Kirk and Cathy are doing something else today, so Ed (from Yuma) is posting.
Yuma is blessed with numerous Mexican restaurants, but seafood places are not common. Of course, there is Juanita's and usually one or two other seafood trucks, but Mariscos Mar Azul has been the premier local seafood house ever since it opened. But now with La Resaca, Yuma has two excellent options:
Located somewhat off the main drag on 3rd Avenue, where the Mad Greek used to be, La Resaca has a large main dining area with many modern booths:
a bar area with more tables:
and even a small stage for music some evenings:
When you sit down, you are soon served whole crunchy tostito rounds, a few saltines, flavorful and spicy salsa, and a bunch of lime wedges:
On my first visit, I decided to start with tacos:
They were served with a mayo based basic crema and a chipotle flavored one:
The shrimp taco was excellent, the flavorful fresh shrimp nicely breaded and perfectly cooked:
Similarly, the fish taco was about the freshness of the flavorful breaded fish rather than crunchiness:
And the mantarraya was also nicely prepared, full flavored but not too salty, fishy but not funky:
Food this good I wanted to share, so the next evening Tina and I showed up for dinner.
As appetizers, we picked tostadas. One was ceviche:
the other octopus:
The octopus was sliced well and had just the right amount of chew and mollusk flavor. We were especially impressed by the ceviche. The fish and vegetables tasted very fresh and the whole tostada had a very pleasant flavor and multiple textures.
That evening we also tried a couple of cooked seafood entrées. Tina chose the albañil, shrimp grilled with bacon, poblano and jalapeno peppers, and onions, served on corn tortillas:
The shrimp were well-prepared (not over-cooked) and the bacon and grilled vegetables really added to their flavor. Tina loved the abundant avocado, The rice was okay and the salad had no dressing – though I suspect we could have asked for some.
I had the pescado Veracruz:
I liked the fish preparation. There were four or five little filets of tilapia, lightly breaded and nicely grilled, covered with a very mellow Veracruz sauce, much like a ranchero sauce with onions, celery, green olives, peppers, and a lot of carrot slices. Good food.
On my next visit, I had to try a seafood cocktele; after all, La Resaca specializes in cruda (raw). They come in three sizes with your choice of mariscos – shrimp, octopus, oyster, scallop, and/or snail. I ordered a medium "campechana," a combination:
That is a nice looking cocktele:
The cooked shrimp were pristine and juicy. The scallops clean and fresh tasting. The octopus was fine. And the snail pieces (you can see one hiding under the scallop in that picture) added some chew if little flavor to the contents of the sundae glass.
I was especially impressed by the quality of the cocktele water. Smooth flavors of the sea, with a little lime tang, balanced by a touch of ketchup sweetness. My only complaint would be the lack of an oyster in the cocktele.
So when I got together for lunch with Greg, I made sure to order a half-dozen oysters:
They were very fresh and pristine, mildly flavored but distinctively oyster. Next time I will try some of the 10 bottles of salsa on the table to see which goes best.
That day Greg selected the house special tostada:
You can see why the folks at La Resaca choose this tostada for the first page of their menu. It is a combination of their basic cold mariscos along with avocado slices, onion slices, and a dice of vegetables . As tasty as it is attractive.
My first version of this post ended right about here, but Greg called me soon after I was finished (so I thought) and we decided to go back to La Resaca the next day. We tried three more dishes.
The first was fried calamari:
This was pretty standard stuff, might even have come from a Sysco truck. Strips of squid steak, decent texture but little flavor. The breading substantial and crunchy. Served with the chipotle crema and a first-rate cocktail sauce. Not bad at all.
Aguachile – the original red version – came next:
The cool lime and chile broth was just right for my tastes, tangy but not sour, picante but not fuego. There was plenty of avocado, sliced red onion, and seeded cucumber, but the real star of the show was, of course, the wonderful raw camarones:
Their fresh clean taste matched their impeccable white color.
