By Sylvester Grahame
The life of a restaurant reviewer is not for the faint of heart. Besides the obvious stress of deadlines, food-stained clothing, and, the nightly habit of drinking Pepto Bismol mixed with cheap gin — giving a fresh take on the classic, Pink Lady — is the challenge to find appealing places for you to try. Well, I am happy to report on my latest suggestion.
Welcome to Jugueria Hilli Gus Batidos, Tarqui 10-16 at Gran Colombia, a tiny joint with a large speaker placed just outside the front door blaring music. There ain’t nothin’ pretentious about this place; it is a straight-up hotdog haven. Although sandwiches and empanadas are on the menu, forget about it; everyone sticks to two choices, a Megadog stretching 32 cm, ($2.00 with coconut milk) or a Hot Clasico at 18 cm. ($1.25 with coconut milk or $1.00 solo).
I will freely admit that when I consider where to go for dinner, hotdogs are rarely what first comes to mind. In fact, a Megadog at Jugueria Hilli Gus was my first hotdog of any sort since I arrived in Cuenca nearly three years ago. However, I will not wait so long again now that I have found a place that takes their hotdogs seriously, and Anabel Meregildo, the owner/operator makes sure her dogs are of the finest quality, and delicious.
Meregildo, and her husband, Gustavo Vinces, are traditionalists in the best sense of the word. He has long worked as a server for Raymipampa (circa 1933), the storied restaurant next to the cathedral on from Parque Calderon, and learned that comfort foods of Cuenca will always have an enthusiastic clientele if they are delicious and the staff is accommodating. They have clearly taken this interpretation of “neighborhood nice,” to heart, including kids always running in and out of the kitchen, amid an abundance of laughter and good cheer.
If you need a quick and tasty hotdog with fresh coconut milk to wash it down; here is your place in uptown El Centro.
Meregildo also offers a wide and changing variety of freshly blended fruit juices. These are always fabulous but often overlooked by the clientele.
It is all about the dogs.
Jugueria Hilli Gus Batidos; Tarqui 10.16 and Gran Colombia; Hours; Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Phone; 282 0635; Facebook; Cash only, Kid-friendly, Pets allowed