Posts Tagged ‘Restaurants’

My wife Aura, and the Twisters visited El Machetazo last Saturday  in an effort to buy some groceries and other stuff for the house.  It was getting late and there was no time to prepare a formal lunch.  On the way out, they noticed a small restaurant that looked like a black choo-choo train.  Here they sold patacones and roasted chicken.  Yummity-yum-yum.

That was our quick lunch; modest but very tasty.  The Twister love patacones and so do I.  Below are a couple of pictures of the small restaurant outside El Machetazo in Panama City, Panama.  Here we go.

A young woman attends the customers in search of tasty patacones and roasted chicken in Panama City. Take a look at the rich golden color of the patacones towards your left. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

The restaurant's chef posed for the camera and displayed a pleasant Mona Lisa smile. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

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A typical "fonda" or restaurant for the low working class people in Panama. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

Fondas in Panamá are the undisputed favorte gathering place for most construction workers and taxi drivers.  It’s their water hole to calm their hunger and thirst.  You can buy a generous portion of white rice, fried green plantains, red beans, a  cabbage and tomatoes salad, fried chicken and a Coke or chicha for approximately $2.00.  Fondas are scattered all over the city, specially near construction sites.  Good Day.

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Photograph of a young woman cooking with a huge flame of fire at a food court at a local mall in Panama City, Panama. First time I see such a huge flame in a restaurant. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

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For those of you are not familiar with the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, let me explain that Canajagua is the name of a hill in the Province of Los Santos located roughly in the middle of the country.  This area is known by meteorologists as the dry zone of Panama with scarce precipitation during the year.  In Spanish, this geographical zone in the Azuero Peninsula is known as the “arco seco”—the dry arc.

Canajagua Hill is located in the Province of Los Santos, the cradle of Panamanian folklore. Its maximum height is 830 meters (2,723 feet) which is why it’s known as the “Sentinel of Azuero”. From this high mound you can clearly see the Azuero coastline, from Isla Cañas, Iguana Island, the Rock of La Honda, to the blue waters of the Gulf of Parita.

In the mid-60’s, local authorities built a road to the top of the hill, which was opened to businessmen to promote agricultural projects.  The results were highly detrimental to the area, since large forests were destroyed due to excessive logging.  About 60 percent of the area around Cerro Canajagua was deforested and the land converted to grasslands which have since been used for cattle fincas.

However, local environmentalists and government authorities are currently spreading the word of ecological awareness in an effort to gradually reduce the cattle ranches on the slopes of the hill.  It is expected that  the area will again be covered by forests.   At its peak, you can also find about seventy radio and television antennas, given its strategic position.

Below is a photograph of a restaurant found at Casco Viejo which bears the name “Goodies of Canajagua Restaurant”. I thought it was a good idea to explain the meaning of Canajagua and why it is important to restore its surrounding forests.  We have to take care of our fragile planet.  I’m sure you will agree with me on this issue.

Photograph of a worker's restaurant at Casco Viejo which serves typical Panamanian dishes at very affordable prices. The name Canajagua means a lot to the people of Azuero, specially from the Province of Los Santos. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.

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Photograph of a lower class restaurant in the vicinity of the Seafood Market at the Terraplen in Panama City, Panama. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

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On our way back from El Rey supermarket at El Dorado, we decided to pay a visit to an old man who always sits on the same bench in front of a KFC outlet day in day out.  The elder man is none other than Harland “Colonel” Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

For those of you who are not familiar with Colonel Sanders, let me explain that this gentleman was an American entrepreneur who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. His image is omnipresent in the chain’s advertising and packaging, and his name is sometimes used as a synonym for the KFC product or the restaurant itself.

Every time we drive by, he’s alone; all by himself, as if ostracized by society.  Whether it’s a sunny or rainy day, there’s nobody with him.  Not even cats, dogs or pigeons.  My wife and I decided to break the spell and drove over to his bench.  When we got close enough where he was sitting, we were in for a surprise.  By looking closely at the pictures, you’ll know what it is.

Below are several pictures of the famous Colonel Sanders with his trademark white clothing.  Here we go.

Photograph of live size figure of Colonel Sanders sitting in front of a KFC outlet in Panama City, Panama. There's something missing in this picture. Do you know what it is? Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Even at close distance, the figure of Colonel Sanders looks like a real live human being. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photograph of my wife Aura, posing for the camera with none other than the ubiquitous figure of Colonel Sanders of KFC himself. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

I don’t eat fried chicken available at our fast food restaurants due to its high salt content and excessive cooking oil.  Both are bad for my high blood pressure.  Instead, I prefer the unique recipe of my darling wife Aura.  Her fried chicken is finger licking good.  Yummity-yum-yum-yum. Good Day.

