Day of the Dead/All Souls’ Day is called Dia de Los Difuntos in Ecuador, and is celebrated with little bread figurines called Guaguas de Pan in Spanish or T’anta Wawas in the Quechua language. Popular throughout the Andean countries of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, these cute little bread figures are given to friends and family on All Souls’ Day, and may also be placed at the grave of loved one. The bread is a sweet yeast bread similar to Mexico’s Pan de Muerto, but what really makes them stand out are their colorful decorations. Que Vida Rica has a recipe for Ecuadorian-style Guaguas. In Bolivia the holiday is locally known as Taque Santun Arupa, and this Bolivian recipe is made with quinoa flour! In Ecuador, the bread is typically served alongside Colada Morada, a drink made with purple corn flour and berries.
Tag Archives: Bolivia
Las Americas Bolivian Restaurant
We visited: 700 South Royal Poinciana Boulevard, #120, Miami Springs
Now Located at 2772 8th St SE, Miami, FL
To say we had some difficulty in finding Las Americas would be something of an understatement. Yelp, you lie to us. The address you have on file is for their previous location, but Las Americas moved out from a busy, restaurant-filled strip of NW 7th Stret in Miami to the (correct) addressed listed above sometime last year. But their new location is definitely not where one would expect to find a restaurant: on a diagonal street in an office park, located on the ground floor of a nondescript mid-rise office building. If not for the Bolivian flag peeking out, we may never have found it. But we are glad we did.
Las Americas is set up in a rather unusual way. It seems to serve partly as the go-to cafeteria for the office building, so there is a smaller interior space attached to a larger, partially open-air area with outdoor seating and a roof. It was a nice day (it’s Miami, after all), so we decided to sit out there, surrounded by a sprinkling of Bolivian artifacts and clothing on the walls. After a few minutes, the friendly owner came out and helpfully explained the menu to us. We were intrigued by a drink called mok’ochinchi, which we have never seen anywhere else, but the restaurant was out of it that day. Peruvian aficionados will also be familiar with chicha morada, and they make a good one at Las Americas.
On a recommendation both from the owner and from reviews, we started with a Bolivian-style empanada called a salteña (pictured above). Fantastic! Perfectly baked, its savory filling crossed with a sweet touch and a generous helping of olives. Pair with Las Americas’ signature spicy salsa (not for the faint of heart), and a few of these (only $2.50 each) are a meal in and of themselves.
The main entrees at Las Americas will remind patrons of Peruvian cuisine with less of a coastal influence: lots of starches, grilled meats, accented with vegetables, with a heavy emphasis on clean, simple flavors. We opted to split an order of grilled steak (bistec), which was served with the typical Andean starch accompaniments, potato and large-kernel corn. This was the first time we had ever actually seen the large kernels attached to the corn, so this was cool to see! The steak also came with a refreshing side salad of tomatoes, red onions, and a creamy cheese similar to feta. At $12.50, this was plenty for two people. Overall, Las Americas helped us check a new country off the list while satisfying our Andean food cravings. It’s definitely worth a try, and the office employees are lucky to have it for their lunch break!