This is Jason and Agnieszka's corner of the internet. We'll keep people updated with our travels, culinary adventures, and general mischief that we tend to get ourselves into.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Peru Wrap Foodie Style

Recently I went to Peru and thought I'd share... I don't have many pics because most places were too dark.

Most of your stay was in mainland Cuzco. We tried to obligatory guinea pig on our first night. I’m ashamed to say we went to a place mentioned in a guidebook, but we were far too tired from the trip to search for other places. The book said that the restaurant had “Guinea pig Sundays” and it happened to be a Sunday. So we expected fresh delicious food. When we got there, the menu said that they were serving guinea pigs everyday now. I think that’s why the meat seemed reheated. Funny thing, they didn't just serve roasted, but also: guinea Wellington:, buffalo guinea wings, tandoori guinea pig, Peking duck style guinea pig, and fried guinea pig and chips. We got the roasted one. The skin was tough and it required a lot of work to pick meat off the bones (think quail). I wish we had tried it fresh, but our curiosity was satisfied.

After the first day, we sought out local restaurants that served 3-4 course “menu del dia” for about 10th of our first meal. The set meals always included soup. Mostly quinoa/veggie which was really good. For entrée, we had trout (delicious, we ordered that more than once), grilled alpaca, pork or chicken. The main dish always had rice and French fries together. Talk about carb overload! After 4 days of that diet, we went to a vegetarian place. It was another touristy place, but rotini with curry sauce and shredded carrots and leaks was a welcomed change. To drink, we had a lot of chicha morada - drink made from purple maize and spices. It was delicious when fridge cold, ok when room temperature. For snacks, pork rinds and roasted corn kernels were abundant, but not much more. I expected a more street food in Cuzco, but it was more popular in Lima. Lima offered a multitude of street snacks, including delicious alfajores cookies.

Our best meal was in Lima. We went to a restaurant specializing in ceviche. They had pages of different kinds. We settled for “Lazarus Rise.” It was really spicy and certainly was a pick-me-up. It was the best ceviche I’ve ever head. The variety of seafood was great, the marinade delicious, but I really enjoyed the big pieces of fish. They were sashimi shape and size rather than cubed chunks that I’ve had before.

Another interesting meal was at a restaurant in Lima that’s run by a French order of nuns. “L´Eau Vive” is a charity project of Carmelite order nuns. It serves french cuisine prepared and served by the sisters who are actually part of the secular branch of the order. The restaurant is in a beautiful old colonial building in the Lima center. The food was great, although a bit pricey for Lima standards. However, all proceeds go to charity, so that’s ok.

The sisters spoke perfect Spanish, french, and Italian. One of them spoke English, as well. I speak bit of Italian and was surprised how much I remembered, although my vocabulary is not that great. So we were fine conversing in Italian. They sisters run a few restaurants like that all over the world. They understood my joke when we spoke about their locations all I told them they were like McDonald's. No offense meant, I just did not know how to say “chain” in Italian. It turned out that they have one restaurant in Rome, just blocks away from where I studied 7 years ago.

The sisters have a tradition of singing Ave Maria every night at 9pm. All patrons were given cards with the words in Spanish and French. When I tried say that I will not sing because my voice is really bad, I was told that Madonna will listen to everyone. We had no more excuses and we had to join in  Again, I don’;t speak French or Spanish, so you can imagine how much it was butchered 

Roasted guinea pig

grilled alpaca

potatoes and corn

pisco sour

herbal tea wit coca leaves, lemongrass

salt evaporation ponds

Sunday, June 24, 2007

and the whole loaf

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making bread from scratch

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Eggs straight from today's farmer's market

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Peru Pics

At long last, here are the Peru Pics. Click on the image for the rest. Guinea pig and other amazing sights await...
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