So, stop by and check out this tiny classy gem of a restaurant. Introduce yourself to Chef Massimo
and be ready for a memorable and delicious experience.
Tell him that Bo and Linda's Blog post wooed you in!!!
Restaurante Salumeria Vecchia ModenaA Place to Enjoy Savory Wines and Italian Delicacies -
and it's right around the corner from us!Address: JUAN JARAMILLO 8-21 Y LUIS CORDERO
If you've been to our place to eat, you know that Bo and I like to cook delicious gourmet foods. We also like to eat out, but not just anywhere. Sometimes friends or acquaintances will recommend a place to us. If we know they are excellent cooks, we'll trust their recommendation. Only then is it usually a hit! Those of you who are "great" cooks know what I'm talkin' about. You just can't eat any ol' place. It's gotta be GREAT!
There are a million dining places to explore in Cuenca. Some have great atmospheres and not-so-good meals. Some have delicious food, but the place may not be quite on a par with cleanliness. I always check out the bathroom to see if it is an establishment that is paying attention to detail in the hygiene department. Then there are the places I've experienced where the food, service, atmosphere, and hygiene department are all a big "zero." Hey, you've experienced that too, haven't you? It's a place that you would NEVER recommend nor return to.
Because we don't eat every meal or even half our meals outside of home, for us to dine out is to look for the package experience. Great food, attentive service, classy atmosphere, and friendly personable owner and staff. Living in the heart of El Centro gives us daily opportunities to peek in various restaurants as we walk the street and continue to get acquainted with our neighborhood. There are many popular restaurants that have closed in our almost two years here, yet new ones are always popping up and enticing us in. We'll usually go in to talk to the owner or staff, check out the menu for the type of cuisine and PRICES, scope out the atmosphere and look for cleanliness, and then make our decision whether we'll sit and order now or return at a later date to see what kind of dining experience we end up with.
The other day, I dined with a friend at a local popular and often advertised restaurant in El Centro. I was eager to experience a new place for almuerzo. We entered a courtyard that was quaint and lovely, but the food prices high and portions surprisingly small. We both left hungry and disappointed. As for the service and customer care - I give it a big ZERO. Because the owner knew it was our first time experience (I told her so she could impress us), she FINALLY returned to ask us "how was it." In honesty, I complimented her that the food was good (between us - not great), but the portions extremely and surprisingly small. Her response? "Well, that's how we do it here," and she scurried away. Do ya think I'll go back there to eat? NOT!
Bo had been telling me about a small new restaurant on Juan Jaramillo, right around the corner from our place where he had recently purchases some delicious cheeses and sausage, and where he also had lunch with friends. Yesterday was my time to experience "Ristorante Salumeria Vecchia Modena" - and our few hours dining there and getting to know the Chef and Owner, Massimo, his wife Alicia, and a visiting chef friend of theirs, Luca, was fun and a "delicious" experience. We had stopped in earlier for Bo to introduce me to Massimo, and we left with our purchase of three different Italian cheeses. I kept looking around and was impressed by the colorful and classy decor, I enjoyed seeing his tables full of ex-pats who had already discovered this quaint place (he's only been open a few months), and I quickly made a silent decision that I would be back with Bo in the very near future to enjoy some good wine and authentic Italian food.
We continued on our way to do errands and visit friends in El Centro. Well, wouldn't you know - Bo left his umbrella at Massimo's - so we had to stop back in on the way home to pick it up. It was now early evening, and Bo asked me if I'd like to sit and have a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We sat and began to be pampered by Massimo as he poured two glasses of Chianti and served us delicious warm Tigelle bread baked fresh and filled with his creative concoction of Roma tomato, Italian cheese, sweet onion, and a "to die for" homemade sweet relish. I could have eaten a dozen of these little treats, but I'm watching my girlish figure. As Bo and I dined and sipped our fine dry Chianti, we learned all about how Massimo ended up in Cuenca, Ecuador to open his restaurant so he could share his savory Italian cuisine with those looking for an authentic Italian experience.
We went home happy and full. Late in the evening Bo served me a bowl of his homemade White Bean Soup with savory chunks of real Italian Sausage (purchased earlier at Massimo's Restaurant). It was so delicious I almost had a second bowl. If you haven't been to Ristorante Vecchia Modena, you should! You will enjoy meeting this kind and smiling Chef and have a wonderful dining experience. Tell Chef Massimo that "Bo and Linda" sent you. You won't be disappointed.
Pictures Tell the Story
The minute I entered Ristorante Vecchia Modena I loved it.
The vibrant colors, lush thriving plants, and classy atmosphere and decor wooed me in.
