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.