Day 4 in Lima (Epic Meal continued)
Well I knew the food here was gonna be something special, but I had no idea it was going to be this incredible. From the simple family owned spots that only locals know about to the world renowned top rated restaurants, the flavors here just leave you breathless and wanting more and more.
Monday started off by getting lunch at a tiny restaurant called La Cumbre. This place got packed so fast, and when you’re the only ‘tourists’ in the place, you know it’s the real deal. Sergio told me that this was one of his favorite spots to eat because of the ceviche and a dish called tacu tacu. The ceviche was excellent because of this reddish tiger’s milk that covered the fish. The color came from a pepper called aji limo. It gave it a ‘lil heat but just enough. Tacu tacu is a Peruvian dish consisting of rice mixed with Canary beans, then fried in a skillet and topped with various proteins and sauces. The one that we got was with clams, squid, and shrimp along with a super flavorful aji amarillo sauce poured over the top. Simple food… but cooked perfectly. Wish I had some Vine Cliff Rosé to wash it down.
I went back to the “chill out” bar to tell Sergio how good it was and to talk to the chef about how he cooks some of his favorite menu items. Really cool dude named Pipo that was nice enough to show me the kitchen, and told me to meet him in the morning so me and him could go to the farmers market together so he could show me how he shops and barters for his restaurant.
After that I headed back to the hotel to get ready for the #4 restaurant in the world, (number 1 in Latin America) ….Central!
Ok… I could write a book on my experience at Central but I’ll try to make it short….. Every positive attribute you can think of was this restaurant’s experience for me. Service was impeccable. Wine pairings were spot on and educational. Atmosphere was exactly what you want out of going to one of the best restaurants in the world. It wasn’t stuffy, it was all about getting the guests to wrap their heads around the many different eco systems and indigenous ingredients of beautiful Peru. And then the food….. mind blowing flavors and textures that I’ve never seen, felt, tasted, or even dreamed of. The menu is designed around ingredients of different elevations. From beneath the ocean off the coast all the way to the top of the Andes, and everywhere in between. Fantastic concept and vision from Chef Virgilio Martínez. His team in the kitchen executed these 17+ courses flawlessly over the course of 4 hours. And his sommeliers were tremendously educated and passionate about their pairings as well. We talked to Chef for about 15 minutes about his philosophy and vision for Peruvian cuisine which was a priceless experience. Chef signed our menus and the restaurant gave us a hand made book done by a local artist explaining some of the main ingredients that were used in the preparation of these terrific courses that we had. Amazing meal. One of the best if not the Best I’ve ever had.
Following that, I just went back to the hotel and could not stop talking about the experience. Went to sleep finally … looking forward to the next day when we got the opportunity to visit Maido (number 13 in the world…number 2 in Latin America)!
Life does not suck.
Till mañana…. adios amigos y amigas