Calle 61 between Calles 58 and 60 across from the Cathedral Merida, Mexico
OPEN HOURS: 10:00 am – 8:00pm Daily
The beauty of Mexican dining is that everyone seems to just do it right. Taking the time and effort to combine the ingredients in perfect order and letting them combine as long as needed. This patience is something declining in today’s immediacy.
While in Mexico, we dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world (Biko, Pujol) and ate blue-corn tortillas made by hand in the street. Somewhere in between these two lies Las Quekas, who, just like everyone else, takes the time to do it right.
While we were walking through downtown Merida looking for a calling, just across from the cathedral, we stumbled onto an unassuming little place decked out in orange and yellow. It was such an unwavering duo-tone that the instant thought is “franchise”. As we watched a steady crowd brought us in for a closer inspection. Once in nasal proximity, the fresh smells of steaming huitlacoche and melting cheese got us through the door and into a lasting relationship.
With other 5 locations throughout the city of Merida, Las Quekas is a sort of franchise. One that offers exactly what you want at times; Practically instant quesadillas that feel more like a guilty dessert then the hearty meal they are. We were in Merida for only 2 days, but at 5 different occasions we found ourselves lifting the mouth-wateringly good quesadillas to our lips. Crispy tortillas with steaming fillings of Rajas Poblano (strips of poblano peppers with onions in a creamy sauce), huitlacoche and corn, zucchini blossom, and of course the requisite meats stewed chicken or shredded sausage. Each combined with the beautiful soft white cheese that melts in a smoldering bliss.
At a little less then $1 each Las Quekas’s Quesadillas are just about the perfect meal, Healthy, Hearty and Happy.
The Playa Koralia Resort now has a very special Loft for rent in the old city of Cartagena. The high-design space is an oasis from the mid day heat and a wonderful way to escape the bustle of the streets. Ocean views, hot-water bath and equipped with a full kitchen, washing machine and maid service; your private hide-away awaits.
Blurring over the green on green expanse of countryside below me I contemplated the glittering jewels sparkling up at me from 30,000 feet below. What were these glittering fish in this expanse of growth? Cognitively I knew them to be Man, though what construct of the beast I was not sure; these reflecting lights bedazzled over the landscape, scattered like a child using the made-for-tv tool.
I hadn’t gotten a handle on the space between these domiciles – trying to decide if it was a lot of emptiness or a landscape uniformly full of Man-Life – when we hurtled past and descended to El Dorado International Airport, Bogota, Colombia. Where I proceeded to have a remarkably civil, if un-eventful, 5 hour layover for my flight to Cartagena.
El Dorado Airport Bogota
Now this is a far cry from my first trip through El Dorado a dozen years ago; when navigating the corridor like terminal was more akin to wading through a souk then engaging in modern era jet-travel. Not today – today I calmly pulled money out the ATM, drank an espresso cortado with condensed milk from the Juan Valdez Coffee shop (always a shameful delight in Colombia – the national obsession with the sweetened condensed milk), purchased minutes for my cellphone at the pharmacy and sat down at the food court, being waited on by an ultra-pleasent late year teen who did his absolute best to help me achieve gastronomic satisfaction.
He was successful, bringing me a toasted arepa (a flat corn biscuit like bread made out of corn) smothered with Guiso. Guiso is a delight of stewed onions and tomato that is found throughout Colombia, though under different names. Guiso in the interior, Hogao on the Caribbean coast, and who knows what its called in the places I haven’t yet been! This was followed by one of the traditional Colombian soups – Changua; a milk, and egg soup that has a flavor and happiness all its own. With floating chunks of soft bread and green flecks of Cilantro, Changua has the beauty of being completely comforting, filling and at the same time feeling oddly healthy. That is until you hit the melted cheese hidden underneath – when the comfort starts to out way the health!
The food is like the service – Simple, but having the overall feeling of being made with local ingredients that have yet to be corrupted by the world at large.
So Welcome to Colombia, and as they now say – The only risk is that you’ll want to stay!