Last to show up was caldo de siete mares (seven seas soup):
The best version I've had in the United States, for sure. And well presented. A good seven seas soup needs to have claws, legs or tentacles projecting out from the bowl. The seafood and tomato flavored broth contained sliced red onion, sliced poblanos and jalapenos, chunks of carrot, and chopped cilantro. Along with those veggies and that crab (what kind of crab is that?), the soup contained shrimp, mussels, clams, tilapia, octopus, and sea snails, and yes, that adds up to seven seafoods. It was good enough to remind Greg and I of our first bowls of siete mares over 25 years ago in a restaurant overlooking the Pacific right by Bufadora park near Ensenada.
As you can tell, I am delighted that La Resaca decided to locate in Yuma. With other locations in Calexico and El Centro, the restaurant has the experience to know how to do things right. The menu is large and interesting, everything I've eaten has been tasty, and the service and decor are good as well.
La Resaca, 1725 S 3rd Ave, Yuma AZ 85364, (928) 276-3280
mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food and the various ways to get to the food. Kirk is working late today and Ed (from Yuma) has had some long days, even in retirement. Cathy is writing this post.
Yes, it is October and the 2016 San Diego County Fair culminated on July 4 with fireworks. Two other posts were written- before the opening of the Fair and one while it was open. Today's post is a compilation of some displays, events and foods which weren't written about, (plus a note about the theme of the 2017 San Diego County Fair at the end of this post).
1,609,481 people attended the 2016 San Diego County Fair, which was open 26 days this year. There were 4,187 different attractions and exhibits. Concerts, festivals, entertainment, contests and shopping were available each day within walking distance. There were special dinners, one Farm to Table and some special Sunday 'Tea Time' events. There were also some 'over 21' festivals: Toast of the Coast Wine Competition (which had 929 guests at two tasting sessions), the San Diego International Beer Festival (had over 8,500 guests over three days) and Distilled: Spirit and Cocktail Festival (1,033 gusts in one day). When you walk through the Main entrance, to the right always is the building highlighting the Fair Theme. Since this year was a combination of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with steampunk influences...well there was a lot to see and do inside this building.
During the Fair, livestock were judged and the winners were auctioned on July 3 (so they could be removed from the Fair site before fireworks on July 4). The non-ribbon winners are also sold at this time and overall, $432,031 was raised for scholarships for 4H and FFA students, who were both happy and sad to see their work appreciated and their animals leave on this day.
There were so many food items I did not mention.
The 'Grilled Cheese A-Fair' booth is a sometimes choice for us. This year we tried a 'breakfast' - ham, eggs and cheese on a waffle, served with 'syrup'. It was very nice and gave us ideas for some special breakfasts at home.
Each day we visit the Fair, there is usually one meal of fried something and this day it was clam strips with zucchini. Properly made and not greasy.
Then there was the day when we just had to try the "French Toast Bacon Bombs" from the 'Bacon A-Fair' booth. Cinnamon bread dough filled with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon then fried...topped with whipped cream, just because. These were good and four were quite enough for the two of us. We always stop at Roxy's, a booth run by a local restaurant (almost always ordering an artichoke or falafel sandwich) and this year a new selection- an eggplant sandwich-was offered. Thick slices of fresh eggplant, lightly crunch (cornmeal?) breaded and fried, topped with Parmesan cheese and a nice red sauce all served on the toasted fresh whole grain rolls with a salad. This was great.
Then I noticed a pattern.
One day, I wanted a sweet and the 'apple fries' signage at the 'Mexican Funnel Cake' booth caught my eye. These were a tart (maybe green) apple, sliced into 'french fry' shapes, lightly dusted with flour, fried, then rolled lightly in a fine sugar with just a touch of cinnamon and served with whipped cream- just delightful!
