Fort Worth, Texas is very close to where my daughter and her children live. I took the opportunity to see them and she decided to treat me to dinner at a new place called Peru Gourmet. Jack, Sophia, Lorelei, and Annalise accompanied me. I was excited to try Peruvian food in Texas.
Peru Gourmet is beautifully appointed, and very new. The manager – Anan Maria Ureta, said they had been open only 45 days. She and her sister, Rosa Aguirre Perez were managing the restaurant for their brother, Jorge Aguirre. Jorge Aguirre owns Pisco Aguirre, a Peruvian pisco distillery. The family is working on getting the pisco imported for the restaurant/bar.
We decided to try a few of the appetizers and started with the salchipapa; deep fried hot dog slices and fries served with ketchup and huancaina sauce. The fries were divine, with an extra crunchy coating and flakey soft interiors. Gaston Acurio believes the ketchup should ‘move over’ for huancaina sauce. My daughter agreed that the sauce was very tasty but said she felt a little betrayed because it wasn’t hot in the beginning, but the heat began to sneak up on her. The fries disappeared quickly.
The kids wanted to try Inca Kola, and Kola Inglesa. I was surprised that rather than drink the soft drinks, the two year old drank my chicha morada. The chicha was wonderfully rich with dark notes of cinnamon. It was the favorite of everyone at the table. It was more expensive than the soft drinks. They weren’t finished, but the chicha was sucked dry.
The papa rellena arrived beautifully topped with a lattice of huanciana sauce. The potato a perfection surrounding the raisin and meat filling. This was my particular favorite of the day. The filling was wonderful, but the outside of the potato was crispy while the interior potato was meltingly soft.
I decided to try the ocopa for its covering of huacatay sauce. By this time, we were beginning to feel a little full, so we set the ocopa aside for later and ordered our entrée.
After finishing such a round of appetizers, we decided to split a main dish. We ordered the lomo saltado. The children were surprised and delighted that there was both rice and potatoes. In our home, we do not serve two starches in one meal often, although pasta and bread are often served together. They were a little skeptical, and Jack was especially so. He wanted to try the food, but he has an aversion to sauces, which had limited his earlier samplings of our food.
The beef was wonderfully done, dripping juice and tender. The vegetables; tomato and onion were also lovely together. Sophia commented that she doesn’t cook with two types of onions, or two types of starch. She was also sure she found a yucca fry in the midst of the potatoes, which delighted her. She was impressed with the way the flavors worked together.
After all the food, we were quite full, but had read reviews that said the mousse de maracuya was not to be missed. We also ordered a suspiro a la limeñna to go, which ruined the presentation. I was anxious to try the suspiro because I had made it many times, but had never eaten it at the hands of a Peruvian. My heart fluttered a bit, as I wondered if my own work had been a success or a sad copy of a poetic dessert.
The maracuya was an instant success. I would like to be able to describe it, but I was speaking with Ana Maria about the restaurant and it disappeared. I peaked in the package at my poor little suspiro squished into stryofoam and sighed a sigh of my own. Finally, a chance to try the dessert!
I asked Ana Maria about why they had decided to open a restaurant here, in Texas. She said she had come to North America 20 years ago. She and her sister were helping her brother, who was looking for good investments, to import the family pisco to the United States. She said there are so many regulations in the United States, and that all the food must be approved before it can be used. “You can’t just go to WalMart and buy something, you have to use the approved sources”. I was impressed that she was able to find specialty items like the huacatay from approved sources.
Alas, when I arrived home, I found that my suspiro had sighed itself out of the package and all over the bag. I am still at a loss, left wondering again what this dessert with a wonderful name will taste like. My own sigh was not sweet, but I will find again a place to try the Suspiro a la Limeña.
Provecho! To Peru Gourmet and all who visit.