Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dinner at the Smoking Bar in the Lima Airport, Peru

Oddly, the Marlboro branded Smoking Bar in the Lima airport had the best looking menu. And it had very chic decor. It was very, very strange.

Empanadas de Carne $6
Pretty good, actually.

Chicarrones de Pollo $6
Served with 3 sauces, these were not half bad.

Food: 1
Decor: 2
Service: 1

Lunch at Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru

We had read about Astrid y Gaston in Gourmet magazine a few months back and we knew it was imperative that we make it there on our trip. The chef was Cordon Bleu trained and came back to Peru wanting to create food using Peru's local ingredients. The food is not French, not Peruvian, but very, very good. Interestingly for a nice place the menu was HUGE. They had probably a dozen desserts, 20 appetizers, as many entrees. It took us quite a long time to figure out what to order. Coming in at around $90, this meal was by far the best meal we had in Peru (the chicarrones in Machu Picchu Pueblo running a close second).

Fresh Cornbread, Raisin Bread and Breadsticks with a Yellow Tomato Salsa

Gift from the Chef
A slightly sweet, fried potato with thin skin that slightly separated from the meat of the potato. The sauce wasmayo based and a nice complement to the tiny, hot potato.

Sea Urchin Two Ways
The above is a rather large bowl of a ceviche style sea urchin that was quite tasty. The below is a sea urchin "cappuccino", but it was basically a cup of hot heavy cream that smelled of butter with a piece of sea urchin in the bottom. The cream was much to rich to drink, even for us.

This dish was oddly named as it was reminiscent of the chef's childhood in some way. The sauce that covered the tender shrimp and baby octopus had flavors of mollases and tamarind and was spiked with peanuts. It was quite good.

Mandarin Sucking Pig with Chickpea Puree
The meat was so tender it fell from the bones. The puree was silky and delicious, and very different from hummous. The Japanese style pickled turnips were a nice sweet-tart addition.

Black Scallops from Puerto Pizzaro with Clams and Vongoles in Risotto
The seafood was nice and the risotto was flavorful.

Warm Truffles
This was quite possible the best dessert Alexis has ever had. These little deep fried donuts were filled with a bitter chocolate truffle filling that oozed when cut. The tart fruit sauce on which the truffles were sitting was a great complement and the flavors almost mimicked that of the Alexis' mom's Sacher Torte. The ice cream was definitely not the star of this dish, but it was pretty good.

Petit Fours
The sugar covered tomatos were truly inspired, and delicious. The fruit jelly was standard.

Food: 2
Decor: 1
Service: 2


Breakfast on LanPeru Flight

Ham and Cheese Sandwich
A sad little ham and cheese sandwich on Lan Peru. Why, why do they only ever include one thin slice of meat and one thin slice of cheese on airport sandwiches?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lunch at Perkas Boer, Cusco, Peru

We'd been feeling a bit ill all day and were finally ready for a very late lunch when we stumbled upon this brewhouse that looked to have decent snacks. Unfortunately, the word "snack" was lost in translation and we ended up ordering way too much food.

Cheese Fingers $5
The cheese wasn't really melted enough, so we just ate it out of the pastry,

Fried Battered Sausage
The batter was freshly made, but in some it was not cooked through. These were kind of like glorified pigs in a blanket.

Chicken Soup
Standard. The noodles were a bit gummy,

"Minute" Soup
This vegetable based quinoa soup was pretty good.

Chicarrones de Pollo
The breading was strange, but they were pretty good.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Browsing at Central Market, Cusco, Peru

Although we didn't actually eat anything at the Market because Giao was feeling pretty sick that day, we though you might enjoy some pictures of the great market. The stupid guidebooks tried to warn up that this market was dangerous, but it was decidely not.

Meat Vendor Aisle

Smoothie and Juice Aisle

Street Food Section

Grain and Legume Vendor

A strange little tuber that we couldn't identify. If anyone knows what this is, please let us know.


Breakfast at Royal Inka II, Cusco, Peru

Another lackluster hotel breakfast of eggs, canadian bacon, cheese (this salty white cheese found all over Peru), fruit and olives.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dinner at El Truco, Cusco, Peru

Back in Cusco, we decided on El Truco both for its proximity to our hotel and for its reputation as a spot for good local cuisine. We were very disappointed in the food, which did not live up to the reviews at all. The whole meal was about $40.

Trout Chowder
A singular long piece of trout floated in the middle of this lackluster soup.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
This soup arrived lukewarm, very cornstarchy and practically inedible.

Aji de Gallina
This chicken dish in a "spicy", creamy pepper sauce is a standard in Peru. This version was flavorless, not spicy at all, and again, arrived at the table barely warm.

