As you may have been wondering, we did make it back to the States without being run down by a Peruvian taxi. But just barely.
After spending time eating, dining and devouring everything I could this past week in Peru, I’m no longer surprised that Lima reigns supreme as the ‘Gastronomic Capital of the Americas’. We ate 3 to 4 times a day, and still didn’t have time to try everything we wanted to. There was so much to experience, how could I possibly wrap it all up into one neat blog package. Not possible, so there will be a couple more coming through soon on Cusco. Hopefully, I can do a bit of justice to such a fabulous country. Enough blathering, let’s get to it.
Lima is made up of 43 equally diverse districts each run by it’s own mayor. Unlucky for us, the day we arrived began Election Weekend in Lima. This was unlucky because elections are accompanied by 3 days of regulated sobriety. No alcohol can be purchased, served, or sold. No matter where we went, despite playing the ‘dumb American’ act, we got no cerveza. But I’m on vacation, dammit! It seemed that Peru did not care about me and my needs.
However, in the bohemian Barranco district, we found our salvation. While doing the tourist thing on a walk to the ocean, we came across Javier. Javier, with the most amazing terrace that ever was, overlooks the ocean with tables lining the cliffside. Oh, and we caught them serving beer! We munched on crunchy and sweet panko-coated langostinas (spiny lobster), another sign of the heavy Japanese influence here, and watched the sunset. (Javier, Bajada de Banos 403-B, Barranco)
It seems that Peruvians do not need much to set up a cafe and serve food. In many parts of Lima and Cusco, it is not at all uncommon to come across pop-up cafes with nothing more than a grill or hot plate serving traditional (and incredibly fabulous) Peruvian fare. One such pop-up was on Barranco’s main square, with 15 or so different vendors under a very small tent all peddling grilled meats, soups, rice dishes and DESSERT.
The desserts were astounding, and were reminiscent of a bakery in New York or Paris. One of the bakers, had lived in Beverly Hills over 50 years ago and worked in some of the finest hotels as a pastry chef. Now back in Peru, she is making both unique and classic desserts. I snagged some decadent, and homemade, Dulce de Leche flan from her (pic above). (Sundays, Main Square, Barranco)
I must admit that I have a weakness for Passion Fruit. If it weren’t so frigging hard to get a hold of and stupid-expensive in the States, I’d probably have to attend some kind of ‘anonymous’-like meeting to work through my dependence on the stuff. In Peru, they call it ‘maracuya’, and it’s everywhere. In pastries, savory dishes, and in the alcohol. When it comes to martinis, I’m a traditionalist. But the Maracuya Martini breaks the flippin’ mold, let me tell you.
Now we have barely scratched the surface on all things tasty in Peru. And for that reason, I hope you all get a chance to see it for yourself. But in the meantime, over the next few months, I’ll pepper in some more posts about Peruvian eats. ‘Cause there is just so damn much of it! Stay tuned for another post later this week when we get back to the recipes…