Past months I have been quite actively working on my academic (and also some non-academic) writing projects, in order to be an academic and not just a troll. Unfortunately, intensive writing sessions can be socially isolating, because you need to avoid too many distractions. But then again, if you don't want to go stir crazy, sometimes you have to take a pause, leave your computer and go to see some other human beings. For me, this week I have been reconnecting with the humanity, and actually had so many social events that I almost feel dizzy.Thursday evening I met some fellow Finnish ladies who live Peru, with their special guests from Finland. We had dinner in San Isidro in a café called Paseo Colon. We had met there before, and everybody liked the food and the atmosphere of the place, so it was our meeting point again. I had a Baja Fish Sandwich, because I could not decide if I want to eat something light and healthy or go junk food -this felt like a compromise. It came with coleslaw, avocado and tartar sauce, and was served with homemade fries. Very good, except that I would have prefered real hamburger bread instead of pan françes, which is quite dry. The desserts in that place are huge and very delicious!
On Friday, we were invited to Keiko's and Makoto's sunny terrace in their appartment in Barranco to enjoy a Japanese lunch: a fresh salad...
...and some tofu-filled fried triangles....
...and some fish: this is toyo (tope shark) covered with some miso-based sauce. Delicious!
tope shark, Japanese style
The sun was so hot, that finally we had to move inside to finish the meal with some cold matcha tea. And it is autumn here!
The socialization continued on Saturday, when our friend Diana had a birthday party at the Arab Club. The club serves probably the best Middle Eastern food in Lima -and you can enjoy it by the pool, which is a great plus.
Birthday girl...©Juan Martin Cabrejos
The table is set...photo ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
The menu included various mezzes: hummus, pita bread, salad, falafels, kefta, stuffed bell peppers and zucchinis...
Followed, of course, by a birthday cake:
After this long weekend of relaxation with friends and good food, I'm recharged and can go back to my files and articles with renewed energy.
Hope you had a good weekend too!
Have you ever tried Shica Shica Ice Cream?
I certainly had no clue what that was, until I tried it on my last trip to Tarapoto. Shica Shica is a nut that tastes like a mix of coconut and peanut -and shica shica ice cream is delicious! I tried it at Fruta & café (Jr. Maynas 234) where they offer all kind of exotic, organic ice creams made of typical fruits of San Martín region. Chocolate ice cream with local cocoa was also very good, and you can have either chocolate alone or mixed with peanuts. And no, I did not eat a giant portion of all possible flavors! But I tried many, because you can try them all before deciding. I liked to have an ice cream at Fruta & Café's calm and atmospheric patio, with a cup of coffee -locally produced, of course! Unfortunately, I had not my camera with me that day, so I don't have photos from there.
But I took these ice cream photos in another Tarapoto ice cream bar called Anona. They also had a good selection of all the exotic fruit ice creams: lucuma, passion fruit, coconut, mango...
Anonas (Jimenez Pimentel, block 3) also had a small back yard patio with green plants and very tasty fruit juices.
PS. Good news is that Fruta & Café is also in Lima! Caminos del Inca 3198 and in Asia, just outside of the main shopping area.
Beach season in Lima starts generally in December and lasts until April, although you can see all year round brave surfers at Costa Verde, the coast of Lima. The best beaches are outside of the city: I have already talked in my blog about Punta Hermosa, Chilca and Pulpos. This time I want to share some photos from Asia beach, where we spent a weekend with friends some weeks ago. Asia is located at the kilometer 97,5 on Panamericana Sur highway. It is supposedly "the posh beach" of Lima, but also the beach for young and party people, as throughout the summer season all kind of festivals and concerts are organized there. You will also find there a big, open air shopping center called Boulevard de Asia with most of the shops you find in the malls in Lima. This can be handy if you came to spend a weekend at the beach, but forgot your bathing suit or just realized that your old one looked unfashionable ( and -a free tip to European men: no Speedos on Peruvian beaches, thank you. Boardshorts are the only option for a self-respecting male). And once you are done with shopping, you can relax in game areas, outdoor cafés, restaurants and night clubs. But the beach itself is where most of the movida takes place. At the time of our visit, there was a Nike Skatefest, and we got to admire some young and talented skaters...
