When I think of Ecuador food and Cotacachi restaurants, what immediately comes to mind is corn, potatoes, beans, hominy, chicken, potatoes and rice. These are the staples you find on most menus and daily specials served in restaurants all over Cotacachi.
This is also the sort of food that is regularly dished up at any kind of festival, fair, celebration or indigenous party we've attended. There's always so much piled onto my plate that I can never eat it all. Filling and tasty.
A typical restaurant meal will also include a nice big bowl of soup. My favorite is locro de queso, a thick hearty blend of potatoes and herbs topped with slices of avocados and chunks of soft white cheese. I could eat it every day and frequently do.
The best locro de queso in Cotacachi, in my opinion, is served at a restaurant on Calle Bolivar and 9 de Octubre, one block from the big church on the square-Veraneante Restaurant. It's run by younger members of the family who owns Lenador, an excellent restaurant on Sucre.
Other common soups are chicken broth or chicken and vegetable broth. Sometimes the soup will come with big chunks of potatoes, yucca or a half piece of corn on the cob, which then is called a "caldo." I've often had to do some serious navigating with a fork and knife to wrestle these soup ingredients into something small enough to fit into my mouth.
During Easter week or Semana Santa, another very special soup is served in homes and restaurants all over Ecuador. It's called fanesca. This very thick, rich soup, actually more stew than soup, can take days to prepare and I think it includes every soup ingredient possible - all kinds of beans, up to 12 different beans that represent the 12 disciples, plus grain, corn, plantain, vegetables, garlic and spices. It's topped with boiled egg, salt codfish, cheese and nuts.