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Recommendation for Mr. Smith - interior design

We got Smithed.

Like most expats moving to Cuenca, whether they bring two suit cases or two containers (like us), we hoped to create a new home, one that would surround us with favorite things, arranged to comfort us and welcome guests.

When we left Virginia in 2013, we sold most of our “stuff”. But over the past twenty years we had collected special art, books and custom furniture that became integral to our lives. So, we sucked it up, and shipped them down to this lovely two-story penthouse condo we had purchased in Cuenca.

Goobers that we are, we thought we had done a fine job of artfully arranging said possessions. Until we got Smithed!

It all started when we casually mentioned to this guy Smith that there was one piece of heirloom furniture we just couldn’t seem to place anywhere. He said, “Are you sure? Let me take a look.” Thank goodness we said, “OK.”

Over the next week or so, virtually every piece of our art was moved along with most of the furniture on the first floor. In some cases the moves were major. In others, a matter of inches (governed by his trusty tape measure).

The results were extraordinary. Not only did our heirloom find a perfect featured spot at the top of our stairs, our artwork was beautifully showcased, and the traffic flow through our living/dining area was suddenly free and organic. The study/guest bedroom on our lower floor had been cramped and stuffy. Now it was open, bright and inviting.

So, who is this guy Smith, and where can you find him? He’s a 25-year veteran in the interior design business whose work, known as “functional still life’s”, is delighting clients in Chicago, Denver, San Diego, Palos Verdes, Scottsdale and Milwaukee.

These days he lives in Cuenca and is a team member at Ecuador Interiors (http://ecuadoratyourservice.com/ecuador-interiors/) His phone is 098 961 2032.

He’s amazing. We’ve put some pictures of the results at our place on Facebook http://bit.do/e6oeD Check it out.

Address: Ecuador Interiors

Contact information:  098 961 2032

Recommended by Ray and Linda Lewis: 099 514 8449

Terry Dean Roberts, relocating to Ecuador-Eyes Wide Open

New electronic book available on Amazon, Nook and Kindle. Excellent resource for anyone planning to move to Ecuador, with specifics about Cuenca, and great updates included. I would personally add this book to the others available because there are not that many, and of course supplement with advice from experts (like your immigration attorney). Terry is going to be a great resource once we move, and we cannot wait to meet him. A definite must-read.

Address: Cuenca, Ecuador

Contact information: terrydeanroberts@gmail.com

Recommended by Marshall and Nadine Devall:  marshallandnadinedevall@gmail.com

Recommendation for Cameron Kaycee, massage therapist

I highly recommend Cameron Kayce for massage therapy. I have been seeing her for massages for 3 years. Today I feel like a million bucks after having seen Cameron to relieve an upper back pain. Her studio is warm and inviting. She engages in helpful conversation and is silent when you require it.

Cameron has been a gem in the Cuenca community for over 9 years. Her fee of $30 for an hour message is an investment in your well-being. Run, don't walk to her for your next massage.

Address: Marascal Lamar, Cuenca

Contact information: cameronkayce@gmail.com 099 987 4417

Recommended by Lenny Charnoff:  lennycharnoff@gmail.com

Cristian Abad Dental Center, dentist

Nobody likes going to the dentist, right? If you've had dental work like crowns or veneers done in Cuenca you know the drill (no pun intended)--multiple time-consuming visits that make the ordeal even worse.

Forget about all that when you enter the ultra-modern, sparkling clean offices of the Cristian Abad Dental Center. Dr. Abad, who speaks fluent English and is a professor at the University of Cuenca's Department of Dentistry, has on site the technology, equipment, and staff to quickly design and create your finished product. That means you could go in for a morning appointment (easily scheduled on Facebook) to evaluate your needs and do the necessary prep work, then return in the afternoon that same day to complete the procedure. Wow.

You would expect to pay top dollar for this kind of "white glove" service, but because there is no middle man Dr. Abad's fees are extremely reasonable. We have both had work done by him and are extremely pleased with everything about the experience. He and his staff are kind, caring, and gentle. Cristian Abad Dental Center has our highest recommendation.

