Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ceviche and other yummy goodness...

What's a vacation without food? I must confess that I had very low expectations when it came to food in Peru, mainly due to ignorance on my part. I hadn't done any research prior to going, and this article hadn't yet been published so I didn't know for example that ceviche (which I have always enjoyed save for the short period of time when I was allergic to sashimi) originated in Peru.

Our first meal in Peru was lunch at Cebicheria La Mar, the same restaurant mentioned in the article and it was out of this world. I must admit that while the rest of our meals were pretty good, they paled a bit in comparison to this first introduction to Peruvian fare.

Feast your eyes on the yummy goodness at La Mar:

Ceviche, seafood briefly "cooked" in lime juice and monster kernels of corn

A seafood appetizer sampler to rival any of the fancy-schmancy dining establishment in Toronto

Grilled Swordfish with wasabi mashed potatoes

A tuna steak that was perfectly seared

Grilled octopus

Seafood soup, another Peruvian specialty

The dinner that followed was at Jose Antonio, "the Best Typical Peruvian Food Restaurant in Lima...specializing in regional Peruvian cuisine "Criollo", authentically prepared from ancient recipes dating back to Pre-hispanic times."

A sampling of the appetizers, including marinated beef hearts on a skewer, which was surprisingly tender

Chuleta Acaramelada, fried cutlet pork coated with caramel, served with rice and sweet potato (cooked with orange juice in the oven) - this had to be eaten quick because as the caramel cooled, it hardened and became rather difficult to cut with the knife

We now leave Lima to venture to the next and final stop on our culinary journey - Cuzco, where we had the chance to try another Peruvian specialty....roasted guinea pig! wL and RC were rather keen on trying it so we had two of these at our table. I had a little bit to taste and can't say that I enjoyed it very much. Whether it was due to the actual guinea pig meat or the herbs and spices they used to prepare it I don't know, but I could have done without trying it.

This is my "safe" choice for dinner - chicken and beef hearts grilled on a skewer (the hearts were better in Lima...):

Ahhh....and now, the fantastical passionfruit cheesecake at Cafe Dos X 3, that was raved about in wL's Lonely Planet. Soooooo good!

Finally, our last meal in Cuzco was at Ciccolina's, a Spanish tapas restaurant in the San Blas neighbourhood. We ordered a few chef's choice tapas platters to start and supplemented with additional tapas as needed - these, along with a bottle of Carmen Sauvignon Blanc only cost us 45 Soles each - which worked out to be about $15!

I was out for dinner last night with S&W at a Peruvian restaurant in town and the fare was a pale imitation of what I was lucky enough to taste on my trip. At least I've got the pictures to remind me...

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