Holidays in Perú (11 July 2012, Lima)

On Wednesday, mum had asked my sister Gladys to stay with dad while she and I went to the hospital. Gladys and I grabbed a quick breakfast: tuna in water and in olive oil, plus avocado, and off we went.

On our way back from the hospital, mum and I stopped by her local market. Fresh produce looked so amazing that I had to snap some photos.

Fruit at Mercado La Libertad


Purple corn, white corn

Purple corn, white corn

Avocados outside Mercado La Libertad


That day I had lunch with my school friends Marlene and Carla. We met at El Mercado, one of celebrity chef Rafael Osterling’s restaurants, basically an upmarket cebichería.

El Mercado

El Mercado

The welcome nibbles were potato and sweet potato chips, served with two chilli sauces. Totally addictive.

Potato & sweet potato chips

Potato & sweet potato chips

We wanted to order a dish to share and a main each. Given that Marlene has recently become allergic to seafood (poor girl!), we shared a veggie dish: Brasa de vegetales, delicious grilled zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes and mushrooms that had been marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and dressed with pesto.

Brasa de vegetales

Brasa de vegetales (S/. 25, around $9.20)

As main I had the Cebiche norteño, made with mero (a white-fleshed fish), pejerrey (a small fish) and conchas negras (mangrove swamp black scallops), served with majado de plátano bellaco (green plantain cooked, mashed and fried) and deep-fried cassava. Although it was served in a much more refined way than what is common in the North of the country, it was delicious.

Cebiche norteño

Cebiche norteño(S/. 45, around $16.50)

Marlene ordered the Tuna pepper steak, a grilled tuna steak rolled in crushed peppercorns, with honey-miso-soy butter sauce, roasted tomatoes and confit potatoes. I had a bite and, although it was way too cooked for me (that’s the way she ordered it), it was nicely flavoured.

Tuna pepper steak

Tuna pepper steak (S/. 51, around $18.60)

Carla had the Spaghetti Mercado al pesto, spaghetti with Genovese pesto, topped with grilled skirt steak and prawns. I didn’t get to try this one but it looked amazing.

Spaghetti Mercado al pesto

Spaghetti Mercado al pesto (S/. 45, around $16.50)

Halfway through lunch I received a call from my sister Gloria. Dad was in a coma. Gladys was having lunch with a friend close to where I was; they picked me up on their way to my parents’ house.

Dad died that afternoon at home, surrounded by his wife and three daughters. It still amazes us how conditions came together exactly right, because Gladys and I didn’t see this coming when we planned the trip. We just bought tickets because they were on sale and I happened to be on school holidays during July. Call it karma, good luck, or blessing, the fact is that everything happened in the best possible way.

That evening, in between funeral arrangements, emails, and phone calls, we made a stop to have dinner next door, at my aunties’. A wonderful fried trout with salad, salsa criolla (onion, chilli & lime salsa) and fried sweet potato gave us strength to keep going.

El Mercado
Hipólito Unanue 203
Miraflores, Lima, Perú
(511) 221 1322

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