February 2013

A taste of Cochabamba city - La Muelita

As a mission of getting to know the gastronomic world of Cochabamba city, a bunch of young and enthusiastic people from different parts of the world visit some of the most wellknown but also some unknown restaurants, cafés and bars in Cochabamba. Out of it there will come several different and interesting reviews, which you can follow each month here in the Cochabanner.

By: Marie Cathrine Ettrup
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Ryde - Denmark

TheEnsalada Italiana

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

If you are looking for a restaurant, where you can sit outside in a yard while enjoying the warm and perfect evenings of Cochabamba, La Muelita is the place. Its trees, cosy lightning and a lot of different Italian food to choose from makes it a perfect place to spend the evening. When entering the restaurant the yard seems to be the most popular place to be at the restaurant, because there are more people here than inside. Though, when sitting inside where the bar is, you can follow an old movie or a concert on a big white screen. This Thursday evening, when the ten volunteers visit the restaurant, every table - inside and outside - is occupied after half an hour. Some guests are playing cards and some are using the Internet but most have chosen one of the many beers and cocktails you can get, while chatting with some friends.

For about 35 Bolivianos you can get a really good Italian meal in cosy surroundings.

You can tell that La Muelita is a popular place for the Cochabambinos; we are the only non-Bolivian guests the whole evening. In the beginning of the evening you can hear live music coming from one of the rooms lying just out to the yard. The music sounds to be Bolivian rock and for the first hour, when it is playing, it contributes with given that extra to the atmosphere. One of the first comments about the restaurant comes from Lærke, one of the many Danes this night: “It is nice that you can sit outside and eat”. Besides Lærke from Denmark are also Mikkel, Laura and Marie. From France are Jean-Baptiste and Antoine, from Germany Karin and Joanna, from the Netherlands is Carlein and finally from Bolivia is Ariel.

The Tortellini de Carne con Sugo Ai Funghi in Bianco

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

The menus are on the tables and salads, different kinds of pizzas and a pasta dish are ordered. Though almost everyone ordered at the same time the Ensalada Italiana for Laura is served a long time before everybody else’s food and when everybody’s food is served Mikkel still waits a while to get his pizza, Muela del Diablo. But, clearly, it was worth waiting for as he says: “It has a flatbread taste and that is good. Besides that it smells like it is made in a stone oven and all in all it is like a good traditional pizza. I think you will get full of this one and it is definitely worth both waiting and paying for”. There is almost total agreement from the others. Jean- Baptiste says: “I love the texture and the bottom is very thin and delicious. The Spanish ham makes it even better and it is a perfect combination with the parmesan, the salad, the cheese and the ham. I think it is a little expensive but that is hard to say when it is that good”. Joanna simply says: “It is too small but otherwise perfect” and Carlein supplements: “I think it is really, really good. Normally I do not like parmesan, but on this pizza it is really good”.

Enjoying the food

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

One, who is absolutely convinced by his Mia Pizza, is Ariel. “It is really fat and greasy. But besides the fat on it, I cannot put a finger on this pizza. It is very good”, he says. Meanwhile the live music stops and from the loudspeakers at the restaurant cosy subdued music starts playing. Another pizza, that divides the opinions of the volunteers, is the Spinaci e Uovo with – yes, you guessed right – spinach and eggs. “It is a weird combination, but I like it”, Carlein is not slow to say. “It reminds me of a real Italian pizza with really thin and sweet bottom and sweet cheese. I like the mix of spinach and eggs – it is just a perfect pizza though it is a bit too small”, Antoine continues and Marie agrees: “I have never had a pizza with spinach and eggs before, but I am positively surprised of the good taste it makes together on this pizza”. When it comes to the Ensalada Italiana the comments are quite short. “The salad seems fresh and it is very good. I do not miss a thing”, Lærke says and Laura continues: “It is a really good salad. I like the dressing”. The two girls really mean what they say because quickly after beginning to eat there is nothing left on their plates.

Jean-Baptiste showing the Muela del Diablo

Photo: Marie Cathrine Ettrup

The German girl Karin has ordered the Tortellini de Carne con Sugo Ai Funghi in Bianco. “It is so good with the taste of cream and the meat in the pastas is kind of dry but it is just spicy enough. It is very hot but very good”, Marie begins. “I have two negative points: I had to wait for a long time and it is a very small portion. But it is the first time I am eating fresh mushrooms in Bolivia. The mushrooms actually mean that I want to give it six stars but with too much pepper in it, the small size and the time I had to wait for it all ends with four stars”. The rest of the stars have turned out as following: “This restaurant has a nice atmosphere and with all the German beers I almost feel like home”, Joanna says dreamingly. “La Muelita is definitely better than the other place. At the other place there were only big tables for families but here there are a lot of smaller tables which you can put together if you want. It is more intimate here and the light participates to the cosy and intimate atmosphere. It is really great sitting in this open yard and the nature creates a friendly surrounding”, Jean-Baptiste concludes. For about 35 Bolivianos you can get a really good Italian meal in cosy surroundings. La Muelita participates in that we get a nice and cosy evening. Thank you for that.

- Muela del Diablo

- Mia Pizza

- Ensalada Italiana

- Spinaci e Uovo

- Tortellini de Carne
(con Sugo Ai Funghi in Bianco)

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