There's something about laughing, shouting children that occasionally elicit a smile from my grumpy mug.
Such was the occasion when I visited Galapagos on a recent afternoon that my frown turned upside down was in full effect. Add to that some seriously large portions of food, a warm day, and you had the makings for a nice, early bird dinner.
It was about 4 p.m. when I arrived. As such, the restaurant, which specializes in Ecuadoran fare but also has various other Latin American selections, was nearly empty. There was one couple waiting for a takeout order. They looked up at the television, airing a Spanish language news program. And soon, a young woman and child arrived, who seemed to know the people working there.
The menu was in both Spanish and English, for us gringos, and full to bursting with options. My waitress, speaking perfect English with a lovely accent, went over a few options to consider for an appetizer. I had locked onto two: the Shrimp Ceviche or the Mixed Seafood Ceviche? I went with the Mixed Seafood, but, in the end perhaps I should have chosen the shrimp?
I only note this because my bowl, upon arrival, featured some of the most beautiful, succulent shrimps I have seen. Just picture six or seven of those beauties. Still, this was a delightful choice, and could have possibly been the main of my meal. Generous portions of shrimp, squid and other fine fishies were mixed with tomato, onions and lots of cilantro (my favorite herb), with just enough seasoning to bring every bite to the fore. Delicious.
Then came my meal, a plate of grilled beef with what I soon discovered was a metric ton of hominy (think something akin to a corn mush) and egg. Look at that picture!
Already beginning to feel a little full from my excellent app., I took to my main course slowly. The beef, while a little overcooked for my tastes, was well-seasoned. The hominy and egg mixture would have been an excellent breakfast item (two servings, in fact). Some added hot sauce benefited this generally bland dish.
Meanwhile, the young child, about five years old, was following two other kids there, about 9 and 11 years old. One of them shouted from the other room and the others followed. There was laughter, a few screams and then some running back and forth from room to room. The woman who had come in just after me grabbed a plate of food from the counter, and was able to wrangle the children to the table, if only for a few moments.
There was a definitely positive familial vibe going on in Galapagos on this day, and it was nearly impossible not to crack a smile. I plan on coming back, trying new dishes, including that Shrimp Ceviche.