...and then listening to a local reggae band called Laguna Pai.
All photos ©Juan Martin Cabrejos
Ps. If you are in Lima and need a plan for this weekend, I recommend a new bar that just opened last Wednesday in Barranco. It's called Victoria, and it is located in a beautiful mansion built in 1903, called Casona Cillóniz. Good selection of drinks including Belgian beers and a nice patio!
Have a nice weekend!
There is a new book out there,"Where the Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs' Favourite Restaurants", by Joe Warwick. The title is pretty self-explinatory: it reveals where the chefs working in high-end restaurants go to eat when they want to eat out. And they do not necessarily choose Michelin star places -in fact, many of them seem to prefer understated, local spots.Last Saturday's El Comercio newspaper revealed -in the spirit of this book -some recommendations from the well known Peruvian chefs. Some of the places mentioned have already been introduced in this blog, such as classic, night snack place in Barranco, Juanito, favorite of Pedro Miguel Schiaffino (has several restaurants in Lima: Malabar, Nikita, Amaz). Rafael Osterling (Rafael, Cafe del Mar) recommends El Pan de la Chola as a breakfast place - if you read my "Entrepreneuring Expats" interviews carefully, you many remember that designer Carolina Restrepo also recommended that place for bread (and she also likes Schiaffino's restaurant Amaz that serves Amazonian fusion plates).
Other places I picked from the article and would like to try soon are Korean restaurant Dos Hermanos, Tokio Ramen for ramen noodles and Nikko for a nikkei style (Peruvian-Japanese) ceviche, all recommeded by chef Hajime Kasuga (Hanzo).
As I promised, I keep on blogging about Mistura gastronomy fair, from the perspective of a humble visitor.
In this post I am sharing with you photos from Salon del Pisco y Café.
Pisco is a clear grape brandy, which can be consumed pure or in various cocktails, of which Pisco Sour is the best known. Good piscos are very aromatic and make a good digestive to finish off a meal with a coffee, but the cheaper brands with more overpowering taste of alcohol (40°!) are generally better for cocktails. In this area of Mistura, one could sample many well-known pisco brands, and coffees, made from Peruvian coffee beans, including the award-winning Tunkimayo Coffee. Tunki woke me up after pisco tasting!
Fresh coffee beans -just imagine the aroma...
Coming up next: Chocolates and Sweets!
Gaston Acurio at Mistura
This year I had a chance to visit the largest gastronomy fair of South America: Mistura. It gathered 500 000 visitors during ten days, offering an overview on Peru's regional cuisines and new restaurants. Numerous stands sold sample plates, priced from 5 to 25 nuevos soles (1,5- 7 euros) and you could also attend on seminars, follow chef competitions, sample piscos, coffees and chocolates and shop various food items from the large market area of the fair.
Right after arrival to Mistura, I spotted Peruvian top chef Gaston Acurio surrounded by his fans. He has done great work promoting Peruvian culinary traditions abroad and developing so called Novoandian cuisine. I joined the ranks of his fans and snapped a photo of him.
Our first stop was quite naturally a Peruvian classic lime and chili marinated raw fish salad, ceviche.
For drink, I chose Cristal's special edition beer.
It was rather easy to tell which plates were the most succesful at Mistura: you just look at the queus. "Caja China", The Chinese box and Chancho Al Palo seemed to tempt quite a few people.
La Caja China
Chancho al palo
In between meals, one could watch a parade.
