Cuenca Museum of Modern Art in San Sebas + Marc’s Consignments Tour (Episode 77)

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This day in the life video is a walking tour of the San Sebas (or San Sebastian) area of Cuenca Ecuador.

Marc’s Consignments Cuenca

Our first stop was at Marc’s Consignments. One of our very first subscribers, Marla, will be moving here to Cuenca in June and she requested a tour of one of the consignment stores.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca

Marc’s Consignments is located in the San Sebas area of Cuenca just a couple blocks from San Sebas plaza. In addition to brokering furniture sales, they can also help with relocation services. And if you need something special that they don’t have, they can find it for you. Their stock rotates about every 2 months and they get new items every week so check back often.

Marc's Consignments Cuenca Store

There are two other consignment stores that we know about that are popular with gringos: Cuenca Consignments and JD Muebles. We’ve never been to Cuenca Consignments, but JD Muebles is very similar to Marc’s Consignments.

San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

One of the prettiest, old-world plazas in Cuenca has to be San Sebas Plaza. Locals and gringos alike are often seen relaxing near the fountain, surrounded by flower gardens. Café San Sebas is popular gringo hangout with a nice patio and views of the plaza and the Museum of Modern Art.

San Sebas Plaza Cuenca

Cuenca Museum of Modern Art – Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno de Cuenca

We’ve been to Cuenca’s Museum of Modern Art several times. It’s a beautiful, quite and relaxing art museum with several colorful gardens.

 Museum of Modern Art Cuenca

Museum of Modern Art Garden

However, on this day, there weren’t any art exhibits. The museum is in the process of doing a comprehensive renovation so none of the art was on display except for the outdoor sculptures. We still enjoyed ourselves none-the-less.

Pho Vietnamita Restaurant

After we left the museum, we walked a couple blocks to Pho Vietnamita for lunch. As far as we know, this is the only Vietnamese restaurant in Cuenca, and it’s muy delicioso.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Sign

We met Rick, the head chef and owner, during our Visa process. We rode to Machala together to file our paperwork soon after we arrived in Cuenca.

Pho Vietnamita Rick

Rick made us some delicious vegan rice paper spring rolls as an appetizer.

Pho Vietnamita Vegan Spring Roll

We ordered the Vegetarian Pho, which is actually vegan, for our main course. The Vegetarian Ramen uses egg noodles, so it’s not vegan. The Pho bowl was very flavorful and filling.

Pho Vietnamita Cuenca Bowl

INTI-RAYMI Galeria

After we left Rick’s place, we walked down Simón Bolivar toward Parque Calderon. If you’re in the market for unique furniture and home decor, the INTI-RAYMI Galeria might have what you’re looking for. They have more furniture on the upper level so be sure to check that out, too.

Home Decor Store

The Cuenca Flower Market

A walk through El Centro wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Cuenca’s world famous Flower Market.

Cuenca Flower Market

Cuenca Flower Market Lilly

Fogón del Zorro Peruvian Restaurant

After we left the flower market, a dark cloud appeared from out of nowhere (as they often do here in Cuenca) and the sky opened up. We stepped inside Fogón del Zorro just as it started pouring rain. They do have a few options on the menu for us vegans, but since we had already eaten, we just ordered a delicious Peruvian beer to sip while we waited out the storm.

Fogon del Zorro Beer

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Amelia Returns to Cuenca + Mattress Shopping at Vera Vazquez (Episode 62)

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Amelia still works for a company based in Denver, CO and she goes back for a week four times per year. Time goes very slowly while she’s gone and I’m always very happy when she returns!

After sleeping on comfortable beds at her parents’ house and in hotels for 11 nights, Amelia told me it was time to finally buy un colchón nuevo (a new mattress).

We were planning to go shopping the afternoon that she returned to Cuenca, but after a long day of travel and an early morning flight back to Cuenca from Quito, she was too tired to go shopping so we went the next day, instead.

My physical therapist, Karina, told us to buy un colchón nuevo several months ago, but we kept putting it off. The mattress that came with our rental house is very old and not supportive, which we believe has been contributing to my back pain and Amelia’s hip pain. For some reason, though, we were intimidated to go shopping for un colchón.

Karina recommended we go to Muebles Vera Vázquez in the San Sebas part of town and look at colchones de Chaide. She said that was a good Ecuadorian brand of mattress. We tried several and found one we liked.

The store is currently under massive construction, which is why it was so crowded and noisy. The store occupies six floors in an old building, and they’re in the process of doubling the size with an expansion. They said it would be completed in two months, but I find that very hard to believe. There was literally NO building next door. They had completely torn it down to the ground. If they finish rebuilding that in two months, I’ll be very impressed.

UPDATE: Our first night in our new bed was heavenly! It’s 100 times better than the old mattress. My back and Amelia’s hip already feel better!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Video Transcript

Hey veggie lovers. I’m JP
with Vegans Abroad.

Amelia is on an airplane.

Today is the big day. Amelia is
coming home.

A very early flight. She left Quito
at 6AM this morning.

So she should be here shortly.

Let’s patiently await
the arrival of Amelia.

[Upbeat Music]

[Calm Jazz Music]

>> JP: Do you have enough luggage?

>> Amelia: Very funny.

>> JP: I think you need some more luggage.

>> A: Shut-up.

Hi veggie lovers. I got back
from the US yesterday

and after sleeping on a nice mattress
for the last couple weeks,

JP and I decided the time is now and we
needed to get a new mattress.

We knew.. we’ve known for awhile that we
were in need of a new mattress,

but we kept putting it off and then
yesterday was going to be the day

but it wasn’t because we
were both too tired.