Address: Monte Sinai Hospital Suite 617

Contact information:  099 272 8358

Recommended by Edd and Cynthia Staton:  eddstaton@gmail.com

Hello, Restaurant/Mirador at Turi, Coffee Shop/Mirador

Hello is festive... fun ... friendly - with a view of the entire city spread out below you. We've discovered a shiny new venue (almost) atop the steps at Turi. Great food and super friendly staff - Julio Cesar and Bruno - guaranteed to warm your heart on the chilliest September morning. Jaffe and I have new training routine: a lengthy hike along the Yanuncay to Tres Puentes followed by huffing and puffing up and down the steps a couple of times before delighting in one of the inspiring views and tastiest breakfast experiences in town. There are tigrillo, quimbolitos, super-good chicken or pork sausages, humitas, tamales. Also, great all day/evening snacking, superb coffee and craft beer, too. Neither fancy nor high priced.... it's become the 'high point' of our mornings. Open till 9 PM... Definitely worth a visit any time of day. You don't even have to climb to get there. Drive, cab or catch a bus... descend ten steps and you've arrived. Don't forget: when in Turi, drop by and say "Hello"

Address: Top of the steps at Turi

Contact information: info@helloturi.com

Recommended by Jeff Salz:  jeff@jeffsalz.com

Blue Box Broker, Carlos Ramirez, insurance broker

In the past year Carlos Ramirez and his team at Blue Box Brokers have proven to me that having the right Insurance Broker can make a huge difference. So it gives me great pleasure to share my top 3 reasons for personally recommending the services provided by Blue Box Brokers.

1) Superior knowledge of not only Insurance products and the top companies in Ecuador, but more importantly the laws that govern the industry and protect us as consumers
Carlos introduced me to the Superintendencia de Companias, Valores y Seguros and helped me to understand how to contest the decision of my insurance to deny coverage for an emergency surgery.

2) Honesty and Integrity: After reviewing in my current medical insurance coverage, instead of trying to sell me a new policy, he recommended that I remain with my existing company as they were providing good coverage at a great price.

3) Above and Beyond Customer Service: You should know that I originally contacted Carlos to obtain auto insurance for my new vehicle and during one of our meetings I shared with him that my private medical insurance company was denying coverage for my husband’s emergency surgery. This was insurance I had obtained prior to meeting Carlos. He not only helped me confirm my coverage, understand the laws and the processes for pursuing proper payment, but he drafted letters on our behalf, helped translate/interpret correspondence and accompanied me to the local office more than once.

What is really amazing is the results: without hiring an expensive lawyer, he helped us to secure payment for our $3,000+ claim. Needless to say, I would recommend you contact him for all of your insurance needs as he is truly on your side.

Address: Av. Ordoñez Laso 5-55 y Los Cedros, Edificio Monte Carlo • Oficina 001

Contact information: blueboxasesores@gmail.com 098 246 5168

Recommended by Cherrie Windfeldt:  cwindfeldt@gmail.com

Recommendation for Spanish at Pedir de Boca, Spanish classes

Cuenca peeps:

We've been learning Spanish from Felipe Vintimilla at his restaurant, A Pedir de Boca, for more than three years. Felipe is an outstanding teacher who volunteers his time to help extranjeros like us learn Spanish. Though the classes are totally free, they're serious, focusing on the elements of grammar you need to understand and speak Spanish well. As a general rule, only Spanish is spoken in the class, so it’s like an immersion program. As a beginner you may find this challenging, but as someone who has been through it, I can say that it works. You’ll want to come every week, bring a notebook for notes, do the assigned homework. It’s a class.

Felipe is beginning a new round of classes next week. I highly recommend his classes for anyone who wants to learn Spanish. If you're just beginning, the beginner’s class will start with the very basics. If you've learned verb tenses and conjugations but want more conversation and practice, the intermediate class is for you.

