On Tuesday I deviated from my usual quinoa plus fruit and shake options. I had been shopping in the market on Monday, and I bought ciruelas criollas, creole plums, which I honestly don’t know if are truly related to the plums everyone knows. They are smaller and with a elliptical shape, edible thin red skin and juicy, sweet and tangy yellow flesh. I had a big bunch plus some almonds and a banana de seda* for breakfast.
That day I finally had lunch with my parents in a very well known cebichería called La Red (the net). I had tried to have lunch there a number of times with no luck, it was always packed and I hate to queue for a table. This time was not different but I had to try this restaurants, so we waited. I said hi to my Buddhist friend César who works there as a waiter, he said he’d try to get us a table soon but the place was really busy. We checked the menu while waiting and chose our plates (then changed our minds, then decided again), so we ordered as soon as we were given a table. My mum and I shared a causa de pulpa de cangrejo (causa* with crabmeat), a tacu tacu de locro con camarones (tacu tacu** made with locro instead of beans, topped with shrimp and shrimp sauce) and a small jug of chicha morada***. Locro is a stew made with cubed pumpkin and potato, cooked until they collapse, mixed with milk and feta cheese, and served with corn, peas and usually beef. My dad ordered a saltado de pescado (lomo saltado**** made with fish instead of beef).
Food was spectacular. I loved the taste, the portion sizes were enormous (except the causa, which was regular sized) and the prices were not very high, although all dishes featuring shrimp were 39 soles, around 10 soles more than the rest of them. I didn’t have room for dessert but I tried a spoonful of my mum’s suspiro a la limeña***, which was tasty but not as good as the one in El Rincón Que No Conoces, a famous creole restaurant where I have tasted the best suspiro in my life, followed by mine (of course!).
After lunch I went shopping and then to look for creole sandwichs. Right next to the sandwich restaurant there was a garage where a lady with two giant pots was selling arroz con leche (rice pudding) and mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding, made by boiling purple corn with pineapple skin, cinnamon and cloves, thickening it with potato and corn starch and adding dried fruit), traditional desserts that are commonly sold in carts, stalls, etc., and that can be eaten alone or served together in a cup, changing the name of the dessert to combinado (combined). I ate the smallest combinado available, which was an 8 oz cup that costed 1 sol. Then I bought two butifarras (sandwich made with a special ham called jamón del país or country ham, with salsa criolla on top, ie thinly sliced onions with chili and lime juice) and one turkey sandwich. I asked the girl to pack the bread rolls, meats and sauces in different containers, to avoid the rolls from getting moist.
That night I went to Gloria’s apartment, one block away from my parents’ house. My sister was sick, but she did her best to have a good time and be a good host. She helped me with the preparation: cooked cocktail potatoes and broad beans in the microwave, skinned the broad beans, separated the corn from the cob and helped me wash plates and utensils. I prepared a solterito “reloaded”, a remake of a typical salad from a city called Arequipa. My version had lettuce, broad beans, corn, black olives, Paria cheese, avocado and lime juice. I also prepared ocopa sauce (a sauce also from Arequipa that has yellow chili, oil, peanuts, a herb called huacatay, milk, feta cheese and sweet biscuits) and huancaína*** sauce to dip the cocktail potatoes, corn and yuquitas fritas (yuca pieces that had been boiled and browned in butter). We also had the sandwiches I had bought previously.
We spent the night chatting and drinking a really good Argentinian Malbec that Gloria and Aníbal had (from the Luigi Bosca winery). I didn’t go home too late to let Gloria rest. Before I left, we split the leftovers for the next day.
* The explanation about the types of bananas and causa can be found here.
** The explanation about tacu tacu can be found here.
*** The explanation about chicha morada, suspiro a la limeña and huancaína sauce can be found here.
**** The explanation about lomo saltado can be found here.