La Panka Brasas Peruanas – Great Burgers in Miraflores

La Panka Brasas Peruanas features a menu with selections that include roasted chicken, burgers, anticuchos, and more.

I decided to try their Hamburguesa a la Huaracina (29 soles), with mushrooms and cheese and a sauce that covered the underside of the top bun.

A great burger that was huge on flavour
A trio of dipping sauces – The yellow sauce was my favourite.

I ordered it to go, and I raced home to ensure that the fries weren’t soggy and moist from the steam trapped in their packaging, and to my surprise the fries container had air vents to prevent the sogginess of the fries. Good idea.

The burger was amazing, and served with 3 different sauces. I added the yellow sauce, a mild ají being my guess, to the burger and it was divine.

I dipped my fries in the yellow and the white sauces – the white sauce looked like ranch but wasn’t – both sauces went perfectly with the fries.

The burger was filling, and the patty looked to be housemade, which is always appreciated. They put the toppings (lettuce and tomatoes) below the patty, which I thought was odd, but the lettuce formed a moisture barrier for the bottom piece of bun, preventing it from getting overly soggy from the burger juices. So it worked.

I’ll definitely be back to La Panka soon to try more of their menu items, and to get more of their dipping sauces. Nom nom.

Cafe Cafe – Beware of the Upselling Servers

I went to Cafe Cafe for breakfast because they have a big patio, which I figured I would be able to eat with my dog. I was right.

I ordered an orange juice to start while I perused the menu, and saw that the Machu Picchu breakfast (24 soles) includes a coffee and juice.

This is just too much.
The Machu Picchu breakfast – dry and boring

 

I told the waitress I wanted that, and she asked which juice I wanted with my breakfast. I pointed to the orange juice that she had just brought to my table, and she said I couldn’t because it was already at my table – even though I hadn’t touched it.

The Machu Picchu breakfast came and was a tamale that looked to be made from a sweet potato with a chicken filling, some baked sweet potato slices, and a half of a turkey sandwich. There was no salsa to dip the tamale or potato slices, and in the end the breakfast left me unsatisfied.

When the bill came the juice (15 soles) was almost as much as the breakfast. I don’t think I will return to Cafe Cafe. In my opinion it’s just another tourist trap and not worth visiting.

What is Chicha Morada and How is it Made?

Chicha Morada, a purplish drink that is quite popular in Peru, is made from a purple corn. But if you spent any time in Mexico you might think that’s it’s Agua de Jamaica when it arrives at your table.

.

The purple corn used to make Chicha Morada
Chicha Morada is made from boiling purple corn, cinnamon, and pineapple skin

1) The corn grains are removed from the cobs and added to a large pot, the cobs are also added to the pot to be boiled.

The skin of a medium sized pineapple was added, along with a couple sticks of cinnamon. We bought a kilo of purple corn for 3.5 soles to make a 3L batch of Chicha Morada.

2) Add water to cover the corn and pineapple mixture, and bring to a boil. We added about 1.5L of water and let it boil for 15 minutes before straining the hot liquid into a large container and let cool.

The corn and pineapple boiling together

3) Add 1.5L of water back to the pot and cook a second time the corn and pineapple. Cook for another 15 minutes before straining the liquid into the container. Let cool.

4) Discard the corn and pineapple.

5) Add honey or sugar to taste. We added about 1/4 cup of honey.

6) Bring to a cool temperature add the juice of 3 limes.

7) Serve chilled or over ice. Add a splash of vodka to make it a delicious adult beverage.

When trying to figure out how to describe the drink’s flavour, I had a hard time. It’s flavour is quite distinct from any other juice or fruit I had. But with that said I could say its like a mixture of blackberry and blood orange with a hint of cinnamon.

With the purple corn, honey, lime, pineapple skin, and cinnamon added for taste as only ingredients in Chicha Morada, it’s a healthy drink that’s 100% Peruvian.

Mercado de Surquillo – A Day at the Fruit Market

On a mission to buy some stuff to better equip my kitchen, a friend and I headed to Mercado de Surquillo to get stuff on the cheap.

