June 6, 2010
If you’re looking for the best home cooking, U.S.-style, in Cuenca, check out California Kitchen. Many of those who have say the cooking is not only the best in Cuenca but better than anything they’ve had the States as well.
Opened in April by California family George, Carol, Susie and Jim Evans, the Kitchen has quickly staked out a reputation with expats and Cuencanos for its great food, friendly atmosphere weekend specials.
George grew up in the family restaurant business in California, handling everything from cooking, to waiting tables, to taking out the garbage. “I’ve always known the business but I hadn’t been involved with it since I left my parents’ restaurant,” he says. “One of the things that made me decide to get back into it in Cuenca, quite honestly, was Carol’s cooking. It’s so good I thought: why not share it!”
Many of the Kitchen’s recipes, in fact, are Carol's. She shares cooking chores with son Jim while daughter Susie waits tables and handles other aspects of the business.
Located in a charming historic home on the corner of Calles Sangurima and Presidente Borrero, the Kitchen offers a choice of hearty breakfasts, including the overwhelming “Day Ender” –which functions just as well as a day starter-- and includes bacon, hashbrowns, eggs, homemade biscuits with gravy, choice of French toast or waffle served with warm maple syrup.
Lunches include hamburgers and a choice of four California-style sandwiches. Among the sides, the broccoli and potato salads deserve special mention. Sandwiches, with a side, run from $4.25 to $5.25.
Depending on the day, you can treat yourself to one of Carol’s homemade soups, including carrot coconut lime, tortellini or butternut quash and apple. The Napa Valley house salad and San Francisco Ceasar also come highly rated. Soups and salads range from $3.25 to $3.95.
If you come for lunch Thursday through Saturday, you also can choose the dinner special which varies, according to the chefs’ whims from fried chicken, beef pot roast with mashed potatoes & gravy and pasta dishes. Main courses are $9 to $11.
For dessert, the chocolate mousse macadamia tart, N.Y. cheesecake and fresh fruit cobbler provide a strong closing act.
Saturday nights have attracted a full house in recent weeks. This week’s special is coconut shrimp with a pineapple aji chutney, Asian slaw with steamed rice, choice of soup (carrot coconut lime) or dinner salad, choice of dessert (N.Y. cheesecake, chocolate mousse macadamia tart or berry cobbler a la mode) and choice of a non-alcoholic beverage, for $9.99. Other recent Saturday’s have featured a Mexican medley and country friend chicken.
Be sure to sign up for the Kitchen’s email list. Carol sends out a weekly message listing soups of the day and weekend specials.
August 23, 2012
A wonderful addition to Cuenca is the Evans family and their restaurant, California Kitchen. From California originally, and most recently from Arizona, they brought with them a love of cooking California style, increasing your choices for dining out in Cuenca.
Although George and Carol had been in real estate with their own companies in both San Diego and Tucson, they're thrilled to be in Cuenca with their children, son Jim and daughter Susie.
Each of them has special talents and interests that they bring to California Kitchen, which is located in the courtyard of a lovely old colonial on Luis Cordero.
Their greatest hits happen to be, according to many with whom we spoke there, the hamburgers and the cobbler! But there are many tasty soups (the chicken posole, a Mexican chicken soup, is amazing!), sandwiches, desserts and specials that bring in people from all over the city, including Ecuadorians! There are many tastes here that you won't find anywhere else in Cuenca.
The chocolate mousse walnut pie is especially wonderful. Just ask Jeff, who orders it without fail whenever we dine there. It's so good that he won't share!
Making the Move to Cuenca
"So what brings an entire family to Ecuador?" we asked Susie. "I love to travel," she said, "and have been to Europe and the Middle East, so it wasn't hard for me to move. I started to feel the disconnect in the US, because it's such a huge country, people don't know their neighbors and are so busy and influenced by the popular culture. Plus, I also wanted to learn another language."
So what happened that really sealed the deal? "It was my brother Jim who read about Cuenca, and he and mom came down here October 2009, and were so impressed that we decided to sell everything and move down."
The family was working at the time, in real estate in Tucson. They sold the business, the home, and everything else, and moved to Cuenca.
Carol told us that she was ready to retire from real estate even if it meant moving. She loves cooking, so a restaurant made sense to her. She cooks a little of everything at California Kitchen, and serves tables when they get busy. She gets to meet many people that way, which gets very interesting at times.
