamed fillet of fish atop local vegetables and finished with a rich sauce:

Steamed fish, of course — wrapped in banana leaves and garnished

But we’re not done yet. Choose from two different dessert combinations:

Dessert selection

Dessert selection

Then sit back and enjoy the local Ecuadorian music:

Live Ecuadorian music

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