Of course, the first thing I want to see is "what are they serving?" and "What are their prices?"
When it's a package deal I'm happy to pay - delicious food, friendly attentive service, classy atmosphere - and clean.
Massimo knows good wine and was running a special this weekend on his Chianti.You can buy fine cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmigiano, Fontina, and Scamorza, Pecorino, Feta, Chevre, Cottage, and more), homemade Italian sausage, Salsa Picante (Relish), Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy, and when excellent cuts are available - Lomo Fino (Tenderloin). Massimo purposes to sell only the finest!
Ahhh, Bo's delicious White Bean & Sausage Soup. I must say, it's the best sausage I've had in a looooooong time - since we left the USA.
There are many delectables to choose from at Massimo's restaurant - Like jars of Roasted Peppers with Eggplant.......
.......or homemade butter crust apple pie.
He uses fresh ingredients and everything is cooked in his well-stocked kitchen. We had the privilege of going behind the curtain to see how he cooks some of his fabulous creations.
A Tigelle bread mold
The Tigelle bread was freshly made, warm, soft, and filled with an amazing homemade relish spooned on top of sliced Roma Tomato, thinly sliced sweet onion, and an Aji Italian cheese.
Bet you can't eat just one!!!! Bo and I couldn't.....
They were so amazingly delicious that Bo and I bought 30 of these little breads and all the inner ingredients to make these for a pot luck we would be attending the following evening.
Soon-to-be Roasted Red Peppers.
Ingredients are ready for a simmering homemade Italian sauce.
|A fabulous place to visit for a fabulous meal, to meet fabulous people, and to be guided on a fabulous hike!|
Rancho Prado is a place not to miss!
|Go to Occidental bus station at Ferria Libre. |
It is $1.50 each way and about a 50 minute ride. Just tell the driver you want to be dropped off at Rancho Prado!
Our previous two visits to El Cajas greeted us with beautiful blue skies.
(See previous Cajas BLOG posts in July 2013 and January 2014) This day was overcast with intermittent misting rain. A perfect day to spend time in the Restaurant........
|.....sipping hot coffee by the fire.|
|We decided to have a trout breakfast. What fun to catch our trout and cook it fresh together! George shows us how to do it!|
|I entrusted my camera to George when everyone insisted I give it a try!|
|I'm so glad I did!! Now, Rocky and Jhady give it a whirl.|
|Time to go behind the curtain and watch the brothers cook! |
Wilson makes the salad. I must say, it was one of the most deliciously seasoned salads I've eaten since moving to Ecuador. He promised he'd show me how to make it.
|Fabian takes over the "Trout" frying while Jhady and Wilson observe.|
|Trout is sizzling away......|
|.....and the salad is ready!|
|Oh, what a delicious success! Cooked to perfection, and ready for the hungry hikers.|
|We enjoy the delicious food and joyful company together!|
|Come On, Bo and Linda. Let's go hiking!!|
|Which way should we go? Bo points and off we go!|
(L to R - Bo, Fabian, Jhady, Wilson, George)
|The trail was flat and close by, the scenery spectacular. Because of the weather, we decided to stick close to home. George promised me a Llama photography moment.|
|Wilson spots the Llamas!|
|What a beautiful creature!!|
|We saw MANY and I was in photography heaven.|
|They climbed the mountains in a pack, occasionally stopping to look at us.|
|In one area we saw Llamas and horses grazing together.|
|Though overcast, the weather cooperated and it did not rain during our hike. Only a tolerable mist at times. The scenery was breathtaking!|
|While I clicked away, lost in the photography moment, Fabian and Bo hiked along together enjoying their visit......|
|.......and Jhady and George pose for the camera!|
|At every turn the scenery became more breathtaking.....|
|........A photographer's paradise!|
|Though it was overcast, it was perfect lighting for my lens. These beautiful paper trees caught my eye.|
|Beautiful Andes Flowers graced the path.|
|So many varieties and colors. I'm yet to learn to identify them, but Fabian and George know every plant and their medicinal purposes.|
|Time to head back to the ranch!|
|A magical waterfall greets us at the entrance.|
|And inside uncles, cousins, nieces, and more family have dropped by to join our party.|
|We stay warm by the fire as George and Wilson entertain everyone with their musical talent.|
|Brandon is on his throne dozing to the laughter, music, and chatter.|
He, alone, is worth a trip to the restaurant. He'll join you on a hike and has been running these Andes for 9 years. What a beautiful, mellow and sweet dog!
|It's beginning to get dark as the sun sets behind the mountains.....|
|......and adds even more beauty to this marvelous area.|
|Prado Father and Sons - What a gift it is to know them!|