Thanks, lurw. And yeah, that's a smile. :)
When I first arrived in Portland I made my way to a Peruvian restaurant called Andina. I'd been there years ago and it made a fairly substantial impression on me. Peruvian food can be very traditional Incan cuisine, but is commonly influenced by European, Japanese, Chinese and even African flavors and ingredients. Hundreds of years prior to "Fusion Cuisine," Peruvian cooks have been alloying bright tastes and indigenous ingredients using culinary techniques from around the world. Bah--who am I kidding, I'm no food historian--I'm just a curious glutton who dines alone and takes lots of pictures of his food to torment hungry inmates snacking on bugles in front of ADVRider:
(Above: ANTICUCHO DE CORAZÓN, or Marinated beef heart, skewered and grilled. The tough meat, broken down with a marinade, has a wonderful flavor and texture unlike anything else in the kingdom of beef cuts. (If only there was such a thing as beef heart marrow).
(Above: ANTICUCHO DE PULPO. No, it's not Octopus heart (I wish), just a lumpy, juicy, flavorful hunk of Octopus Tentacle with Chimichurri. Mouth watering deliciousness.)
(Above: SACSAYHUAMÁN - habanero pepper vodka shaken with pureed passionfruit and cane sugar, served up with a sugar rim and cilantro leaf garnish. It's a bit sweeter than I remember, and not nearly as spicy. What used to be the best cocktail I've ever had is now a little soft and spongey around the edges, but still pretty f'in good.)
(Above: CHICHARRON DE POLLO (and Prawns). Quinoa studded--think Peruvian fried chicken and shrimp--but a little healthier and not as tasty.)
No, I didn't eat it all, though I tried (I hadn't eaten much in two days). I shared with the businesswoman eating adjacent to me, who was kind enough to share some of her entree back.
Portland's food scene is unreal, by the way. My theory is that the Top Chefs who dream of changing the culinary landscape of the world end up selling their soul to investors, just so they can open a restaurant in NY, LA, SF or Vegas. The result? They lose all creative control to the investors who error on the side of playing everything safe. Portland's kitchens are a place for stubborn misfits, the true 'artists' of taste, for whom cooking is a compulsion, for whom sacrificing creativity for 'prestige' is akin to slicing off one's tongue to pay for the privilege to record an album. Portland, my dear friends, is right now, the epicenter of gastronomic genius.
Now if it would only stop raining....