The dining area
"The restaurant came about as an idea where we could work together and make a living here, especially for the children, who are both in their 20s," George told us.
"We planned before we came here to start a restaurant, but couldn't find the right location until this one came along."
It's a great location, but a lot larger than what they'd planned. "We want to build the business and let the children have it as their income, then we can get back to what we came here for—retirement!" said George with a smile.
"We all have loved being here. We love the people, the weather and the cost of living, the slower pace of life. I want to learn Spanish when I have more time but now I'm doing the books, and Jim and I are too busy to study yet," George said.
Cookin' It Up in the Kitchen!
Good times in the kitchen
Jim is the main grill chef at California Kitchen (he's also the bartender Thursday and Friday nights), although everyone shares all the duties, including serving their clientele.
With biscuits and gravy, waffles, pancakes, french toast, plus the myriad local fruits available for fruit salad, yogurt and granola, and, of course, coffee, we're not surprised that Sunday brunch is very popular with expats and tourists alike.
Susie is the main dessert and soup chef, "but my mother's blackberry (mora) and apple cobblers are really popular!" The mora cobbler is Lulie's favorite along with the broccoli salad, or any of the salads and soup! Jeff enjoys the cobblers too, but will always prefer that chocolate mousse walnut pie!
"Burgers are very good because we have it ground fresh every day," Jim told us. Chicken is also purchased fresh each morning, and the salad greens are washed three times, once in vinegar, to be sure of the best possible flavor and healthy eating.
The prices here aren't the cheapest you'll find in the city, but they're reasonable enough that locals eat here more and more. After two years, all of the Evanses are very pleased with how successful the business has been.
"We are a homecooking family, so all of our foods are comfort foods," Jim said.
Many of us here in Cuenca are very glad you came and are sharing your cooking talents with us! Thank you, George, Carol, Jim and Susie!
Jeff has one request though. "Make more chocolate mousse walnut pie!"
June 9, 2010
Comida americana ofrece el restaurante California Kitchen, cuyos propietarios son una familia de estadounidenses que decidieron radicarse en Cuenca.
George y Carol, junto a sus hijos Susie y Jim son la familia Evans que administran y se encargan de la cocina del restaurante. “Mi padre tenía en California un restaurante y al venir acá decidimos ofrecer un lugar de comida americana”, indicó Jim.
Y es que la carta es un verdadero recorrido por las costumbres gastronómicas de Estados Unidos. Hamburguesas gourmet, simples o dobles con extra queso; varios tipos de ensaladas, diferentes variedades de sánduches como Ocean Beah o Hollywood, son los preferidos del lugar por propios y extraños.
Los postres no se quedan atrás, está el mousse de chocolate, el cheesecake New York Style, el helado de vainilla y más ricos sabores.
Una de las especialidades de la casa son los desayunos: el típico desayuno californiano con tocino y huevos; el waffle loco, La buena tierra con pan tostado, El mañanero con frutas o el Terminador con varios ingredientes.
Todos los jueves, viernes y sábados, el restaurante oferta cenas especiales y de martes a sábado, almuerzos.
August 23, 2012
Guia Oficial Cuenca
En un alegre y acogedor patio interno de una casa de tipo republicano, funciona California Kitchen, un restaurante que en su corto tiempo en el mercado, se ha convertido en el predilecto de muchos norteamericanos residentes en Cuenca. El secreto es simple: comida preparada con alimentos frescos, vegetales y frutas orgánicas, una higiene insuperable y recetas tradicionales de Estados Unidos que hacen las delicias de todos aquellos que añoran el sabor de su tierra y de los locales que quieren probar algo diferente.
California Kitchen ofrece especialidades como “ biscuits and gravy” (paneciilos con una salsa especial preparada con leche, harina integral, pimiento, tocino y otros ingredientes), ensalada de brócoli con tocino y almendras, ensalada de papas estilo americano, hamburguesas y sánduches de diferentes tipos y por supuesto, los más exquisitos postres. En ocasiones se preparan diferentes recetas de acuerdo a temas específicos.
Cuenca Ecuador 083111740
Mon & Tue: 8 am to 12 pm (Breakfast)
Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 8 am to 12 pm (Breakfast) 12 pm to 3 pm (Lunch) 5 pm to 10 pm (Dinner)
Sunday: 10 am to 3 pm (Sunday Brunch)
FULL SERVICE BAR:
WEDNESDAY THRU SATURDAY FROM 5:00 PM TO CLOSE!