Posts Tagged ‘Lima’

La Rosa Nautica (Lima, Peru)

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 by virginia

When we first expressed interest in going to Peru several years ago, we were told by a Peruvian travel agent that we absolutely had to go to a restaurant on pier in Lima called La Rosa Nautica. This was reaffirmed by my brother-in-law who attended a wedding at the restaurant and said it was really great. So when we finally arrived in Lima, we knew that we had to have dinner there.

We were pretty tired by the time dinner rolled around after walking around Lima all day, but we were looking forward to this meal after hearing so many great things. Our experience kind of got off to a bad start though when we were ripped off by a taxi going to the restaurant. We ended up being charged US$8, when an earlier taxi ride from a greater distance cost us only 7 soles, or about US$2.60. It kind of put me in a bad mood but I vowed to put the incident behind me, because we had been looking forward to this meal.

We arrived at the restaurant, which is at the end of a long pier that extends out into the Pacific Ocean. I’m a bit terrified of water during daytime, but at nighttime, the waves crashing in the dark all around us really spooked me. When we got inside the restaurant, however, I immediately relaxed and took in the beautiful atmosphere. The space is circular, though the restaurant is divided into multiple rooms. Around the perimeter is large floor-to-ceiling windows, which would probably give a great view during the day, but since it was dark, we didn’t see much. We did get a table right next to one of the windows though, and when we looked down, we could see the waves rolling into the pier, which was freaky for me but still pretty cool.

We asked our hotel concierge to make us a reservation, which scored us yet another free Pisco Sour welcome drink. It was similar to the one we had at Alfresco, refreshing and boozy.

Pisco Sour

There was table side bread service and we each got two rolls, a baguette-like roll, and a heartier wheat roll. Both were served warm and had nice outer crusts and good flavor.

Warm bread

At this point, Josh and I were looking through our menus and trying to decide what to order. As I was going through my menu, I was confused because nothing had prices next to it. I flipped around wondering if this was a prix fixe menu, with one price at the end, but there was nothing. I looked over at Josh and asked him how we were supposed to know what everything cost, and he looked back at me confused. Turns out his menu had prices, and mine did not.

This is a practice that I’ve read about but have never witnessed for myself. Apparently I was given the “woman’s” menu, one that did not list prices, while Josh had been given the “man’s” menu that included prices. Even though Josh found it amusing, I was actually quite insulted and outraged. I understand the “theory” behind this practice, that if a man and a woman were out on a date, the man would most likely be paying and would want the woman to order whatever she wanted without worrying about what everything cost. However, I think this is a very antiquated train of thought as nowadays, many people choose to “go dutch” on dates, and who is a restaurant to assume that a man is always the one to pay?

If a man was in fact trying to impress a woman, then he should be able to call up a restaurant and ask them to give her a menu without prices, with the understanding that he was paying for the meal. But that should be able to work vice versa as well. Likewise, if I were hosting a dinner and didn’t want my guests to feel awkward about how much I was spending, I could call up the restaurant request menus without prices for everyone. But for this restaurant to arbitrarily decide that just because I was a woman dining with a man that I wouldn’t need to know the prices, that is just presumptuous and completely sexist.

I was fuming at this point, and Josh didn’t help by laughing it off and refusing to share his menu with me. He said he wanted me to enjoy myself, but it was hard to order blindly without knowing if the dish I was ordering cost an arm and a leg. This was a very expensive restaurant to begin with, the most expensive restaurant we went to our entire trip, and I didn’t want to end up spending US$100 on one dish, especially considering I wasn’t very hungry that night. Josh claims that if I did manage to choose the most expensive item on the menu he would have told me so. I guess I didn’t order something outrageously expensive because our bill was pricey but still relatively reasonable in the end. I just wish that they would do away with this extremely chauvinistic practice.

We ended up starting off with an appetizer platter to share, since it gave us the ability to try four different dishes. We chose from a list of 12 hot and cold appetizers, and went with a few of the dishes that my brother-in-law’s friend (the one who got married at this restaurant) recommended. We picked the ceviche, the cold octopus, parmesan scallops, and seafood wontons. It was a huge platter of food, all nicely arranged on large shells on top of a mountain of curly parsley.