There is no need to sign up in advance. Just come to class ready to learn. Please be on time and bring a notebook and something to write with because it is a class.

Spanish again at A Pedir de Boca

Beginners: Wednesdays from 3 to 5 PM beginning 11 September

Intermediate: Thursdays from 3 to 5 PM beginning 12 September

Cost: Totally free! We usually have dinner after class to thank Felipe, but that’s totally up to you.

Location: A Pedir de Boca Restaurante, Benigno Malo 5-54 y Calle Larga

Contact information:  099 592 1215

Recommended by Scott Gibson:  sa_gibson@yahoo.com

Recommendation for Royal Palace Chinese, restaurant

This place has the most extensive menu in town, from dim sum to General Tso's chicken. I just had the Chinese buns and they are as good as any you'll find in the Chinatowns of North America. They used to be located by the airport, now they are right off Remigio Crespo at the Ricardo Munoz light.

Address: Ricardo Munoz y Remigio Crespo

Contact information:  098 334 5926

Recommended by ken nectar:  tiendanectar@mail.com

Centro de Tai Chi-Kung Fu, martial arts studio

Been with Manuel for over eight years. His studio has been voted the best of Cuenca for the last two years.

Of all the instructors in Cuenca, only Manuel Dutan has spent four years living in China studying their martial arts.

Manual has been the initial instructor of several folks who offer classes here.

He teaches both Yang and Chen forms of Tai Chi as well as Qi Guong, Kung Fu and various weapons associated with the latter.

All of his classes are held inside his studio. He is the only inside class in Cuenca for this.

Named Best Martial Arts Studio in Cuenca 2017 and 2018.

The weekday Tai Chi classes have English speaking advanced students who help out. You also get a free Spanish class every time.

Address: Padre Matovelle 7-55 y Ricardo Munoz.

Contact information: mdutan2001@yahoo.com

Recommended by Rich Westcott:  magicbywestcraft@yahoo.com

Amanda Salazar Manicure, nail salon

I thoroughly enjoy my visits to Amanda to get my nails done. She does my nails the way I want them. It’s so nice to have someone that I can communicate my wishes with (in English) and who understands me and provides me with the nails that I desire. She provides wonderful service and I highly recommend her.

Address: Primero de Mayo 3-27 y Carlos V

Contact information:  +593 98 647 0166

Recommended by Sylvia Vander Elst: +593 96 816 3724

Carmen Pais, Spanish teacher

My husband and I have been taking private Spanish lessons from Carmen for about four months. She teaches in a way that keeps our attention and addresses our learning styles. And we've found that learning Spanish can be fun. We have experienced an increase in our confidence, our vocabulary, our proper grammar. Our pronunciation is much better. And, did I say, that we have fun? She is flexible and arrives on time. She teaches at our pace. She has very reasonable rates. We love her.

Address: Cuenca

Contact information: carmenpais7@hotmail.com 098 299 9083

Recommended by Gayle Strohkirch:  gstrohk@gmail.com

CalAustro Leather Shoe Factory, men and women

A small factory making high quality leather shoes for both women and men, plus special needs shoes made to order. Both casual and formal.

Many styles, leather and soft soles. Suede as well as regular leather. Dress shoes and boots.
This is right here in Cuenca, no need to travel to get shoes made to order.

Address: Calle Transito Amaguaña and Gonzales Suarez (2 blocks past Monay Shopping Center), first gray gate after right turn from Gonzales Suarez.

Contact information: angelyumbla25arym@gmail.com

Recommended by Jeannie Alvin:  jeannie.alvin@gmail.com

Carnales Mexican Grill, Mexican restaurant

I just discovered this nice little Mexican restaurant near the cemetery on Gonzalez Suarez. One evening I just didn't feel like cooking anything, and since they are just a few blocks from me, I decided to try them out so I invited my roommate to tag along. The place is still being decorated as it just opened 3 months ago, but the food is amazingly good. They have this pork belly taco that is to die for. They also offer barbacoa and carne asada tacos and burritos. We liked the place so much that we went there the next evening and had the burritos this time. Christopher is the chef, originally from Ohio but of Mexican-Italian descent. They are my go to place now whenever I have an urge for Mexican food, which is almost always.