Another day, I was looking at the menu board at the 'Chuck Wagon' booth and noticed at the very bottom right 'deep fried cinnamon apple rings', so that was all we ordered (bad photo, since the Chuck Wagon area is covered with red tarp, but nice to eat here because it is always nice to be out of direct sunlight). These apples still had a skin on (red) and more batter, were dipped in a cinnamon sugar and also served with whipped cream. Completely different with the same basic components and good, really good. There was another day when I wanted apples again. The "Apple Tower' booth on the midway had a short line. Red and green apple slices, warm caramel, nuts and whipped cream...so good and such a different way to have apples at the Fair.
I think this Fair was a bit more fun because of all the characters walking around the Fairgrounds, greeting people, posing with them for photos, or just taking a break, like the rest of us.
I held off with this summary, not wanting to overwhelm you immediately after nor during the summer.
Yesterday the 22nd Agricultural District announced the theme of the 2017 San Diego County Fair.
Just a few weeks after Cathy's most recent post on Van Hoa, the place changed ownership and Pho and Banh Cuon Ha Long was born. Banh Cuon? I've yet to have a good version in San Diego, so I was intrigued. And then our good "FOY" (Friend of Yoso) "YummyYummy" told me it was the same owners as Suong Hong and my excitement was tempered.
The place looks basically the same....a bit run down, sticky tables and all.
And the Banh Cuon Dac Biet ($7)? Well, you've read it before; banh cuon a bit too thick, lacking pull; the nuoc mam cham a bit too thin for my taste, the nem chua not quite sour or flavorful enough.
Not my cup of tea. But if you expect Song Huong, you'll be satisfied.
Still, the young lady was very nice......the guys hanging out front gave the place "that atmosphere", and I recalled the Bun Bo Hue at Song Huong being, well, not terrible. So I ordered it ($7.50) on my next visit.
This was an interesting bowl....from the ngo ngai topping the bowl, to the meatballs in the soup (I think it was there to replace MIA cha lua). The vegetables, though fresh really fell short; almost all shredded cabbage and bean sprouts.
The broth was scalding hot; a good start, mildly spicy, not very complex in terms of lemongrass and pungent flavors.
And the most annoying, the noodles seemed to be cut in half and thirds, making them very short......very slippery and short.....
A pleasant surprise was the two pieces of pork hock in this bowl. It was fun gnawing on the skin, connective tissue, and the toothsome, but not too tough meat. The pork was also nicely flavored, though the other pieces of meat fell short, and no tendon!
Like my other experience with BBH at this family's restaurants, not terrible, ok "pho shop Bun Bo Hue", but nothing amazing.
A week later I was in the area and being quite hungry, decided to drop by for a late breakfast (according to the sign, they now open a 6am!). I was going to try the pho, but chose the Com Tam Dac Biet instead. This was actually not bad; except the broken rice was too dry and hard for my taste.
The Bi with the flavor of the roasted rice coming through was good, though a bit dry. The Cha was on the cold side, dry, and more chewy than I care for. The pork chop had a very nice flavor; edging more on the salty than sweet, but other than that little nugget with the fat on the end, was also on the chewy side. The broth accompanying the meal was nice and rich, though it had a bit too much MSG for me.
Based on my meals, I'd definitely say YMMV here. Though if they're really open at 6am....heck, I'll need to try breakfast, right?
Pho & Banh Cuon Ha Long Restaurant 4016 54th St San Diego, CA 92105
After having a great time with Cathy and Ed from Yuma at Prime Grill (click on the links to read or reread their posts), I decided to check out some of their non-Korean Barbecue dishes. Plus, it was pretty darn hot during this time, making for the perfect set-up for my meals.
The parking lot here can be a real horror show, but at 11 am on a Monday or Tuesday, things are pretty quiet.
I ordered the Dolsot Bi Bim Bap and soon enough the panchan arrived. The baechu kimchi; the napa cabbage kimchi was a surprise as it had a bit of a fermented flavor; not just the sour quick pickled versions I've had recently at most places. It was pretty good. The other item I hadn't seen in a while was the gaji namul; the steamed eggplant panchan. In spite of the rather grey look, it had some decent garlicky tones.
When my bi bim bap arrived.....which looked pretty textbook, I was disappointed that it didn't have an egg yolk on it.....which was hiding under the shredded nori.
