Category Archives: Food

Los Balcones Grill

Another day in the Plaza, and I decided that I really should try a menú. As I might have stated before, a menú is a small menu with around four choices for three to five categories. For 20/s. – 35/s. you can choose one item from each category. The restaurant I chose had another lovely view of the Plaza. The seat was facing outward and there was no glass. It was a perfect day to have a nice breeze while I ate.



Today’s options cost 20/s. for three items. I got a chicken and rice soup that was very nice and flavorful. It had big chicken chunks, rice and herbs. It tasted very fresh and natural.


I also got trout with a side salad. The trout was very good. I think that Peru is turning me into a trout fan! The salad was a bunch of vegetables and a little pickled cabbage. The cabbage was good. I didn’t eat the tomatoes because of personal preference. The rest of the vegetables were alright, but not very good. They were steamed vegetables that had been chilled, and they didn’t have much flavor.


The third item included was tea, which I forgot to take a picture of. It was just normal tea. Overall, it was an alright dinner. Not the best I’ve had here, but it only cost $7.21 for a lot of food that was pretty good (excluding the vegetables).

Plaza Restaurant Grill

Today I was in the Plaza area again and looking for food. I ran into one of the two artists that I have bought pictures from, and he asked me what I was looking for. When I said I was looking for food, he offered to show me to a good place with a good menú.

A menú is a set menu where you can choose from a list of items in different categories. For example, a menú may have an appetizer, a soup, and a main course that you can choose from four or five items listed. These seem to come out to be about 20-30 s/., or $7-$10. So far, I have been ordering off the regular menus. I had actually had the intention of trying a menú tonight, but I looked at the menu and chose a different option.

I once again had a lovely view of the plaza from the second floor window seat I had. It was different at night time, but still very beautiful. I made sure to sit where I could both look out of the window and observe the restaurant, which was beautifully decorated.


My waiter was very helpful with his suggestions. His first suggestion was for a lemonade. After asking if it was made with bottled water instead of tap water I decided to try it. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to ask if it had egg in it. When I got it, it was a pale yellow and a little fluffy. I didn’t think too much of it until I had drank a bit. Then the white egg foam started to separate from the lemonade. I really should have taken a picture of the separated drink, but I didn’t think of it. It was really very good. Raw egg in a drink sounds odd, but my dad has told me that they used to do this all the time. All this time of being careful of raw vegetables and I accidentally eat a raw egg! Maybe I can stop being so cautious now!


I ordered a trout dish. After asking my waiter’s opinion on the four trout dishes offered, I got the trout “lo gusto,” which the waiter said meant “how you like it,” but I think there was a translation issue. This phrase in the US would mean that you have some choice on how it is prepared. Here, it just meant that it was very good fish. I think.

The plate was beautifully prepared, and there was plenty of good food. The vegetables were a little bland, and the fries were fries. There was nothing special about them. But, the trout was amazing. There were no bones, but the skin was on the bottom. For one point, the fish was probably much fresher than is easily available in Missouri. For another, the seasoning was wonderful and strong without being overpowering.


When I finished eating, I left and had this wonderful view of the mountains around the city. It was dark, so all I could see were the lights. There was no hint of the mountains, so it was just a cluster of floating lights. It was stunning.



I finished the night with another ice cream cone. I got lime again because it was really good the other night. It is sweet with a hint of tartness. You can almost taste the peel, but not enough to make it taste bitter or off-putting. Only enough that I can tell that it is made with an actual lime instead of whatever goes into the lime sorbet at home.


El Mesón de Don Tomás

This restaurant was chosen in an interesting manner. I was wondering around the Plaza and looking for something to eat when a guy around my age asked me what I was looking for. I said that I was looking for food, and he offered to show me the way to a good restaurant. We talked for a bit, then he offered to show me some Incan stone work.

We went down this alley that had some small booths selling various items. There was a clear divide between the Incan work and the Spanish stones. The Spanish stones in the wall all had mortar and were a fraction of the size of the Incan stones, which were perfectly cut to fit together. Even more amazing was the fact that the Spanish stone work looked older and more worn down than the Incan stone work. The guy I was with showed me how there were certain stones that formed the shape of the famous puma and snake symbols that the Incas used. He was very nice and talked to me and showed me around for 30-45 minutes, so I bought one of his paintings. I had been expecting that from the start, and I was happy to buy something after how long he took to talk to me and show me around.

Anyway, that leads to the restaurant that he suggested. When I went in and was seated, there were some cool decorations. Some decorative stonework was made to look like the Incan stonework. There were some cool things on the stones, like this giant owl made out of fiber strands. I’d bet it is alpaca.


Before the meal, I was brought bread that included two sauces and some butter. I tried both sauces, but I preferred the butter. The yellowish one wasn’t too spicy, and it didn’t have as much flavor as butter does. The other one was a pico, and it had a bit of a kick to it. I was happy to try it, but I decided to stick with butter.


