Crave – Food at the Source

I know that it is the general convention that dishes, food, is best tasted at the source. I think that does some disservice to the diaspora and fusion food that has evolved over the millennia. That said, here is a list of food that I often crave. Actually, for many of the dishes, I prefer in their newer form. But, then again… some I prefer at the source.

Ceviche — I like the classic old fashioned version. The Peruvians love fusion. They are a fusion and so is their food. So now one can find “warm ceviche” and ceviche not made with fish.

“Ceviche classico” with “leche de tigre” (tiger’s milk) making the fish turn white.

Danish hotdog — I prefer them in Denmark. The actual hotdog is special, the ketchup is different, the dog is served with crunchy fried onions…
New York pizza — also, one of those things. Some say that the New York pizza is like a Neopolitan pizza from Naples, Italy. We shall see…
Hamburger — Some of the best I’ve had are in the United States. American beef and lack of gristle in the mix.
Banh mi — I’ve had good ones outside of Vietnam.
Pho — Also, good in the certain parts of the United States. Very bland in other places.
Korean BBQ — If one sticks to the pork belly, then it’s fairly easy to get good Korean barbecue in many countries. I think that many people think that bulgogi should be made with a high grade of beef and grilled at the table. Traditionally, bulgogi was created to use bad cuts of meat that required marinating. Usually the slices are so thin that grilling at the table dries them out. Some places use good cuts of steak and then one can dip them in sesame seed oil and salt. This is a delicious way to eat barbecue.
Chicken wings — Oddly, some of the best barbecue wings I’ve had were in a pizzeria in New Mexico.
Dim sum — can be good in many places outside China.

Laksa — so far the best I’ve had, and even some of the mediocre, was in Singapore and Malaysia. What can I say?

Most of all, the food of other lands transports you to them.

The Great Pizza Hunt – Lima

DsI0Qg9msH3LwXNtTuTA7erbleTz5JwZVOSSz6nTmommj30KP2Q9YydyXH3PsfexQIt0P50Qe6vJfA-to46SZQDbe9gqE0dIORTizSe4FI6usaLO22ohBX3RGCo9S_wJ6strWAhAWnaTsTbvnKbqsTtDcv7A0NLHbaNXUc4MDyhC68w4NmbNbjx55A******* Updated February 2020******** My idea of a good pizza is chewy Italian style pizza. Apparently, what I like is called an artisanal pizza. Having now eaten lots of pizza for a few months, I would say that there are four types of pizza in Lima. Andean: thin crust; Lima-style: cracker thin crust: artisanal as in hand stretched, artsy, and often with a moist center; and American as in from the USA in the style of Pizza Hut or school cafeterias with a bready high crust.

My favorites are:

Troppo’s pizza dough is the best in town — it is salty, crunchy, chewy, and made by a prize winning Italian chef.

Spizza, recently moved to Miraflores: a chewy Italian style crust and the oven is all wood burning. Some of their toppings are not good but select carefully. They also deliver through food delivery apps.

Punto Italiano, in La Molina: touted as a non-fancy place, I’d say it has a sort of rustic feel but it’s not a hole-in-the-wall, and the waiter speaks English. All wood burning oven as well.

Mercado 28: has a good pizza place. Few options but good.

La Caleta: cracker thin but good toppings.

Pan Sal Aire, Almirante Miguel Grau 320, Barranco: all wood burning oven but pizza crust is very wet and they use CANNED mushrooms which I think should be illegal when fresh ones are available.

La Pizza de la Chola: The oven looks right, the place is “hip” looking, but, but, the wood is for show, and most of the time, Chola (the owner, also owns El Pan de la Chola and Chola Dasso), fires up the gas in the oven when he bakes the pizzas. Good ingredients and super-chi chi such as Stilton Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts (I think). There are only four flavors.

Antica: Don’t go for the cocktails (I say this because some folks do go there and think that they will also be able to get a good cocktail…), but they make a solid pizza and have the closest thing to a pepperoni a la the U.S. pizza that I’ve found here. They also make a nice oily spaghetti with oil and chili (when having carbs, go for carb with carb!).

