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Posts Tagged ‘Peru’

Peruvian cuisine is special and wonderful and if not underrated in the United States, at least hard to find. When I was in Peru, I was grateful for the amazing flavors and new experiences. I saw and ate my first purple potato and loved how proud the people are about the variety of potatoes grown in Peru.  So the food – Peruvian Corn,  Purple Potatoes  and  flavorful meat and fish are part of my experience and part of the magic of Peru.

Anticuchos are a traditional and popular Peruvian specialty – basically, marinated meat on a stick.  In Peru, they’re easy to find in restaurants and street carts. In New York, to try Anticuchos and everything else, you should go to Nuela, 43 W 24th St, NYC.

Anticuchos made with beef heart are the most popular variety.  Americanized versions steer clear of organ meat and at Nuela, they’re with Beef Lomo (Tenderloin).  But if you have the chance to try them, I suggest you don’t ask too many questions and just take a bite.

The night I went to Nuela, foodies of the highest order made up the Independent Panel of Judges  – a tricky group to please, and a panel member declared the Beef Lomo Anticuchos the …”best steak” she’s ever had. Peruvian Corn and Potatoes made the side and it was so good we ordered it twice.  They also served us Pandebono, a Columbian cheese bread that was hot, light, melty and so good I might even try to make it.  Luckily, I found this recipe online at mycolumbianrecipes.com. (Ok, confession time – I won’t make it – I’ll just go to Nuela and order it.)

They serve Pisco cocktails and the margarita?  It was good.  A little sweet but fresh.  But the food is the show stealer here.

So check out Nuela and fall in love with Peruvian cuisine.  And, NYC, it’s great for groups!

Margarita at Nuela

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I confess.

I’ve cheated on Tequila … with Pisco.

It started when I visited Peru.  I was in month three of a seven month journey through Central and South America when I got on a local bus out of Lima, Peru heading south down the Pan-American highway.

This part of the Peruvian cost is barren. The ground is beige, the ocean is grey and the low cloud ceiling weighs heavily on everything below. I felt a little lost when I got out of the bus in Pisco and stepped into the sleepy, dusty landscape so I strolled into a town bar for some company. I asked the bartender to make me his favorite drink and watched, filled with white-hot horror as he mixed raw egg whites into my drink. (Raw egg violates one of my many, many food rules.) But the drink was frothy, the bartender hopeful, I was an adventurer – and the Pisco Sour was awesome!

I discovered the national spirit of Peru.

I’ve noticed Pisco popping up on drink menus with more and more frequency so I can’t be the only one who’s discovered the spirit. To get the scoop, I went to the experts on Twitter and asked their opinion of Pisco.

Here are the results:

Drink Think @DrinkThink is a Pisco fan and believes Pisco’s popularity is on the rise because quality product is now readily available. Drink Think brings craft spirits to the North West so they must know what they’re talking about. You can find Drink Think here.

Imbiber @notjustabarkeep is, among other things, a fellow insomniac and a bartender at Saxon+Parole. And he’s a fan of Pisco. He suggests a classic Pisco Punch or Pisco Sour and says to make sure you get Chuncho Bitters for the Sour. Please go visit Imbiber at Saxon+Parole – with a Twitter handle like Imbiber, you know he’s going to make you a great drink.

Chaim Dauermann @notclam (AKA Lifesaver) was passionate and eloquent in his response. He said inclusion of Pisco on a bar menu “…is extremely appropriate for any menu looking to pay respect to the history of cocktails.” Pisco is one of his favorite spirits. I know first hand that Chaim can make you a great drink. He’ll be  at Demi Monde NYC when it opens next month!

Warren Bobrow @WarrenBobrow1 is also a Pisco fan. He sent me a great article he wrote for Foodista where interviewed Johnny Schuler, a master Pisco maker. This article will make you hungry and thirsty and catch the next flight to Peru. Please remember to check out Warren’s site: cocktailwhisperer

Brian Petro @Creat_Daily is a Pisco fan and says, “I have had quite a few Pisco Sours, and I love the lightness of them. I have been looking for the right one.”  Well, Brian, it’s good thing you’re a margagogo follower because ….

Greg Harned @craftcocktails was kind enough to share a recipe for an awesome cocktail: Yuzu Pisco. Greg Harned and portlandcraftcocktails.com is dedicated to the craft of the cocktail so I think Greg knows of what he writes.

The Hooch Life @TheHoochLife  says “Yes, Pisco is definitely growing in popularity. Bartenders are making new twists on traditional drinks with it. A must for bars!” Please check out thehoochlife.com to learn what, how and where to drink – I mean who among us doesn’t need to know all that?!

Even The New York Times is on top of the trend with this article from their travel section.

Ofrenda NYC @Ofrenda_NYC is the only responder who isn’t on the Pisco bandwagon. Ofrenda says the Pisco fad will pass. That’s ok. I’d hate for anything to distract them from making great margaritas. Check out Ofrenda online here: ofrendanyc

Pisco wasn’t the only treasure I found on the coast of Peru. After leaving the city of Pisco, I visited Ica, then Nazca and the Nazca lines. The lines, dug into the earth by ancient people depict a range of things from a condor to a monkey to a person to purposefully designed lines and circles. There are lots of theories on why the designs were made. I like to think they were a gift to whoever was above to see them. And on this day, giddy from surviving raw egg, I climbed into a 4-seat plane and flew over this great gift. The grainy pictures below are my snaps of the lines as the pilot flew back and forth, dipping the wings right and left so we could get a good view.

Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

Condor

Person

To all the experts who participated in the Pisco Poll – Thank You! I’m sorry for the delay in sharing the results. I hate it when work gets in the way of writing my drinking blog.

COMING SOON: NYC Peruvian restaurant and more margaritas in Maine!

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