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October 24, 2012

Lima: The Tasting Menu at Astrid y Gaston

Since we're going back to South America, I've decided to go back to some of the stories I forgot to tell about last year's trip.

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Last year, as soon as we decided to spend time in Lima while in Peru, I began hearing about all the food options. And at the center of any food conversation about Lima is Gaston Acuria. The defining chef of Peru, Acuria's flagship restaurant is Astrid y Gaston, which happened to be just a couple blocks from the apartment in Miraflores where we stayed.

On our first night in town, we showed up at their door and managed to get dinner at the bar, where we ordered the tasting menu. A few hours and twelve courses later, we
Finished one of the best meals I've had... Pretty much ever. I won't claim to remember exactly what every course was 7 months later, but you can see a good deal of it after the jump.

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October 17, 2012

Heading South

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This may seem like deja vu, but a month from now, Tammi and I are going back to South America. This trip, like our trip last year, starts in Peru, then takes us to Argentina.

We start in Lima, continue to Argentinian wine country in Mendoza, then finish with a week in Buenos Aires. It may seem like a bit of a rerun, but last year was so great that waiting another five years for a return visit seemed foolish.

I'm in ful on obsessive mode planning and researching places to visit, eat and drink, so stay tuned for links and reminiscing from last year's trip.

April 16, 2012

Lima: Public Displays

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In the park up above the Lima waterfront, this statue stands as a monument to the Peruvian proclivity for showing affection. Any doubts about how accurate this was was erased by a walk through the park. It was impossible not to pass at least one pair of entangled teens sucking face for all to see.

April 13, 2012

Lima: Dancing in Kennedy Park

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Lima's Kennedy Park is a five minute walk from our apartment in Miraflores and chock full of activity from markets and events and locals just enjoying the space. Every time we walked through the park there was some sort of performance or dance party happening there.

Get a look after the jump.

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April 12, 2012

Lima: Perpetual Cloud Cover

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Having spent our first week or so in Peru up in the mountains, it was easy to forget that it was winter time down there. During the day, the sun shone and temperatures got to the 60s. When we landed in Lima, closer to sea level, we encountered an entirely new weather pattern. It wasn't the cold, snowy winter we (usually) know at home, but there was a chill in the air and we didn't see the sun at all over the four or five days we were there. At all.

We read that it's like that for most of the year, but it's remarkable being right on the coast of the Pacific with a huge cliffside park across from the beach going for miles and miles and not seeing the sun once. I can't imagine how gorgeous it must be on a sunny summer day.

April 9, 2012

Peru: Incan Constellations

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One interesting thing I picked up from our visit to Qorikancha was that unlike the European astrology, which traces the stars to find deities, the Incan constellations find patterns in the darkness around the stars.

This representation of Incan Astrology was painted by Miguel Araoz Cartagena, a local artist in Cuzco. To read more about the constellations, read this.

April 6, 2012

Cuzco: Eating Cuy at Victor Victoria

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It's a fine line between being an open-minded eater and being the idiot who'll eat anything on a dare. I try to be adventurous enough that I don't miss a good meal due but not so much that I'm just eating something because it's there. In Peru, cuy was the elephant in the room. Guinea pig is a local delicacy that I admit had me both curious and a little grossed out. Really though, when was I going to have the opportunity to try it again.

In Aguas Calientes, I almost had cuy confit at The Tree House But they didn't have any on hand. I didn't go hunting for cuy after that, but I mentioned that I wanted to try it to Arturo, a friend of a friend, who leads food tours in Lima (more on that later). He recommended Victor Victoria, a small restaurant that's small, divey and off the beaten path.

We got totally lost the first time we tried to go there, but managed to track it down the next night. Joined by fellow anglophones from Brooklyn and the UK that we met at an Aussie bar down the road, we dove in together and had a pretty good meal.

Continue reading "Cuzco: Eating Cuy at Victor Victoria" »

April 5, 2012

Cuzco: Craft Museum

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Peru is known for it's textiles and weaves and materials, so it's no surprise that we ended up at the craft museum in Cuzco. While Tammi shopped for "gifts" (ahem), I headed to the back of the shop to see weaving being done by hand. Take a look after the jump.

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April 4, 2012

Cuzco: Qorikancha

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In what was probably the last historic site I laid eyes on over my month long trip to South America, Tammi and I visited Qorikancha, the site of a former Inca temple, which was inevitably looted by the Spaniards and turned into a church. This isn't much a sightseeing blog, so I'll let you read the Wikipedia entry for details and stick with the visuals after the jump.