Fornaria 850, in Barranco: they look legit, have the oven, but their toppings are not top. But, I’ll say that when I went, they gave me a free arugala and proscuitto pizza. That was good. The other toppings are not.

8wzEbRP7oPY4i8Oib9sX6Xi6taWxzorQg9xZFZKZP6fkYP9o9VmvRRzlk08fcV5dVITWj6mjK70WSm-073OTBKEyjHaahiy79oEZvDDtUnG6v5v6aysBAAKVehSlbpdutG3TB5DxvcFmdqH1PR3y6riUD0e9-7qLpPN8aXWG700qtOP91jrSatxrjCPizza Al Volo, a mobile wood burning oven pizza cart, 984 714 955; pizzacateringperu@yahoo.com: the owner, Brian, speaks fluent English, and he will bring his wood burning oven to your garden party. It’s thin pizza but he can make thicker ones if you want him to. See photo above.

Vd2fkzCSIgxGm_CuM2lp_CHl7nJyhdccBGjqbaqW5FOqvWFgshWi0fOCuhqIwLpeZICMMQAEjkRSxjdPomQhHb-kgrUKrfgX3iuy-t3IapFaFy6O_Q_wXw26LsMVKyTbQa-eic14N2tJlKcTOd-Ew7VC17RTTz-xrT9Zy9DdM27PVTbRIfeVjIXU-dMorelia, Miraflores: very kid friendly. Good salads, and the pizza is actually a large oblong flat bread which they cut in half for the “personal size” pizza!

La Linterna: an old fave with the Limenos. Also good carb on carb pasta options.

CimLr8NIEUTsWt4OS-yYDns_URyDWgQItgBj3OtjkhdtiETUhueaznPlKg_xfYi9Ux2WEg0qrVNMwDOrGq2Eqf2iQdStCLduNsHctXWXSUwJCer5BzPvcI_V9pCmbJq_NLjePVtwDU5yzzBqSsbZVJSJyYhz_sFyrlkPh21EuKKaAB9PDcNnhplTd0Veggie Pizza: a chain. Each of the locations has a different feel. The pizzas look artsy like sushi or dominoes. I took mine home and added meat. The story of this chain is cute because it’s four or three brothers who wanted to improve the health of their other brother.

Then there are other places that also serve pizza: Donatella, Danica, Rafael (yes, THAT Rafael) who all make Lima style pizza. Not exceptional.

Mama Rosa: this is high foccacia (but not as tasty) style pizza.

Lima has a Pizza Street. For Limenos of a certain age, they recall wandering down this street (off of Parque Kennedy) after a night out. I did not go there for my great pizza hunt.

A City of Villages – New York City

Colombian food in Brooklyn.
Colombian food in Brooklyn.

While many people visit New York City for the shopping, the sites, the entertainment, I like New York for its villages. It seems like every few streets, New York changes nationality, from Chinatown, Little Italy, Jamaica, and all the other little villages that make up the great world of New York City. Every neighborhood is distinct and many New Yorkers never leave their neighborhoods.

Seafood dumpling soup in Chinatown, NYC.
Seafood dumpling soup in Chinatown, NYC.

Usually, when I take a taxi, I chat with the taxi drivers. Taxi drivers are often immigrants and many have interesting stories to tell. On this trip, my first taxi driver shared with me where to get the best Pakistani food in New York and in Washington, DC. But then suddenly, he asked about my marital status. I was a little taken aback because I had forgotten, after a few months in politically correct DC, that this is considered a polite question in some cultures.

A few days later, my second taxi driver, an Ecuadorian, patiently let me practice my Spanish with him (gracias, and I appreciated your philosophical stance on bilingual education). My third cabbie was a Miami Cuban taxi driver. I considered trying to practice Spanish on him but his delightfully colloquial rapid fire English and his story about his epiphany about happiness, on 9/11, made me keep quiet.

A farmers' market in New York City.
A farmers’ market in New York City.