Once inside, I noticed a fruit that I’ve wondered about since I arrived in Lima, having seen it in a few different markets. I asked the lady what it’s called and how it’s served. She said it’s called a chirimoya, and served in a juice or milkshake. I ordered the milkshake for 9 soles.

The chirimoya fruit
Making my chirimoya milk shake
The inside of the chirimoya
My chirimoya milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

It had a light taste, and not unlike a banana milkshake. I imagine a lil splash of vanilla would have been a great addition.

For lunch we stopped at a ceviche stall in the market called El Cevichano. I ordered the Ceviche con Causa (26 soles) and my friend ordered the Leche de Tigre (16 soles).

Causa is a potato-based Peruvian dish that is very similar to polenta in texture and presentation. Today it was served cold as a roll and stuffed with a mayo and fish salad (like a tuna salad).

Both dishes were amazing – I had a couple pieces of his fried fish, which was cooked to perfection.

Leche de Tigre with tempura battered fish and banana chips
Ceviche with Causa
A spicy ají served with our meal
A fish broth was brought to the table before we ordered
The menu at El Cevichano in Mercado de Surquillo

After lunch we wandered around the market so I could take pics of the exotic fruit and wares.

The tropical fruit came in every colour and size, and I’m going to have to learn more about Peruvian selection of fruits and vegetables – especially the varieties of potatoes. Yum.

Bolicheria 2335 – Amazing Cevicheria in Lince

Bolicheria 2335, located ½ a block from the Mercado Lobatón 1 -Lince, was where I had my first ceviche dish after arriving in Lima.

What looked like a small 6 table restaurant, was deceptively large, with a second dining area located behind the kitchen.

I ordered the Cusqueña Negra Dark Lager, which was more like a Porter than any lager I had before, costs 10 soles for a 630 ml bottle.

Cusqueña Negra Dark Lager served cold

A snack of banana chips and cancha chullpi, a fried corn that’s not unlike corn nuts, accompanied by a aji dipping sauce and lime arrived shortly after the beer.

Banana chips and Cancha Chullpi

That was followed by a small bowl of a seafood broth with green onions – although it wasn’t more more than a fish stock, it was an excellent way to warm up my palette for the epic ceviche I was about to feast on.

I ordered the Combo Mixta for 34 soles, and I was surprised by the portion size when the waiter brought it to my table. The combo consisted of 3 separate dishes – a ceviche, a seafood rice, and sweet potato and corn.

The Ceviche Mixta at Bolicheria 2335

I was half expecting a fried rice, after seeing so many Chifa restaurants in Lima, but it was more like the consistency of a risotto than fried rice. It was creamy with a saffron colour, with calamari and shrimp mixed in with the rice, which also had green onion added presumably for colour.

The ceviche had shrimp, calamari, and large chunks of fish along with diced spicy red pepper and slices of red pepper and green onion. Leche de tigre, the lime juice that cooked the fish, filled the bottom of the bowl of ceviche – and it was so good I could have drank it as a shot (with vodka).

I was also expecting the ceviche to come with tostadas, but that’s more of a Mexican thing than Peruvian. It was meant to be eaten as is, without a tostada, and I was fine with that.

The menu at Bolicheria 2335

The accompanying sweet potato and corn was served cold, and when mixed with some ceviche or its juice, was a great combination. While I was enjoying my meal I saw an older gentleman pour his banana chips into the ceviche, something I’ll have to try with a future ceviche meal.

Bolicheria 2335 is definitely a place the visit if you’re in Lince and craving ceviche, and it’s worth the short trip in you’re in neighbouring San Isidro. Although I dined in mid-day, I’ll be back in the evenings for their whole fried fish and some of the other dishes served later in the day.

Pizza Rock – Home of the Guitar Pick Shaped Pizzas in Miraflores

Situated just 2 blocks from the Malecon de la Marina in Miraflores is Pizza Rock, the rock themed pizza restaurant with a dog-friendly area for diners that bring their dog.

