Connect to Peru

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Posts Tagged ‘causa

Boston: Two Traditional Peruvian Restaurants Just Across the Street From Each Other

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polloWhile in Boston, one of my last stops wondering around the city to search for Peruvian restaurants was at Machu Picchu restaurant. Located in Sommerville, MA, close by to the Cambridge neighborhood and accessible via bus (look for # 86 bus route), the restaurant ended up being a great option if you are looking for authentic Peruvian food. As soon as you arrive you are welcomed with toasted corn (Peruvians call it “cancha“) which is originally from the Andes region in Peru. Here is an overview of my experience.

As a good Peruvian, the dinner kicked-off with a Pisco Sour — wouldn’t recommend it at this restaurant. You could actually feel you were drinking alcohol versus tasting the mix of its ingredients.

For an appetizer, I enjoyed a Causa de Pollo which is a mashed potato-type of cake filled with layers of onions and chicken. It was good, but tried better ones. As an entree I liked the Aji de Gallina, a traditional entree with boiled potatoes, shredded chicken on a creamy sauce made with the Peruvian yellow aji (chili). For dessert I had the Combinado, a two-in-one serving consisting of Arroz con Leche (similar to a rice pudding) and Mazamorra Morada, a purple corn-based compote with pieces of fruit.

To get a glance of Machu Picchu restaurant’s menu, click here.

Although the restaurant is not at a fancy, downtown-ish location as Taranta (a great green-certified location to enjoy Italian food with a wonderful Peruvian kick) or Orinoco (for the best pisco sour I had in Boston), it is a good option to enjoy traditional Peruvian dishes if you are driving or don’t mind walking in the suburbs of Boston.

And the latest about this Machu Picchu restaurant…the spin-off of its Peruvian rottiserie chicken right across the street! This just-opened restaurant is named “Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill”. The menu looked pretty interesting, and the chicken looks pretty good and authentic. This type of chicken is perhaps Peru’s second flagship dish after the Ceviche. What is unique about this restaurant was the Quinoa side, as well as Peruvian-style beef kabobs we call “anticuchos”. Quinoa is originally from the Andes mountains of South America, with Peru at the center of the Inca Empire, and is a great source of protein that many generations have enjoyed. So if you are hungry, perhaps you might want to save some room after your meal at Machu Picchu to get some rottiserie chicken, or better yet anticuchos as an appetizer.

To get a glance of Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill restaurant’s menu, click here

TIP: And if you are a big beer fan, you might want to try the local Peruvian beers available at both restaurants, including Cuzquena (my favorite) and Cristal.

Machu Picchu Restaurant is located at 307 Somerville Avenue, Somerville,  Massachusetts 02143.

Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill is located at 25 Union SQ, Sommerville, Massachusetts 02143.

(PS – Although it doesn’t matter if you have in mind enjoying a great Peruvian meal, the one thing I was “nervous” about was the many typos the menu and marketing materials had. Sorry, must be the PR girl in me! Hahaha.)

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Written by Catherine Castro

January 3, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Merry Christmas a la Peruvian, by Las Canteras’ Executive Chef Eddy Ancasi

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eddy-ancasiLocated in the Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan area, Las Canteras Restaurant & Bar is one of Washington DC’s Peruvian food hot spots where you can get several authentic dishes and of course Pisco Sours. For today’s Christmas post, its executive chef Eddy Ancasi – a native Peruvian from Arequipa, a department located in the South West of Peru – is our special guest!

A typical Peruvian Christmas starts with a big dinner on the 24th with a table full of dishes similar to Americans’ Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey is the typical main dish, although lately there have been variations of pork or chicken; side dishes include potatoes or white rice; as well as traditional homemade hot chocolate, and paneton (an Italian sweet bread). At midnight, everyone hugs and grabs their presents from underneath the Christmas tree and opens them, while fireworks start going on everywhere. After a few hours of kids enjoying their presents, everyone goes to sleep after much chit chat. The next morning, the family gathers again for lunch to eat leftovers or they all go to a nice family restaurant and continue the celebration. If you are married, having a two-day celebration gives you the chance to spend at each other’s families.

And, here is how chef Eddy Ancasi remembers his own Christmas family gatherings:

Over the years, the celebration of Christmas has evolved. In my childhood — in the mountain town of Chuchibamba — Christmas was a mostly Catholic affair. It centered around singing — carols and folk holiday songs called villancicos. And there was always hot beverages made from dark Peruvian chocolate and paneton. Later, when I moved to Arequipa, Christmas eve was a time of family reunion. All my relatives gathered around a long table laden with turkey, mashed potatoes and different kinds of salads — Russian salad, potato salad and so on. Still later, when I moved to the Washington D.C. area, Christmas became a time for gift giving, seeing friends, and of course, gorging on “Causa de Pollo” and other classic Peruvian dishes.

I guess to nobody’s surprise Peruvian food is the main guest of the party regardless of where in Peru you are from. No wonder the expression “love grows through the stomach”.

Have a wonderful Christmas Day!

Written by Catherine Castro

December 25, 2008 at 12:48 pm