I had ordered the Q’apchi de Champiñones, which had the following english description: Vegetarian dish; a potato mixture with mushrooms, cheese, seasoned with herbs, served with rice; to the Andean style. It sounded good, and it was one of the cheaper entrees on the menu, coming to about $9.35 if you exclude the drink. When I got the meal, I was a little disappointed. It was pretty ugly and almost bland looking. But at least it had a pretty butterfly on the plate! When I took a bite, I realized that it was very similar to a stroganoff: and stroganoffs are never pretty. The sauce base had a potato flavor, and it was very flavorful overall. I don’t know what spices they used, but it tasted great!


After my meal, I got the crunchy corn kernels. So far, they have been served before the meal as a sort of appetizer, but these were wonderfully hot and salty, so I think they were making a fresh batch. It was almost too hot to eat, but the dish it was served in was ice-cold. The two temperatures worked well together to make sure it stayed warm while cooling down enough to eat.


Overall, I was very happy with the restaurant. But I seem to be happy with most of the restaurants I have encountered here so far!

Cusco, Peru: Sumaq Maizito Grill & Restaurant

Today, a group was planning a trip to Pisaq. Pisaq is a city near Cusco that has a large market on Sundays and some ruins that sound pretty interesting. I really want to go to Pisaq, but since I was already planning on going I thought that I should go when I can go at my own pace.

Instead, I decided to finally go to the Plaza. I had a goal of finding shoes in mind, but that didn’t work out well. I tried on boots in a shoe store, but they didn’t fit me well. I had heard about a custom-made shoe store from someone in my University, but I couldn’t find it. I found the right street, so maybe it was closed for Sunday.

I got to the Plaza de Armas, and there was some sort of ceremony going on with horns and marching and soldiers. I think that it is a ceremony they do every Sunday, from what I could find out online. Nearby, there was another little park area. It may have been part of the Plaza; I wasn’t sure where it started or stopped and the two areas were a short distance from one another. I shopped around and probably bought far more than I should have. By this point, I was getting pretty hungry. I looked around at some different restaurants. Most restaurants that I have seen here have their menu and pricing outside of the restaurant. I don’t know why I chose the one I chose to eat at, but it was a good choice.


After skipping a few restaurants (not for any good reason, I just was looking around a bit…) I stopped at Sumaq Maizito Grill & Restaurant. The restaurant was on the second floor, and I got a seat with a wonderful view out on the park. There weren’t many people there, but that may have been the time of day.



I ordered hot tea and another chicken dish. The chicken dish (I don’t remember the Spanish name) was very beautifully arranged. It consisted of chicken stuffed with ham that was wrapped around cheese and asparagus. It came with some sort of fruit sauce, like a raspberry sauce, that was a little sweet and a little tart. With it were two orange mounds that I found out were sweet potatoes. They didn’t taste like sweet potatoes in the US, so I thought they might be some sort of squash. They were a little bit grainier than I am used to, and I don’t think they were as artificially sweetened as back home. They were very interesting and pretty good, but I mostly ate the chicken.




In the table under the glass panel, there were holes in the table that were filled with corn kernals. I also saw the table next to me order a corn on the cob, and the kernels were huge! They were three or four times larger than the ones back home! Maybe I should have ordered something with corn in it…


I thought about getting dessert here. Their menu looked pretty good, but I have been craving ice cream. I have been a little nervous about eating ice cream here, but I’ve read that if you get it from a reputable source it should be okay. The only problem with that is: how to you know what is a reputable brand in Peru? Even if locals are eating it, you don’t know if there are bacteria involved that you are not accustomed to. So, I asked about the ice cream flavors. They had vanilla, chocolate, and a mix of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. I decided that if I was going to risk an exploding stomach over ice cream that I was going to get something more interesting.

On the way back to the hotel, I found an ice cream shop. It wasn’t one of those plastic, brightly colored carts that I’ve seen inside other restaurants. It was a shop that only sold ice cream. I went in, and it was a little cramped and there was a bit of a line. I got to try the ice cream with a little wooden spoon. I tried one that looked interesting. I didn’t want to waste too much time with a line forming behind me, so I got a waffle cone with two scoops. I got chocolate and some sort of caramel ice cream. I didn’t understand enough Spanish to know exactly what flavor it was, but it was very good. In addition, the ice cream went down into all but the bottom inch of the ice cream cone!


Although I didn’t get it, I saw them making a very interesting type of ice cream cone. They would take a scoop of one flavor of ice cream, then they would plop it in another flavor and roll the second flavor around the first. They were very good at getting a perfect second coating while using nothing but a small ice cream scoop!

Overall, I was pretty happy with my day. Even though I probably spent too much!

Valentina: Cusco, Peru

Today was a very long day. I didn’t want to sleep in too much because I didn’t want to miss the hotel’s complementary breakfast. For one, it’s free. For another, I didn’t want the responsibility of tracking down another meal.