Mixed appetizer platter

The ceviche was the traditional style with lime, and also had a yellow chili pepper sauce that added a little kick. The ceviche was topped with large kernels of corn and sweet potato, something we found to be standard in Peru. The corn kernels were super big but were chewy and not very flavorful. The sweet potato actually enhanced the flavor of the seafood, which we thought was very fascinating.

Ceviche limenito

The seafood wontons were nicely fried and crispy but there wasn’t very much filling in them. They didn’t taste like seafood at all so Josh was disappointed with the flavor, but I kind of enjoyed the crunchiness after all the other “soft” food we had been eating. They came with a tamarind sauce for dipping that was slightly sweet and tangy.

Fried wontons

The cold octopus with vinaigrette and olive oil was one of the dishes that came highly recommended to us. The vinaigrette was like a creamy olive sauce that enrobed the tender pieces of octopus. There was definitely a strong olive flavor but it didn’t overpower the seafood, which I liked.

Octopus in a creamy olive sauce

Our fourth appetizer was parmesan scallops, which was a scallop still in its shell covered in a parmesan cream sauce and broiled so that the top was brown and crusty. It was an interesting combination, more Italian tasting in flavor, and went against the theory that you shouldn’t mix seafood and cheese. We also squeezed some lime on top for a little zip. It was a very rich dish but tasty nonetheless.

Parmesan scallops

Josh and I were kind of switching back and forth between the different appetizers but we finished the scallops pretty quickly since there were only four pieces. We were working on the ceviche and the octopus when I noticed a movement on the plate out of the corner of my eye. In the empty shell that had previously held the scallops, a green worm-like bug was making its way across the shell. It was a really weird looking thing, super skinny and narrow, but very long. It had multiple legs on its front end and back end, but none in the middle. I watched in horror, but to my credit, I didn’t yelp when I saw what it was. Josh quickly called over a waiter, who promptly removed the shell but my appetite was slightly ruined. It wasn’t that it was a huge bug or anything, but just the fact that it had been on the plate the whole time, probably hidden in the forest of curly parsley, is a little disturbing. Who knows what else was lurking in there?

Little green visitor

We didn’t make a big deal about the bug, since we had already eaten most of the appetizer, and the waiter was apologetic when he took it away. A manager came over to us immediately and apologized again, offering us free dessert to make up for it. It was a very nice gesture, and one that we appreciated.

Moving on to our entrees, I ordered the Rosa Nautica Seafood Rice, which was seafood and shrimp stewed with chili peppers, beans, bell peppers, and cilantro, served on top of a bed of rice. The seafood was cooked properly, not tough or chewy, and the rice was very flavorful. It was a solid, simple dish, not spectacular, but well prepared.

Rosa Nautica seafood rice

Josh, ironically, did order the most expensive thing on the menu, the Rosa Nautica seabass, which was cooked in a pernod sauce and served with scallops and crayfish (camarones) on a bed of yellow Peruvian potatoes. The whole thing was topped with a piece of puff pastry that the waiter cut open for Josh. It was an interesting presentation, but Josh thought the dish was super rich. The seafood was swimming in a thick, creamy sauce that was slightly overwhelming. The crayfish were tasty but nowhere near as good or as large as the crayfish we would have later on in the trip.

Rosa Nautica seabass

We were really full at this point so we decided just to split one dessert, even though they offered to comp dessert for the both of us to make up for the bug incident. We chose the chocolate souffle, which took an extra 20 minutes to make, so Josh enjoyed a cortado (espresso with steamed milk) while I finished up our bottle of malbec wine.


The chocolate souffle was light and airy, though the grand marnier sauce that came with it was super thick. When they presented the souffle to us, they poked a hole in the middle and “poured” in the sauce, but it was so dense that they sort of had to scrape it into the souffle. I thought that was a bit strange, but both the souffle and the sauce tasted wonderful. The souffle had a nice sweet chocolate flavor, and the grand marnier sauce was rich and creamy. We enjoyed the dessert very much.

