Friday, January 25, 2008
Peru in Sacramento
This month's Sacramento Epicureans' dinner was Peruvian at Koricancha Restaurant (also named Waffle King) at 2751 Fulton Avenue. For some weird reason this restaurant moonlights as a breakfast waffle house and then a Peruvian restaurant. Whatever. Anyway, the group was large and the $22 feast was quite a deal of authentic Peruvian cuisine - in stark contrast to the nouveau Peruvian I had in Portland last month.
We sat down to a waiting beverage. Chicha Morada (non alcoholic) is prepared from a base of boiled purple maize to which is added chunks of pineapple, sugar, and ice - or so the description says. I didn't see any chunks of pineapple in it. They followed this with an aperitif called Pisco Sour Cocktail. A traditional cocktail which contains Pisco (a regional brandy), lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and regional bitters. I don't drink alcohol, but Paul, the Epicureans host, said it was delicious and kind of eggnoggy.
Appetizers came out next. First were Chicharroncitos de Pescado al Limón - small pieces of fried fish served in a lemon sauce. These were very light and flavorful. Some people chose to dip them in a very hot sauce that was on the tables. It was a very powerful sauce where a 'little dab'l do ya'.
Ocopa was next. Sliced boiled and sliced yellow potatoes covered with a sauce of yellow chili, milk, walnuts, fresh cheese and huacatay. These descriptions were supplied to us, but I did not see or taste any walnuts or cheese, so it must be a very minor blended ingredient.
Everyone's favorite was the Cebiche de Pescado - fresh raw fish, marinated in lime juice and aji limo, served with lettuce, Peruvian corn and julienne red onions. I'm not a fan of Mexican ceviche, but this Peruvian version was delicious. Paul tried to get seconds, with no luck.
Tamalito Verde was a cilantro seasoned tamale with beef inside. We were lucky to sit next to non-beef eaters. More for us! Again, I'm not a fan of tamales, but these were different and good.
Main courses were next. We were given white rice with a few peas and carrots mixed in. Then came the Aji de gallina - shredded chicken cooked in a yellow chilli sauce, marinated in bread crumbs, milk, parmesan cheese and nuts. We all joked that this dish reminded us of chicken ala king. We just needed a piece of toast to spoon it over.
Seco De Carne - beef, simmered in a fresh cilantro sauce. This was basically a stewed beef.
The Carapulca de cerdo was a traditional Inca Peruvian dish. Dried potatoes, pork meat with a special red panca pepper, peanuts and red wine.
The Cau Cau was the least favorite of everyone. Fresh beef tripe, cooked in a Peruvian yellow chili mixed with potatoes,and chef's spices. It was something I would never order, but I tasted it. Not for me. It was very acidic.
The dessert was Mazamorra Morada - jelly-like dessert which takes on the color of one of its main ingredients—purple maize. I had expected, from the description, a kind of cold jello. Instead it was a warm thick liquid with chunks of maize? in it and a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Different, but tasty.
I enjoyed the event, as I always do. Will I go back again on my own? Probably not. But I may go back for breakfast.