After breakfast, I changed my plans of exploring the plaza to explore the ruins near the city with a small group. We took a taxi up and walked down. It was a long walk, I didn’t bring enough food, I couldn’t keep up with the group, and I got sunburned. Overall, it wasn’t that great of an experience and I ended up exhausted. After a 6:30pm meeting about the hotel rules for students, I was even hungrier. I had only had a granola bar for lunch, and I couldn’t wait half an hour for a group to get ready to leave. Also, I was assuming that the walk would be longer than I wanted to go on to get food. So, I set out by myself to a restaurant that I had seen on the corner of the street, only two minutes from the hotel.

Valentina was a lovely restaurant. It was beautiful and it had wonderful food. I was greeted at the door and shown to a table. A waitress came and set the table meticulously and placed a napkin on my lap. It has been a long time since I have been to a restaurant that puts your napkin on your lap for you. At this point, I started to wonder about peruvian dining customs for nicer restaurants.

When I was given the menu to look over, I was also given a small dish of what looked like bloated corn kernels. I think that it was corn kernels, but they were slightly puffed and lightly salted. They were good and very interesting. It took a while for a waiter to take my order, but that may be because of different restaurant customs that I don’t know about. Maybe I was supposed to give some sort of signal that I was ready to order…

While I waited for my meal, I was given a piece of bread and a small, pre-packaged container of butter. The bread was very good, with a slightly crunchy crust and a soft, fluffy inside. The butter was very flavorful and I didn’t need much.


When I got my meal, it was the best chicken I have ever tasted. Some of this sentiment may come from the fact that I was very hungry and that this was the first nice, sit-down meal I have had in Peru, but it doesn’t change the fact that the meal was exceptionally delicious. I had ordered chicken with mushroom sauce. When I got it, it came with some peruvian-style french fries and a small amount of cooked vegetables. The chicken was not drowning in sauce, but it was very flavorful. It was cooked perfectly. The outside was slightly crisp, and the inside was at the point where it had just barely turned from pink to white. It was wonderfully moist. The vegetables were very good. There was no overpowering flavor, but the flavors of the vegetables weren’t drowned out by overcooking like it is sometimes done back home. The potatoes were very good. They were similar to french fries, but they were denser. I believe that they were baked instead of fried, but the shape and presentation was similar to french fries.


For dessert, I only had my drink. I ordered a hot chocolate, since I liked the one from the coffee shop so much. It was a perfect finish to the meal.


This meal made me feel incredibly full and bloated, but that is another issue. I kept telling myself to stop eating, but that was very difficult to do! Overall, this meal really made me feel better about my day, and I would be happy if I made it back before I leave Peru.

Cafe Ricchary

Hello! After two nights of getting 12 hours sleep, I finally feel half-way normal. While I haven’t been posting much yet, I wanted to start with a review of a restaurant I stopped by tonight.

So far, the food situation has been… interesting. Before leaving the States, it felt like everyone warned me about what not to eat. No one told me what to eat. So, I need to be careful about: water, undercooked meats, cooked meats in unsanitary conditions (such as sitting out without heating or cooling), dairy, raw vegetables (from the water they are washed in), fruit juices (once again, water), and ice. So, what’s left to eat? I am trying to avoid raw vegetables, but I might change that in the future. And unless I change something, I see a lot of cheese sandwiches in my future.

After getting lost by trying to go down the main street (I shouldn’t have stopped to shop, it turned me around…) I decided that I didn’t want to take risks while looking for food tonight. So, I decided that I would simply walk down the street that my hotel is on until I found a place that looked appetizing. I eventually found this little coffee shop that looked nice. I stopped in and ordered a ham and cheese sandwich with hot chocolate.

The sandwich was interesting, but very good. There wasn’t much ham, and it was an odd texture. There was a lot of cheese on it. The cheese was a white variety that seems to be popular around the area. I’m not sure what kind it is, but when it is not melty it is a little squeaky, like mozzarella. The sandwich was hot and good. What was really good is the hot chocolate. It was grated off of a bar of chocolate and mixed with a little water to make a paste. Then steamed milk was added.

This is where the place gets really interesting. It is an organic, farmer owned restaurant where they make their own chocolate and coffee beans. I spoke to the person running the restaurant, which was very interesting. She spoke no English, but she spoke both Spanish and Quechua, one of the indigenous languages of the area. When I was finished eating, she spent some time talking with me. There was a mini museum area that detailed the process of making chocolate and coffee through pictures and some physical samples from throughout the process. She took the time to talk me through the process and try to help me to understand. I didn’t understand everything, but it was a great experience and nice to talk to someone so friendly!


The name of the place is Cafe Ricchary. Ricchary comes from the Quechua word that means “wake up” in reference to their coffee, and they have won awards based on their coffee. Here is the website I found that information on, if you are interested in more information.

I actually ended up buying some of their drinking chocolate.


This was a lovely place, and I intend to return to try their coffee when it is not so late in the day!