So let's start at the beginning. A few months back, the Missus and I decided on a trip to Peru. It was the perfect country for us.....a great combination of food, history, culture, and more food! After doing a ton of research, we made our arrangements, and could hardly contain ourselves. At this point I need to thank two individuals; Melissa, a great FOY (friend of yoso), who was the first to recommend Copa Airlines and Diamox(for altitude sickness), and uber-food blogger Alejandro, who does the wonderful Peru Food blog. I'll be citing many posts from Peru Food in future posts, so please check out His superb blog.
Most flights to Lima arrive late in the evening, which we didn't think would do. Especially since we needed to be at the airport by 4am the next morning. The Copa Airlines flight arrives in Lima at 3pm. The only catch is this:
Yes, that's right, the flight leaves at 153am in the morning! This meant a drive up to LA, and a flight to catch at almost 2am. Well, at least we'd be able to catch a bit of shut eye on the flight....except for one little problem. I had completed seat assignments online, and had seats reserved in row 7, but when we went to check in, we found that the model of aircraft had been changed, and suddenly, we had row 25, the very last row on the plane.....the nether region of the aircraft where seats do not recline. I did manage to take two short 15 minute naps using the patented "lean technique", where I lean forward, resting my forehead on the seat back in row in front of me. Wouldn't you know that the person sharing our row was from Taiwan! He and the Missus had a nice conversation in Mandarin(the magic word is...Din Tai Fung!). Seems that there are quite a few Chinese and Taiwanese in Panama, working for various shipping interests. As a matter of fact, we noticed that all the Asians were seated around us.....to which led me to comment, "hey, are all the Asians seated at the back of the plane?" Seriously, the service on Copa was excellent, more friendly and accommodating than most US carriers. After a stopover in Tocumen International Airport, where you can get everything from designer attire to top of the line electronics...at the airport! We arrived at Jorge Chavez International Airport on time, and our driver (offered by most hotels) met us, and we were off......the ride from the airport to Central Lima is worth an entire post of its own. So let me just say this, Magic Mountain ain't got nothing on a taxi ride in Lima. I was amazed at the chaotic, yet intricately choreographed dance that occurs on the roads in Lima. I was also glad to make it to our hotel in one piece...... If I was tired getting on our arrival in Lima, the edge of the seat thrills and chills of the ride woke me up.
After checking in at our hotel, totally famished, we headed off for our first meal in Peru. I had intentionally made reservations at a hotel close to a restaurant I wanted to try..... yes, I know, a bit backwards......but since this was just a place to crash for evening..... Right around the block was El Fayke Piurano. I had read about this restaurant in this post in Peru Food. I was sure that the Missus, who loves Cebiche would enjoy Herself here.
We entered and was led to the upstairs dining area. Even though our server did not speak English, we had no problem ordering. The only thing that caused some puzzled looks from our Server was that she could not understand why we ordered 3 dishes......with good reason.
Soon enough our Cancha, those addictive roasted corn kernels arrived. These were a bit on the dry side, but were the perfect addition to the Cebiche de Cojinova (s/18 - 18 soles - about $6):
Cojinova is a fish also known as the Palm Ruff, with a slightly red flesh. The Missus thought the Leche de Tigre ("tigers milk", the cebiche marinade) to be much too sour, but the addition of some cancha and the Aji balanced things out. The Cojinova was a bit more chewy than I enjoy, but was not bad. The Missus never met a camote(sweet potato) she didn't like, and this was no exception.
I still have not developed a taste for Canarios(Canary Beans), I find them tough, fibrous, and dry. Still, I thought this to be pretty good.
The Tiradito en Crema de Rocoto (s/21 - about $7)
Not much to say, other than this was excellent. Fresh, soft, strips of fish, in a velvety, slightly spicy sauce. Nice depth without losing the flavor of the fish. I'd have this several times a week if I had a chance.
But we weren't done...the Missus also wanted the Arroz con Mariscos (Seafood with Rice s/18 - $6)...yes 6 bucks, for this ginormous portion of rice topped with seafood:
The Missus loved the 2 very fresh, very sweet scallops, but not being a fan of squid and octopus(other than smoked taco), she had a problem with the toppings. The rice was also quite rich, almost like paella, which I enjoyed, but was too rich for the Missus.
Way more food than we could finish...though we polished off the cebiche and tiradito. Can you believe the prices? The whole meal was about s/60.....about twenty bucks!
El Fayke Piurano
Jirón Huancavelica 165
After our meal we took a short walk to grab some bottled water. Jiron de la Union is a pedestrian only mall that bisects Central Lima. You'll find tons of shops...and Pollo ala Brasa (rotisserie chicken) joints on every block!
Even though I could feel a food coma coming on, I managed to take a photo of Iglesias La Merced:
The mass of humanity in this city of 9 million, along with the air quality, was starting to get to us, so after checking out Plaza de Armas (a future post), and grabbing some bottled water, we headed back to our hotel. This being our first evening in Peru, we headed down to the hotel bar and the Missus had a Pisco Sour.
I had a bottle of Cristal, which the Missus enjoyed as well. The security guard at the hotel was so very nice to us.....he also gave us directions to the "super mercado", so the Missus got him some bottled water, as way of thanking him.
Soon enough we were back in our room, crashing in anticipation of our morning flight. A 330 am wake up was ahead of us......