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.

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