On Saturday I didn’t have a pre-workout meal because I had been out the night before (again!), drinking and eating, and I wasn’t hungry. After training I had a papaya and banana de la isla* juice. Papaya is great for healing the stomach lining that is usually irritated after a night out. I always add cinnamon to juices that contain papaya. I also had half a wholemeal bread roll with butter and black olives. Until some years ago I totally hated olives. Lots of people write about the dualism that surrounds olives, it seems that people tend to either love it or hate it with passion. That happened to me, too, and now I’m in the olive lovers’ side. And I must admit that I love Peruvian olives a lot more than the ones I buy in Sydney.
After breakfast I prepared crema volteada, a Peruvian dessert similar to flan and crème brulée, made with eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk and vanilla esence. When it was almost ready I turned off the oven and left it inside to finish cooking with the remaining heat. I went for lunch with my sister Gloria, her boyfriend Aníbal and my niece Ale. Aníbal drove us to a cebichería that belongs to a well-know Peruvian chef. The place, called La Pescadería (the fish shop) is located in a not-so-good neighbourhood but inside it’s a fancy restaurant on the pricy side. They even have a sushi bar inside. We ordered some sushi to nibble while waiting for the mains: maki montado (fried fish, avocado and Philadelphia cheese, topped with huancaína sauce**) and drinks (I had beer, of course). Before the sushi arrived we were served complimentary chilcano de pescado, a fish broth seasoned in this case with ají panca (dried red chili) and drank with lime juice and fresh chili, perfect for a cool afternoon.
While browsing the menu looking for the most appealing main option I spotted something I couldn’t believe, a dish that I’ve been craving for ages but that is hard to find in restaurants (and impossible to re-create here): cau cau de choros. The traditional cau cau is a stew made with mondongo (cow’s stomach), cubed potatoes, palillo (turmeric) and a herb called hierbabuena. I hate mondongo because of its strong smell and towel-like texture, but I love the dish when cooked with choros (mussels). According to the menu, this version of cau cau came with mussels and chorizo but instead of chorizo there was salchicha de Huacho, a spicy sausage (as in “with spices”, not as in “hot”) similar in flavour to a Turkish sausage called Sucuk. It comes from a town called Huacho, hence the name. The stew was served in a big clay pot with white rice in the center, it was espectacular.
Ale ordered cebiche de corvina (corvina is the name of the fish) without chili, Gloria jalea de calamar en salsa de tumbo (fried squid in a sauce made with a fruit from the jungle called tumbo, with fried yuca as a side) and Aníbal mako en guiso de frejoles y salchicha de Huacho (a fish called mako with a bean and salchicha de Huacho stew, which was served also in a clay plate like mine and was almost as good. Food was excellent, the only flaws in the restaurant were a dirty fork (which was changed as soon as I told the waiter) and that the waiter failed to let us know that the credit card system was not working before we even ordered. Luckily, Aníbal had cash on him.
At night, after dropping Ale at home we went to the city centre to have a pisco sour, our national drink made with pisco**, lime juice, jarabe de goma** and egg whites, in the old Hotel Bolívar, which fame relies on this drink. Gloria drank algarrobina, a cocktail made with pisco, algarrobina (a syrup made in the North of the country boiling carob pods for very long hours), jarabe de goma, evaporated milk, egg yolk, cinnamon and sometimes cacao liquor. We ordered two servings of bolitas de yuca rellenas de queso con salsa huancaína (cassava balls stuffed with cheese and served with huancaína sauce) to nibble on. The sauce was very thin (I like it chunky) but tasted alright.
We wanted another drink so we went to Huaringas bar “for a change”. We always end up here because a) the drinks are awesome, b) the food is amazing, c) the vibe is great, d) the manager is my good buddhist friend Alfonso and over the years many other buddhist friends have worked there as waiters/waitresses. Before going there we went to Aníbal’s house and left the car there. My friend Rashid was working that day, so he found us a table (the place is always packed, so he actually removed the “reserved” sign from a small table and let us sit there). Aníbal ordered one of the signature drinks: Huaringas sour (I don’t remember what’s in it), Gloria had a granadilla and mandarin juice and I had a sour de granadilla con fresas de Pachacamac (pisco sour but with granadilla and strawberries from Pachacamac instead of lime juice). We also had more nibbles (I know, we ate a lot!): quinoa-crusted prawns. Once again, everything was super yummy.
* The explanation about the types of bananas can be found here.
** The explanation about huancaína sauce, pisco and jarabe de goma can be found here.