This was pretty much by the book; though the mushroom, fernbrake, and blanched spinach with sesame oil was very nice. The bulgogi was on the bland side. What really made this good was the rice; which was prepared perfectly as was the stone bowl. A beautiful, nutty crust quickly developed and after mixing kept on going for a good part of the meal. The Cho Gochujang here was very thick, mostly gochujang, with very mild sweet and sour tones. Not a bad lunch...plus, if I recall, this is a buck cheaper during lunch.
About a week later, temps hit the mid-nineties in the Convoy area. I decided to drop by for lunch and try the Bi Bim Naengmyun; the spicy cold noodle dish that I crave when temps rise.
Only four panchan this time around. I'm guessing it's based on what is ordered. The regular kimchi wasn't as good on this visit; though still better than most. The baek (white) kimchi would have made the Missus happy as it had distinct fermented tones.
On the menu it says Ham Heung Bi Bim Naengmyun, naming the city in North Korea that made this dish famous.
Man, this was a lot of buckwheat noodles. The Server was very friendly and quite funny. She asked me if I wanted my noodles cut and when I said "I wouldn't even be able to eat the noodles if they weren't", she relayed a pretty funny story about her father, who was from Pyongyang, who refused to let her eat her noodles cut. Until one day when she tried to eat entire noodles and started choking. Her dad grabbed the noodles and actually pulled it all the way from her stomach! I don't know if it's true, but it was a heck of a story.
A bit too little sauce for the amount of noodles and that chojang wasn't especially spicy. But a slushy bowl of mul-naengmyun broth was also provided.
Sunday morning in Miraflores is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the night before. It is rather sedate, calm....there's not much going on streetwise.
At this point in our lives; the Missus and I are far removed from "the party". You know; Mom sued to say "nothing good happens after midnight. At a certain point in your life you figure out that "nothing good happens after 10 pm." That's kind of where we're at in life. Though when it comes to Madrid and Spain as a whole; the clock is thrown out the window.
Still, it wasn't that early for us as we left our hotel; 830 am is kind of a late start when we're travelling.
Still, the streets are pretty quiet on a Sunday morning.
We headed off to our breakfast destination. We had some great discussions with our wonderful driver, Benjamin during our trip to see the Nazca Lines. One of the questions I asked was about a typical breakfast in Lima.....I was told that we must get a Sanguche de Chicharron, a pork sandwich for Sunday breakfast, it's a Lima tradition. I'd heard about the iconic pork sandwich; I knew about La Lucha which is quite well known, but Benjamin told me that Dona Paulina is where he takes his family for Sanguches de Chicharron. Which we happened to see the previous evening when we had dinner at Punto Azul.
The place looks like a typical neighborhood Coffee Shop.....
One that sells pork and lomo saltado sandwiches......anyone want a tamal for breakfast?
In spite of the street being fairly empty; Dona Paulina was doing some good business on this morning.
The Missus got an espresso; I an Americano......
And we decided to split an Sanguches de Chicharron....JR....as in a smaller sized sandwich. I'm glad we did.
The sandwich is served using what they call a "French Roll" here. It is yeasty and relatively light. The sandwich is served with a nice salsa criolla which I sometimes make at home. The acid and pungency from the onions helps to cut all the richness of the pork.
There were three different slices of pork in the sandwich; one had a bit of skin and fat which added a nice richness; there's one rather meaty cut, looks like shoulder which, while adding bulk was on the dry side. The fat and moisture from the other slices and the salsa ciolla evened things out.
Of course the Missus loved the slices of camote; sweet potato in the sandwich.
Dona Paulina Calle Alcanfores 715 Lima, Peru
It was a good thing that we shared this sandwich as we planned to have an early lunch.
How do you follow-up a day of flying over the Nazca Lines and a pretty hefty lunch? Well, with a nap of course. After a short respite we decided to head on back out....it was Saturday night after all. We weren't very hungry, but knew we had to have something to eat, but we weren't sure what. That question was soon answered as we passed Punto Azul.
