We had to make our way from Lake Atitlan toLa Aurora Airport in Guatemala City, and our flight to Flores. Initially, we made arrangements for a shuttle from Panajachel to Antigua, ending at La Aurora Airport. This would have been fine, the shuttle would take 2-3 hours to get to Antigua, drop off everyone, stop, make the rounds picking up other passengers, than head off to Guatemala City. After a short discussion, the Missus and I decided to be dropped off in Antigua, and have Mauricio, the wonderful shuttle driver who originally drove us from the airport to Antigua, drop us off. Lucky for us Mauricio was able to accommodate us. We also felt better giving such a nice dependable, independant operator like Mauricio our money. We also saw the benefit of having a 3 hour layover in Antigua to stretch our legs.....and eat of course!
Which leads us to La Cuevita de los Urquizu, located across the street from the Capuchin Nunnery on 2 Calle Oriente. This was an interesting part of town as there seemed to be some very well-to-do residences, instead of just the usual hotels and businesses. La Cuevita is pretty easy to find, you just look for the crowd.....
And all the bubbling pots.......
Like this wonderful looking Hilachas (shredded beef stew).
The hardest part is choosing what to eat! As these two gentleman illustrate. The older gentleman is a bit gruff, but always takes time to name every single item available. I can imagine how tiring that could be.
If you choose one of the "mains" you also got a tamal, and also select two of what seems an endless selection "sides"....argh, more choices! If you thought reading those humongous menus with over a hundred dishes was tough...try having all of this food within reach, but only being able to pick two! Once your selections have been made, one of the Servers will than carry your plate to the table of your choice.
There is also a large selection of other "comida tipico" such as pupusas, ceviches, platano frito, etc, etc.......
The Missus went with the Estofado de Cordero (lamb stew):
The Missus declared this to be much more flavorful than the version from La Fonda Calle Real.
For Her sides the Missus chose a simple sauteed greens and guacamole.
Having been underwhelmed with the Pepian at La Fonda, and at our hotel at Lake Atitlan, I decided to give the Pepian de Pollo one last try.
I'm glad I did, this was much better than the other two versions I ate. I was told that Pepian is like Guatemalan "curry", and this was like a nice mild curry; rich, with great body. The flavor was unmistakeably chicken, and there was some tomato tanginess, with a background garlic-nuttiness that I enjoyed.
I really enjoyed my sides, the Piloyada, red bean salad was nice and refreshing, and the Arroz great, because, well to tell you the truth, I was kinda missing rice!
The bland and waxy tamal didn't thrill me much.
And of course there was hand made tortillas, no meal would be complete without it!
Everywhere we travel, we pick up at least food item we enjoy. In Guatemala and Honduras, it was the Encurtido, the pickled vegetables that will be provided, usually by request for tourists.
As usual, the "salsa picante" wasn't very picante, but in this very nice and tangy from the tomatillos used to make it.
I'm guessing the Missus loved Her Estofado de Cordero , what do you think?
By the time we finished our meal, every table was filled. Mostly with well to do locals, and Central American and European Tourists. The prices are pretty much out of the range of the local working folk at about $7 per person.
Overall a nice meal....
Upon our return to Antigua, we were searching for a place to eat. Feeling a bit "lazy" I mentioned La Cuevita. The Missus thought we should search out something else. Soon we passed a woman carrying a wonderful looking and smelling bowl of stew. The Missus inquired as to where the woman purchased her heavenly looking bowl. The woman simply said; "La Cuevita"..........
This time around the Missus decided on a plate of "salads" and a Pupusa de Queso y Chicharron (pork and cheese pupusa). Some of the items were pretty good, the Missus enjoys the guacamol in Guatemala, it is plain, but the avocados are rich and tasty. The Picado de Rabano (radish salad) was also refreshing and delicious. The rest of the stuff was very bland. The pork in the pupusa tasted kind of off, and it was on the greasy side.
Again we made sure to get the encurtido cebollas and salsa picante....and the very nice young man even understood what I requested!
I ordered that wonderful stew I saw the woman carrying.
My two sides were disappointing. After sampling versions in Atitlan and Flores, I had developed an affection for Ensalada Remolacha, the beet salad. This was a bland version, with the beets lacking sweetness, and without the refreshing tart and sour flavor that I had experienced before. It seems like Guatemalans love macaroni....I saw folks buying bags of it in Antigua's Supermercado. It was nothing special.
My stew, however was something special. It was hearty and rich, with a nice smokey flavor provided by chilies, and a nice tomato flavor in the background. Our Server was a friendly young man, and was very patient in dealing with our questions. Not knowing what I had selected, we were told it was "Subanik". I love having other folks write in my "black book", seeing their handwriting always takes me back. And so the young man wrote the name of the dish, and described it better than I could've. Subanik; 3 meats, "pollo res y cerdo", and to make sure I understood he wrote, "chiken, bif, and pork"..........I always crack a smile when I turn to that page!
The Missus also asked the young man if She could go upstairs and take some photos. There is a nice dining area which overlooks the street, as well as the courtyard.
I was told that there are some decent comedores around the city, all of which were much cheaper than La Cuevita. But La Cuevita allowed us a chance to try some "comida typico", typical dishes, and the Missus and I were more than happy with our meals there...... and of course I enjoyed my "chiken, bif, and pork"..........
La Cuevita de los Urquizu
2 Calle Oriente 9