[Laughing]

It’s so noisy today!
[Laughing]

There’s a huge thunderstorm
going on right now.

So we’re hanging out
in the furniture store.

The good news is that we found
a mattress that we love.

[Calm Jazz Music]

>> JP: What?

>> A: This is king, yeah?

[Laughing]

It’s hard to tell. It’s comfortable.

Do you wanna lay on it?

>> JP: Yeah.

>> A: Yeah. I kinda like it.

>> JP: What do you like about it?

>> A: It feels more supportive.

[Calm Jazz Music]

This one’s very comfortable.

This furniture store:
Muebles Vera Vázquez.

I keep wanting to say Vera Cruz.

It’s Vera Vázquez, was recommended by
JP’s physical therapist

and she recommended
the mattress brand, Chaide.

They carry several different models here
and we found one that we love.

It’s super comfortable.

The great news is that they’re going to
deliver it for us tomorrow morning.

It retails for $770 but we got
a cash discount

and therefore it was $690 with delivery.

Yay! And we only had to pay 50% up-front.

So we’ll pay the rest tomorrow
when it comes.

We’re gonna wait out the storm and then
we will head home.

It is raining WAY too hard to walk and for
SOME reason..

Hello! We’ve lived here for long enough
now we know to bring

all weather gear, but we didn’t.

We didn’t bring any umbrellas.

Oh well. [Laughing]

I forgot to mention when
we were in the store

that they are renovating right now.

They said that they should be done in
1 to 2 months

and they will double their retail space.

That is why all the furniture was crammed
in there really tightly.

That’s all we have for you today,
veggie lovers.

Please remember to subscribe
to our YouTube Channel.

We do post new videos every Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday at 2PM Eastern.

Ring that bell and you will get notified
about our next video.

We will see you soon.

[Blooper Beep]

That is why all the furniture was crammed
in there really tightly.

We had to do a little walkin..

little Tetris style. Not Tetris style.

Tetris style is the compacting.

You can cut that out.

[Laughter]

Do you want me to start over?

>> JP: No. What would that be like?

>> A: I don’t know. A maze?
>> JP: Tightrope?

>> A: No. I don’t know.
It was a tight squeeze.

Plaza Rotary in Cuenca | Outdoor Marketplace (Episode 60)

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While Amelia’s back in the States, I filmed el Mercado de Artesanias Rotary here in Cuenca. It’s usually just called “the rotary” by the gringos and it’s located at Vargas Machuca y Gaspar Sangurima just one block East of Mercado 9 de Octubre.

The Rotary has lots of mostly indigenous vendors selling furniture, metalwork, hand-woven baskets, pottery, kitchen utensils, clothes, bags, rugs, souvenirs, etc. It’s a great place to find unique gifts for your loved ones, or obscure items for yourself.

One of our viewers from the other side of the world (Taiwan) requested a video on this outdoor marketplace and filming it was a good use of my alone time. If you would like us to film something in particular, please let us know. As long as it’s relevant to our audience, we’ll be happy to record it!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Cuenca Pharmacy Tour and Paying Bills + Beet Burgers Cooking Video (Episode 54)

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If you’ve never been to Cuenca or a South American country, you may be curious about basic things like paying bills and shopping at pharmacies. In this video, we’ll show you the unusual (by American standards) way of paying bills and perhaps reassure you about the quality of pharmacies here in Cuenca.

We’ll also share our Beet Burger w/ Black Beans & Quinoa recipe in a cooking video. You can find the full recipe on our sister recipe website, LottaVeg.com.

Beet Burgers

Paying Utility Bills

The process for paying our utility bills here in Cuenca has been a constant learning process. We used to pay for our water, electric and landline at the Farmasol pharmacy near our house, but they stopped accepting utility payments for some reason. Now we go to JEP Cooperativa, which is a co-op bank here in Ecuador.

Paying for Electric, Water and Phone at JEP

JEP

JEP only accepts cash and they don’t accept our American ATM bank cards, so we have to go to a regular non-coop bank first to get cash. We prefer Banco Pichincha because they don’t charge ATM fees.

Banco Pichincha

Our utility bills run about $60/month: $40 for electric, $15 for water and $3 for our landline phone that came with the house. For reference, we have a single family 2-story home that’s about 1,500 square feet. Some landlords include the cost of utilities in the rent, but ours doesn’t so we have to pay them ourselves.

Our Internet with Puntonet

We use Puntonet for our Internet access, which costs us $35/month for high-speed, fiber to the curb. It’s FAR better here than our crappy Comcast service back in Denver. We pay Puntonet with auto-pay using a credit card (no international transaction fees).

Our Mobile Phone with Claro

We use Claro for our Ecuadorian mobile phone. It only costs us $17/month! We bought a cheap Samsung phone for $170 when we setup the account, but it was awful. We still have iPhones with Verizon back in the states (we both still work, Amelia for a company in Denver and I have web design clients) so after we upgraded our iPhones, we swapped the SIM card from the Samsung to our old iPhone and it works much better.

Claro

We’ve tried setting up auto-pay at Claro using our credit card multiple times, but it never works so we go every month in person to pay. When you go in the front door, you have to get a number and wait your turn.

Claro Number

They ask for your Claro phone number at the front desk, but it doesn’t get recorded on the ticket so you have to repeat it to the clerk who takes your payment. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to pay.

How Our Electricity Got Shut Off

In the video, Amelia mentioned that our electricity got cut off one month. That was due to the confusing nature of bill paying here in Ecuador. There is no online access to bills, so we don’t know what the amounts due until we go to JEP. Furthermore, the bills are only available after a certain day of the month, which has been changed several times in the year we’ve been living here.