I was planning to order a pizza to go since I was walking my dog when I passed by the restaurant, but they welcomed us both to the dog-friendly zone: a covered patio with a pop art decor. They even had dog food on hand to feed the pets that come into the restaurant – a nice touch.

Inside Pizza Rock’s dog-friendly area
Pop Art adorns the walls of Pizza Rock

Their menu consists of burgers, salads, and pizzas. I ordered the Che Pizza (36 soles) – red and orange peppers, grilled chorizo, onion, chimichurri.

When it arrived I was surprised by the shape of the thin crust pizza, which was guitar pick shaped. A great idea for a rock themed pizza place.

The guitar pick shaped pizza at Pizza Rock

The pizza was delicious and filling, with lots of big chunks of grilled chorizo and vegetables. The chimichurri was drizzled over the cooked pizza prior to plating, and added a nice splash of colour and flavour.

It was my first time trying chimichurri on a pizza, but it won’t be my last.

The music was pretty much rock, and while I was there I heard Green Day, AC/DC, and oddly enough Britney Spears (Oops I Did It Again).

Pizza Rock is worth checking out if you’re in Miraflores and craving a pizza or burger; and if you happen to find yourself getting hangry on an extended dog walk along the Malecon de la Marina, your four-legged dining companion is certainly welcome.

The Diner with No Name in Miraflores

Walking around Miraflores looking for a lunch place to check out, I stumbled upon a diner that didn’t seem to have a name. Located at the corner of Jose de la Torre Ugarte and Gral. Mendiburú, was a small restaurant with a menu that had 8 or 9 soles lunch – soup and an entree for 8 soles, ceviche and entree for 9. I chose the ceviche with a papa relleno (stuffed potato) as my entree.

The diner with no name in Miraflores.
The ceviche featured octopus, a white fish, peppers and red onion.
The papa relleno was deep fried to perfection.

The ceviche was a fair sized portion, and included octopus and a white fish, along with red pepper and red onion. There was a garnish of sweet potato, which is becoming my new favorite garnish. It’s on a lot of dishes, and whether served hot or cold, a sweet potato rounds out a plate nicely.

The papa relleno was mashed potatoes stuffed with a pork stew before being deep fried to a golden perfection, and then drizzled with a cream sauce. The entree also came with a white rice and salad. Drink was an iced camomile tea.

When I went the restaurant was full of construction workers from the neighbouring jobsites, and it’s easy to see why. This place is so good that it doesn’t need to have a name.

Ñu Fun – A Bountiful Selection of Chifa

Ñu Fun Chifa is a chain of restaurants throughout Lima that specialise in Chifa, the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cuisine.

Expect large servings when you go to Ñu Fun, but not much in terms of ambiance. When I went there was the Latin American version of Eurovision playing on the TV in the corner.

The food is plentiful with huge servings, and when I went I had the Chaufa with Tortilla, a chicken fried rice blanketed by a paper thin omelette that covered the entire plate.

The Chaufa with Tortilla at Ñu Fun

The dish went perfectly with the Cristal beer that I ordered, and my entire meal was around $25 soles.

Each menu item comes with your choice of fried wontons or a wonton soup.

I think I need to go back to try other dishes from Ñu Fun. With various locations in Lima, Ñu Fun shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Tarboush – Middle Eastern Food in the heart of Miraflores

Lima has an amazing food scene going on here, with countless restaurants specialising in food from all over the world, not just Peruvian cuisine. On a tip from a couple of Peace Corps volunteers, I decided to check out Tarboush in Miraflores.

Tarboush, located across the street from Parque Kennedy
Chicken Shawarma Plate was delish

It had been a very long time since I had Middle Eastern food, and I was craving a chicken shawarma plate before I even entered the restaurant. I searched the menu for it, and found it for $24 soles.

It came with a choice of fries or arabic rice, and I of course chose the rice. The serving of chicken shawarma was huge! And full of flavour. It came with a side of tahini and hot sauce, which I drizzled over the shawarma.

There was a side of undressed salad, which could have been better with a lemon dressing, or better yet tabouli.

I will definitely be back to enjoy a good shawarma, and next time I’ll order a side of hummus and pita.