Address: Gonzalez Suarez and Juan de Velasco

Contact information:  098 434 8665

Recommended by Darlene Meyers:  d.meyers.cali62@gmail.com

7 Bakery, coffee/restaurant/bakery

I am pleased to announce that 7 Bakery is now open at their new location on Benigno Malo 4-64 and I highly recommend a visit next time you find yourself in the vicinity.

Where else in town can you find excellent coffee or a freshly squeezed juice coupled with a doughnut (great variety of flavors), muffin (my favorite is Apple/Cinnamon) or a blueberry scone at 8 in the morning or any time of day. Oh yes, and there are cinnamon rolls.

They also serve breakfast croissants, bagels and pancakes for breakfast, and a variety of sandwiches and burgers throughout the day.

They have a pleasant, bright dining room in the back away from the traffic on the street.
Please welcome 7 Bakery to El Centro.

Address: Benigno Malo 4-64 y Calle Larga, Monday - Saturday, opens at 8 AM

Contact information:  096 772 7777

Recommended by JoAnne Jackson:  joixjac@gmail.com

Giovanna Rivera, Asesor Comercial at JEP, banking

I want to give a big shout-out to Giovanna Rivera at JEP Coop on Sucre y General Torres. We're going on vacation and I want to be able to check my account to make sure any auto-pay bills are being paid, and Giovanna helped me set up the JEP Token. With this app you can receive the sign-in code online on your cell phone (and not have to have a phone number) to enter into your JEP online account.
Giovanna helped me download the app in her office and was very helpful - she patiently let me practice in her office. It's not rocket science but there is a small learning curve and she stuck with me.

And thanks to Diana Vera too, for telling me about the JEP Token app.

Giovanna provides expert help with CDs, wire transfer, and online banking in English. I practice my Spanish with her. She is a very professional and kind woman.

Address: JEP: Sucre 10-56 y General Torres, Cuenca

Contact information: grivera@coopjep.fin.ec +593 98 424 4668 Whatsapp

Recommended by Susan Burke March:  susanthedietitian@gmail.com

Recommendation - Mudanzas Espinoza, movers

I have used Sebastian Espinoza of Mudanzas Espinoza twice now and he is terrific. He arrives punctually, speaks very good English, his crew very carefully packs items and wraps all furniture and appliances with moving blankets, and his prices are very reasonable.

I moved to a new apartment at the end of July that involved several flights of stairs, Sebastian's crew carried the kitchen appliances, including refrigerator and stove/oven, up the stairs. Washing machine and dryer had to go to a higher floor, was done perfectly.

Very professional mover.

Address: Calle Canton Gualaceo 2-60, Cuenca

Contact information: mudanzasespinoza@gmail.com 099 751 5644

Recommended by Ann Fourt:  annfourt@gmail.com

Scott Smith/Brio Foto, photography/videograph/website design

We hired Mr. Smith to design our curriculum textual documents and our company website. He is extremely professional and always makes it on time. Very flexible and easy to work with. Everything turned out better than we could have imagined for a great price. We will be employing Mr. Smith for future developments. We highly recommend.

Address: Ordonez lasso

Contact information: brio.dsn@gmail.com 09 122 1627

Recommended by Dr. Yang Zhao:  drenglishedu@gmail.com

BrioFoto and Mr. Scott Smith, videography and photography

Scott was recommended to me by more than one person. I contacted him to shoot 4K video and still images of the interior of our commercial building. He was always in communication, on time and professional. The resulting images and video are the best I have seen, absolutely awesome. I recommend Scott with Brio Foto to anyone who is need of photography or video production services.

