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Posts Tagged ‘pisco sour

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.)


Written by Catherine Castro

January 3, 2009 at 9:49 pm

America’s Green Cuisine Gem…and He’s Peruvian!

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joseWhile in Boston, I am getting to know great sites and restaurants, but I didn’t expect to learn about Peruvian-related green cuisine! Ladies and gentlemen…let me introduce you to Jose Duarte, a Peruvian successful chef and restaurant owner of Taranta. Jose’s gastronomic style brings the wonders of two of the best cuisines in the world: Italian and Peruvian. I tried a gnocchi made with a culantro-based sauce that clearly reminded me of the Peruvian “seco de cordero”. It was a taste that brought me back home.

Located at the North End in Boston, the entrance door welcomed me with a pair of opening curtains perhaps as a sign I was entering into something new…and it was. I was greeted by Jose who since the beginning was really nice and patient to walk me through his business, his background, and of course his culinary expertise which was very exciting.

According to the Green Restaurant Association, Boston is the second largest green city (after New York) and it was great to know one of its leaders is actually Jose. According to a recent Boston Globe article, here are some of his green achievements:

  • The wine list is biodynamic, sustainable, and organic
  • The restaurant is eliminating bottled water, putting in its own carbonation and bottling system
  • The straws are green – they’re made from a corn-based polymer
  • The business cards are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and printed with soy ink
  • He wears an organic chef’s coat
  • Uses LED candles instead of wax

And particularly about bottled water, his Taranta “Going Green” blog on a December 4, 2008 post says:

“Just installed our own bottling and carbonation system for water, a very eco friendly alternative to bottled water with a carbon footprint. We will be filling and reusing our own bottles, this will reduce our storage space, less boxes being driven and less bottles to recycle. The flavor is excellent and we are continuing our funding program by donating $1 for each bottle sold to the City of Boston Green Energy Fund. We will also feature an aluminum portable bottle in our Peruvian Culinary Adventure to in March 2009 courtesy of Natura Water.”

Great, huh? But here’s what was also pretty interesting to me: I tried the Peruvian flagship drink Pisco Sour and Jose made me notice something peculiar about it: the foam. His pisco sours are made from powdered egg whites, which ensures health standards are met and avoid viruses such as the salmonella that most other restaurants don’t keep in mind. The taste and body of the pisco sour is great made out of a great quality pisco from Peru. With that excuse, I made sure I had one for dinner after my chat with Jose.

As a Peruvian, it is great to see how he is leading the way on green restaurants. And even more so if you can enjoy a great Italian delicatessen with a Peruvian kick (yum) and support environmental sustainability! Go Jose!

Taranta is located at 210 Hanover Street, Boston, MA.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 14, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Where to Get a Good Pisco Sour in Boston

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pisco-sourIn search for a nice place to grab dinner in Boston, my sister took me to this restaurant called “Orinoco”.

Despite not having Peruvian dishes (more of a Venezuelan/Latin American cuisine style), to my surprise they made this great pisco sour. Spoke with the bar tender who isn’t Peruvian, and he pretty much gave me the original Peruvian recipe which explains why it was so good!

I went to one of their two locations in 22 Harvard Street in the Brookline area (off the train – or “T” as they call it here – stop). Their other location is in 477 Shawmut Avenue in the Boston area.

You should check it out if you are in the Boston area. Click here to go to their website.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 12, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Obama-Inspired Pisco Sour to Star Holiday Kick-Off Party in New York City

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Not every party around Obama happens around the Beltway. New York City will be the location where the “PiscObama Sour” is expected to become the star among  business, government and social jet-setters on December 18 at 6 pm at m1-5 located at 52 Walker Street in the TriBeCa area.

Organized by Golden Networking, the “PiscObama Sour” is the Obama-inspired Peruvian pisco sour to be served and developed in partnership with Macchu Pisco, a leading Peruvian pisco brand available in the U.S.

I spoke with Edgar Perez, founder of Flavors of Peru who launched Golden Networking, about his upcoming event, and he said:

“Our Holiday Kick-Off Party TriBeCa Style will be the first of networking events we will organize every month. As we expect to attract an upscale and diverse audience, we thought it would be important to promote our favorite cocktail, the PiscObama Sour. For more than a few of our guests, it will be their first time enjoying the flavors of the authentic Peruvian Pisco.”

For more information about this “Holiday Kick-Off Party TriBeCa Style”, click here.

It is a great opportunity to enjoy a Peruvian pisco sour in the Big Apple!


SAVE THE DATE: Inauguration Party New York Style, Venue: Highbar, Date: January 15, 2009, Time: 6:00 pm.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 7, 2008 at 8:09 pm

So…what’s Pisco? Here’s the 101.

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piscoPisco is the Peruvian grape “aguardiente” obtained from the distillation of recently fermented musts exclusively grapes (grape juice). It has been produced since the 16th century on the mid-south coast of Peru, including the departments of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua, and Tacna.

Lexicographers, chroniclers and historians state the word “pisco” comes from the pre-Hispanic Quechua word “pisko” meaning “bird” as the Incas were captivated by the huge number and diversity of birds in this coastal region.

There are two groups of grapes for producing the pisco:

  • Aromatic grapes: Albilla, Italia, Muscatel (Moscatel) and Torontel
  • Non-aromatic grapes: Mollar, Black (Negra Corriente), Quebranta and Uvina

According to the Peruvian Ministry of Production’s Technical Norms, these are the types of pisco you can get from these grapes:

  • Pure (Puro): From Quebranta, Mollar or Black grapes
  • Aromatic (Aromatico): From Muscatel grapes
  • Green Mosto (Mosto Verde): From the distillation of grape musts in fermentation process (this refers to the musts in which sugar has not been transformed into alcohol)
  • Blended (Acholado): From the distillation of musts of different grape varieties

And now you wonder which one of these grapes and types of piscos is best for the pisco sour?!?!? Well, the most preferred is the Pure type of pisco from Quebranta grapes. There are other drinks you can make with pisco, such as Chilcano, Pisco Libre, Fruit Cocktail, Captain, Bible, Pisco Sunrise, among many others.

Even President Bush and global world leaders got a kick out of the Peruvian pisco sour!

Stay tuned for some easy-to-make recipes coming up soon!

Written by Catherine Castro

November 30, 2008 at 11:43 pm