Chocolate souffle with grand marnier sauce

Overall we kind of had mixed feelings about our dinner at La Rosa Nautica. The restaurant is beautiful, and a great place to go for a romantic meal. I was displeased though by the sexist menu policy, and I thought our waiter was a bit pushy when we were ordering our wine. They were supposedly out of stock on our first choice, a reasonably priced malbec, and the waiter kept trying to get Josh to order a different wine that was twice as expensive. Josh stood firm though and picked out another malbec that was still reasonable, but I found the up selling to be kind of annoying. The restaurant did handle our bug issue properly though by apologizing immediately and offering us something on the house to make up for it.

Food-wise, everything was well prepared and pretty tasty, but nothing really stood out in particular. It was just solid, classic Peruvian cuisine, though we could tell the seafood they used was super fresh and the ingredients were top notch. Cost wise, however, this was by far the most expensive meal we had on the entire trip. Dinner, including wine, cover charge, and tip (minus the free dessert), cost S/330, or about US$122. Definitely cheap by New York standards, but extremely pricey for Peru. It was a nice experience though, as we had a great time chatting throughout dinner and enjoying the atmosphere. If someone is looking for an upscale splurge meal in Lima, this place definitely fits the bill.

Dinner coincidentally ended on the same down note that it started on though, as we were ripped off once again by a taxi going back to our hotel. Since the restaurant is on a pier that is kind of on a desolated stretch of the highway, with nothing else around it, we had to take a cab that was furnished by the restaurant. There was no negotiating on the rate, so we had to pay S/20 to get back to our hotel, or US$7.40. Definitely New York prices, if not more, since our hotel really wasn’t that far away. Oh well, I guess it’s part of the deal when dining at the restaurant. Regardless, it was a lovely evening for us, and we left with mostly positive feelings about the restaurant. Now if only they’d do away with that stupid misogynistic menu policy…

La Rosa Nautica
Espigón 4 Circuito de Playas – Miraflores
Lima, Peru

Alfresco (Lima, Peru)

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 by virginia

After our city tour of Lima it was time for lunch. We knew exactly what we wanted to eat  – ceviche! It’s considered to be a Peruvian specialty, and we were told that most Peruvians only eat ceviche for lunch so we asked our hotel for a restaurant recommendation. The concierge sent us to Alfresco, which was only a short walk from our hotel, and he hooked us up with two free Pisco Sours as welcome drinks at the restaurant.

Pisco Sour

Pisco is a Peruvian brandy that tastes a bit like tequila to me. A Pisco Sour is made with lime juice, egg whites, sugar, and Pisco, so it’s actually very similar to a margarita. They blend it with ice to make it creamy, and the egg whites make it very frothy. I found it to be a refreshing drink, plus it packed a good alcoholic punch.

When they brought our Pisco Sours, they also brought us a small dish of canchas, or Peruvian corn nuts. They’re basically corn kernels that are toasted in vegetable oil and covered in salt, but they don’t pop like popcorn. The kernels stay intact, but they’re light and crunchy and pretty addictive.

Toasted cancha (corn nuts)

The restaurant charged us a cover charge, which included bread. I don’t remember how much the cover charge was exactly, but it wasn’t outrageous. The bread was small, soft rolls covered in sesame seeds and flavored with Italian herbs. They weren’t bad, but the herb flavor didn’t really go with our ceviche.

Italian herb flavored rolls

The menu at Alfresco is pretty extensive, with seafood the obvious focus, but Josh and I were only interested in the ceviche and other preparations of raw or close to raw fish. We decided on two platters from the “Dishes to Share” section of the menu, since that provided us with the most variety of items to try. The first platter was called “Fresh Seafood, Just Perfect” and included flounder and octopus ceviche, tiradito with coriander cream, tuna tartare, grilled shrimp, and inkamaki.

"Fresh Seafood" platter

There was a ton of food on the platter, and all of it was really very tasty and fresh. The tuna tartare was perfectly cut into little cubes and served on a bed of avocado. Even though it was tossed in some sort of sauce, the taste of the tuna still shined through.

Tuna tartare

The flounder and octopus ceviche was tender pieces of raw fish and octopus marinated in lime juice. The acid cooks the seafood ever so slightly, so that it a slightly firmer texture than just raw fish. The lime juice also gives the dish a nice tangy flavor, and thin slivers of red onion mixed throughout add a nice bite. It was a really refreshing dish.