Address: Ordonez Lasso

Contact information: brio.dsn@gmail.com 098 122 1627

Recommended by Casey Litner:  caseylitner@gmail.com

Recommendation for Light Touch, red and infra-red therapy

Recommending Light Touch Therapy. Contending with some of the inconveniences of arthritic challenges can at times be frustrating. Not only is the pain uncomfortable but one adjusts the body to compensate for the pain that often creates stress elsewhere. Red Light Therapy has not eliminated my arthritic issues, but it has contributed to the reduction of inflammation and muscle health that allows for comfortable mobility and reduced pain. A practice of once a week one-hour therapy has benefited me. The Red Light Therapy in Cuenca is “Light Touch”.

Address: Edificio Dali #4, Calle Miguel Morocho y Gran Columbia.
Contact: Martyn Luberti, 096 728 8184. Email: mluberti@yahoo.com

Recommended by Umbero Ballone: 098 757 6234 uballone7@gmail.com

Recommendation for Mustafa Alawadi, computer technician

Mustafa is an excellent technician. He has solved all of our many computer and TV Fire Stick issues quickly and efficiently, arriving on time, following up to make sure we are 100% satisfied. He is patient, honest and a great teacher for anyone who has to catch up on new technology.

His fee is reasonable considering his vast background and knowledge. Wish we had found him earlier.

Address: Cuenca

Contact information: adawim52@hotmail.com 099 408 7897

Recommended by Haydee Rodriguez:  rdrgz_hyde@yahoo.com

Recommendation for Escape Room, adventure game

An escape room, is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues found in the room to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to escape the room. We were a group of six and made it out of a maximum security cell and into the last room only to fail the last clue to escape. Was great fun.

Reservations required.  www.cuencaescaperoom.com Also on Facebook

Address: Pio Bravo 13-85 y Estevez de Toral

Contact information:  098 288 0462

Recommended by Gertie Italiano: cuncagertie@gmail.com

Recommendation for Pepe Murillo, carpenter/furniture maker

If you are looking for a carpenter/furniture maker, may I recommend Senior Pepe Murillo. Senior Murillo made me several tables and nightstands of outstanding quality. He speaks perfect English, and therefore had no trouble translating my ideas into pieces of furniture even making suggestions that improved on my basic concept. Senior Murillo perfected his carpentry skills doing renovations in brownstones and apartments on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

You can see examples of his work at Musart Furniture located at Calle Larga 9-46 y Benigno Malo right next door to Sunrise Cafe. The shop run by his wife, Narcisa Sarmiento Toral, features examples of furniture from his workshop including beds, dining room tables and chairs, end tables and entertainment units as well as decorative items hand-picked from all over the world.

Reasonable prices, friendly service and quality furniture.

Address: Calle Larga 9-46 y Benigno Malo

Contact information: narcisast@hotmail.com 099 808 9112 / 284 1082

Recommended by Michael Gaworski:  solrwind2012@gmail.com

Great Mexican food, Carnales Mexican Grill

Yesterday, I ate at a great new Mexican Restaurant called Carnales. Carnales has yummy tacos for $1 and $1.50. I had 2 delicious vegetarian tacos for the grand total of $2.

Carnales Mexican Grill is located near the municipal cemetery on Gonzalez Suarez 8-58 on the same side of the street as the cemetery. They are closed Sunday and Monday and are open 5 to 10 PM Tuesday through Saturday.

At the moment, they serve beer and wine, tacos and burritos with chicken, pork and beef, or veggies.

They tell me they are working on a fish taco, too.

Address: Gonzalez Suarez 8-58

Contact information:  07 280 4493

Recommended by Anna Rayne Levi: 095 901 2329

Recommendation for Rob's Reflexologia, reflexology

I call him "Magic Hands". I was having big problems of stress and insomnia. Finally after many things I decided to try Rob and my experience was great. This man really knows what is doing for sure. It really helps you in many aspects of your life and body. Make an appoinment soon. He is a busy man. You won't regret.

