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I have just returned from Peru, a country with a surprise around every bend. I’ll tell you about Machu Picchu later. First, let’s check out Lima, where you will land. It’s a foodie paradise, where world-class restaurants introduce diners to the superfoods of the Amazon rainforest. Book months ahead.

Maido (See #1, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants)

On our first night in Peru, we went to Maido in Mira Flores. Maido is Japanese for welcome. It’s a quaint little place, open to the kitchen with a lovely staff.

photo of the Maido restaurant

Fusion is my favorite cuisine. Here, the chefs blend Japanese and Peruvian delicacies into an 11-course tasting menu. Only the men in our group ordered the two-hour tasting. Though it offers small bites, it is still a lot of food.

The house specialty is an incredible Beef Short Rib, cooked 50 hours, served with potato cream and cushuro (blue-green alga), but first you must try their Pisco cocktails mixed with various juices.

Pisco Cocktail

 

Each beautifully-presented course is a taste-bud surprise, like this appetizer of tomatoes in mirin, roasted banana, sachatomate emulsion.

3 appetizers

 

Or this cauliflower cream with torikara sauce.small cream entee

I don’t have enough science to know all the ingredients, but everything tasted fresh and healthy.

My single course was this beautiful, unforgettable ceviche.

 

Dessert was to-die-for. First came the Theobroma Cacao: a black sugar volcano holding mandarin sorbet, mucilage foam (from flaxseeds, chia seeds or kelp), cacao nibs, and ice cream made from lucuma, a sweet, Peruvian superfruit, known as the Gold of the Incas.)

black sugar volcano ice cream dessert

 

We finished with Theodroma Bicolor: featuring ice cream from macambo (a chocolate-like superfood), camu camu (antioxidant superberries), goldenberry, and mucilage.

chocolate-like desset

 

Museo Larco

Enter the museum property and descend into a garden that flows into a restaurant with excellent food. I had ravioli followed by Mousse de Lucuma.

Golden Lucuma mousse

 

Then tour the museum and learn pre-Incan history through its 42,000 pieces of pottery.

Pre-Incan Pottery

 

Pottery showing evidence of small pox

small pox

Pre-Incan jewelry

Pre-Incan jewelry

 

Astrid & Gastón (See “World’s 50 Best Restaurants”)

Gastón Acurio is “the architect of the Peruvian culinary movement” and serves dinner in this 300-year-old San Isidro hacienda.

Astrid & Gaston Hacienda

Balcony seating

Balcony seating

sunken bar area

Sunken bar area

Astrid & Gastón offers a 14-course tasting menu. The food again was delicious, but too much.

I was enthusiastic at the appetizer named “The Indecent Bed, The Forbidden Love,” fish empanada, stuffed blue potato with lamb, sea urchin toast.

appetizer

Bread Basket with 5 types of bread

Five types of bread

To pace myself, I skipped the Cuy (guinea pig), which everyone else loved.

plate of guinea pig

I slowed down at the rabbit in Lima curry and quinua jasmine. And bailed at the beef tongue skewer, but made a comeback for the three desserts.

ice cream cones of corn sorbet

Chicherito: Fermented corn beer sorbet, coca, quinoa and tamarillo (a kiwi-like superfruit).

 

chocolate mousse nuggas

El Cajacho: Cajamarca chocolate mousse, nougat, cacao nibs, yuzu and lemon. The platter, a study in Peruvian expressions, belongs in the Museo Larco.

Elsewhere in Peru, I loved the quinoa, prepared in every which way: salads, soup, porridge, main course side, and more.

When we picked up our tour, the guide taught us a very handy word: yapa, which means “More please.”

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Thanks to Jeff Hart for donating restaurant and bread basket photos.