In restaurant Arlotia in Barranco
Couple of weeks ago while visiting some Christmas markets in Barranco we stopped for a lunch in a restaurant called Arlotia on Avenida Grau. As it was my turn to choose a restaurant, I opted for this one as they serve Basque-Peruvian fusion plates. My only experiences of Basque cuisine date back to 2010 when I visited Biarritz, a city on the Atlantic coast at the French side of the Basque country. I wanted to refresh my memory and experience how well Peruvian flavors combine with the Basque ones. First we ordered some tapas. I must admit I had forgotten that Basque style tapas are not served from small bowls, like the "usual" Spanish tapas, but on pieces of bread. We ordered a combination of six different ones: pulpo a la gallega, champiñon con queso, langostinos con aioli al ajo y palta, queso Roquefort con nueces y tomate and jamon serrano (x2). When these small bites arrived I had a Biarritz flashback and remembered having consumed these in large quantities in a tapas bar on one rainy afternoon, with equally large quantities of sangria. Which may explain my loss of memory. But my excuse is that we had bad luck with the weather on that trip (it was in May). Not to mention that those "help yourself" tapas counters are dangerous! This time I ordered a limonada con hierba luisa for a drink (but only because I was pregnant, otherwise I would have liked to try their artesanal beers).
I don't know if you can get the feeling from the photo, but all the tapas were seriously delicious. The hopes were therefore high for the main courses. I had marmitako de bonito, typical Basque stew and supposedly a grandmother's recipe. My husband had a cerdo con Roquefort. My stew with bonito fish had quite liquid consistence, it seemed like grandma could not quite decide whether she is making a stew or a soup. I was asked if I want rice with it, and I did want. It came with an additional cost. The taste was good though, and it was served steaming hot. Pork dish was also tasty, although the roquefort sauce was lacking something -the roquefort, perhaps?
Then came the best part: the desserts! I had a volcan de chocolate con fresa y fambuesa, which I really liked, but my husband's choice, crème brûlée with chirimoya fruit was the best! Actually, on the menu it said crème brûlée with lucuma, but they did not have it so they proposed this one instead. I know some people are crazy about lucuma, but I cannot imagine how it could have been better than the one of chirimoya.
So that was what we correctly assumed to be our last tranquil lunch together for a while...Next time (whenever that could be) I would go to Arlotia for some tapas and beer, and hope they still have that chirimoya treat on the menu...
Today it has been exactly two weeks since the arrival of our new family member. After a couple of nights we spent resting at the birth clinic we have been mostly at home with the newborn. She is still so small, I am recovering from a C-section and there will be plenty of time to explore outdoors later on. So at home we stay now, waiting for the grandparents who will arrive this week from Finland...
Homebound life, photo © Juan Martin Cabrejos
I guess these photos quite well resume the past two weeks:
One sleepy baby...
Sleepy baby, photo © Juan Martin Cabrejos
...and one tired mamacita:
photo © Juan Martin Cabrejos
On Monday 18th of November a stork visited our family and brought a little baby girl!
Bonding with my newborn, photo © Juan Martin Cabrejos
I will be back blogging once I have adjusted to this new life!
Have a nice weekend!
Only (?) 38 days left to Christmas! Here in Lima this means that the season for Christmas markets and fairs kicks off: every weekend there are markets and fairs for every taste. Ones with artesanal and craft products, school fairs, charity fairs, neighbourhood markets, design markets, ones with special program for kids...you choose.
Today, as it was beautiful, sunny Spring day, I was walking around in Barranco, I spotted one:
Feria navideña in Barranco
This feria was aiming to be "art and creativity" oriented, and clearly had more to offer for women than to menfolk:
Nothing better than a little quote from Goethe himself to justify a little Christmas shopping!
Women are vain by nature?
Unfortunately, too many of the products for sale just screamed "Made in China" or "Made in Gamarra"...the "design" part had been left apart in this design fair. But I did spot some interesting things, like these handmade glass and pot coasters:
Handmade coasters in Barranco Christmas market
Next to the coasters there were some really cute handmade leather baby shoes, of which I unfortunately don't have a photo, but I took their visit card. The brand is called Las Qarameleras, and you can find photos at their Facebook page. A pair of cuteness costed something like 45 soles and there were many colour options.There was also a stand promoting Thai massages in a place called Sentidos Thai, 50 soles an hour with a promotion card. Not a bad Christmas present idea!I left empty handed this time, but not without taking a stroll at the food section. Too bad I'd just had lunch, otherwise it would have been nice to snack something from the food and coffee stands, such as this veggie food one:
Veggie corner of the Christmas market
General verdict: very relaxed atmosphere on this Christmas market -that's the real Christmas spirit!