Flounder and octopus ceviche

The tiradito was thin slices of raw flounder topped with coriander cream, which was basically a pesto sauce made from cilantro. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of cilantro, the flavor is growing on me, and I thought the cream worked perfectly with the raw flounder. It was topped with some grated parmesan cheese, which I thought was an interesting Italian twist on the dish. I enjoyed my bite thoroughly.

Flounder tiradito

The inkamaki was two pieces of a maki roll that had tuna on top, but I’m not sure what was in the middle aside from avocado. It was sort of a standard sushi roll, nothing groundbreaking but still tasty nonetheless.


Lastly, the platter came with grilled shrimp on top of fried plantain slices, topped with a creamy sauce. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, not overly tough or chewy.

Grilled shrimp on fried plaintains

Our other “Dishes to Share” order was “El Cevichero”, which was four different types of ceviche served in martini glasses. The different types of ceviche included Alfresco style, mixed, coriander, and the “black scallops’ killer.”

"El Cevichero" ceviche sampler

The Alfresco style ceviche was served in a bright orangey-red sauce, which made it look like it would be spicy but it wasn’t too bad. It had a nice pepper flavor to it but only had a slight kick.

Alfresco style ceviche

The black scallops ceviche was covered in an inky black sauce that we thought was made from squid ink, but we were told it was actually from the black scallops. The flavor was briney and deep, though the scallops themselves we found to be pretty tough and chewy.

Black scallops ceviche

The mixed ceviche was the traditional lime flavored variety, similar to the flounder and octopus ceviche we had with the other seafood platter. This version had extra seafood ingredients in it, but the flavors were the same.

Traditional mixed ceviche

Finally, the last variety of ceviche was topped with coriander cream, similar to the tiradito. The cilantro added a nice herbal note to the ceviche, and the flavors were bright and refreshing. It had the same grated parmesan topping that I found fascinating with the tiradito.

Coriander ceviche

The two platters we ordered were more than enough food to satisfy both of us. We were actually really full, even though all we ate was raw and mostly raw seafood. Everything was super fresh and delicious. Aside from the strange black scallops, all the seafood was tender and not at all chewy. Hands down, this was the best ceviche we ever had, and we enjoyed all the different varieties. The restaurant itself has a casual but refined atmosphere, and it’s bright and airy inside. We would definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting Lima, as the food was spectacular, and prices were very reasonable. The seafood platter was 35 soles, or about US$13 (at 2.70 soles to $1), and the ceviche platter was 45 soles, or about US$16.70. Not cheap by Peruvian standards, but a bargain compared to the U.S. I’m drooling right now just remembering how good all those ceviches were!

Malecon Balco 790 – Miraflores
Lima, Peru

Peru Day 2 – Lima

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 by virginia

On our first full day in Peru, we had a city tour of Lima in the morning. We grabbed breakfast at the hotel first, which was served buffet style. The selection wasn’t extensive but we managed to find some more interesting things to try, like a steamed tamale and a crepe with strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce. My favorite part was the salchichas, which are little sausages that taste like hot dogs. These make up half of one of my favorite dishes, salchipapas, or hot dogs mixed with french fries.

Omelet, croissant, crepe with strawberry and chocolate sauces, roasted carrot, salchichas, bacon, tamale

We got on a bus with about a half dozen other people and drove around to various sites. We had a guide that accompanied us everywhere, explaining the history behind each place. Our first stop was the Park of Love, which is in the Miraflores district, right on the cliff and overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and La Rosa Nautica, a famous restaurant on a pier

Unfortunately it was very hazy that day so we couldn’t see very far, but the park itself was very pretty with lots of flowers all around (Miraflores literally means “look at the flowers”). There was a huge statue in the middle of a couple kissing quite passionately.

El Beso - "The Kiss"

The nicest feature of the park, in my opinion, was the bench that ran around the perimeter and looked like it was created by Gaudi. The bench was covered in multicolor mosaic tiles that created beautiful designs. It was almost like being back at Parc Guell in Barcelona, though on a much smaller scale. What I liked was that there were names of couples written on the tiles, which made it seem a bit more personal.

Colorful mosaics

After leaving the park, we drove to the upscale San Isidro district to The Temple of Huallamarca, a small pyramid right in the center of the city.

