Saturday, Dec 3, 2016
Scott and Colleen invited us to lunch at Le Petit Jardin. We have never been there before but have been told the food is great and the ambiance is pretty cool too. I was warned by Colleen that a lot of taxi drivers don’t know where this restaurant is, or can’t figure out how to get there, so we should use the taxi company recommended by the restaurant.
It is always fun arranging for a taxi over the phone. I can do basic communication but I never know what I am going to get on the other end of the line. Will the person speak too fast for me? Will I be able to understand any question he or she has, and be able to answer it? The knots start up in my stomach. These are the moments when I discover how well I have been studying my Spanish.
I called the taxi company and no one answered. After 10 minutes I tried again and a woman answered. I told her I needed a taxi to go to Le Petit Jardin, does she know it? She said yes, and then I told her I needed a taxi at 12:30 pm and gave her my address. She understood me. Success!
At 12:30 pm we met the taxi outside and got into it. After wishing the driver a good afternoon I told him we wanted to go to Le Petit Jardin. After getting a blank stare, I asked him if he knew where it was? He said no, and asked me if I knew where it was? Fuck. So much for planning.
I told him I didn’t, so Chase pulled up google maps and I showed him where we are now and where we needed to go. He nodded his head and started to drive, then started asking me directions. I told him how I thought we should go based on the map and he went a different way. I got the distinct feeling he didn’t know exactly where he was going.
I asked him if he wanted me to get the restaurant on the phone for directions and he said yes. Giovanni, the owner and chef at Le Petit Jardin, answered the phone and I asked if he would give the taxi driver directions. I handed the phone to the driver and after the call our driver seemed to know where to go.
Le Petit Jardin is at the far west end of Cuenca. It sits at the base of the foothills which eventually become the towering Cajas. I enjoyed seeing this part of town. The roads we were on are all dirt. There are houses everywhere, as well as dogs…two or three for each house it seemed as I counted them playing on the rutted roads.
From where we were after calling the restaurant, our driver cut through on a windy dirt road to get over to where we needed to be. At one point we came across a one car-wide covered bridge over the Yanuncay. It was cool.
After several more dirt roads and climbing up into the foothills, we arrived at Le Petit Jardin. It definitely had a “story book” feel to the place from the outside. The inside was just as interesting with all the knotted tresses, wood floors, and beams of light shining in from the bamboo roof.
While we were waiting for our food to arrive, our friends Helmut and Trudy showed up with their son and daughter. Cuenca is becoming very small. It wasn’t too much longer after that a walking/hiking group of people showed up which included Taylor and Richard. These are friends of Scott and Colleen who we met last week at Scott and Colleen’s anniversary dinner.
We said hello to everyone and shared a few jokes and laughs about running into each other “way out here”. Our food soon arrived and I was in heaven. I had the sea bass and it was probably the best I have had since being in Ecuador. Heidi had Coq Au Vin and Chase had a Pork Roulade.
We also had appetizers of shrimp and yucca croquettes, grilled eggplant, and battered shrimp and zucchini. And who can be at this restaurant without trying the dessert? Everything was outstanding!
Giovanni is a great chef. The prices were great too ranging from $7.50-$9.50 for an entree and $5.50 for appetizers. Desserts are in the $3 range. It amazes me I can eat food of this quality so inexpensively.
Through the course of our meal we polished off two bottles of wine. This was fine except I suddenly wasn’t able to do math any longer. When we went to split the check Scott and Heidi had to help me out. Seriously, I shouldn’t allow myself to drink more than one glass of wine.
The embarrassment continued for me when I handed the waitress cash for our total bill. Moments later she was back at our table telling me I shorted her. It appears I can’t count $20 bills either after drinking. Oh, but the wine was so good. 🙂
When we finished and said good bye to Scott and Colleen, it began to rain. Our taxis were outside waiting for us, and our driver didn’t have any trouble getting us home.