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Breakfast at La Guarida offers a morning performance as good as the late show

By Robert Bradley

Danger is a common companion of artists.

They understand that a fresh perspective requires calculated risk and that this offers hidden surprises good and bad, making astute planning an absolute necessity. This challenging environment is clearly on display, and celebrated, in Andres Zambrano’s theatrical restaurant and creative space, La Guarida at Calle Mariscal Lamar and Luis Pauta.

The on-going La Guarida Film Series, well established as a venue for thoughtfully selected films, has garnered a sizable and appreciative audience. The occasional musical concert, ranging from jazz to k-pop is often well-received, and the theatrical performances, bold and thought-provoking, are attracting a loyal following. So, it came as no surprise when Zambrano turned his attention towards another pursuit; creating a morning dining experience every bit as innovative as the films and theatrical performances he showcases.

Sausage and stuff.

Zambrano correctly assumes that creating a coffeehouse atmosphere means opening in the early morning. This is a principle reason why breakfast is prominently featured in La Guarida’s new menu but is by no means the only reason. I think one would hit closer to the mark by suggesting that the primary reason Zambrano is serving breakfast is to offer a venue that reflects and diversity and spirit of Cuenca.

There’s the esparagus salad tower topped with poached egg, and toast-points ($5.50). Layered with mild salsa de tomate and roasted garlic.

And the artisanal Llapingacho pork sausage and sautéed vegetables ($4.50).

The asparagus salad with egg.

And yet again, the King Smokehouse sausage patties in a saddle of shredded ‘hash brown’ potatoes and a drizzle of in-house Creme Fraiche.

It is showmanship that takes center stage in the La Guarida kitchen; the plates are movie picture-perfect.  Almost too much so.

Presentation at the expense of substance is always a clear and present danger confronting restaurants and I worry about it here. One dish I tasted, beautiful though it may have been,  was laden with olive oil, another offering failed to properly process a vegetable prior to cooking. These simple mistakes can be easily addressed but point to the importance of detail.  Admittedly, these are small concerns and, in fact, my late-afternoon tasting was excellent; I am confident that the offerings at La Guarida will continue to improve and surprise.

La Guarida is joining the proliferation of new dining venues enticing guests by offering fresh ideas and raised standards of service. Their determination to be a favorite place that appeals to many sensitivities is a lofty goal they have every intention of fulfilling. I am confident they will succeed brilliantly and I will look forward to visiting again soon.
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La Guarida, Calle Mariscal Lamar 22-23 at Luis Pauta; Phone: 282 4161: Hours: ; Monday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Closed Saturday and Sunday; Facebook

11 thoughts on “Breakfast at La Guarida offers a morning performance as good as the late show

  1. Every time I look at their breakfast menu on their Facebook page I fail to see why I should give it a try and what I read here (laden with olive oil) has not changed my mind unfortunately. Sometimes simple is best, save elaborate for special occasions. And it need not be a big plate of food either (which I see far too many people eating).

    Andres, how about a simple breakfast couple eggs my way a strip or two of bacon or sausage, toast and coffee. Maybe a lite menu option? Simple yet good and I will be over soon.

    1. Hi Pixelvt:
      Thank your for your thoughts and consideration. Our menu is often changing as we love to get the freshest produce out there. We are very proud of our menu and offerings and are always striving to better our services. The critic’s words and thoughts were taken into account and duly noted. On the contrary, our dishes are humble yet beautiful and certainly we are not in the business of selling mountains of food as we are more focused on flavors and service.

      And Pixelvt we would be more than happy to serve you a couple of eggs (organic here), artisanal sausage, some great sourdough toasts and some of the best Ecuadorian coffee. We will be more than happy to get to know you and serve you a wonderful breakfast and experience. Don’t forget about our movie evenings on Mondays and Tuesdays and keep in mind that we will be serving tacos, chile con carne and a wonderful tortilla black bean soup next week beginning on Wednesday evening until Friday night.

      I remind you that the the critic writes: “Presentation at the expense of substance is always a clear and present danger confronting restaurants and I worry about it here.” Later on he points out: “these are small concerns and, in fact, my late-afternoon tasting was excellent.” We are happy to have had only happy customers until now.

      Everyone is welcome in La Guarida,
      Andrés

      1. ok, you are willing to make a simple breakfast, you twisted my arm enough,, , we will be by in a couple weeks, you are so close as we are near Colesio, (out of town right now) but I do hope the coffee is good (there I go again)

        1. Pixelvt:
          We promise you that our breakfasts are simple, humble, delicious and “movie picture perfect” like our dear reviewer writes. We serve a wonderful omelette with sourdough toasts. Nothing fancy just a couple of eggs given lots of love. Our greatest example of simplicity is our delicious sorbet. Just fresh guanabana and homemade raspberry coulis. To die for. Our coffee is from the Yunguilla Valley, 100% organic. Come anytime and remember to check our calendar for special events.

          Andrés.

  2. Can’t wait until I’m in Cuenca again and can stop by for breakfast. I’ve really enjoyed the movie nights. Thanks for all your hard work, Andres!

    1. Hey Jeb:
      Thank you for your kind words. We will continue on with movie & cultural nights and expect to go for a while. Please visit us whenever you make it to Cuenca again.

      Love to see you,
      Andrés

  3. If you’re looking for a unique breakfast, La Guarida is the place to go. There are plenty of places to get a NA-style, traditional breakfast. Andres’s establishment offers a unique experience on the outskirts of El Centro. It’s easily accessible so head over for great service and even better food.

    1. Thanks Dawn.
      We always enjoy your company. Please come by anytime. I know Deb and you are always busy but we are going to have Taco Nights next week. Stop by if time allows.

      We love you both,

      Andrés

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