Templo de Huallamarca

The structure was not built by the Incas, but by an unknown culture. Various artifacts have been uncovered from the structure, including a mummy that is displayed in the small museum that is part of the site. That freaked me out a bit!

An artifact discovered with the mummy (I told Josh he wasn't allowed to take a picture of the mummy itself!)

The pyramid was constructed out of mud bricks, and there’s a path that leads to the top. While the structure itself is not super huge, the view of the city from the top of the pyramid was quite nice.

The view from the top

After leaving Huallamarca, we drove closer to the city’s historical center and visited the convent of Santo Domingo. There was lovely wood and tile work in the convent, as well as a beautiful Spanish-style courtyard.

Spanish style courtyard

Then we walked over to the Plaza Mayor, the main square in Lima. It was a very lively place, with tons of people walking around and hanging out. The square is surrounded by some government buildings and the main cathedral.

Plaza Mayor


There was also a procession going on outside of the cathedral, with a group of men carrying a religious icon of some sort on a litter.

Religious procession

Josh and I laughed hysterically at what was following the procession, a guy riding a giant vacuum cleaner to suck up all the confetti that was being thrown…

Giant ride-on vacuum cleaner

After leaving the plaza, we made our way over to the San Francisco Convent. This is one of the most famous sites in Lima, and while the convent itself was beautiful (with a lovely Moorish style wood dome and a historic library with a fascinating collection of old books), the main feature of the convent is the catacombs.

San Francisco Basilica and Convent

And this is where things went way downhill for me. Basically the catacombs are just full of bones. Tens of thousands of human skeletons, all arranged in piles according to type (ie., skulls, femurs, etc.), or arranged in decorative patterns. Or at least that was what I’m told. You see, I kept my eyes closed or stared at my feet the whole time we were down in the catacombs. I maneuvered by clinging to Josh’s arm, and it was really hard not to look where I was going because the paths pretty narrow and uneven in some places. The worst part was near the end, when we were surrounded by bins and bins of bones, and the path wasn’t wide enough for people to walk side by side. Basically I just walked directly behind Josh and buried my face into his shoulder. I consider it a huge feat that I managed to walk through the whole thing without seeing any bones, except for maybe a sliver of a femur out of the corner of my eye. Even just thinking about it now gives me the chills! Luckily they don’t allow pictures inside, although if you do a search on the internet you can see some of the patterns they made out of the bones. [This is Josh interrupting the post to provide a helpful link so you don’t have to do the search.  It is quite a weird place, I’m not sure how it became a tourist attraction.]   It’s sort of interesting, yet very morbid at the same time.

So on that very creepy note, our city tour ended. They dropped us back at our hotel where we made a short pit stop, then headed out to a ceviche restaurant, Alfresco, for lunch. On our way we walked through Kennedy Park, which is named in honor of John F. Kennedy.

Bust of JFK in Kennedy Park

The ceviche was fabulous, and with our bellies full, we walked to the other end of Miraflores to see Huaca Pucllana, a much larger pyramid than we saw in the morning. It’s also right in the center of the city, and we walked around it most of the way before finding the entrance. We couldn’t see from one end to the other, that’s how big it was.

Just a small portion of Huaca Pucllana

Our entrance fee included a guided group tour and we were joined by another pair of New Yorkers, two of the few Americans we met on our trip. The pyramid structure was a religious and administrative center for the people who lived in the area. They were not Incas, but were part of the Lima culture. The bricks were made out of mud, enforced with smashed seashells. There were also many mummies found at this site, and I’m glad that we didn’t see any.

The mud bricks were stacked like books on a bookshelf

There are life-sized “dioramas” at the site as well that depict what a certain spot may have been used for, like for religious ceremonies.

Life-sized mannequins depicting a religious ceremony

There was also a small garden at the site where they grow indigenous plants, and a small “zoo” with llamas, alpacas, ducks, and guinea pigs. It was a pretty educational tour, well worth the entrance fee (you’re not allowed to walk around the site by yourself).


Before our dinner at La Rosa Nautica, we took another long walk to the Barranco district, where there is a lot of colonial architecture. It was pretty dark by the time we got there though, so we weren’t able to see much. There was a bright yellow church and the Bridge of Sighs.