The bill available dates are currently between the 1st and 5th of the month (it varies). However, they used to be available between the 19th and the 24th, then the 24th and the 29th. If you go before that date, the bills aren’t available so you can’t pay them.

That’s where the confusion arose with our electricity getting shut off. We went to Farmasol to pay our bills (before they stopped accepting payments) and the electric bill wasn’t available yet because they changed the available date. We figured we would save a trip and just pay for it next month after several friends told us paying a month late wouldn’t matter. The next month, we paid our bills after all of them were available, but they cashier didn’t charge us for the previous month’s electricity.

The next month, Farmasol stopped accepting payments and our payment dates changed AGAIN when JEP took over. The missing month still hadn’t been paid so on our first trip to JEP, they charged us for the missing month and the current month, but when we got home, our electricity had been shut off already for non-payment of the bill three months before.

Thankfully, our landlord happened to drop by and we told him what happened. He took our JEP payment receipt to the electric company showing that we had just paid the late bill and our electricity was turned back on a few hours later.

Paying Rent

We didn’t cover how we pay rent in the video, but it’s worth a mention. This is a cash society. We haven’t seen personal checks, online bill pay is still in its infancy here, and most individuals and small businesses don’t accept credit cards.

So in order to pay the rent, we go to the bank, withdraw cash from the ATM and deposit it directly into our landlord’s bank account. He gave us his account information and we use it to fill out a deposit slip.

Paying the bills and the rent is a great way to get our 10,000 steps in for the day!

Cuenca Pharmacy Tour – Pharmacy’s

Farmacias

Pharmacies are abundant here in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador. For some reason, Ecuador hasn’t gone through the corporate consolidation process like the states has so there are lots of consumer options here. Within walking distance from our house, we have a Cruz Azul, Pharmacy’s, Fybeca and Medicity. And we’ve seen others.

In the video, we toured a Pharmacy’s, but most of the larger pharmacies are pretty similar. They’re a lot like a Walgreens or CVS back in the states and they have a lot of the major brands.

Lubriderm

Most of the beauty products are a LOT more expensive here. My physical therapist has us bring back Cetaphil for her because it only costs $11 in the states compared to $41 here.

Cetaphil

Most of the packaged medicines and vitamins are kept behind the counter so you’ll need to ask for them. In the smaller pharmacies like the Cruz Azul in our neighborhood, nearly everything is kept behind the counter.

Cruz Azul

If you would like us to look for something in particular, just let us know.

Núcleo Nerve Medicine

Núcleo

Núcleo is a drug that’s available in most countries, but not the United States. This drug helps regenerate damaged nerves and the protective sheath around nerves. It also helps with neuropathy from nerve damage or diabetes. And from my experience, it actually works without side effects and only costs me about $45/month.

Due to my spinal issues, I have nerve damage in my hands, legs and feet. The neuropathy in my feet was really bad before I started taking Núcleo several months ago. I’ve also regained some of the lost feeling in my hands and legs. It’s difficult to say for sure if this is solely due to the Núcleo or if part of the improvement came from my stellar physical therapy here in Cuenca or the natural healing process.

Regardless, it’s unacceptable that this isn’t available in the states when it’s available in most other countries. It could help millions of people suffering with nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy. I was prescribed Gabapentin following my surgeries, but the side effects, especially depression, became unbearable so I had to stop taking it. Núcleo would have really helped me.

Tosta Sourdough Bread

On our way home from paying our bills, we stopped by Tosta for some delicious sourdough bread. We timed it perfectly because it was straight from the oven and still warm! Yum!

Tosta

Tosta Inside

Tosta Bread

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

Hi veggie lovers! I’m Amelia with
Vegans Abroad. JP is behind the camera.

Today we are going to go pay our
utilities and our cell phone bill.

We also need to go to the pharmacy,
which is perfect because we had a viewer ask us

to do some video of the
pharmacies here in the area.

We will post these videos, all of our videos,

at 2 p.m. Eastern time every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

and we do stick around for about an hour to answer any questions or comment on any

of your comments so please join us and
remember to subscribe and ring that bell

so that you get notified on all our
latest and greatest.

♫ Upbeat Music ♫

I’m standing outside Claro. Amelia is
inside paying our bill. We’ve tried to

set up automatic payments
with our credit card at Claro several times,

but for some reason it never works correctly.

So we just come down here once a month

and pay in person. It’s $17 a month
for our mobile phone bill here in Ecuador.

There is another company called
Movistar, but most of the people we

talked to recommended Claro
so that’s why we went with them.

And after we leave here after Amelia pays our bill we’re gonna head down to JEP and pay our utilities.

Now that we could also pay
online if we had a JEP account, but since

we don’t we just go pay it in person, too.
And you have to pay that with cash.

They don’t take credit cards there so we’re
gonna go do that next and then go down

and tour a couple pharmacies.

JP: Still waiting?
Amelia: Still waiting.

It actually hasn’t been that long.

I’m going into JEP now to pay our
utilities, which is the water, electric

and we pay I think $3 a month
for a landline that just came with the

house that we rent so it just is part of
rent as far as I’m concerned.

As another thing we do pay our utilities in cash here.

Umm.. I’ve heard that you can set up a

JEP account pay some of these online
but we haven’t tried that.

If somebody knows let us know.

I’m standing outside of JEP
waiting for Amilia.

You can’t use your phone or any
electronics while you’re in the banks here.

They all have security guards. The security guard will come up and yell at you and tell you to

put your phone away or leave. So I’m just
standing outside under a shade tree next

to this woman selling delicious looking
cherimoyas and cherries.

They have the most amazing dark cherries here!

Oh my God they’re like candy!

A: Success!
JP: All paid?
A: All paid.