Punto Azul had been on our list the last time we were in Miraflores. Unfortunately, the place was always packed so we never got in. So now, nearly ten years later we were back in front of Punto Azul and the place was only 2/3 full. So why not?
We were quickly seated. Our timing was "on" this evening as the place quickly filled up soon after, with folks waiting for tables.
The crowd seemed split about 50-50; half obvious tourists, the rest seemed to be Peruvian. So we weren't really sure how this meal was going to turn out.
The Missus started with a Pisco Sour, I had some drink with Prickly Pear that sounded pretty good, but ended up being more of a "chick drink".
We were quickly served plantain chips and passable Canchita; toasted corn.
Of course the Missus got the Ceviche Punto Azul; basically a classic cebiche. She also scarfed the camote (sweet potato), which She said needed more flavor and the choclo (the large kernel corn), which of course; She loves.
The fish in the ceviche was on the fibrous and chewy side, though it had been marinated for the perfect amount of time. The leche de tigre was on the mild side and we livened it up with some aji limo (minced red chili pepper).
I, of course, ordered the Tiradito; in this case named Tiraditos al Punto.
This was three classic versions of tiradito; classic, rocoto, and amarilla, and one rather odd version.....olive flavored. I thought this was a pretty good rendition of tiradito; nice creamy sauces, the fish, sliced well and while on the chewy side, was still decent. The Aji Rocoto sauce wasn't very hot, but was quite enjoyable. But it was that odd olive mayo sauce that I thought I wouldn't like....it turned out to be quite an addition. The flavoring wasn't too heavy handed, a nice mild olive flavor, it didn't seem overly rich from the mayo, and there was a touch of acid to help things alone. Well, here was another new one for me.....
The service was friendly, even though things got really busy. This was a nice, if not outstanding meal, and just enough for dinner.
Punto Azul Calle San Martin 595 Lima, Peru
We took our getting back to the room. It was Saturday night in Miraflores and parts of the neighborhood was packed. We avoided the crowds, stopped by the convenience store across the hotel for some water and I even bought me a nightcap.
There's something great about travelling....every day, or evening is new and different. I wish I could do it more.
For some reason, I was craving Zui Ji - "Drunken Chicken" and I thought the version at Tasty Noodle House had been pretty good on previous visits. So I headed over and braved the worst parking lot on Convoy....good thing they open at 11am....there were still three open parking spaces; albeit two of them were partially taken by very "thoughtful and considerate" folks in gigantic SUVs that they aren't able to park like normal folks.
As with previous visits, the staff here are pretty nice.....except that they were out of the Wined Chicken! The young man recommended the Steamed Chicken with Spicy Sesame Sauce....so, thinking this might be something along the lines of Ko Shui Ji. This is what arrived.
Well, the one good thing about this dish; the chicken was nicely prepared, meaty, and moist. But that super thick, "un-spicy", gloppy sauce with too much sesame paste.....well, I think that's a apt description.
On a previous visit, I thought the Chao Nian Gao (stir fried rice cakes) were decent, so I ordered that as well.
I think these folks kind of undercook the rice cakes a bit, but it's not terrible. The pork was tender, though I think it needed a bit more seasoning, especially in terms of sesame oil (I know, if I really wanted sesame flavor I could have dipped this in the tar pit from the chicken dish), though the vegetable (Jì Cài) added a mild bitterness and a textural counterpoint.
I was kind of bummed as my craving wasn't satisfied. I hope the next time I visit, they'll have the drunken chicken.
Tasty Noodle House 4646 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
It's been just about 2 months since Great Wow opened. So it was time for a revisit...plus, I wanted some jiaozi.
They have a proper menu now; with quite a few dishes. Though I was basically here for the dumplings....I'll save trying some of the other dishes (no kung pao chicken or hot and sour soup for me from here though - wrong region if you didn't know....and based on what I've read, a lot of folks don't know).
