|Mr. & Mrs. Wine Guy|
One relaxing venue for us was the Brujas (Witches) Cafe and Bar located along the Rio Tomebamba just adjacent to the historico centro in Ecuador's third largest city, Cuenca. The high bluff known as the El Barranco insulates the noise of the bustling centro, allowing the rippling water of Rio Tomebamba to provide a backgound of soothing sound in a very scenic setting. A platform alongside the pathway that accesses the Brujas overlooks the gurling waters and greenbelt and provides a wonderfully staged venue to enjoy appetizers and a glass of wine. We did so on a perfectly beautiful Ecuadorian afternoon and were delighted that we had somewhat impusively decided to try this spot.
It didn't hurt at all that the by the glass or carafe house wine is a little better than the typical Ecuadorian norm. The house wine here is Concha y Toro and they uniquely will let you choose the varietal. (Sometimes your house wine choices are simply blanco (white) or tinto (red). I've often gotten a simple perplexed shrug when I've inquired of a waiter as to whether the house vino tinto is a cabernet, merlot or carmenere (typically, in Ecuador, it is probably 1 of these 3). I guess it depends on the inventory or perhaps what is open and viable in the back?
In any case, the service and accommodation at Brujas was a step above that. The fetching Mrs. Wine Guy and I shared appetizer plates of cheese quesadillas and cooked mushrooms along with glasses of Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon. Perched under shady umbrellas to help protect us from the high UV count (Cuenca's elevation above 8,000 ft makes for intense sunshine) and with a refreshing breeze wafting across the cool waters, we enjoyed a leisurely sojurn and a delightful afternoon. This will become a regular spot in Cuenca for us to enjoy wine as it's meant to be enjoyed.
We hope you have the opportunity some day to enjoy a glass along the Rio Tomebamba, as well. Salute!
Update note: this blog was originally published in August of 2011. Unfortunately, the Brujas location along the Tomebamba closed in 2012. While there are other spots to enjoy a glass of wine, we will miss the opportunity to sit in this riverside setting, sipping and watching the world go by!