Killari Café in Quito, Ecuador- Allie

Scoping out coffee shops in an unfamiliar city is a favorite activity of mine. Interestingly, though Ecuador exports over 130 million pounds of coffee a year, few typical restaurants serve anything but instant Nescafé. (Gag). It was a challenge to find a good cup of coffee in the city.

When I found Kallari Café in the Mariscal district of Quito, I was reassured that there were people in Ecuador who love coffee as much as I do.
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Altitude sickness was affecting me with relentless persistence during my first few days in the country; I had an annoyingly mild headache that hadn’t gone away since I landed, and couldn’t seem to catch my breath, even after walking up the slightest hill. A relaxing afternoon cup of coffee was in order after a morning filled with activity.
One glance at the menu… and decided a second lunch and decadent dessert was actually what was in order.
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After a satisfying plate of parsley yuca cakes, I wandered a bit around the café. I soon learned that Kallari was more than an oasis of coffee and snacks  — it also sold an array of sustainable chocolate and artisan crafts in the back of the café.
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Kallari is a community-owned coffee shop, owned by an association of Kichwa  communities in the Napo province in the Amazon. To my excitement, I also learned the cacao they source for their bars are of the ‘Cacao Nacional’ variety. Cacao Nacional is a Slow Food Presidium product, an endangered food whose growers are given support by Slow Food’s Foundation for Biodiversity.
Here I was, 3,000 miles from Boston, reading a brochure in Spanish about how Slow Food had helped this community of producers flourish — it had my heart swelling with pride for our international Slow Food movement, and the piece of it that is alive at Northeastern.
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(The brochures say: “How delicious it is to eat healthy & eat the food of my land” and “Together we’re cooking up a revolution”)
So content with the Slow Food vibes I was receiving in this beautiful café, I lingered for another hour with my book, a latte, and some niblings from the Kallari chocolate bars I purchased. (Flavors included Andean Salt & Lemon Grass, Vanilla, Hot Chili & Wild Cinnamon, and Orange. Yup.)
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I visited Kallari as many times as possible before leaving Quito!
Kallari Café:
Wilson E4 -266 y Juan Leon Mera
La Mariscal Quito – Ecuador
Phone: +593-223-6009
Email: caféquito@kallari.com

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Luna’s Living Kitchen

I am on co-op in Charlotte, NC and one of the best decisions I’ve made while

on this co-op was to eat at Luna’s Living Kitchen. Luna’s is the Holy Grail for anyone

interested in Slow Food principles; it is the perfect place for vegetarians, vegans, and

those interested in live and raw foods to eat. It is a “living” kitchen since their food is

prepared fresh daily and the menu is constantly evolving based on what is in season,

the food is prepared without refined sugars, preservatives, eggs, dairy, or animal

products, AND the food is bought from local organic farmers. Can you get any more

awesome than this??

As you might expect, Luna’s prices reflect the love and healthiness of the food

they serve. If you go for lunch, expect to spend $20 – $25 without a tip. But don’t let the

fear of spending lots of money prevent you from going to this restaurant – it is too tasty

to miss out on!

I ordered a kale lemonade, which was made with kale juice, lemonade, ginger

juice, apple juice, and celery juice. It was SO COOL. For someone who normally just

sticks with water when at a restaurant, it was such a nice treat. I loved the drink right off

the bat because of its awesome color, but it tasted even better than it looked. Luna’s

has a lot of organic juice and smoothie options on the menu, and you can even buy

some juices to go (if you’re interested in more about juice cleanses, there are some blog

posts on Luna’s website).Image

For my entrée, I went with their “Lunasagna” mostly because I loved the play on

words. Since it is vegan, it is made with zucchini noodles and a cashew-basil cheese

(made in house!) that was so, so tasty. The noodles and cheese were covered in sundried tomato sauce and mushrooms, and a local green salad on the side. This was such

an innovative dish and I am really glad I got it. The zucchini noodles were crunchy and

the cheese velvety.Image

To round off the great meal, I went with some house-made cookies. I got Monkey

Bites and my lunch partner got Lemon Bites. All the ingredients are still organic and still

delicious, and in case that didn’t appeal to you enough, then maybe knowing that no

wheat flour, chemicals, soy, GMO’s, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors are used in

the cookies will pique your interest. I prefer the Lemon Bites to the Monkey Bites (since