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April 3, 2012

Cuzco: Chicharron Row

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Our trip to Peru wasn't all eating and hiking - Tammi and I did some sightseeing while we were in Cuzco, too. It just so happens that as we walked to the remains of an ancient inca temple, Qorikancha, we ended up walking down a strip of chicharrones joints. Go figure.

Baskets of freshly fried pork bits were on display in front of each of these places. How could we resist? Culture could wait. Get a look after the jump.

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November 30, 2011

Cuzco: The open kitchen at Cicciolina

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While the eating options were a bit limited in Aguas Calientes, Cuzco was an entirely different story. One night, while looking for a place to grab a drink, we stumbled upon Cicciolina, an Italian place hidden in a courtyard of shops a block or two away from the main square.

We may have come for a drink, but as soon as I saw that our spot at the bar was directly in front of the open kitchen, it was pretty clear that we'd be spending hours there. See cooks, prep, pasta making and cocktail shaking after the jump.

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September 22, 2011

Peru: The Tree House

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As I mentioned yesterday, the town of Machu Picchu, formerly known as Aguas Calientes, is pretty much a tourist town. That includes the food. Pizza and Mexican and Chinese all stand next to restaurants selling the same ten Peruvian dishes, no one offering anything quite good.

There were a couple exceptions that we enjoyed and a month later, the one that sticks with me is The Tree House. Check out the space and the food after the jump.

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Analog Machu Picchu

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I've finally made my way through my film photos of Peru and have started posting them on my analog tumblr site. I'm starting with the photos from Machu Picchu and working my way through the rest of the trip. I'll be posting a few every day, so check back regularly.

September 20, 2011

Peru: Aguas Calientes a.k.a. Machu Picchu town

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The closest town to Machu Picchu was historically called Aguas Calientes, but apparently has recently taken on the name of of its main attraction to avoid confusion.

It reminded me a lot of a smaller Siem Reap: full of travelers and an entrenched tourist economy that offers a little too much of a variety, little of it particularly great. Still, it was interesting to explore. See a bit more about it after the jump.


Continue reading "Peru: Aguas Calientes a.k.a. Machu Picchu town" »

September 7, 2011

Peru: Climbing Machu Picchu

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Well, ok, we didn't actually climb Machu Picchu. Not technically. For various logistical reasons that Tammi explains in great detail, we didn't manage to get the appropriate ticket to climb the actual mountain called Machu Picchu. This, it turns out was not a big deal. In fact, given the week of aches and pains I had after the hiking we did do, I'm not sure I'd have managed the mountain.

Since I'm so behind in my posts (and photo editing), I'll minimize the commentary and make with the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "Peru: Climbing Machu Picchu" »

September 1, 2011

Peru: Altitude Adjustment

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I was warned before heading to Peru that the altitude in Cuzco and to a slightly lesser extent the Machu Picchu area would take its toll on us. Having been gradually acclimatized to the 8,000 foot elevation of Aspen over the years, I was a little skeptical that it would be much worse than a minor headache and a nosebleed or two.

It turns out that 11,000+ feet is a whole different experience.

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August 17, 2011

Peru: Lunch at Juanito's in Cuzco

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Wow, what a week it's been since I posted from the airport in Lima at 4am. We've bounced around Peru and there will be more reports soon, I promise. For regular updates, follow my digital Tumblr blog, where I've been posting photos like mad.

Once we got to Cuzco and settled in, it was time to look for some real food. We huffed and puffed through the 11,000+ foot altitude and tracked down a sandwich shop called Juanito's, which was highly recommended and just a couple blocks from where we were staying.

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August 10, 2011

Lima: Late Night at the Airport

The 1am crowd at Lima's airport. #travel #airports #Lima

Our flight arrived in Lima just before midnight local time. We weren't the only ones. Hundreds of people, coming and going, were swarming around the airport when we got here. Even now, four hours later, as we wait for our next flight to take us on to Cuzco, there are many, many people wandering its halls. The stores all seem to be open and we're sitting in a Starbucks, with other exhausted travelers.

I have no idea why, but judging by all the staffers walking about bright-eyed, it seems like this is a normal thing. I have no insight. I'm wiped out and writing this more to stay awake than to inform.


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