Bright yellow church

The Bridge of Sighs

We took a cab back to the hotel, since it was a long walk to get out there, and rested for a bit before heading to dinner. We enjoyed a leisurely meal before returning to the hotel for the evening. It was long day but we got to see a lot of neat stuff, and we felt like we had “done” Lima, since it was our only day in this particular city. Overall I think it was a tiring but successful day.

Cafe La Maquina (Lima, Peru)

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 by virginia

Josh and I headed out of our hotel in Miraflores around 10:30 pm in search of food but all the places we walked into had already stopped serving food. To be fair, we were looking for something quick and light so we only went into small cafes and casual-looking restaurants, not any of the larger or fancier-looking places. We came across Cafe La Maquina, which looked lively and cheerful from the outside, plus we saw people inside eating sandwiches and snacks – perfect!

The Cafe definitely had more of a bar vibe going on, with lots of people hanging out and drinking. What I liked was that it was crowded, but not overly packed or super noisy. There were lots of tables and people were just sitting around either talking or playing card games and board games, which the Cafe furnishes. If this place were in NYC, I’m sure it would be one of my favorite places to go out drinking.

Josh and I started with a round of Cusquena beers, which are brewed in Cusco, Peru. We’ve had them before at Pio Pio, and it’s a pretty light beer with decent flavor. For our second round, we tried some other Peruvian brews, Plisen and Barena. Both were lighter in flavor, so we pretty much stuck with Cusquena the rest of our trip. It was good to be able to try out all of our options though on the first night.

Assortment of Peruvian beers

For food, we decided to split two sandwiches. The first was a classic chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread. The chicken was moist and tender, and it was prepared like a chicken salad. The meat was cut into thin strips and bound with mayo and celery. The bread was chewy but not too tough, and was a good vehicle for the chicken salad.

Chicken, celery, mayo, and lettuce on ciabatta

Our other sandwich was called the Estrellita (meaning “little star”) and featured arugula, serrano ham, queso fresco, peppers, sesame, and mayo on a baguette. The bread looked very pale upon arrival, but it was a decent roll with a crackly outer crust and a soft chew in the middle. The ham wasn’t the serrano we know (which is similar to prosciutto), but more of a thick sliced piece of regular deli ham. The queso fresco was similar to fresh mozzarella, so it worked well with the roasted red reppers and fresh arugula. The only item the sandwich didn’t need was the mayo.

Ham, queso fresco, red peppers, arugua, sesame seeds, and mayo on a baguette

I loved the vibe of Cafe La Maquina, and the food wasn’t too shabby either. The menu features many different kinds of salads and sandwiches, and some were creative while others were more classic. Prices were pretty reasonable, with most sandwiches coming in under US$5. Service was a bit slow but probably because the place was full. We ended up hanging out for a while after we finished our food and no one rushed us or bothered us, which was nice. It was exactly the type of place that we were looking for, and a great way to start off our time in Peru.

Cafe La Maquina
Alcanfores # 323 – Miraflores
Lima, Peru

Peru Day 1 – Flight and Lima

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 by virginia

The first day of our Peru trip was mostly spent on the flight from Newark to Lima. We flew on Continental and it was a pretty good time, considering we were spending about eight hours in coach. Luckily, however, thanks to Josh’s status we got bulkhead seats with extra legroom. The best part was that we had individual TV screens with video on demand. I watched some chick flicks (S&TC 2 and Letters from Juliet) during “dinner” (really it was lunchtime), then slept the rest of the way.

The food on Continental isn’t terrible, but it’s obviously not gourmet. I guess we should be grateful they still serve food, for free. What peeves me a bit though is that when you’re on a plane, they only ask you if you want “chicken or beef”, which isn’t very explanatory. I like to be able to choose my meal based on how something is prepared, like what sauce it’s cooked in or what sides come with it. I guess it’s just an efficiency thing, since they have a lot of people to serve and don’t really have time to describe the dishes to each passenger. Obviously I’m thinking too much into this, considering this is just airplane food, but I was just sad that I “chose” wrong.

I picked chicken, which turned out to be a grilled breast covered in tomato sauce, served on a bed of plain rice with green beans on the side. The chicken was cooked decently well and the sauce was good, but the rest of the dish was pretty bland and boring. The tray also came with a small side salad, a dinner roll, and a package of Milano cookies for dessert.

