Poet Shawn Dallas Stradley returns to publish another poem in Cuzco Eats about his adventures in Peruvian restaurants in the United States, in this case Utah. Peru is actively moving to have its gastronomy recognized throughout the world. Not only is this impacting Cuzco and its restaurant scene, it is also making Peruvian food more well known, and improving the quality, abroad. As a result, we welcome Shawn Dallas Stradley’s poetic explorations of Peruvian food.
At the Peruvian restaurant on the west side of town,
you need to bring your own bottle of wine––
liquor laws here are restrictive and expensive.
I called ahead and asked about wine glasses.
There were no Peruvian wines at the state store,
so we took a Malbec from Argentina.
It complemented the ochre walls
the afternoon rainstorms washed with seclusion.
We talked about the distastes of relationships,
about my friend in Cuzco and why I wasn’t there,
and how the lomo saltado was perfectly seasoned,
the Malbec’s deep berry complementing it perfectly.
We ordered too much food, because I insisted
on trying fried yuca. The little sauces––hot red,
cilantro green––disclosed everything.
We spoke English no one understood,
against Spanish, the staff’s beautiful fluency
hidden far on the west side of town.
By Shawn Dallas Stradley