Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dine On Us Dinner @ Machu Picchu

About a month ago, I wrote Foodbuzz awhile ago, suggesting a "Dine On Us Dinner" at Machu Picchu, a local Peruvian restaurant in Somerville, MA.

I have been there twice; about 6 months ago and several year
s ago. On my first visit to the restaurant, I made other diners uncomfortable by staring at their plates, trying to match the visual to the menu descriptions to figure out what they were eating.

I went about 6 months ago
with my boyfriend. He is a smart guy-he let's me order for the both of us, turning the dilemma of "what do I want to order?" into ordering my top 2 choices for apps and main dishes. He is always happy with what I pick (or fakes it very well), and I am always happy to be given power, so it works very well for the both of us.

Last night I met up with 4 other food bloggers: Tia Nguyen, Finance Foodie, Tri2Cook and Artepicure.

When I eat out I tend to arrive perpetually early, and thus got
to Machu Picchu at 6:45. I ordered a Pisco Sour to wait for the others (felt a bit like a blind date). I observed Pisco, egg white, and what I suspect was sour mix but may have been real lime juice being poured into a blender. The result was a wine glass filled will a magical, alcoholic foam. (Note to self: when making meringue, just use a blender!).

One by one the other foodies arrived, and we made getting-to-know-you conversation. For a few, it seemed to be the first time they had eaten Peruvian, so I was hoping they would like their meals. We ordered Ceviche, Yuca a la Huancaina and Choclo Peruano con Queso for appetizers. Truth be told, I do not like ceviche, or sushi for that matter, so I cannot judge that dish.

The yuca came simila
r to french fries with a orange cheese-y sauce that consisted of cheese, egg yolk and aji pepper.

Choclo is giant corn on the cob. I don't know how else to describe it. It is more starchy than corn you'd find in the States. It came with a fresh white farmer's cheese-slightly vinegary and salty. I cut off the kernels, added some aji verde and a piece of cheese and was quite content with the dish. I imagine this to be Peruvian comfort food.

Most Peruvian restauran
ts in the States tend to dumb down their dishes-that is, use far less spice than what is traditional. As a result, I always ask for a side of "aji verde," a creamy, spicy pepper sauce, and add it to my dishes. Last night I mixed it into the yuca's huancaina sauce and also added a bit to my main dish.

I ordered "seco de carne," beef stew braised in a cilantro-based sauce. It came with a side of canary beans and white rice. The meat was extremely tender from the long cooking time, and had a deep flavor that mixed well with the beans and rice.

The other foodies ordered a fried seafood platter, steak, aji de gallina (shredded chicken in a yellow aji sauce with rice) and pollo chan-chan, spinach mashed potatoes surrounded by chicken-wrapped shrimp. The fried seafood seemed to be, well, fried seafood-nothing spectacular, but you cannot expect it to pretend to be anything different. The steak would have done well with a chimichurri-type sauce (of course, the Peruvian version, whatever that would be). The pollo chan-chan was presented beautifully and seemed to be a hit, as did the aji de gallina. To sum up the entrees: stay away from the main dishes which feature fried food, and you should be happy.

For dessert I more or less forced everyone to order alfajores, as Machu Picchu does these perfectly. The cookie is light and crumbles upon biting into it. Inside is dulce de leche, a vanilla caramel. These would be even better with a cortado (espresso with steamed milk) or a cafe con leche the next morning for breakfast. Which is what I am currently eating ; ).


  1. I asked them a few back to help me organize one of these---i would have driven up to Mass so let's try to get anooher one together soon. ;)

  2. Nice write-up. There's a Peruvian restaurant new my place that I have yet to try. Maybe they'll that that dessert.

  3. great recap :) it was so nice to meet you!

  4. looks great I just added a post on peruvian food also !!!, my friends just went there, how cool, wish we had a restaurant here, thanks for sharing


  5. Great meeting you at the dinner! Loved the recap :)


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