Literally, Wearing Many Hats


A few weeks ago we took a mountain-biking trip south of Quito, around Cotopaxí volcano, ending up near a crater lake named Laguna Quilotoa. At times the temperature necessitated that I layer alpaca-wool hats in order to not DIE OF FROSTBITE.

Speaking of acclimation, or lack thereof, a funny thing’s been happening lately. In the States, travel during the workweek rendered home-cooking impractical: it didn’t feel right to do a huge grocery order on a Friday evening knowing: A) that I’d be flying Sunday afternoon, and B) there was a Thai restaurant on the first floor of my apartment. Naturally, I elected to eat my way through the neighborhood’s Yelp rankings, occasionally seeking out further-flung restaurants.

So, we’re living here, in the same place, and in the same apartment: a novelty for the two of us. We’re taking advantage of this and cooking pretty frequently. The funny thing about this? Turns out that we cook exactly what we ordered at restaurants: pad thai and Spanish ham plates, complicated pastas and tacos.

The best part of cooking at home is a weekly trip to Iñaquitos, a nearby market. Before going, we’ll decide what we want to eat for the week and draw up a list: exactly the sort of ritual I was starving for during those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Chicago weekends.

Navigating Iñaquitos is another story entirely. The price of ingredients, for example, has dropped significantly as I learn to correctly speak Spanish outside of our office. Time in the market has also decreased as we’ve realized which vendors consistently stock the freshest produce. The reward? Weekly flowers on our way out of the market, another thing I’m enjoying being in one place long enough to enjoy.