Saturday, July 2, 2011


Eastside Road, July 2, 2011—
WHAT DO WE KNOW of Peruvian cuisine? Well, a little bit more now than we did this morning. Last year a Peruvian restaurant opened in a strip mall west of Santa Rosa; tonight we finally tried it out. Delicious.

peru.jpgI began with Papa a la Huancaina: a soft-boiled potato with Huancaina sauce, on butter lettuce, with hard-boiled egg and olive involved as well. And what is Huancaina sauce? Well, Wikipedia explains that; Wikipedia threatens to explain everything, perhaps ultimately even the meaning of life.

Wikipedia's photo, though, differs considerably from what I was given: two little potatoes beautifully stuffed, battered, and deep-fried — a curious sort of potato croquette, I suppose, garnished with deliciously salted and pickled raw red onion slices.

I went on to tallarin saltado, having a little hunger for a nice piquant steak strip, and not really knowing what to expect. What arrived was a platter of pasta, the steak slices buried within, along with onion and tomato wedges, laid on raw and cooked only very slightly in the steaming pasta. It was all unexpected and quite delicious, though the pasta seemed overcooked to me.

When I mentioned to the waiter that the word tallarin sounded like Piemontese, in which tajarin is the equivalent of the Italian tagliarini, cut noodles (tagliare being Italian for “cut” or “slice”), he beamed and responded in fluent Italian — being binational: a father from Manarola, in the Cinque Terre, a Peruvian mother. We so easily forget, up here in Norteamerica, how cosmopolitan the nations to our south really are.

(If you're really interested in the etymology and history of this pasta, and read a little Spanish, there's a good survey to be read in Spanish-language Wikipedia.)

I liked my tallarin, and will perhaps try to duplicate it at home: there's a promising recipe online, if you want to try it out too.
Syrah, Intipalka (Peru), 2009: good varietal scent; a little gassy; nice balance; interesting
Sazón Peruvian Cuisine, 1129 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, California; (707) 523-4346

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