Other than the pork hocks, I hadn't enjoyed the liang cai; cold dishes at GW much. But for some reason, I wanted to try the spicy potato strings. The Missus loves Her Sichuan style potato strings. This version was not bad.
It was lightly spicy, with a mild numbness as well. The potato was nice and crunchy. And while I've been indoctrinated into wanted a good amount of vinegar on my Chinese style potato dishes, this was not bad....though perhaps it could have used a bit more salt.
This time around; I just went with what I consider the most basic jiaozi....pork and cabbag.
First thing I noticed was that these weren't as plump as what I'd had here before. Also, whomever was making the dough for this had worked it too hard as it was too chewy and almost hard. The filling was fine, nice pork flavor, but could have used a bit more seasoning.
I think I'll stick to the Pork, Shrimp, and Chive. I didn't see pork and celery dumplings on the menu anymore. And one of these days I may try one of the entrees....though don't hold your breath!
I saw the new location of Homestyle Hawaiian back in April. But I just kind of took my time heading on over. These days, I need to space out those plate lunch visits....especially since Homestyle Hawaiian's portion sizes were usually pretty generous. Plus, I'd been visiting HH since beginning at the Mesa College Branch, back in September of 2009. Since then, I've done a ton of posts on HH and had visited their other locations in Chula Vista and Midway. So, not anticipating a very different menu, I just took my time until last month.
I liked the interior; very local kine "gastro-pub-ish". There are about 20 pulls; with everything from Cal Creamin, to Kona Brewing....to Bud Light. Things seemed a bit confused as I didn't quite know what the drill was while waiting for a table. It seems at first the young lady was going to take my order....so perhaps this was fast-casual? But when I said this was for "here"....I was directed to a table. I saw this happen a couple of more times during my two visits.
I really enjoy a "chicken cutlet" when I'm back home. In local terms; katsu comes with local kine (usually ketchup based) katsu sauce, while cutlet means topped with gravy. Try that here in San Diego and you'll get blank stares. I did want to add a bit of gravy to my diet, so I went with the "Make your own Loco Moco" with Chicken Katsu as my base. The gravy a bit gluey, but went well (with some Tabasco...you can take the boy off the island, but....you know) with the nicely fried katsu. The egg was a bit over cooked. There was at least a scoop of rice under the proteins to go with what was topped with furikake. The rice was decent. The item that surprised me the most was the mac salad. I'd never been a fan of HH's mac salad, but it seems to have gotten better over the years. Today it was nicely chilled and decently salted and not overdressed with mayo.
The young lady who served me was very nice, if a bit disorganized and "spacy".....she brought me my plate and then forgot my utensils having to bring me some, same with the Tabasco. Still, this was a nice enough meal.
So I returned with my coworkers Daniel and Calvin. Same really nice young lady, same forgetfulness. She almost brought us another table's food. Then Daniel's Lava Chicken arrived without any "sauce" on it.
I got the combination Korean Chicken and Katsu with (of course) gravy on it.
The Katsu was bit over fried this time around and on the dry side......thank goodness for the gravy which was nicely flavored. That Korean Chicken wasn't quite as good as I recalled; fairly low on flavor, a bit over fried with some burnt bits and on the dry side.
Perhaps they are still settling in, but things seem to be a hit and miss. I'll return in a couple of months to check back in. The location is prime for this type of concept, even with Island Style Café nearby.
Homestyle Hawaiian Pub & Eatery 10601 Tierrasanta Boulevard San Diego, CA 92124 Hours: Monday 5pm - 9pm Tues - Sat 1130am - 9pm Closed Sunday
While the main objective to our trip to Peru and Chile was to travel to Easter Island and check that one of the Missus's bucket list; I thought I'd go for a two-fer and also do the Nazca Lines as well. I did some research and found a well regarded company named Nazca Flights. It wasn't cheap, but we got our own private driver for the over three hour drive to Pisco. His name was Benjamin and he was just a joy to deal with. He arrived punctually at 630am to pick us up.
We arrived at the newly inaugurated, but not yet opened Pisco International Airport. The cargo terminals and one small private terminal was opened. Still, the place was buzzing with excited folks.
