Since our dinner the night before in Las Lajas was less than stellar and after a night in the cold and somewhat spooky convent, we were very much ready to hightail it out of town in the morning and look for better eats elsewhere. It didn't hurt that the weather had gone completely sour and with it being cold and gray, leaving Las Lajas as quickly as possible seemed about the best thing we could do. Once at the Ipiales bus terminal, we noticed a small restaurant across from it so rather than jump on a bus for 90 minutes with nothing in our stomachs, we decided to check it out. We figured it couldn't be any worse than the meal we had the night before. It was very small with only room for about three tables and the owner cooked pretty much right in view of the tables. There was a big pot of soup on and one local was enjoying a big bowl of caldo so there was little chance that we would not do the same.
Favorite Dish: We both got a big steaming bowl of caldo which is a beef broth with potatoes and a bit of beef, generally garnished with cilantro for good effect. It was delicious and the perfect antidote for the bone-chilling weather we had were faced with. We followed it up with an equally warming hot chocolate which came with a piece of cheese, filling us up nicely for the bus ride back to Pasto!
Our bill came to 9600 COP ($4.80) which is surely much cheaper than eating in the terminal and the service was about as friendly as could be, and fast to boot.
When it doubt, go to Denny's, right? Well, there was no Denny's in Las Lajas, but there was a Dany's. It was very convenient to the convent and this was a big factor as it was raining cats and dogs when we went out to eat. In fact, there was a bit of a flood or water rushing down the hilly main street of town in front of good old Dany's but we managed to hop over it. It was a very typical local restaurant with no frills. The owner was busy in the kitchen and had to be summoned for service. There were not many people in town and most of the eateries were closed so we didn't have a lot of choice and with the rain factor, we weren't looking for any either. It was quiet. In fact, we had the whole place to ourselves but it was also cold so not exactly the comfy dinner we had in mind.
Favorite Dish: There were not many choices so we both opted for the evening cena or set dinner. We knew this would come with a soup and since soup is generally good in South America, it's a good bet. It would also warm us up, something much needed. I ordered beef and D got chicken. We hoped that at least one of them would be good and by ordering both we doubled our chances of getting one decent meal we could always split. The soup was good and warming. The meals just so-so. The beef was better and escaped being categorized as “mystery meat” but maybe a notch. The chicken was a little more shall we say mysterious. The both came with a couple potatoes, the ubiquitous white rice, and a meager salad. D had a Coke and I ordered a large bottle of Pilsner, an Ecuadorian beer which was the highlight of the meal for me.
Our bill came to 16,500 COP ($8.25) which seemed a little high for the quality but Coke and beer does add to your bill, and this is a tourist town after all.