Mixed Grill
Grilled beed hearts (gamey, but tender), chicarrones de pollo (good), chili relleno (oddly deep fried in a batter and the inside had raisins--not good), chicarrones (didn't even compare to the street food version.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 0


Lunch at Indio Feliz, Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

We liked Indio Feliz so much that we decided to go back the next day for lunch (also, the owner had promised us a "nice, big ceviche" as it was conspiuously missing from the dinner menu). The lunch was rather expensive, around $40, but we did get two huge plates of ceviche.

With two kinds of fish and very fresh ingredients, this was an excellent rendition of this classic Peruvian dish.

Hot Roasted Corn
Served with the ceviche.

Sweet Potato
Served with the ceviche.

French Onion Soup
A nice version, especially with the addition of tons of cheese and chili peppers (both shown below). The lack of crouton was not a lack at all.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dinner at Indio Feliz, Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

As previously mentioned, Indio Feliz is the only non-pizzeria in all of Machu Picchu Pueblo. It is owned by a French Peruvian couple in what looks to be their early 50s. A 3 course meal was about $12 per person.

Fresh Tomato Soup with Parmasean
The soup was fresh and tasted good, but was nothing special.

Trujillo Melon with Elderberry Licqour
Melon balls and watermelon drenched in a sweet elderberry licqour. When Alexis had finished, there was still quite a bit of licqour at the bottom of the melon bowl. The owner rushed over a straw and insisted that she suck it all down. A nice way to start a meal.

Passionfruit Chicken
A bit sweet but the chicken was moist and tender.

Pineapple Chicken
Ditto in the above.

Garlic Potato Chips
The entrees were served with these lovely, freshly fried potato chips that had then been dredged in raw garlic and herbs. Peru has some 600 types of potatos and we were always getting them in new ways.

Also served with the entrees was a sweet potato (this delicate version with a purple skin was quite nice), broiled, stuffed tomatos, and green beans.

Apple Tart with Creme Anglaise

Chocolate Mousse
Not light or airy enough, but good flavor.

Food: 1
Service: 0 (very, very slow)
Decor: 1 (the ceiling and beams were covered with business cards from previous happy diners)

Lunch at The Lookout, Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

For some reason we were so hungry we ended up eating 3 lunches in one day. At the Look Out, we got 3 course meal for $5 and the portions were pretty large.

Avocado with Creamy Vinagrette
Again, the avocado was the perfect ripeness.

Baked Trout
The fish was a bit overcooked, but tasted good.

Criolle Soup
This popular soup consitst of a tomato and milk based broth, bits of meat and veggies, fresh herbs, noodles and an egg. It is a filling and pleasant tasting soup.

Food: 1
Service: 1
Decor: 0

Snack at Roadside Stall, Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

After watching the Peru episode of Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel, we knew that when we got to Peru we just had to seek out chicarrones: fried, salty, fatty pork. They did not disappoint.

Chicarrones $2
Served with fried potatos, corn, red onions and sauce, these fried hunks of meat and fat were delicious and very economical. Grease was running down our hands by the end of it, as there were no utensils offered, but that was A-OK.

Lunch at Inka Wasi, Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

After about 15 minutes in Machu Picchu Pueblo (aka Aquas Calientes) we realized that for some reason, every single restaurant (of which there are plenty) has Pizzaria in the name. Although we later learned from the nice Frenchman who owns Indo Feliz (the only non-pizza restaurant in town) this is because Pizza is easy to make, so you don't have to worry about finding a skilled staff, we had originally thought that maybe this town just had great pizza or something.

Pepperoni, Chorizo and Olive Pizza $8
The pizza was neither bad nor good. Giao found the kalamata olives a bit off-putting and the sauce was a strange pink color.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Breakfast on Peru Rail somewhere between Cusco and Machupicchu Pueblo, Peru

Ham and Cheese Sandwich (we supplemented with some cheese of our own), fruit (ok) and a horrid apple muffin.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dinner at Pachacutec Grill and Bar, Cusco, Peru

Tableside cultural shows seem to be quite popular in the tourist sections of Cusco. Pachacutec turned out to be more about the show than the food, which was a bit dissapointing. The entire dinner, plus wine, was about $40.

Good, but no better than the $1 street stand version.

Cream of Onion Soup
This was more of a pureed, flavorless French onion soup. Between the two of us we only managed to get about half of it down.

Alpaca in Traditional "Green" Sauce
We had heard that Alpaca was tough, but this was really, really tough. Our jaw muscles started to ache from so much chewing. We didn't finish this dish either.

Bacon Stuffed Trout
We ordered this fish because of the bacon. Sadly, there was no bacon to be found. But we finished the fish and we ate the melted cheese off the top of the potatos.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 0


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