No Christmas stress this year!
Blaiming it all on beer...
Good time to go out on your balcony and get some TAN!
This feria is open every weekend and the address is Jr. Union 108, Barranco.
But for me it was not the only market I visited this weekend, as from there we continued to a book fair in Plaza de Barranco. There were both old and new books on sale, but mostly old ones. Here's what I bought (for a total of 15 soles):
Book fair finds: feeding my body and brain
With these cook books I will soon cook like a Cordon Bleu chef, and a little novel classic to read in the future, when I will finally finish this one (few pages left...).Have a nice weekend!
This post was originally written and published as a guest post for Alla Fiorentina Blog's Travel Tuesday series, but I decided to to post it in my blog, too, as it has been hanging in the draft file for some time now. I am re-posting it in my own blog, as I want to share my travel tips for a place I particularly liked in Brazil, the relaxed island called Ilha Grande, located in Southern part of Rio de Janeiro. The weather is pleasant and sunny practically all year round.
Why to go there? After visiting hectic and crowded Rio de Janeiro, Ilha Grande offers relaxation and nature experiences. The island is a hotspot for small scale ecotourism. No cars, no ATMs on this island. You arrive there with a ferry boat or a catamaran, and on the island you move around mainly by walking, by bicycle or by boat taxi. Two of the Brazil's best beaches are located in Ilha Grande: Dois Rios and Lopes Mendes. Hiking through rainforest to beaches and to waterfalls, surfing, diving, yoga, kayaking and snorkling will keep you busy at the daytime. There is plenty of tropical flora and fauna to observe. In the evening, you can enjoy a refreshing caipirinha cocktail followed by a dinner with fresh seafood by the ocean, with your feet in sand. On weekends, musicians arriving from Rio organize jam sessions and beach parties.
Blogger relaxing at Dois Rios beach in Ilha Grande
What to eat there? Fresh seafood and fish, but also Brazilian specialities such as feijoada or picanha. As for desserts, there is a Finnish ice cream place! Being from Finland myself, I had to check it out, and the flavours were quite far from what you typically find in the Northern hemisphere: tangerine, lucuma, coconut... Apparently there is a Finnish community in the Brazilian town called Penedo, and that's where this business is from. There are also some tempting cake trolleys around at the evening time, selling very sweet cakes and pastries made of local ingredients: coconut, cocoa and cane sugar. As a healthy option or a snack, you can also have an açai berry sorbet with granola and banana.
Local fishermen checking out the catch of the day
Highlights? Hiking and climbing to the top of the Papagallo Peak (1260m) for my boyfriend, whereas for me, village fair with live music, forro dancing and far too many caipirinhas.
View from Papagallo Peak
Excitement moment? On our way back to Angra dos Reis, the motor of the ferry boat suddenly stopped working for unknown reason, and we stayed floating in the ocean for a couple of hours, waiting for a towing boat to rescue us!
Boat is the main form of transport in Ilha grande
There is one restaurant in our neighbourhood of which I have wanted to write about already for some time, because it is one of our frequent spots (or "points", as they say in Lima) to have dinner, either with the whole family or with a smaller committee. But for some reason I always forgot to take my camera, or I took it, but forgot to take photos (too busy enjoying the food and company!). And what would be a restaurant post without photos?
But last Friday we went again to Piacere for Juan Martin's early birthday dinner, and this time I actually snapped some photos. The location in Surco has a nice little patio, and since quite recently there is a wood oven for pizzas. On the menu you find Peruvian-Italian fusion plates, many different types of pastas and they also have quite a good selection of pisco-based chilcano cocktails and macerados.
Patio of restaurant Piacere in Surco
Chilcanos for everyone's taste, Piacere
I had salmon and cheese filled panzotti with garlic and herbs, Juan Martin had the same plate that he always has there: a lasagne à la huancaína (a spicy, creamy Peruvian sauce made with fresh cheese and yellow chillies). Although delicious, that plate is not very photogenic (lasagne seldom is), so I don't post a photo here, but my plate was more suitable for blog show off:
...as was the dessert, too: a chocolate ganache filled with peanut cream. This treat is called Principessa:
Yesterday was the last day of annual interior design fair Casa Cor here in Lima. My architect friend Pamela was going and when she asked me to join her I thought why not! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.The event was organized in Barranco, in splendid Palacete Sousa, a palace style house neoclassic house built in 1917 and designed by architect Eleuterio Alfoy. The house was renovated for Casa Cor 2013. This year, both inside and outside of the palace there were 46 different spaces designed by participating architects, interior designers and landscape architets in collaboration with furniture stores and other sponsors.Unfortunately it was not allowed to take photos inside (at least in some spaces -in some it seemed to be ok...confusing policy.) However, I took some photos (with my cell phone) from the outside part to give some idea of the place. Much better photos can of course be found in the Casa Cor website and from the sites of the designers.
