Machachi Sunday Market, EcuadorView of Central Park from 57th Street building, NYC photo by amyblogschow.comIT’S BEEN TWO WEEKS SINCE I RETURNED FROM TRAVELING IN ECUADOR. I was so excited – and thankful – to step off the plane at LaGuardia having successfully avoided pickpockets while in Quito.

I’ve fond memories of my trip, but am relieved to have left some things behind – the vehicle exhaust emissions which blackened the air, for one, and having to call out bus ticket vendors for quoting higher prices in their attempt to nickel-and-dime tourists. On a more superficial level, I missed warm weather clothing, which I’d left in New York to avoid drawing attention to my ankles and elbows. While I enjoyed getting to know Ecuadorian food and a different way of dining (cheap, fresh, home-style, street) I missed the variety of foods and many restaurant options in New York.

On my first day back in the States, I bought an overly frosted cupcake from Magnolia Bakery by Rockefeller Center to sate the sweet tooth that went mostly without icing or cake while abroad. For breakfast, I wandered into Macchiato Espresso Bar – home of my favorite chocolate chip cookie – and took an hour to write and indulge in the end of a long unfinished novel while my latte grew cold.

I miss traditional Ecuadorian food, which features fresh produce and deep-fried goods like empanada and fritada, a bit. Are those two contradictory? Perhaps, but it makes sense when you realize both fruits and greasy grub are easy to vend from street stands and food carts.

Ultimately, traveling always reminds me that we live in an unusual gastronomic bubble here in New York. There really is something for every palate and price point. And I’d almost forgotten how lucky we are to be able to walk down the street, take a train or even a ferry to reach whatever we may crave, whether that’s key lime pies in Red Hook, soul food in East Harlem, or French pastries at Village Tart. The world in one bite – that’s good ol’ New York. amy july 12, 2010

Devouring Quito With Jet Set Zero
Looks Like Chicken, Tastes Like Guinea Pig
To Mercado, To Mercado In Santa Clara, Quito
VIDEO Stupidly Simple Snacks • Guacamole!

July 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . South America. 1 comment.

TO MERCADO, TO MERCADO In Santa Clara, Quito

Avocado and lime seller lady outside Santa Clara mercado in QuitoCutting the meat off the pig photo by amyblogschow.comJugos sellersJenna and tree tomato jugoSausages at the Santa Clara mercado in QuitoSanta Clara Mercado vender selling ox stomachTHE DAY AFTER I ARRIVED IN ECUADOR, Jenna and the Jet Set Zero guys suggested lunch at Santa Clara Mercado, an open-air food market located around the corner from where the cast lives on a bustling commercial street.

Inside the mercado, juice sellers stand behind plastic vats of jugos while hot food sellers do a brisk lunch trade. Toward the back of the cavernous building, produce sellers watch over towering stacks of fruit and vegetable-filled boxes. Upstairs, seafood sellers, poultry purveyors, and butchers share the floor.

My group and I weaved through the market, passing whole roasted pigs on display to lure hungry passersby away from neighbors selling similar plates. Piece by piece, crispy-skinned porkers are diminished with each $3 lunch order. We finally stopped at one of these counters for a meal and chatted with the owner who told us his family has owned and operated that spot in the market for 55 years.

I’ve since made several more trips to Santa Maria mercado and each time still leaves me marveling at the Ecuadorians’ economy. How does the old lady sitting on the box by the entrance make a living by selling avocados for 25 cents a piece?

A few feet away from her, a small indigenous woman touts slippery cut-up pieces of ox stomach from a bucket. With so much to see, Santa Clara market is a feast for the eyes, so long as you don’t mind the sight of gloveless hands, ox organs, pigs feet. amy june 25, 2010

VIDEO • Make Guacamole!
Devouring Quito With Jet Set Zero
Looks Like Chicken, Tastes Like Guinea Pig

June 25, 2010. Tags: , , , . markets, South America. 1 comment.

Goodbye & FRITO PIE • YouTube

IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE and I’m flying back to New York today. It’s always hard to believe how quickly holidays and whole years pass us by. Like many of you, I’ve been revisiting and assessing what I’ve been finding down Memory Lane ’09: A+ for Amy Blogs Chow; big fat F for Full-Time Writing and the list goes on… Certainly, I have much to reflect on (last ten days with Jason included). But in true Amy fashion, I have yet to pack so should sign off to do that now…

In the next three hours, I’ll tie up loose ends, consolidate things I’ve accumulated, say thank you, and goodbye to my wonderful hosts. I’m not looking forward to the journey back to Manhattan in the middle of New Year’s Eve festivities, but trudging through the cold and crowds to get home – Home! in New York City! – seems like a good goal for the final day of the year. Before I go, here’s one last Stupidly Simple Snacks video to wrap up 2009. I made FRITO PIE, a popular dish in the South that combines chili and cheese with corn chips. It reminds me of movie theater snacks on steroids, but the bowl of hot, crunchy goodness actually made for a satisfying lunch. You’ll have to eat it to believe it, I suppose. Here’s hoping for more eating and believing in 2010. Happy New Year! amy december 31, 2009

Share Frito Pie On Facebook!

WHAT YOU NEED 2 cups Fritos | chili | cheddar cheese | microwave-safe bowl | microwave | 2 minutes

MUSIC Belle & Sebastian For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea

December 31, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Stupidly Simple Snacks, Texas, videos. 4 comments.