JP: So they aren’t going to shut off our electricity again?
A: No. [chuckling]

We’ve had some issues figuring out
when we’re supposed to pay bills

and they changed our due date and they changed the location where we can pay them,

but luckily our landlord helped us through all of that.

We only had our electricity shut off for what, nine hours?

JP: Yeah [laughing]

That was embarrassing. [laughing]

And the funny thing is we had just paid it that morning!

But we didn’t realize we
had a short window and somehow one month

apparently didn’t get paid when they
made the bill switch. I don’t know.

Now we are heading over to the pharmacy
right down the street

to get JP’s prescriptions.

We decided to stop on the way home
and get some bread from Tosta.

We timed it perfectly, although
that was an accident and they had just

pulled some fresh out of the oven. Yay!I

[sounds of cutting bread]

JP: Yummy bread.
A: I know. I’m hungry and I could not wait for a piece.

A: We are back from running our errands and
enjoying our delicious bread from Tosta.

A: Sitting outside and
enjoying the wonderful weather.

JP: I know. It’s beautiful here today it.

A: It is. We had…a viewer asked us
to record the pharmacy’s,

which we were happy to do so

since as I mentioned we needed to go
anyway. There are many different

pharmacies out here they’re super easy
to find. Umm, there.. I think they’re pretty

similar to like a Walgreens or a Rite
Aid. What do you think JP?

JP: Yeah they’re very similar to like Walgreens,
except a lot of the stuff is behind the counter.

JP: Things that you don’t actually need a
prescription for but they still keep it

behind the counter anyway.

A: Just obviously to minimize theft.
JP: Yeah.

A: Especially the little stores everything in the little
pharmacies are behind the counter so you

have to know what you want because most
of the people working there do not speak English.

JP: So the pharmacies are the ones
that we know of are Farmasol, Medicity

No, that was Fybeca.
Fybeca, Farmacias, Cruz Azul,

which is Blue Cross in English.

A: Yes and I think..
JP: Is that it?

JP: There may be more there’s a lot

of pharmacies and a lot of little ones like
the little one in our neighborhood.

JP: The Cruz Azul. It’s really tiny. They..
Almost everything is behind the counter there.

A: Yeah, but they’re really helpful so we’ve
gone and gotten prescriptions there

before and they have had to order them
but they get them the same day usually.

JP: Usually the same day or the next day.

A: But if you’re in a hurry I would definitely

recommend going to a larger pharmacy

or if you actually do want to
wander up and down some aisles..

JP: And see all the stuff.
A: Yes. Go to a larger pharmacy.

A: The interesting thing, I mentioned
prescriptions. JP, you want to..?

JP: Oh yeah I’ve got my
prescriptions here.

This is Núcleo. And this is a drug that
helps with the regeneration of nerve damage

and the protective sheath that coats nerves.
And this is not available in the United States,

but it is available here and it
doesn’t even require a prescription.

I’ve been taking this for a few months and I
definitely think it’s helping with my

nerve damage from my spinal issues
and I don’t feel any side effects from

it so it I feel better I’ve got more
feeling back in my hands and legs and

feet and there’s no side effects.

A: Yeah and it’s very affordable so a lot of

the stuff here is really affordable um
the doctors will write you a

prescription so that you know what to
get from the pharmacist, but then we can

go back and just buy them normally.

JP: Yeah, we just show them the box.
A: Like the B vitamins, for example.

JP: We got these B Vitamins, too. My neurologist

here recommended I take these
every day as well

because that’s also supposed
to help with nerve damage.

A: So not everything
is available over-the-counter.

A: I think that they have changed their
policy on antibiotics

and that you do need a prescription for that.

[loud car alarm; laughing]

JP: Car alarms galore. It’s non stop here.

A: Anyway, not everything is available over-the-counter.

A: Some prescriptions..
[loud car alarm]
JP: It’s never-ending.

A: Not everything is available over-the-counter.
Certain things like antibiotics require

a prescription now.
I would assume opioids probably.

JP: Probably. You used to be able to buy
antibiotics without a prescription

You could just walk in and tell them
you want some and they give them to you,

but because of the over over prescribing of

antibiotics and all the antibody
antibiotic resistant bacteria or

whatever now they’re.. they require
prescription now, thankfully.

[chewing sounds]

JP: Anything else?
A: I was hungry.

JP: Amelia’s hungry. I’m hungry, too.

JP: All right.
A: The bread is delicious.

JP: All right. So now you’re gonna go do yoga?
A: Mm-hmm.

JP: I think I’ll do my workout and then we’re
gonna do some cooking this afternoon.

A: That’s the plan.
JP: All right. See you soon.
A: See you soon.

I decided to make Beet Burgers
because JP and I have not had them in..

..ages I think a year, year and a half maybe.
And they sounded really delicious.

The beets here are really good and it’s
pretty quick and easy to make.

Although, I had to review my notes a
couple times because, like I said,

I haven’t made him in a long time.
So let’s run through our ingredients.

OK. So I have two beets, which I have to grate.

These are raw. I have peeled them.
I have 1 cup of black beans that I have rinsed and

drained.. or drained and rinsed.
I have 2 cups of cooked quinoa.

One onion that I need to chop still.
1 teaspoon paprika.

1 teaspoon cumin.
1/2 teaspoon mustard.

1/4 teaspoon salt (kinda hard to see in there).
I have 3 tablespoons minced garlic.

And then I need to make a flax egg.
That’s first thing I’m gonna do and to

do that I’m going to grind up two
tablespoons of flax.

We use a coffee grinder to grind all of our seeds.
We actually do not use this to grind coffee, FYI.