Have you heard of the Nazca Lines? I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't heard of it. I recall of first reading about the lines in Erich von Däniken'sChariots of the Gods? Most folks I mentioned the lines to had never heard of them....except for the Japanese. No less than four Japanese Nationals and Ex-Pats mentioned the Nazca Lines, the most surprising was Taka-san at Taisho. When I mentioned we were going to Peru, he didn't mention Machu Picchu....nope it was the "Nazca Lines"!
When we arrived and checked in, we were handed this card with the various Geoglyphs we'd be flying over. Notice anything interesting?
Notice the languages? It's Spanish, English, and Japanese!
And when we got into the terminal area....guess what? It was nearly all middle aged Japanese; mostly women.....in Pisco!
The little terminal was rather charming....we saw the staff being briefed on various subjects and even being tested.
When it was our time to go; our boarding passes were checked and we were escorted onto the tarmac.
The passengers? One British Gentleman, the Missus, Myself, and nine very excited middle aged Japanese women!
The Pilot was really good as I'll describe later on. Both pilots spoke Japanese!
The Missus and I found the whole situation to be quite amusing.
Getting to the lines was when things got even more interesting. There was one line in our packet that instructed us; "DO NOT EAT BREAKFAST THE DAY OF YOUR FLIGHT".
When arrived at the lines, the pilot would descend, then bank, first to his right, turn around and do the same to the left. The copilot would try to point things out; speaking in Japanese. You'd scan the ground below, wondering "what the heck am I supposed to see"?
Focusing in, you'd get a glance of something, a pattern......
And then you'd zero in....and oh my goodness.......
It's really something to see.....
Sometimes it was easier to look across the aisle when the pilot banked in the opposite direction and see things from that perspective.
This took me back to being that 10 year old bookworm, reading Chariots of the Gods under the blanket with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping, dreaming that someday I'd see these myself.
The world never ceases to surprise and thrill us.
The woman sitting behind me was a hoot. The Missus told me that she had a very difficult time seeing the geoglyphs and basically gave up on taking photos. However, as we straightened after banking about 30 times, she stood up and gave the pilots a standing ovation!
Such enthusiasm is infectious and puts everyone in a good mood....though there were a few women who had to have seat....a bit green around the gills and all that.
This was a great experience. One that I'll never forget....and I don't think anyone else who was on that flight will either.
Our driver, Benjamin was such a great guy he displayed the perfect balance of professionalism and warmth that was just outstanding. He really made the difference on the rather long drive. We wanted to buy him lunch. We let him choose and we stopped right next to a gas station in Chincha.
The place was pretty busy and we ordered a bunch of standards, except one new twist on a favorite.
I got the Chicha Morada which was pretty good...not too sweet, with a hint of cinnamon.
Of course the Missus wanted some Cebiche de Lenguado. The leche de tigre was decent if a bit mild; but the fish was marinated a bit too long and had started getting mushy.
I ordered some Tiradito; the "tricolor", strips of corvine with three preparations; "clasica" with leche de tigre, aji amarilla, and aji rocoto sauces.
The fish was prepared well; though I found the sauces to be somewhat thin and watery for my taste.
The seafood on the Causa was quite good; cooked perfectly. The potatoes were bit on the dry side, though the flavors were nice.
The surprise dish was one that Benjamin ordered. He told us that this is the newest version of one of my favorite dishes; Lomo Saltado. This is the off the menu version that combines Lomo Saltado with the classic Peruvian beans and rice dish; Tacu Tacu. Meet the Tacu Tacu con Lomo Saltado.
This was very tasty....the beans and rice actually outshone the lomo saltado with the mild earthy-beany flavor combining with the slightly salty, soy based sauce. The acid of the tomatoes and the sweet-pungency of the onions just went to well with this. The Missus just loved that beans and rice!
This was a nice meal with great company.
Restaurante El Batan Panamericana Sur Km. 197. 5 Chincha Alta, Peru
We got back to Miraflores making good time. We showered and managed to sneak in a short nap before heading out for the evening.