A little peak from outside...at Casa Cor Peru 2013
This was one of my favorites: an Amazonian inspired dining space, designed by Esther Lasanta and Verónica Olazabal from Love Is All interior designers (click on the link and you can see better picture of the space in their Facebook site).Other favorites of mine included this terrace designed by Roque Saldías Daly, part of a summer appartment: Almost all my favorites were outdoor spaces, such as balcony designed by Brazilian Debora Gafanovitch Salzmann. Unfortunately I don't have a photo, but It had a bath tube and a fire place! (you can find a photo of it here)We ended our tour in the garden areas, checked out Dédalo's pop up store and having hot drinks at the cozy outdoor café under the trees. This outdoor garden was designed by Rafael Alvarado Bustamente from Escape.
Bajo el Árbol (Under the Tree) café by Matías Ferrero Barreda and Maria del Pilar Solis Bendezú.
I have already written before some posts about our New Year's trip to very green area of San Roque de Cumbaza in San Martin region, near Tarapoto. But I did not tell much about the place in which we stayed: Chirapa Manta, an ecolodge and a home to our friends Claudia, Javier and their son Mikel. The place was still partly under construction at the time of our visit, but since April 2013 Chirapa Manta has been open for visitors. There are three family rooms to rent, each one can host up to four persons, or the place can be booked for a group. There is also a large kitchen for guests to use for cooking, or meals can be ordered from Claudia and Javier. Both of them are great chefs, as I can witness, and they also make delicious vegetarian meals.Recently, Claudia was visiting in Lima, so I took the opportunity to ask her some questions about living in the jungle. Claudia and Javier are both Lima natives, but jungle seems to be their "natural element", so to say -they have lived there for eight years now.
"We always loved to travel outside of Lima and be in the nature. So we were looking for a place where we could settle down. First we were thinking about Huaraz, as it has great hiking possibilities. But the we arrived in San Roque, and both of us knew that this is where we want to live." Six years ago they started building Chirapa Manta.
"The advantage of living in San Roque is that the nature is so near -it's all around us. There is a different rhythm of life and different energy. Life is more calm and simple."
Bridge that takes you to Chirapa Manta, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
"As for the challenges -especially with a 2,5 years old child -if you are used to city life where all the services are near, it takes time to adjust. We can't get near to our house by car and all the services are far. Our dream is to become self-sustainable, but that is a long term project"
Claudia and Mikel at the terrace of Chirapa Manta
Being close to the natural reserve Cordillera Escalera, the main activity in Chirapa Manta is the hikes in the nature. One track leaves from just behind the lodge, and we explored it with Javier. Five children in our group were surprisingly courageous and did well on this half-day hike to a mirador with a fantastic view.
Javier leading the expedition to the jungle
Mango eating pause
One of the advantages of Chirapa Manta is that it is located right by the river of Cumbaza. It is incredibly refreshing to jump into the river after a long hike (you do sweat in the jungle!).
Taking a bath in Rio Cumbaza, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Dédalo in Barranco, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Dédalo Arte y Artesanía is a very nice art gallery, café and craft shop in Barranco, where various cultural events frequently take place. Last Thursday there was an exhibition opening by a Peruvian artist Alejandro Hernandez, called Rabioso: Director's Cut.
The works presented in this exhibition were oil and aquarel paintings, masks and some mysterious bottles filled with liquid and miniature baby dolls. Virus, metamorphosis and transformation of human beings were central themes of this exhibition: how to react if something virus like has entered your body and turned you into a monster?
work by Alejandro Hernandez in Dédalo, photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
photo© Juan Martin Cabrejos
There was a little bar corner in the patio, serving chilcanos made with Larroca pisco brand...
photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
And every time I pass by in Dédalo, I spot something I would like to buy. This time it was these plants that you can hang into your roof. Did not buy yet, but perhaps soon...
photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Have a nice weekend!
Yesterday was a public holiday -a great excuse to drive out of Lima and breathe some fresh air.
Passing by the fishing village of Pucusana, we drove to the beach called Wakama.
These four fishermen showed courage and entered the ice cold water in an attempt to catch some fish...
...while I was inspecting the beach. Found the following: one dead dolphin, tens of crabs, hundreds of birds and far too many empty bottles, plastic bags and other trash.
Unfortunately, the ocean was not very giving that day.
But the chifa buffet at Regata's club in Chorrillos was as generous as always, and the fishermen did not have to go home hungry.