Alright so this is super simple. Just
putting in my two tablespoons of flax

seed which is going to make us some flax meal.

[coffee grinder sound]

So I actually have a little bit more than
two tablespoons.. once it’s ground.

A: You can buy ground flax meal we just did not.
JP: It’s better if you grind it fresh.

JP: It loses its nutritional value as it sits.

A: So I am going to measure out the two tablespoons

and the rest of this we can use for our
breakfast tomorrow and I’m just gonna

give this a quick stir with my teeny
tiny little fork.

Alright and that just needs to sit and
it will kind of turn into this

jelly-like consistency, which will be our
flax egg. So we will set that aside and

then the next thing I need to do is
grate these beets. So I need a cup of

grated beets and I’m not exactly sure
how much that’s going to be, so..

JP: Those are raw, right?
A: Yes. Raw peeled. Please make sure you peel them.

I don’t think the peel of beets would
taste very good.

I did slice these up so they will fit
into our little tube here.

[food processor sound]

So we need a cup of grated beets.
Boy these look delicious don’t they?

JP: Wow, they’re so red!
A: I know.

A: I think we’re gonna have plenty.
We have extra quinoa because I

made a little extra intentionally so we
can have that for breakfast in the

morning and we’re gonna have a little
bit of extra beet, grated beets which is

delicious in salads, which we’ll
also have tomorrow.

I still need my food processor so I didn’t rinse it out.

I did change the blades so we’re now using

this one not the shredder one. We’re
going to put in our grated beets, one cup.

Black beans. I think I’ll go ahead and put our spices
in so that I don’t end up making a mess.

Quinoa is going in here as well. This is
gonna be a very hearty burger JP.

And very pretty. And then lastly we want to
put our flax egg in and in case you have

not made one yet you can see this is
your end result it’s kind of gelatinous.

I’m just gonna pulse this until
everything is blended. We don’t want

things to be mushy we want them
still to be a little chunky.

[food processor sound]

Yeah I think this is good.
Oh my gosh it smells really good.

I’m really excited to eat these!

I’m going to set this aside for a moment,
chop my onion, and I’m going to sauté

the onion and garlic and a little bit of
veggie broth until the onions are translucent.

All right, I’ve heated a quarter cup of veggie broth.

And to that I’m going to add
my three tablespoons of minced garlic.

That spoon’s a little too big to get in there.
I can keep trying but it’s just not gonna work.

And….. Whoops. Our onion..
So in my, on the website we say

to use a yellow onion, which I did not have.
I think any onion will do.

JP: I agree.

A: I love these red onions. I love white onions and I love yellow onions.

They’ll all be delicious, but we can only use one so purple it is.

Ok. And like I mentioned before I’m

just gonna sauté these until they are translucent.

JP: And over here, we’re making some
green beans to go with our Beet Burgers.

While the onions are cooking, onions AND
garlic are cooking, I am going to

transfer our beet mixture to a bowl
because we are going to add in the

onions and garlic along with two
tablespoons of whole wheat flour to this

mixture and then we are going to form
them into patties.

And then we’re going to bake these.
I should mention that.

We are going to bake them in a 350 degree oven.

Wow looks really good.

Alright, I think our onion and garlic is looking good.

So veggie lovers it is dinner time for the
dogs and they are right underneath our feet,

waiting to be fed. They’re gonna have to wait
a couple more minutes. Sorry babies.

Last up before we form these into
patties is to add in two tablespoons of flour.

And I am using whole wheat flour.

All right, now I just need to grab, grab our baking sheet

and then I will make our patties.

This should make six patties.

And you can see I’m just molding them.
They’re kind of fragile.

A: But boy they really look good, don’t they?
JP: They sure do.

A: I love the color. I’m glad I decided to use a red onion.

Fate intervened. Umm.
The nice thing.. these are fragile..

You don’t have to flip these though so
we’re going to bake these now

for 30 to 40 minutes until they’re nice
and done and a little crispy.

Alright..

A: Mmmmm..
JP: Wow! Those look yummy!

A: I know! They look really good, don’t they?
JP: They smell good, too!

A: They DO smell good! Oooo! This is quite hot!

Dinner is ready!

Perfect!

A: This looks delish, JP.
JP: Wow, that does.

A: Uno más.

A: Do you want lettuce and tomato?
JP: Yes, please.

A: I’ll give you two slices.
JP: Thank you.

A: Well you’re very welcome.
JP: That’s so red!
A: I know.

A: Pile that right on top.
JP: Wow! Looky there! Looks so good!
A: I know it’s so pretty!

And then I’m gonna do ketchup and
mustard on mine.. and then I’m gonna eat!

JP: What kind of mustard?

A: Well I’m gonna use regular yellow mustard.

I know you like the spicy brown mustard.

Any of your favorite condiments will do.

A: Avocado would be really good with this, too.
JP: Oh, it would be good.

JP: All right, let’s eat.
A: Next time. Let’s eat!

That’s all for today veggie lovers.

I hope you enjoyed our day in the life
video and I hope you found the pharmacy

information helpful. And I also hope
that you give our beet burgers a try.

Please remember to subscribe. Ring that
bell so you get all the latest and greatest.

And we will see you next time.

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 46)

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One of the things we love about living in Cuenca is running errands on the weekends. Instead of hopping in a car, driving through traffic and fighting for a parking space, we simply put on our walking shoes and head out to front gate. It’s common for us to log nearly 20,000 steps (that’s about 8 miles) on Saturday and/or Sunday!

In this video, we ventured down to El Centro to get some papas deliciosas (delicious potatoes) at Mercado Diez de Agosto, and some café y dátiles (coffee and dates) at a speciality store called Café Cubanito across the street from the mercado.

