On Tom's recent trip to Guatemala we had a beautiful night out with our dearest friends Fredy and Ceci to the Casa Yurrita Bistro. The experience delights the palate, the eyes and the mind. The restaurant is located in a historic landmark of Guatemala city, the house of Don Felipe Yurrita that elegantly stands next to the Chapel commonly known as "Iglesia Yurrita".
The history behind it as told by its Chef and owner is as follows:
"In 1902 the eruption of the Volcan Santa Maria consumed various towns and coffee plantations in El Tumbador, San Marcos. Don Felipe Yurrita, coffee grower, gave shelter to all his workers in the coffee warehouse. For four days the all shared the shelter bearing the strong smell of sulfer and of the smoke that came from the wood they lit up for illumination. They drank water from a single basin the jolously took care of. The men took turns sweeping the ashes from the roof top so that it wouldn't colapse.
As the days went by Don Felipe worried about a fatal ending surrender his destiny to the Virgen de las Angustias, venerated in Arevalo, a town in Spain were he was born. They all prayed and offered that if they were to come out alive he would build a temple in her honor. After four days the eruption subsided but left behind 3 meters of accumulated sand on the soil, making it unusable. They again turn to the Virgen de las Angustias and then came a 3 month precipitation that cleaned the earth from sand and ashes preparing the soil for the best harvest the plantation has ever given.
Between 1921 and 1928 Don Felipe built Villa Carmen a weekend retreat, today Casa Yurrita, where he lived while designing, creating and supervision the construction of the Chapel of our Lady of the Anguishes. The construction lasted from 1928 to 1941. Six month after its completion Don Felipe Yurrita passed away.
Today, Patrick Bejot, greatgrandson of don Felipe Yurrita, opens a restaurant to help preserve this family and national patrimony and to share with its visitors this astounding arquitectonic artwork."
The evening was fantastic, since there were no vegetarian dishes on the menu, Patrick offered to make adapt some of the dishes and made us an off the menu entree. We started with a potato and leek soup, then a mushroom carpaccio and as a main dish Moroccan cous cous. Our friend had fish entrees and we all enjoyed a bottle of white wine.
At the end of the meal we had a long visit with Patrick. We talked about the history of the place, the furniture and pieces of art in it, about his life, about his family and its relevance in the history of Guatemala, etc.
I plan to go back for lunch so I can take pictures with daylight and be able to also stop by the church. I don't think I've ever been inside the chapel, my dad tells me it is beautiful. Growing up, he was an altar boy to the bishop and served in Iglesia Yurrita a couple of times.
Here are some pictures of the house, the food and our host.