The first dish that comes to mind when I think about Chamorro style dishes is Kelaguen, specifically Kelaguen Manok, the chicken version of the dish which is what you'll find in all the Chamorro/Guamanian restaurants in the greater San Diego area. After making the drive up to Guahan Grill a couple of times early last year with the Missus, She asked if I could just go ahead and try and make the stuff already.
So I did....after a couple of tries, I had it kind of dialed in. The Missus has a couple of coworkers who are from Guam and they make Kelaguen a lot....mostly using leftover rotisserie chicken and...ick, boiled chicken! After trying things a few different ways; I've settled on boneless, skin on chicken "legs", actually quarters, grilled over hard wood charcoal. Again, this is "kind of Kelaguen"...... I noticed that versions I've had here in San Diego lacked coconut. My solution was to use organic, non-sweetened coconut flakes and a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, which adds to the moisture, and provides for a nice fragrance. I use skin on chicken because it tends to preserve the moisture of the meat.
Even with all of this; I noticed that I could not get the lemon flavor dialed in; it just never came out the way I wanted. That's when one of the Missus's co-workers told Her that everybody "back home" uses "Yours Lemon Flavored Powder"! Which I wasn't able to find here, but you gotta love it; I actually found it on Amazon. I was a bit dubious about this stuff...looking at the label, "Ingredients: Citric Acid (Trehalose), Natural Lemon Flavor, L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Sodium Citrate. Made in Japan." Hmmm......
But in the end, this is what I needed to make the Kelaguen taste right.
At the same time, I was trying to put together the classic sauce/condiment for the kelaguen; Finadene (Fina'denne). After going thru a couple of iterations, I found that rather strangely, since I've said not to use said shoyu for sauces; Kikkoman actually worked the best for me. Along with Distilled White Vinegar and one other item to give it just a bit more umph; Spiced Sukang Maasim (cane vinegar). The slight spice and sour gave it a nice kick. As for the chilies....I've used everything from Chili de Arbol, Thai Chilies, Red Habaneros, Scorpion Peppers, to Ghost Peppers......it's all good! Actually the Missus is partial to white ghost peppers.
So now the Missus's Guamanian coworkers actually request that I make this; so I guess it's got their seal of approval.
The Missus really likes to saturate Her Kelaguen with Finadene. And I've actually used the Finadene in other dishes....even stir fried bean sprouts which come out like namul on jet fuel.
Kind of Kelaguen:
The Chicken 1 1/2 lbs of skin-on boneless chicken quarters salt black pepper granulated garlic one lemon sliced in half ghost pepper salt (optional)
- Season the meat side of the chicken with salts and black pepper - Season the skin side of the chicken with salts, black pepper, and granulated garlic - Grill over charcoal. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken while grilling - Once the chicken is cooked, remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
1 Tb coconut oil 1-2 Tb shredded coconut 2-3 stalks scallions sliced 1 Tb Yours Lemon Flavored Powder diluted into 2 Tb water salt, black pepper, and sliced chilies to taste
-Remove the chicken from the bowl reserving the juices; the objective is to conserve all the flavor you can. - Remove the skin from the chicken and consume later....it tastes really good fried up. - Chop or mince the chicken to your desired texture and add back to the bowl with the juices from the chicken - Add coconut oil, coconut, scallions, and chilies and mix - Add the lemon flavoring mixing well. - Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
I'm going to give you what I started with when I decided on my final array of ingredients for the Finadene. Think of this as being a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar. I think it's a good starting point. You can adjust to your taste from here. Actually, you might like to add some calamansi juice to replace some of the vinegar.
Fast Finadene: 1/2 cup of Kikkoman Soy Sauce 1/2 cup Distilled White Vinegar 2 Tb Spiced Sukang Maasim 2 stalks of scallions sliced 1 small sweet onion thinly sliced sliced chilies to taste
-Combine ingredients. Taste and adjust flavor as desired.