Since Meson Totem restaurant has been receiving so many fine compliments on the incredible bread served there, I had to go there for lunch today. OMG! I haven’t had such an incredibly delicious sandwich in at least 25-30 years! I am not exaggerating! That was about the last time I ate really good, authentic European bread! Until today! If you haven’t yet been to Meson Totem, why in heavens not?! May I recommend sandwich #4 on the menu? Grilled chicken layered with a lovely thin slice of what had to be Spanish Serrano ham (it is so unmistakably delicious), tomatoes, lettuce, sliced hard boiled egg, cheese with mayo and mustard. Heaven on a baguette! And the bread is to die for!
Chef Julio came to Ecuador from Ibiza, that gorgeous little Spanish island in the Mediterranean. His business partner Efren works front of house and is from the province of Galicia in northern Spain, bordering the Atlantic ocean. Chef Julio truly has the God-given gift of “manos de pan”. I’m a bit of a bread fanatic. I started making bread, by hand, when I was quite young. It takes a lot of years and a lot of experience listening to the dough, feeling the exact moment when it is ready and to know when it is perfect and ready for the oven. I have known some master bread bakers in my time and I truly believe Chef Julio has that gift. As I was eating lunch today, I was nearly transported back to the time I spent in Europe many, many years ago. Flavors and tastes are so powerful in reminding one of great times! Well, lunch was so delicious, I had to go back this evening for dinner, accompanied by my friend Bonnie. We dove right in to the Spanish Seafood Paella for 2. Real, authentic, Spanish Paella!! Haven’t had that in a good 25 years either.
Incredible is the only word that can come close to doing justice to that incredible meal. And, easily enough to feed 3 very hungry people. Langostinos, prawns, baby mussels , chicken, red and green peppers, all married beautifully to saffron rice! That marvelous meal would not be complete without a glass of the Sangria wine. Now, I love a good Sangria. It’s a party in a glass! But at Totem, their Sangria may be too much for some folks. Fair warning! It has a mélange of fresh fruit in the bottom of the glass — sliced oranges of course, but then add strawberries, plump luscious grapes, a couple of banana slices. A tiny fruit salad bathed in delicious red wine! It was so wonderful, I had to have a second glass for dessert! Not kidding! I passed up the postres and elected to have another glass of that marvelous Sangria. There are a lot of very nice restaurants in Cotacachi. Meson Totem is a tiny bit of fine, authentic European cuisine right here in our back yard! And at one-fourth or one-fifth the cost of that cuisine in Europe. They’re closed on Tuesdays, so get yourselves over there for dinner this weekend. Don’t make any excuses, just get over there, have an incredible meal, and don’t forget about that Sangria! You’ll thank me! Say hi to Julio and Efren and eat the best meal you’re likely to find this side of the Atlantic! On Rocafuerte, right across the street from the lime green school for the little kiddos.
thanks to Jo Merriam for the review