Thursday, December 4, 2008

I am in heaven ...

Today's lesson: The Joy of Peruvian Food

One of the best things about living in the "greatest city in the universe" (hey! its not just me ... I'm quoting HRH* here) is that you can find just about any cuisine your heart desires.

I was crushed ... and I mean CRUSHED when I found out my favorite Peruvian place had closed. (One of the downsides of NYC ... you find something you love ... there one day and gone the next.) BUT, today I found a new Peruvian place and now my ceviche-starved body is happy as a clam. YUM!!

And bonus, the waiter told me about two other places in the city to try as well. And, no, Samantha ... I did not try to pick up the waiter. (I dated a Peruvian for several years ... he was quite yummy too!)

So ... what is the picture above? Its a dish called "papa rellena" ... imagine mashed potatoes stuffed with a fantastic mixture of ground beef, red onions, hard-boiled egg, black olives and cilantro. Then, drop the potato concoction in the deep fryer for a few minutes ... that's papa rellena.

Why Peruvian food you ask?

Well, I had the pleasure of spending an extended period of time in Peru several years ago - where I met aforementioned yummy Peruvian (YP). Being a musician, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to all kinds of places ... and I was always of the mindset "have passport, will travel."

So, when a former colleague of mine asked me to go down to play in the Lima Philharmonic (Orquesta Filarmónica de Lima), I jumped at the opportunity. I absolutely fell in love with the country, the people, the food, the landscape (you've got rainforest, desert, mountains, AND the ocean), the artisans, the llama (yes, they do really spit! But, damn you can get a nice sweater out of 'em!)

Unfortunately, the relationship with YP didn't last, but my love for Peru did. I mean, seriously, look at this ....

Is that not just beautiful?!?!

* HRH - for those who aren't aware is .. His Royal Hotness .. or Jon Bon Jovi.