Chicken with tomato sauce, rice, green beans, salad, roll, cookies

Josh picked beef, which turned out to be penne pasta with meatballs. When you think “beef” on a plane, you think some sort of stew or some dried out slices of a roast, not meatballs! I absolutely would have picked it if they said “meatballs” instead of “beef”. The pasta was definitely better than the plain rice, and the meatballs were pretty flavorful. The penne was slightly overcooked but the sauce was tasty and it was a better dish overall.

Pasta with meatballs

Yes, I just reviewed airplane food. What can I say, it had to be done! On the flight home I told Josh that I was going to ask what “chicken” and “beef” actually were, but I was watching TV and didn’t hear the flight attendant come by so I ended up with “chicken” again, though this time the chicken was served with pasta (cheese ravioli to be exact) and a pink sauce. It was pretty good, actually, but I don’t know what the beef was because Josh also wound up with chicken.

Ok so back to the trip! We landed in Lima around 9:30 pm and met our transfer for the ride to our hotel, which was in the Miraflores district. It was about a 45 minute ride, driving along the ocean most of the way. Too bad it was dark though because we couldn’t see much. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we headed out in search of a late dinner, though most places had stopped serving food already. At least Miraflores is a nice neighborhood so there were lots of people out and about, heading to bars or the disco, and we felt safe walking around until we found somewhere to eat. We ended up at a place called Cafe La Maquina, which I’ll review separately.

It was a long day and we were pretty exhausted from the plane ride so we went to bed pretty much right after we returned to our hotel. We definitely needed to rest up since we had a full two weeks of vacation still ahead of us!

Quick Update from Peru – Flight of the Condors

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 by virginia

Yesterday morning we took a four hour drive from Arequipa to Colca Canyon, where the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s not quite the Grand Canyon, but the valleys are green and there are lots of terraces where the locals farm all sorts of vegetables. We also saw herds of llamas, alpacas, and vicunas (all similar species).

We stayed at a gorgeous hotel, the Colca Lodge, which is in a valley right on the Colca River. We had an amazing view of the river outside the window of our bungalow, and the sound of the running water was incredibly soothing.

The Lodge also has several outdoor hot spring pools. We relaxed in the warm water for quite a while, where we watched the sunset and gazed up in amazement as the sky filled with stars. Josh was trying to figure out which constellations we were seeing, as we’ve never seen stars from the southern hemisphere.

But really, the highlight of our time in Colca Canyon was this morning, when we woke up super early to get to Condor Cross on time. This is where condors take flight on the early morning winds, and these majestic birds were truly a sight to see. At first we waited for what seemed like ages, and no condors in sight. Then, all of a sudden, it was like someone released a whole flock, as condors started circling over head and below us in the canyon. Their wingspans were pretty incredible, and when they stretched out all their feathers we could see their beautiful coloring. They’re such graceful birds, and we were lucky to be able to see them soaring all around us.

Condors crossing the canyon

Two Fat Bellies Hit the Road – Peru

Monday, September 20th, 2010 by virginia

Hola amigos! Josh and I are currently in Peru (Lima to be exact) and are absolutely thrilled to finally have made it here. It’s a trip we’ve been talking about for several years but was always pushed aside for whatever reason, until now.

We had a half day city tour today in Lima, then we walked around on our own for a few hours in the afternoon. We’re flying to Arequipa tomorrow in the morning. Our itinerary is packed with lots of stuff, and we’re super excited for everything. After Arequipa and Colca Canyon, we’re flying to Puno and taking a cruise on Lake Titicaca. Then we’re off to the Sacred Valley, Cuzco, and, of course, Machu Picchu.

Food-wise we’ve had the best ceviche ever at a restaurant in Miraflores called Alfresco, which we’ll be writing about when we get back. We also just had a nice dinner at a beautiful restaurant on a pier that extends into the Pacific Ocean, called La Rosa Nautica. Aside from a little green visitor on one of our dishes, the food was excellent, and the ambiance was really nice.

We’ll be away for the next 2 weeks but if we have internet access, we hope to check in once in a while! Otherwise, we’ll definitely update as soon as we get home.