To celebrate my Peruvian heritage i’d like to give you all a little recap of my saturday night out with family. My mother surprised me with a visit and told me I had fifteen minutes to get ready, she said “we’re going dancing.” The one thing I do love about Cleveland is what little culture they do have, and its latin culture is present depending on which side of town you are on. My mother took us to a restaurant named “Nazca” a restaurant that specialized in Peruvian cuisine. For many of you who do not know, Peru is best known throughout the world for its food, so you know when we arrived i did not hesitate when Monica told us to “order whatever, we never have the chance to eat this everyday.”
In any typical Peruvian setting, dinner is typically started off with an alcoholic drink so we went with the traditional Pisco Sour. Pisco is the national drink of Peru. It’s a kind of brandy, a delicious combination of pisco, lime juice, egg white and syrup with a touch of cinnamon.
Next, for an appetizer I ordered another nationally known dish called Causa Rellena with crab meat instead of the traditional chicken. This dish simply defined is potato layered on top of crab meat mixed with belgian hot pepper paste and avocado. My mother and my aunt went with a more risky choice called Anticuchos Peruanos, marinated beef heart. This dish was marinated in panca pepper, with a side of papa a la huancaina (potatoes with a delicious creamy yellow sauce made from peruvian yellow pepper, mixed with milk, feta cheese and eggs) and the nationally known Peruvian corn (choclo) . From being tricked into thinking it was a steak kabob sometime in the past, I can admit that it was very different, extremely tender, almost odd because it’s nothing that you’ve ever experienced before. Marinated beef heart is one of Peru’s most famous delicacies so if you’re brave enough definitely try this dish.
Anticuchos Peruanos, cut. Look at the tenderness of the heart.
My aunt enjoying Peruvian corn (choclo)
Washing this down with another favorite; Inca Cola, a peruvian cola that is yellow, bubbly, and taste like bubble gum, we went onto the next phase, the main dish. I ordered the Pollo a la Brasa which is very similar to rotisserie chicken with a bang. It was served with Nazca’s house fries with yellow pepper black aioli and chimichurri sauce, my absolute favorite! My mom got Cabernet cilantro braised lamb shank with canary bean stew, potatoes and rice. So good, i love rice with stew.
My aunt ordered Chicharron de Mariscos which is pan fried squid rings on a bed of fish fillet, rocoto pepper aioli, and Creole salsa. Although i did not try it, it looked awesome lol. At this point, I could not continue. My mom and I had started to order 1800 shots and chase them down with more piscos waiting for my cousins to come join the party. Once they arrived, they ordered papa rellena (potato dumplings stuffed with onion, raisins, ground beef, Roma tomatoes, and kalamata olives, topped with fresh Creole salsa) and other appetizers. We continued to drink. At this time it was getting late and the restaurant started to prepare the dance floor for salsa night. Completing my night with a double chocolate cake, i was ready to burn off everything!
My cousins: Lorena, enjoying the marinated beef heart (left) Elline, enjoying marinated steak fillet (right)
Chicharron de Mariscos
The lights dimmed, the music started and in a matter of minutes couples took the floor to dance to bachata, salsa, and merengue. It was thrilling, took me back to the 90′s in the bronx when my grandmother use to throw down in the kitchen for her weekend parties. I missed this, its rare to experience this in Ohio so it was much appreciated. With the amounts of drinks in my system you know i had the confidence to dance to a couple favorites by Marc Anthony, I even had a dance partner who thought I was cute lol :) . He did a great job at leading me, i told myself that that was the only person who I could learn from lol.
If you’re in the Cleveland area I definitely recommend visiting NAZCA Restaurant in Cleveland. For more information on their location and to overlook their menu click here.
Enjoy your Tuesday Loves,