Recomiended by: Frank González

Rob's WhatsApp: +1 954 873 5272

Address: Nicanor Aguilar y Roberto Crepo

Contact information: rob.lumpkin@yahoo.com +1 954 873 5272

Recommended by Frank González:  frankic85@hotmail.com

Celso Guaman transportation, English-speaking transportation

My ride with Celso to Guayaquil was pleasant and fun. He is a safe driver and we had a great conversation on the way. If you want to know about Cuenca, Ecuador or anything Ecuadorian, he is your guy. He was on time, too.

Address: Cuenca

Contact information:  096 929 9378

Recommended by Lollie Hoxie:  hoxielodge@gmail.com

VIP Home Health Care, home health care/therapy

I have responded to other posts but have not written my own personal recommendation. I have used Poulin/Pauline and the team at VIP Home Health Care every week for more than a year (Physical Therapy/Balance, Elder Care). The professionalism and care of this home healthcare team is unparalleled. They give our family comfort that in the event of any medical emergency and/or post surgery care, they will work hand in hand with our Dr. so we may be treated in the comfort of our own home. The team has also served as in-house, overnight support for our senior while we travel.
Since working with Pauline every week in physical therapy, the improvement in my knees and mobility (bone on bone) has been dramatic and enabled me to thus far avoid surgery. Likewise, my 84-year old sister has experienced greater mobility and balance.

Our Family depends on VIP Home Health Care. Hope this is helpful to you now or when the medical need arises.

Address: Victor Manuel Albornoz 4-97 y los Cedros.

Contact information: info@vipcuenca.com 098 329 8243

Recommended by Rosemary Rein:  reinrosemary@gmail.com

Maggy Ruiz, Unisex Salon

Maggy Ruiz is an excellent hairstylist and manicurist. I have only had a haircut, at La Couture, which I like very much and which cost me $10, but I have also seen her coloring work which is excellent.
She lived and studied in New Jersey. She speaks English.
I highly recommend her.

Address: La Couture-Unidad Nacional y Remigio Crespo (The Totems) next to Lavanderia Gota Azul.

Contact information: lena_0404@hotmail.com 098 345 8433

Recommended by Anna Levi: 095 901 2329

Roosevelt Javier Rojas Bravo, rehabilitation, rolfing, massage

Roosevelt is a professional with many talents, such as cupping, tapping, massage, rolfing, and reflexology to name a few. He listens to your description of problems, then selects the best options for you. In other words, integration of the body needs. He speaks perfect English and has a very professional manner.

Address: Los Pinos y Av Ordóñez Lasso, Edeficio Amazonas Planta Baja

Contact information:  099 927 8767

Recommended by Lorraine Theodos:  lptheodos@gmail.com

Dr Molina Maldonado, orthopedic surgeon

We were so fortunate that our excellent family doctor, Maïté Depreeuw, recommended us to Dr Maldonado. He is an outstanding orthopedic surgeon and traumatologist. He performs thorough examinations and provides clear options for treatments. He is extremely professional and speaks excellent English.

Address: Santa Ines, Planta Baja 001, Cuenca

Contact information: miguelmolinam@gmail.com 07 282 2179

Recommended by Lorraine Theodos:  lptheodos@gmail.com

David Vasquez, guitar instructor

I recently started taking guitar lessons. A couple of years ago, I purchased a guitar from one of the local luthiers and began taking lessons but my teacher moved away and my interest lay dormant. Last month I saw a posting in GringoPost by David Vasquez saying that he was looking for guitar students. I checked him out on YouTube, contacted him and started lessons.

Davis is a Cuencano, fluent in English, who graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. He taught guitar in New York for a year before returning to Cuenca. As well as being an excellent musician, David is a gifted teacher. I recommend him highly. I am a beginning student on the guitar but I am confident that more advanced students would benefit from David's knowledge and skills.

Address: Cuenca

Contact information:  098 325 5061

Recommended by John Patterson:  jcp22192@earthlink.net