on February 28, 2008
The town of Banos, nestled on the slopes of the ever-active Tungurahua Volcano is a favourite stop off destinations for virtually every Gringo visiting this small Andean country. With such a high influx of visitors it isn’t surprising that the town boasts a wide selection of eateries serving anything from French fondue to Japanese sushi.While the choice of restaurants can’t fail to impress, the lack of originality in choosing their names can certainly cause some head scratching and confusion. In the space of a gentle two minute stroll you not only find Casa Hood, but also the similar sounding Café Hood and Casa Good. In my opinion Casa Hood is the only one worth contemplating.Casa Hood was founded in Banos approximately 15 years ago by an American ex-pat who certainly knows how to make a place feel like home. As soon as you walk through the door, the candlelit tables and chill out music helps to create a gentle, ambient atmosphere. The surrounding shelves of books and games, which can be used by all, makes you feel you have accidentally wondered into someone’s living room rather than a restaurant. With seating for no more than 20-30 people, the chaotic scenes of other establishments are kept to a minimum. The book filled shelves though must have people thinking subconsciously about libraries as the noise never rose above a loud whisper on my visit.A good atmosphere and well-mannered clientele are both positive selling points but it’s the food itself that draws the biggest plaudits. This is something Case Hood serves up in an exotic array of dishes for all tastes, including Mexican, Asian, Italian, Indian, and of course the always popular American staples; steak and hamburger. I would highly recommend the chick pea curry and garlic fried aubergine in breadcrumbs as main courses, both of which come with a choice of sides and in ample servings. I’m not a vegetarian, but with the excellent selection of vegetarian dishes on offer, I was more than happy to eat meat free for a change. Dishes average around $5-$8 each and with a number of mouth-watering starters (the pita bread and hummus is divine!) and desserts as well, you feel almost rude with not going the full slog of three courses. I wasn’t planning on being so greedy but once the homemade chocolate brownies were spotted, there was no going back! There are your normal selection of alcoholic (including wines) and non alcoholic beverages, although it is the fresh milkshakes, smoothies and juices that would get my vote every time. Casa Hood is located on the quiet Luis A. Martinez, a stones throw away from the Santa Maria supermarket and also the more vociferous bars and clubs. Books can be swapped here with any on the shelves. Movies are also shown most nights around 8pm. It can get busy, especially at weekends, so be prepared to wait for a table. More information can be found by contacting Casa Hood on 593-9-4620269.
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