Navigation Pages

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Machu Picchu 4 - FOOD

Okay, so you've taken the adventure with us, you've camped, hiked and summited; seen the sights and experienced history. What more could there possibly be??? Food, of course.

WARNING: Not for people who hate food or pictures of food!!! (Or on horribly strict diets and are currently feeling desperate.)

Peru is the gourmet capital of South America and has been named, on several occasions the gourmet capital of the world. (Shhhh, don't tell France or Italy.) One of the reasons we selected Llama Path Tours is because we heard the food was awesome. (I mentioned this in an earlier post.) Their weakest meal was breakfast, but nobody left hungry or dissatisfied. (It might have something to do with the fact that we're oatmeal addicts and they never served it and the fresh fruit was a bit lacking, but that's another thing that we're obsessed with.)

I'm going to post a selection of photos from our trek, as well as some of the food we had in Cusco and Lima. Enjoy...we certainly did.

Sebastian's work:  Chef for Llama Path (Salkantay Trek)
Chicken Ceviche
Fried Trout in Herb Sauce
Stuffed Avacadoes

Chicken with Tomato Salsa
Mixed Vegetable Salad
Chicken Skewers on a Turtle Shaped Pinapple
Steamed Veggies in a Yellow Aji Dressing
Ceviche is Peru's signature dish, followed closely by their signature drink the Pisco Sour:
Ceviche with Yellow Aji
Traditional Ceviche with an Herb Sauce Twist
Unintentionally (but conveniently) we had a gourmet day in Lima, with lunch at a restaurant called Cala, located right on the beach. We sat out on the balcony, overlooking the ocean and enjoyed "light" meal, which included a bottle of wine and dessert.
Beef Cheeks in Bernaise Sauce with Soft Boiled Egg
Traditional Mixed Ceviche
Chocolate Mousse (soo Spanish - ha ha)
Suspiro de Chiramoya
Later that night we went to a highly acclaimed restaurant called IK. (Don't think I didn't noticed the irony of a restaurant having a name the sound equivalent of "ICK", as in yuck, gross.) Fortunately for us, the restaurant was named after the owner Ivan Kisik and not for a poor dining experience. The whole thing (including the building) was designed to appeal to every sense. The interior is constructed like a Peruvian fruit crate; think a wooden orange crate, with plants inserted between the slats, giving a sense of the Amazon. The bathroom (at least the ladies') has a ceiling of Plexiglas tiles, bedecked with vinyl coating of blooming vines and back lighting. The rest is pretty well all mirror, so you feel like your in a sunny arbor.

See the chefs on the lower tier? A symphony of culinary work.
We opted for the 8 dish tasting menu (you can also order a la carte or go nuts and have the 11 course tasting menu). We didn't have a bad dish. There was only one that you needed to work at to get all the flavours going, but the rest were very well developed an balanced and it was a remarkable experience. I will say one thing; the restaurant and staff take themselves very seriously (for me, I'm used to a more relaxed dining experience, even at five star restaurants). 

This might stem from the fact that the chef who imagined this experience was killed in a car accident shortly before the restaurant opened. I can only think that the staff are adhering to his legacy. They obviously have exacting service standards, ensuring that everyone at the table receives their dish at the same time (my mind boggles at the thought of a table for 10...would the sous chef come out to make sure each guest was served simultaneously?), replacing cutlery with every course (okay, that's not so unusual) and operating with grace, even in the kitchen, which you can see from the dining area.  Anyhow, here's the meal, with description.
Menu - click to enlarge
Amuse bouche (not on menu)
Octopus on homemade torilla chips
Trout on Sweet Potato Mousse

Amazonian tuber pudding with coconut froth
Corvina in a grenadilla saude, kumquat, daikon, ginger geletin
Variety of tomatoes, aromatic herbs, chia and chili pepper
Scallops in lulo (an amazonian fruit)
Amazonian Paiche, warm ceviche
Corvina with bok choy, lemongrass and sauteed veg.
Cuy (guinea pig) 3 ways
Above - skin, purple corn chips and cuy pate
Below - marinated cuy thigh

Another traditional Peruvian dish
Chicharon (pork belly) with corn and mustard
braised with teriyaki
Sauteed apples in pisco, smoked apple puree, nut and
frozen tarragon powder
White chocolate truffles with maracuya liquid
Strawberry marshmellows
Peruvian Yunsa Tree

Chocolate and ganache truffles
Fittingly, on our last full day, we chose to stroll along the beach and have a relaxing lunch at the nearby mall. Not what you expected? This mall is like one in Southern California, mostly outside, with restaurants strung along the beach side of the complex. We skipped the T.G.I.Friday's and headed for a restaurant called Popular. It was mother's day and everything was fairly busy, but we scored two seats along the bar overlooking the ocean, once again. We ordered the pulpo al carbon (grilled octopus) and traditional mixed ceviche along with an Argentinian sparkling wine. It was a great way to pass an afternoon.

We finished of our culinary journey that evening at a Japanese restaurant inexplicably called Magma...I don't know if they meant Manga or if the name was intentional, but it was nice to have a simple, fresh and fairly inexpensive meal that we'd have to spend a fortune for, here in Cuenca. I will say this, food in Peru, for the most part, is not only excellent, but affordable. Our only real blow out meal was at IK and we've, honestly, spent more on dinner in Vancouver.

Our next installment will be blissfully short, and will feature a few of the districts of Lima, a huge city that it's almost overwhelming when you try to tackle it. Until then, be well!

No comments:

Post a Comment