OK, really the correct name wouldn’t be “taverna” because that is a word that really means a small Greek restaurant. But Greek or Peruvian I think the name fits. And besides, I don’t know what they call it in Peru.
We all know that I love to eat. No surprise there. If you could see what the scale tells me you would know it. But that is fodder for another blog post I would think. For the moment lets talk food. Let’s talk local food. Let’s talk local Lima taverna food.
I love traveling, like you didn’t already know that. And one of the things that I like the most about traveling is trying the food wherever I go. HHBL and I have a food/travel rule. This applies whether we are in the good old USA or someplace more unusual. We do not eat at chain restaurants. There have been times when we have had to break that rule but for the most part no. If we hadn’t been willing to eat where the locals eat we might have missed Hogg Brothers Cafe in Anchorage or Vietnamese food in North Sydney, Australia or Beef Stew at the Hotel Vanilla in Bundibugyo, Uganda. Old, gnarly beef with a side of attacking beetle but still beef in Uganda. Did I ever tell you about the attack of the giant beetle? Remind me some time. It was horrific and I barely escaped with my life.
This picture doesn’t convey to you how small this place was, perhaps 20 tables max with very little room to move. See the guy on the right with the green cap on? What you can’t see is that his dog is underneath the table. When the taverna owner would walk by the dog would jump up and bark. The guy is a regular visitor and he always brings his dog and the dog always barks at the taverna owner. How cool is that.
The fellow at the table to the left had been laughing so hard that he was crying. We arrived at the taverna about 1:30p and it was practically empty…because it wasn’t yet lunch time. WASN’T YET LUNCH TIME??? Nope, it didn’t start to fill up until 2p or so. Of course, dinner time in Lima is generally 8p or later. By the way, these tables were behind me so I was sort of sticking my camera over my shoulder, taking the picture and hoping for the best.
Life goes at a slower pace in Lima. So that means that you start your dining experience by just sort of sitting there and having something to drink and eating these delicious little morsels of corny goodness. I don’t remember what they are called but they are like bar food crack. Deep fried, corn kernel crack. Lightly salted. Heaven help me I want some now.
Then you need to order something to drink and what is more appropriate than beer that is brewed in Peru. Just as an aside, always try to drink the local brew. You won’t be sorry. This lovely stuff happened to be Cuzquena which is brewed in Cuzco. We actually ordered both light and dark and mixed them. It sort of looks like a Black and Tan and tastes delicious. And of course, it is a beer that I can’t seem to get here in the states. Oh well.
What to have, what to have. I don’t read Spanish but I can pick out a word or two. It is very helpful that HHBL knows Spanish and that I had the in-laws there to interpret. We let Alberto order some appetizers and we ordered our own lunches. Cousin Ella and I ordered Tacu tacu con langostinos.
Oh what is this? It is something covered with a slightly purply sauce. What could it be? Well, it is actually octopus covered with a sauce made with local olives nestled on a bed of lettuce. It sounded absolutely gag producing but tasted really quite good. You sort of put it on pieces of good local bread and munched away.
And then came the main dish for me…Tacu Tacu con Langostinos. Rice and beans with shrimp covered with this absolutely delicious sauce that had a fair share of saffron in it. The portion was huge so Ella and I split one. There is no way that I could have eaten it by myself. It was yummy.
But it was hard.