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“Todo a cuara” (all for a quarter) is a favorite expression used by many Panamanians to refer to cheap food stalls.  Most of these cheap restaurants are located within the vicinity of Calidonia in Panama City, Panama.

Construction workers, laborers, park cleaners, low-paid government employees, taxi and bus drivers seek these places for their tasty food and their low-priced food.  While prices have gone up during recent months, you can still find good cheap eats, if you head out into food stalls in Calidonia and adjacent areas.

Typical food sold at these diminutive food stalls are:  patacones, carimañolas, bofe, hojaldas, yuca frita, bollos de maíz nuevo, carne frita, chicharrones, chorizo frito, salchichas guisadas, puerco frito, tortillas and pajarilla.

At 4:00 a.m. you can see early customers swarming these places looking for a cheap breakfast before going to work. Todo a cuara is as Panamanian as the Carnavales and the raspao.

Below is a picture of a todo a cuara food stall located at a park in front of the Ministry of Economics and Finance in Avenida Perú.  At noon you can’t find a seat in these folkloric restaurants.

This picture shows a customer eating at a todo a cuara stall in Avenida Perú.   Notice how small these places are.  Here we go.

Photograph of an early bird having breakfast at a "Todo a Cuara" in Panama City, Panama. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Next time you’re in Panama City, and your stomach is growling but your wallet is thin, head for a todo a cuara. Problem solved.  Good Day.

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A man studied the menu long and hard, and finally turned to the waiter for help.

—“Well,” said the waiter, “today our special is chicken on a bed of wild rice with green beans almandine and a nice side salad.”

—“That sounds great. How is your chicken prepared?”

—“We break it to him very gently and tell him it’s nothing personal.”

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A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

The man says, ‘A hamburger, fries and a coke,’ and turns to the ostrich, ‘What’s yours?’

‘I’ll have the same,’ says the ostrich.

A short time  later the waitress returns with the order ‘That will be $9.40 please,’ and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next  day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, ‘A hamburger, fries and a coke.’

The ostrich says, ‘I’ll have the same.’

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again. ‘The usual?’ asks the waitress.

—‘No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad,’ says the man.

‘Same,’ says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, ‘That will be $32.62.’ Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. ‘Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?’

—‘Well,’ says the man, ’several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp.  When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.’

—‘That’s brilliant!’ says the waitress. ‘Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!’

—‘That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,’ says the man.

The waitress asks, ‘What’s with the ostrich?’

The man sighs, pauses and answers, ‘My second wish was for a tall chick with a big butt and long legs who agrees with everything I say.’

Good Day!

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Via Argentina is a beautiful and centrally located area in Panama City. It’s known best for its many delicious restaurants, parks and flocks of orange chinned parakeets which line the main avenue each evening at sundown.

One merely has to visit this famed entertainment area, and wander around where you will find exactly what sort of restaurant or night out you’re looking for.

Today I have selected several small restaurants you can find walking less than an area of three blocks at Via Argentina:  Here we go.

An attractive exterior sign of El Grillos Cafe located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama.  Grillo means cricket in English.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)

An attractive exterior sign of El Grillo's Cafe located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama. "Grillo" means cricket in English. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)

Photograph of a sign of Los Venezolanos Restaurant, Bakery and Cafeteria located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)

Photograph of a sign of Los Venezolanos Restaurant, Bakery and Cafeteria located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)

This small Venezuelan restaurant sells arepas, empanadas, sandwiches, breakfasts, lunches and juices.  Let me explain two dishes that perhaps you are not familiar with, since they are typical Latin American dishes—arepas and empanadas.  Wifi service is also available here, for those of you who carry your laptop everywhere in order to remain connected.

An arepa is a bread made of corn originating from the northern Andes in South America, and which has now spread to other areas in Latin America (e.g., Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic, where it is now popular). It is similar to the Mesoamerican tortilla and even more to the Salvadoran pupusa. The word “arepa” may originate from the language of the Caracas natives (northern coast of Venezuela) which means “maize.

In Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Philippines, an empanada (Portuguese empada—a different dish) is essentially a stuffed pastry. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Usually the empanada is made by folding a thin circular-shaped dough patty over the stuffing, creating its typical semicircular shape.

Photograph of the sign of Taberna XXI Restaurant located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)

Photograph of the sign of Taberna 21 Restaurant located at Via Argentina in Panama City, Panama. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)

Taberna 21 carries wines, sangrías, beers, appetizers and Spanish paellas.  Home delivery is also available.

Photograph of one of the many Subway Restaurants in Panama.  This chain has a solid presence in the country due to high quality of its sandwiches and salads.  (Credit:  Omar Upegui R.)

Photograph of one of the many Subway restaurants in Panama. This chain has a solid presence in the country due to the high quality of its sandwiches and salads. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)

As you can see, Via Argentina is a sweet spot for lovers of good food. Bon Appétit and Good Day.

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