Thursday, January 5, 2012

Taste Trippin' Part Ocho


It's the new year and I can't think of a better place to kick it off than Peru.  The country that invented ceviche holds a special place in my heart but I quickly discovered other Peruvian dishes to love as well. Stepping into the steaming South American heat is a welcome relief to Chicago winter weather but I had to settle for the cozy warmth of Between Peruvian Cafe. My hubby and I journeyed there for our first dinner with the social dining network, Grub With Us.  Between the sultry ambiance, the tasty dishes and the gregarious group of diners, many of whom were Peruvian, it was almost as fun as munching a meal in Lima.


The decor grabbed me as soon as we walked in. The space is covered with crimson walls, sheer curtains over banquettes and interesting lighting as you can see above.


I stared at these quirky chandeliers for  quite awhile, trying to figure out what they were made of. They  really supplied the restaurant with a sexy, mysterious vibe.


Besides ceviche, the other Peruvian invention I love is the delectable Pisco Sour, on the right. Between Peruvian Cafe actually boasts a pisco bar, with a myriad of combinations. Pisco is a brandy or aguardiente distilled from the white muscat grape. It's the national drink of Peru although Chile claims it as well and there's a furious debate that continues over which country originated the drink. The drink on the left is actually a beer martini that my hubby gulped down. I refused to try it so I can't tell you what it tastes like.


This is the ceviche classico, called the best ceviche in Chicago and I agree totally.  It's Leche de Tigre style, with cilantro, red onion, glazed sweet potato and Andean corn. It might look like a simple hodge podge of ingredients but together, they dazzled my taste buds. The mixture of lime with other seasoning just made it so favorable. We ate these with the homemade plantain chips in the first photo. I could have eaten this all night  but there were five other dishes to try.


 Chupe de Camorones  or traditional Peruvian prawn soup was the next course. My shellfish allergy kept me from sampling it but it smelled wonderful and was quickly slurped down by the rest of the group.


The Peruvian version of paella is called arroz con mariscos  and it was studded with octopus, squid and shrimp. Salsa Criolla topped it off and it also proved a favorite with my shellfish eating new friends.


I ended up shoveling down lots of this dish, which after the ceviche, was my favorite. It's a stir fry noodle dish with chicken and fresh tomato.  It tasted like a Peruvian seasoned pasta dish, which is always a hit with me. I also had a tilapia dish that was okay but not as memorable as Tallarin Saltado, which is what this delicacy is called.

Of course, the best part was dessert and I was actually surprised at how much I liked both of these. I'm not a flan fan but this version on the right, was made with organic quinoa and a rich caramel sauce that made me a believer. The dessert on the left is the Peruvian version of french toast with Picarones honey and vanilla ice cream. Again, it sounds simple but the taste was outstanding. What taste adventures have you tried lately?

19 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

An excellent way to spend the New Year!

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, thanks.

Pattaya Holiday Rental said...

I want to say thank you to all authors of this blog. You guys do the best you can and it's all about us, the riders. This is awesome place to stay and read interesting stories, and learn about new beauties around the world. Keep going like that. This is a well done website. Good luck.

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

It all looks wonderful, and by the way, Peruvian restaurants are all the rage here in Santiago.

As you say, both Peru and Chile claim pisco as their own. Pisco sour is the national drink here in Chile, too. A newer variation is mango sour, which (as you might guess) substitutes mango for lemon.

Did I say it too you in a previous comment? No matter, here it is again, even if I did... All the best for 2012!!!

Fly Girl said...

Pattaya, thanks for dropping by.

Andrew, Peruvian restaurants the rave in Chile? That is funny, especially considering the pisco competition between the two countries. They did have a mango sour at the bar but I just couldn't tear myself away from the classic. You can never say it too many times, happy new year to you!

Ekua said...

This all looks amazing, trying not to drool on my keyboard. I love the Peruvian restaurants I've visited in the States, I just wish I was able to find food as good as that when I was in Peru!

Fly Girl said...

Ekua, I don't think you ever get quite the same authenticity in the U.S. although my Peruvian dining mates were very impressed.

Catherine said...

it all looks delicious - I love pisco sours too and there were some good Peruvian restaurants in Mexico City...

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, I'm glad Peruvian cuisine is represented all over the world!

Britni of Trippin' on the Weekend said...

Looks delish! I've never had Peruvian food, but I love the flavors of Mexican & Spanish foods.

Fly Girl said...

Britni, you'll love Peruvian food, trust me. Thanks for stopping by.

A Cuban In London said...

I didn't know that Peruvians had invented ceviche. Thanks for the info. As usual, we, Cubans, thought that we'd come up first with the classic dish. :-) And don't even go into the whole rice'n'peas malarkey. Jamaicans claim it as their own, whilst we, Cubans... Oh, well, you know the rest. Now, that paella, Peruvian style, now, that's what I call a proper arroz con mariscos. Many thanks. That was a fantastic post. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, Cubans did invent all of these dishes, it's just translated into something else. Happy New Year to you too!

islandgal246 said...

hello Fly girl....just came across your blog and I love it. When next in Bim stop by for a visit and a meal.

Fly Girl said...

Islandgal, nice to meet you! Thanks for dropping by and I will certainly take you up on your offer, hopefully soon!

Janis J.Miller said...

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I've truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!
The Wigens Baltic

Fly Girl said...

Janis, thanks so much for the kind words and visiting my blog.

HummingLoon said...

Love Montreal! Your great pics really make me miss home.

Fly Girl said...

Loon, I hope it helps your home sickness. Thanks for dropping by.