I’m always a sucker for anything lemon flavored), and my lunch partner thought the

opposite – so it all worked out! It took all my willpower not to go back and buy six more

packs of Lemon Bites.Image

The service was really great as well. I ate there on a Tuesday during lunchtime

and it was busy. We were fortunate not to have to wait for a table, but there were some

folks who did need to wait a little bit. It is possible to get takeout, so quite a few people

were stopping by and picking up their orders. The waitress was very attentive and

knowledgeable about everything on the menu – where it was from, how it was prepared.

I will definitely be coming back, and recommend that if you’re in the Charlotte

area, you check it out! Be sure to check out their website, and visit them in-person at

2102 South Boulevard, Suite 150, Charlotte, NC 28203. They’re open Monday through

Saturday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Rating: 5 of 5.

-Mara Scallon

Oleana Oasis

This past Friday I found myself and Slow Food NU founder, Nicole Zub, trekking further and further into suburban Cambridge. The two of us were armed only with our oversized water bottles and iPhone maps on the second hottest day ever in Boston, but we were determined not to miss our reservations because of the heat wave (brought forth by climate change– but that’s for another blog post entirely).

Finally, we saw the sign. Oleana. What you will find there is an incredible menu full of rich, bold Eastern Mediterranean food dreamed up by Chef and Owner, Ana Sortun. You may have heard of this badass female chef from Top Chef Masters or from her being honored with the James Beard Award.

Just when you thought Sortun could not have anymore street cred, you’d be interested to know that the chef also sources all the local, fresh food that she can from non other but Siena Farms, owned and operated by Sortun’s husband.

The two of us wandered in a bit disheveled to find ourselves transported to contemporary Turkey with tapestries adorning the walls and low-lit Arabic chandeliers glittering above us. How far had we  walked??

Nevermind that- we were ready to dine. Our first dish was the Fried Mussels, Hot Peppers & Turkish Tarator Sauce. I’m not sure why, but I seem to have a constant craving for fried hot peppers– so this dish really hit the spot for me.  The batter was so light and crunchy, without being oily or heavy. This dish proved that you can fry without having to die.

Our next mezze was one that I heard a bit of buzz about on Yelp- the Warm Buttered Hummus with Basturma & Tomato. This. Was. Divine. Basturma is a wind-dried, cured beef sliced really thin. It was wrapped around the hummus and topped with these incredible, minced tomatoes. I don’t even like tomatoes, but they certainly brought the whole thing together.

Next up were our entrees. Nicole opted for one the specials of the day- so please forgive me for not remembering EXACTLY what it was, but I can tell you that it was locally caught fish, accompanied by corn chowder, spinach, more yummy things and a corn pancake…or two.

I opted for the Misty Knoll Flattened Lemon Chicken with Za’atar & Turkish Cheese Pancake. The crust you see on top is the za’atar which is made up of a herb similar to thyme, blended sesame seeds and sumac. And the cheese! I never hate on a cheese pancake.

We weren’t done quite yet though. The last course, dessert! We decided to go for something different and ordered the Sour Cherry Tea-ser with Mahlab Panna Cotta, Almond Kadayif  and Cherry Spoon Sweets. This dish arrived and we were a bit confused, but delighted to discover how to devour it. The drink was some sort of cherry juice and tea concoction with a sugared rim (isn’t that just the most fun?) that we shared, but only after nibbling on the panna cotta for a bit until tossing it into the tea. Still have no clue if that was the idea- oh well. On the opposite end of the plate was what I had dubbed the best shredded wheat I’ve ever had until Googling Almond Kadayif and discovering that was the name of the mystery treat.

Alas, it was then time to leave this Turkish oasis to trek back to Northeastern in the blistering heat, but we were well-fed and had leftovers to look forward to.

If you ever have the chance to eat at Oleana or Sofra (Ana Sortun’s bakery with literally our favorite cookies- Earthquakes) please do!  Also, check out Siena Farms at the Copley Square Farmers Market, Tuesdays and Fridays from 11am-6pm.