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador Cafe Cubanito

Cafe Cubanito 2

Then we walked down through the flower market and Parque Calderon where we saw a marching band. We’re not sure what the band was doing or if it was part of a parade, but it’s common to see things like that here. There is always something to celebrate!

Vegan Day In The Life + Delicious Treats at Zatua Miski in Cuenca Ecuador Parade

We like Bermeo Hnos. (that’s short for Bermeo Hermanos or Bermeo Brothers) for our sporting good needs. We looked all over town for a pair of athletic shoes for me, and Bermeo was the only store to have them in my size and a color that I liked. Most of the mens shoes run very small here and the colors are very bright (think neon red, pink and yellow). I wear a men’s US size 9 so my feet aren’t that big, but apparently they are for Ecuador.

Bermeo Hnos

Bermeo Hnos Weights

On this trip, we bought some 10 pound weights for our at-home exercises and physical therapy, but we’ve also bought yoga mats, exercise bands and swimming goggles there on previous visits.

We walked right by Zatua Miski on our way home and couldn’t resist stopping by for some delicious vegan treats. Zatua Miski is an all vegan, plant-based bakery in Cuenca. Paola is the artist who creates the cookies, cakes, truffles, waffles and smoothie bowls. Her dishes are not only decadent and delicious, but true works of art. You’ll want to have your camera ready when you visit.

Zatua Miski

Zatua Miski Waffles

Zatua Miski Smoothie Bowl

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Day In the Life in Cuenca Ecuador + LottaVeg Behind the Scenes (Episode 30)

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On weekdays, we’re usually working out of the house, but on weekends here in Cuenca Ecuador, we’re very busy. We started off our day with a walk to Mall del Río for the annual Viva Salud (Healthy Living) event. However, it was a lot different this year than last. Life in Ecuador is often like a box of chocolates…

After going to the mall, we walked back home and made some of our delicious Vegan Beet Brownies (you can find the recipe on our sister website, LottaVeg.com). While the brownies were baking, Amelia practiced her new belly dancing routine. I sure am a lucky man to be with such an amazing, 50+ year old beautiful lady 🙂

Once the brownies were finished baking, we got dressed up and headed off to Fratello Vegan for some WFPB No-Oil Nachos and Pizza. Rene, the owner, told us he’s in the process of converting their whole menu to oil-free, but for now, we let him know ahead of time when we’re coming by sending him a message through their Facebook page so he can have an oil-free pizza ready for us.

On our way home after dinner, we swam upstream against one of Cuenca’s many races. There are lots of 5K’s and 10K’s throughout the year through different parts of the town.

We’re not sure what this race was, but most people were wearing the same shirts, some were singing, some were chanting and some were carrying signs, like the person wearing the costume of a very tall indigenous woman. The sign reads: “Women in decision making building a different world.” We could certainly use more of that…

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Vegan Beet Brownies Cooking Video on LottaVeg

Subscribe to our LottaVeg Cooking Channel, too!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Cuenca Days 2018: Celebrating Cuenca’s Independence (Episode 22)

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This weekend is bustling with activity here in Cuenca, Ecuador as we celebrate the annual Cuenca Days 2018 event. Cuenca achieved its independence from Spain on November 3rd, 1820 and they pull out all the stops to celebrate Independence Day with art fairs, food festivals, parades, concerts and fireworks.

Thousands of people descend on our little Andean mountain city this time every year, while many of the native Cuencanos head to the coast to escape the chaos. The streets, parks and restaurants are packed with people, and everyone seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery, and the interesting people during Cuenca Days 2018 here in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Cuenca Flower Market + Fresh Tea & Cold Beer in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 20)

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Today we did another one of our Sunday afternoon city walking tours. On our way to the Cuenca Flower Market, we stopped by Télicioso Tea Room to get some of our favorite tea. Then, after we bought Amelia some new earrings and some beautiful flowers at the flower market, we went to Simón for some papas fritas y cervezas (we recorded this in March 2018 before I realized I still had high cholesterol, which you can read about in my blog post on LottaVeg: Can Vegans Get Heart Disease?).

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery in Cuenca, Ecuador, and the interesting people we encounter along the way. We’ve also included some Spanish language learning opportunities for you.

Please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this video, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel.

People & Places

Télicioso Tea Room on Calle Larga in Cuenca Ecuador

Amelia read an article stating that most commercial tea bags contain plastic, so she decided for our health and the environment, we would start making our tea from fresh tea leaves.

We first went to Sukasa to get a teapot. It’s a very “American” store located in Gringolandia. We’ll do a video of Sukasa and the surrounding area at some point. Gringolandia is the area where most of the older gringos live in Cuenca.

The next stop after we acquired our new teapot was Télicioso Tea Room. It’s located next door to Café Libre, one of our favorite plant-based, vegan restaurants in Cuenca. Télicioso has a wonderful assortment of fresh tea leaves.

Telicioso Tea Room Cuenca Ecuador

The owner, Katherine, speaks fluent english and is very knowledgeable about tea. She has some of the same flavors and a few new ones each time.

Telicioso Owner Cuenca Ecuador

You can reuse your tea bags so be sure to take them with you. She’ll also tell you how to measure the tea and how much to use of each kind.

Telicioso Owner Tea Bag Cuenca Ecuador

While you’re waiting, you can channel your inner child and enjoy a little swing time like Amelia is doing in this photo.

Teliciouso Swing Cuenca Ecuador

Cuenca Flower Market

One of our favorite places to visit in Cuenca is the Flower Market located across the street from the New Cathedral. It’s so beautiful that it topped the worldwide list of National Geographic’s Top 10 Outdoor Flower Markets. It truly is breathtaking.

Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

Many of the booths at the Cuenca Flower Market are run by indigenous Ecuadorian women adorned in their traditional garb as you can see in the video. But many of the younger women wear western style clothes consisting of jeans and long sleeve t-shirts, like the woman in this photo.

Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

You can buy all sorts of flowers by the bundle or in premade arrangements at the Cuenca Flower Market. The women who work at the market are always busy making new arrangements, but they’re eager to help you pick out the perfect flowers for your home or special occasion.

Flower Market Cuenca Ecuador

Ecuador is the world’s third largest exporter of cut flowers and they’re incredibly abundant here…and reasonably priced. A dozen roses typically cost less than $5, and they’re ridiculously beautiful. The buds are huge and they’ll last for as long as two weeks. Place them in a central location in your house and their aroma will welcome you home when you open the door.

The lilies that Amelia bought in the video also smelled fantastic. We could smell them all over the house! That bundle cost us $8, which is more than we usually spend on flowers, but they were also more exotic than the roses we usually buy. On the day we went, the roses looked a little wilted so we opted to try something new.

A lot of street entertainers gather near the New Cathedral and the Cuenca Flower Market, like this father/daughter duo. You have to watch the video if you haven’t already. Her little dance is ADORABLE!!!

Daughter & Father Playing Music Cuenca Ecuador

Simón Restaurant

When we visited Ecuador on our exploratory trip, Simón was the very first restaurant we tried for dinner. They don’t have much in the way of vegan options, but they do have a delicious vegetable soup and a vegetarian panini that can be veganized by leaving off the queso y mayonesa (cheese and mayo).

Simón Cuenca Ecuador

They also have some of the best papas fritas (french fries) in all of Cuenca. Most of the papas fritas are pan fried in Ecuador, rather than deep fried. That means they aren’t nearly as oily. Plus, the papas are far more delicious here, which means the fries are muy delicioso.

We know these aren’t healthy, and neither is the beer, but we’re not perfect. We eat a whole-food plant-based no-oil (WFPBNO) diet at home, but we like to enjoy some delicious papas fritas and cold beers on occasion (at least we used to before we found out about my high cholesterol). It probably looks like we enjoy it more than we actually do since we tend to record videos when we go out to restaurants, but these are (were) a rare treat for us.

Besides, we want to show people that you can still enjoy your favorite food and drinks, and still be vegan. Our friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan verified that all of the Club beers, as well as Pilsener beers, are vegan…so bottoms up!

Simón Papas Fritas Cuenca Ecuador

Every place we’ve ordered papas fritas in Ecuador serves them with mayonesa, and most of the time it’s in a small condiment bowl. That means it probably (hopefully) gets thrown out when we don’t eat it.

Rather than waste it, we order our papas fritas “sin mayonesa” (without mayo). The server always looks at us funny and usually still brings it anyway, but at least we try not to be wasteful.

Cuenca Planetarium

Cuenca’s Planetario is located in Parque de la Madre. We haven’t been inside yet, but the outside looks cool. They just finished giving it a fresh coat of Martian red. We’ll take you inside someday.

This photo was taken pre-paint job, but I thought it looked out-of-this-world with the crazy clouds mixed with blue sky behind the dome and the guy sitting on top of it. The bottom of that ladder wasn’t touching anything. It was tied to the top of the dome with a rope and dangled alongside while the guys climbed on it to strip the old paint and then repaint it.

Planetarium Cuenca Ecuador

They must not have OSHA here because we’ve seen some pretty crazy behavior from construction workers. While walking home one day, I saw a construction worker standing on top of a brick wall two stories high hitting the bricks under his feet with a sledgehammer to knock them loose. He then bent over, picked up the bricks and threw them down into a dump truck parked on the sidewalk below…all while balancing on a wall no wider than 5 inches! ¡Fue muy loco! (He was very crazy!)

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We hope you enjoyed our visit to the Cuenca Flower Market, Télicioso and Simón today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel to help us spread the word about veganism. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

Spanish Words & Phrases

hola – hi/hello
¿Cómo están? – How are you?
Bien. ¿Cuál es su nombre? – Well. What is your name?
Bienvenidos a mi sala de té. – Welcome to my tea room.
Veinti tazas – Twenty cups
Necesitamos practicar mucho. – We need to practice a lot.
Naranja, jengibre y manzana té – Orange, ginger and apple tea
Algunas flores – Some flowers
Veinte dólores – Twenty dollars
¿Cuál es el nombre? – What is the name?
Los lilios – The lilies (the spanish word is spelled lirios, but lots of words are different here in Cuenca and in Ecuador)
Tengo hambre – I’m hungry
La macana – the scarf (this is a Cañari word, the language of the indigenous people)
Papas fritas y dos cervezas – French fries and two beers
Sin mayonesa – Without mayonnaise
Salsa de tomate – Ketchup

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video

Shoe Shopping in Cuenca Ecuador + Cervezas at Inca (Episode 12)

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Today, we went shoe shopping in Cuenca, Ecuador, and as a reward for my extreme patience, we went to Inca Lounge for cervezas on our way home. We also stumbled upon some improv dueling rappers in Parque de la Madre. You just never know what you’re going to see while walking around Cuenca, Ecuador!

We hope you enjoy following our shoe shopping experience, and the interesting sights here in Cuenca, Ecuador. We’ve also included some Spanish language learning opportunities for you.

Please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this video, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel.

People & Places

Graffiti Art in Cuenca Ecuador

Graffiti is a common sight here in Cuenca, Ecuador. Some of it is even commissioned, like this one on Ave. Solano. This wall had a lot of unsightly graffiti so some professional graffiti artists were hired to cover it with something more appealing. This also helps to prevent future graffiti since they seem to respect each other’s work.

