By Edd Staton
It's not like Cuenca is lacking for almuerzo choices. Full lunches can be found all over town from $1.75 to $5.50. So why did Sofia Rosero decide to open a restaurant with so much stiff competition? "I've run restaurants before and I knew I could do it better!" Sofy flatly declares. She shared that as much as possible she uses fresh organic ingredients in all her dishes.
A friend and I decided to put her to the test. We entered the building and went back, back, back to a space that looked like a Trader Vic's tiki bar. Bamboo walls and ceilings are quite unexpected in Cuenca!
We both ordered the gourmet almuerzo of the day, and quickly a tray of garlic bread was brought to the table along with glasses of tasty horchata (no little tropical umbrellas, darn it), a traditional Latin American drink that is a clear red infusion of 18 herbs.
The soup course was called Mote Consado (Mote Married), a blend of mote, beans, and sausage. From the first taste I was surprised and delighted that the dish was not overly salted, a common culinary miscue for expat palates. "I like to under season my dishes and let the customers add salt and pepper (shakers of both on the table–a rarity in Cuenca restaurants) to their taste.
For our main course we were served a lovely presentation of Seafood a la Provencal. A generous portion of perfectly cooked chunks of corvina swam in a hearty sauce of olives, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, accompanied by a side of rice. The contents of both plates were devoured in minutes.
A light postre, or dessert, followed–canteloupe topped with a dollop of cream. My friend and I agreed the meal was delicious and well worth the $4.50 price.
In addition to almuerzo Sofy's offers a la carte lunch selections of soup, salad, and sandwiches.
Both early and late risers can enjoy lots of yummy choices for breakfast that are served all day. "I have customers who come almost every day for my omelets," Sofy says with pride. Along with unlimited refills of coffee and tea, the menu includes four choices of omelets, pancakes, French toast, granola, and eggs with hashbrowns plus bacon, ham, or sausage. Prices range from $3.50 to $5.50.
Sofy's Orchard Bistro is located at Benigno Malo 572 y Juan Jaramillo. Hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 to 5:30.
Photo captions: A typical almuerzo at Sofy’s and Sofy herself.