That's not all about Mistura, more to come about the art of chocolate, pisco sampling, potatos and surprising food items from la selva ...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Afternoon coffee at Casa Gourmet
In a previous post I complained about the absence of cosy coffee shops in Lima. I have to take it back, because I have actually discovered a few places where to have a nice cup of espresso, read a novel and procrastinate accumulating work.One good address in Miraflores is a small espresso bar called Arabica, where you can try award-winning local coffee brand called Tunkimayo. Last time I went there I had an espresso roast made of beans from Cajamarca, and it was also very good. They have a tiny one table patio outside, books and magazines to read and board games to play.
Other place I like is in Barranco, and it's called Sofa Café. The name is by no means misleading: the place is decorated with comfortable sofas in two floors. You can go there for a light meal too, they serve lonche, which is a Peruvian equivalent of the British afternoon tea.
But these places are a bit far from Surco, where I live, so I was quite happy when Casa Gourmet opened just near by. It is a actually a gourmet shop with a selection of sweet and salty goods to buy home or as a present, but they also have a small café corner. It is not the most inexpensive place around, I must admit, but the cakes for example come in huge portions and are perfectly enough for two people. The terrace is calm and nice, with some jazz playing at the backgound (although now that I've visited three times I've noticed that they seem to have only one cd).
There is a little Taiwanese place in Miraflores, just round the corner of the Ripley department store where I like to go for a non-alcoholic beverage. It's called "Té Burbuja" (sounds funny in Spanish) aka Bubble Tea aka Boba Tea. Before coming to Peru I was not familiar with this drink, although I have heard that it is popular in the States. I never saw it anywhere on sale in Paris, but probably if you know to ask for it you can find it...Anyways, now that I know I would ask!
It is basically green tea (healthy!), served hot or cold (I like cold) with either milk or a fruit flavour: cherry, grapefruit, lucuma, coconut, peach, guanabana...the choices are endless.
The name of the drink comes from the little bubbles inside of the glass: they are tapioca pearls forming bubbles in the drink. It's refreshing, and who can resist those cute koala plastic cups? (I know...not very eco friendly, perhaps I should bring my own mug next time?).
As you can see from the photo, they also sell Asian style snacks and green tea bags. The owner is very friendly and smiley, but don't you EVER call him Chinese, that is not very appreciated!!!
The shop is so small that you can easily miss it, so here's the address: Calle Los Pinos 118, Miraflores.
Enjoy the bubbles!
If the night had been mystic, the morning felt magical...
Waking up with the sun shining through the roof window of my room, I was curious to discover how does Yoga Mandala Retreat Center and the Sacred Valley look at day light.
So beautiful, the mountains around us, and the sunflowers in the garden.
And on the terrace, breakfast was waiting...with a new cat friend!
Four days yoga retreat was about to start...
In every paradise there is always a snake. Otherwise everything would be too perfect.
On our second night in Vichayito, I received an unwanted and unexpected visitor: Mister Vomit.And no, it is not related to that one mojito I had on my first night, I need more than that to...you know ;) So I had clearly eaten something I should not have eaten. But what could it be? My boyfriend ate exactly the same things, except...those white beans! In the North, ceviche is served with white beans and when we had lunch in Órganos village, I ate the beans of both of us. Fatal mistake!Next day I was feeling quite weak, but we head to Máncora city to get something to eat. I was not hungry at all, but forced myself to drink some coconut water and a Gatorade to replace all the salts and minerals I lost during that nightmarish night.In general, there is no better and faster cure from any disease than shopping. It was a good time to replace that Billabong "fairy hat" I bought last year in Portugal with something more local. So we went to that hippieless hippie market I mentionned in my previous post to have a look.
This one would be very "fairy 2012"...
...but I want a traditional norteño hat!
A hat was a must, because I did not want my scalp roasted after all the other horrors I had to go through. The sun in the North is merciless!
With the energy I got from shopping I was able to swallow some fish and rice and we made it to the Máncora beach.
By the bits and pieces of conversations I heard in town and on the beach, I concluded that I had not been the only victim of those evil beans!
New hat immediately tested at Máncora beach
Photos © Juan Martin Cabrejos