Sunday, August 10, 2008

TOP 5 Ways to Serve Potatoes & Corn, Peruvian Style

1. Causas @ La Mar: mashed potatoes filled with different types of seafood cocktail. This was so amazing and rich... I'm excited for the new cebicheria to open up here!
2. Boiled in soup! Nothing beats simple and hot soup on a cold day in the Andes, especially when it's less than $1! I never saw a soup without potatoes.
3. Pancha Manca in Lima: charred via underground oven, we had sweet and savory potatoes that were better than BBQ!

4. Pan-fried papitas (french fries), soaked with pollo a la brasa juice and fat from Norky's. So amazing, pollo a la brasa is basically like rotisserie chicken, except Norky's is so much better than any you can find here.
5. Chips! Especially of the yuca variety (not quite a potato, but close enough)

Corn's TOP 5 and other delicious food after the jump!

1. Sweet corn tamales: nothing new here, but we had these with our pancha manca meal and they were so light, and a satisfying end to lunch.
2. Big kernels ("teeth") in ceviche. Pictured below are the two ceviches we got from La Mar, both amazing, and the large white corn kernels really add neutral texture and flavor to all the chewy-ness and acidity.
3. Pancha: like in Ecuador, toasted corn is just such a great salty snack!(pictured as a bar snack in the background of the Strawberry Pisco Sour on the right)

4. Chicha Morada/de Jora: A drink made from fermented corn, Chicha de Jora was... not kind to our palates. It is definitely an acquired taste. Chicha Morada, however, is made from purple corn, and is almost like soda/punch.
5. Oatmeal-like drink: I don't remember what this is called, but while we were camping, we needed this for energy the morning of our day of literally nonstop uphill climbing through the mountains.

We had a lot of other typical food too, like cuy (pretty much a similar experience as in Ecuador), alpaca, lots of trucha cooked every which way (trout), milaneza de pollo (chicken nuggets! jk), lomo saltado... etc etc. The list goes on and on!

In the Andes, it was very popular to drink coca tea to prevent altitude sickness. No, you can't really get cocaine from them unless you have maybe like 3 houses full of leaves (which, according to a guide in Puno, would yield about 1 kilo of cocaine). In the south jungle, Brazil nuts were everywhere. It requires so much effort to get them all out! No wonder why they're so expensive at Berkeley Bowl! Rocota rellena (stuffed peppers) was also very popular in canyon country. Yummy!

And of course, the sweets! Alfajores were everywhere, and very different than how I've seen them here in the bay area. They were much bigger, and the cookies were more cakey and crumbly... not quite the shortbread that most use here. Also, they really loaded up the dulce de leche! I could only take a bit or two of these... so sweet!

Most desserts involved milk, condensed or evaporated (we didn't see fresh milk anywhere), like arroz con leche, leche flan, many varieties of dulce de leche pastries, etc etc. There were a lot of breads and buns and such too. Korey struck gold when he stumbled upon Casinos, oreo-type filled cookie sandwiches, in mint. Not quite thin mints, but equally satisfying. We found other types that didn't really compare.

We also stumbled upon "Cusco Coffee" in Arequipa, not Cusco. It was pretty much a Starbucks clone, with Starbucks prices - very uncharacteristic of Peru! I still gave in and ordered a frap. If you look closely at the circular logo, it's Machu Picchu in a coffee cup! Now THAT you won't see at your local Starbucks.

So that was the gist of my trip. I'm getting hungry! Oh yes, the Pisco Sour pictured towards the top was from a bar/restaurant in Miraflores called Bruja de Cachiche that my Peruvian friend recommended to me as where to get the best Pisco Sours. It was really good, but it was also my first time having one, so I wouldn't know anyway!


Michelle said...

i just had peruvian food yesterday (with a peruvian friend) - i had the chicha morada which was really good!! and we ordered a jalea mixta (fried seafood dish) and alfajores and picarones. it was good!

JustGigi said...

I LOVE CORN!! Well so does Alice. The mashed potato dish looks pretty cool! we should recreate it next time when we have our dinner partayyy!