Sunday, August 26, 2007

Uhhh....You Try It First

Going to the grocery store in Guayaquil has turned into quite the weekly adventure. Especially in the produce aisles. Each week, Dave and I try to find one new item that we have never seen before and work it into our diet.

We played it pretty safe the first couple weeks, buying packaged items that can only be classified as the greatest junk food ever. Seriously, I'm not sure how I've gone 29 years without these items in my life.

Our first discovered treasure are Chifles. These babies are the greatest twist on banana chips ever known. They are actually made from plantains, so instead of being sweet they are savory. I believe they are Ecuador's challenge to the potato chip and challenge they are. If you open a bag, the temptation is greater than Lays. There is no way you are eating just one. Besides, how can you resist the Chifle mascot? That handsome devil who grins at you from every bag, flexing his muscle and giving you the thumbs up sign. It's almost as if he is saying, "Go ahead, have some. They make you strong and likable. Life is great with a bag of Chifles."

You've got to balance the saltiness of Chifles with our next discovery. The Coco Classic Cookie. Oh. My. Goodness. These could possibly be the best cookies I have ever tasted. They are comparable to a shortbread cookie with a hint of coconut flavor. During school I have found myself daydreaming about the delicious snack that awaits me at home, a couple (who am I kidding? It is more like four. Okay, six) of Coco Classic cookies spread with heavenly Nutella. Dave and I have to eat this wonderful duo at the same time because we both have a fear that one of us will get more of this treat than the other. Isn't that what marriage is built on, the concept of even-stevens?

The third week, still a little apprehensive of what we might find in the produce section, we wandered over to the bakery section and brought home the closest thing to pretzels we have been able to find, Rosquitas Trenzadas. We have a bit of a preference for the Rosquitas con Queso, partly because cheese is not Ecuador's strongest offering and anything that has the hint of the taste of cheddar, we grab up. These babies are pretty good and they come in the ultra-fun braided ring. Though they do not provide the satisfying crunch of a pretzel, they are still pretty delicious and the only snack that can duo as a ring-toss game.

Finally, last week we ventured into the produce section. After thorough observation of other customers and the all important scent test, we decided to bring home granadilla. The fruit had a hard-outer shell, which seemed safe enough, and the smell was a bit citrus and crisp. All good signs. We got our surprise when we cracked the sucker open.

What laid before our eyes was orange, slimy, goo. Uhmmm...not what we expected. But daring souls that we are, we scooped it up, said a little prayer and ate. It was actually quite yummy, once you get over the texture and the feeling that you are eating insect eggs. We later discovered that we were eating a member of the passion fruit family. It was a great first intro to the world of Ecuadorian fresh produce too. This week we grabbed more granadilla as well some sort of orange melon doodads that look like cherries.

Oh--I have to go. Dave should be home from swimming soon and I think I have just enough time to sneak in a couple Coco Classics with Nutella. Shhhh...don't tell.