Bike Lanes & Sidewalk Tiles for the Blind

Cuenca has lots of bike lanes, and more are being added all over the city. Their hope is to make the city more bicycle friendly so people ride to work and school for both improved health and environmental friendliness.

The tiles that make a line down the center of the sidewalk are for blind people. They use their walking sticks with the tiles to stay oriented on the sidewalk. These tiles are used all over the city.

The Shoe Store That Shall Not Be Named

This is one of Amelia’s favorite places to go shoe shopping in Cuenca, but as far as we know, it doesn’t have a name. It’s located on Benigno Malo a couple blocks north of Calle Larga. This was one of the first stores we stumbled upon during our first exploratory trip to Cuenca.

Amelia in Shoe Heaven

Amelia swears she doesn’t have a shoe addiction, but isn’t that what all addicts say? 🤔

Today, she was on a mission to find some tall boots. We see a lot of women wearing tall boots in Cuenca, and we like how they look, so Amelia wanted a pair of her own. This was the start of a lot of shoe trying on….

Moving On to Emily Shoes

We struck out at the unnamed shoe store, so we ventured onward to Emily Shoes a couple blocks away. After trying on what seemed like every shoe in the store, Amelia finally struck gold. She found a pair of tall boots that she liked (not these), and also a new pair of low boots (or high shoes?). The boots were $34 and the shoes were $28; both made of synthetic materials.

Victory at Emily Shoes

Shoe shopping in Cuenca was as success today. This store does have a name, but no online presence that we can link to. It’s common, especially for the older businesses in El Centro, to not have a website or even a Facebook page. Most of the new businesses outside El Centro at least have a Facebook page, but most businesses in Ecuador have not branched out to a website yet.

Folding Fans for Hot Flashes

Like her mother, Amelia is experiencing hot flashes a little younger than most women (she just turned 50). That means she’s often burning with the fiery heat of a thousand suns. Hopefully, these $2 folding fans will help.

Gringo’s Laundry in Cuenca El Centro

There are over 10,000 gringos in Cuenca, Ecuador. That means a lot of businesses, like this laundry service, target them directly.

A lot of apartments, especially in El Centro, don’t have a washer and dryer so residents must find another way to do their laundry. While we have seen laundromats, it only costs about $3 to $4 per load to pay someone to do it for you. They wash, dry and fold your laundry so you can enjoy your time doing other things. Plus, it helps the economy by supporting local businesses.

Inca Lounge & Bistro

I don’t really think of Inca as a bistro, but it certainly has the lounge vibe. It’s located on the riverwalk next to Río Tomebamba just east of Benigno Malo.

Inca is popular with the gringos during the day, but it’s mainly an Ecuadorian hangout after dark. That’s probably because Ecuadorians like to start their evening late after most of the gringos are already in bed.

Amelia Modeling a Club Verde

Club Verde is my favorite domestic light beer in Ecuador. It’s very crisp and refreshing, and cheap. This giant bottle costs $2.50 at Inca.

It’s actually called Club Premium, but most of the restaurants list it as Club Verde on their menus. The brewer also has a Club Negra (dark beer) that Amelia prefers over the Club Verde, and a Club Roja that we’ve never tried.

Our good friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan wrote the the company and confirmed that all of the Club beers are vegan. They don’t use any animal products in their brewing process. Yay!

Dave at Inca

Dave is a gringo that manages Inca. He’s almost always there. Tell him JP and Amelia said hi if you go there.

Chips & Guac (and Salsa) at Inca Lounge

Inca has really good chips, guac and salsa. We like to go their for a mid-afternoon snack and cervezas on our way home after we’ve been out walking around El Centro. We usually have to order extra chips if we get both the guac and the salsa.

Inca Vegetarian Menu

Most restaurants have a vegetarian (vegetariano) section on their menu, and most items are either vegan already, or can easily be veganized by asking them to skip the congealed mammal fluids (aka cheese and sour cream, aka queso y crema).

Inca’s Veggie Stir Fry is vegan, and the other vegetarian items can be veganized. They also have a vegetarian burrito that can be veganized. We’ve tried several things on the menu and they were all tasty. Be sure to remind them to skip the queso y crema.

Helado Balancing Act

Helado (ice cream) is very popular in Ecuador. We frequently see people walking down the street eating an ice cream cone, which may partly be to blame for the rising health epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes here. Ice cream is loaded with sugar AND fat, both contributors to the increase in poor health around the world.

However, seeing these women walk down the sidewalk with their trays of ice cream balanced on their heads was worth of a share. People are amazing.

Improv Dueling Rap in Parque de la Madre

You never know what you’re going to stumble across while walking around Cuenca. Today, we passed by some improv dueling rappers by the planetarium in Parque de la Madre. You can listen to a short segment in the video. This is such an interesting place!

Share the Love

We hope you enjoyed our shoe shopping adventure, snacks and cervezas as Inca Lounge and our surprise improv rap here in Cuenca, Ecuador today. Please remember to like, comment and share our video, and also subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you’d like us to make a video about something specific or if you have questions, please let us know in the comments.

Spanish Words & Phrases

¡Que linda! – How cute!
afuera – outside
vegetariano – vegetarian
vegano – vegan (a lot of people, both gringo and Ecuadorian, don’t know what this is)
el queso – the cheese
la crema – the cream (also sour cream)
el helado – the ice cream
Está lleno de la gente – It is full of people
Estamos muy relajado – We are very relaxed
las cervezas – the beers
¿Qué más? – What else?

Links to Info & Places We Visited in the Video