Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TRAVEL: Chow Down Seattle Visits Peru!

Machu Picchu, Peru
A little over a month ago I traveled to South America with two of my good friends. The first country we visited was Peru. We had a short flight from Seattle to LAX. Then we had a long flight to Lima, Peru. After getting our luggage, we checked in to our next flight to Cusco, Peru. We weren't done yet. We then had a private car take us to Urubamba, where we spent two nights. Urubamba is located an hour from Cusco and is the largest town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is about an hour and a half from Machu Picchu.

We stayed at Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa. It's a beautiful resort with a great restaurant. The rooms and the amenities were amazing! The night before our trip to Machu Picchu we had a great dinner at Hawa, the resort's restaurant. They use organic ingredients from neighboring farmers. The chefs prepare traditional Incan fare with a contemporary spin. I started my dinner with a glass of Peruvian wine from Tabernero Winery, Gran Tinto Fina Reserva. We were given a complimentary amuse bouche of sushi. It was delicious!

Sushi Amuse Bouche
For my dinner, I ordered chicken cooked vacuum packed, smoked with Muna and fine herbs, served with butternut squash puree, caramelized baby vegetables and Muna sauce. Everything about this meal was delicious!

Chicken with vegetables and Muna sauce

For dessert, I order a dish with chocolate cake, ice cream and caramel sauce. It tasted amazing!

Caramel sauce, ice cream and chocolate cake

We were also treated to some complimentary Peruvian cookies.

Peruvian Cookies
Below is a picture of the beautiful Hawa Restaurant at Tambo del Inka. The huge fireplace is the centerpiece of the restaurant, along with the amazing wood beams that mimic the shape of a tree. The service at Hawa was outstanding.

Hawa Restaurant at Tambo del Inka

Beef Tenderloin with Rice and Fries
For dinner the second night, I had the Beef Tenderloin with Rice and Fries. This was my favorite of the two dinners. The beef was tender and delicious, and the sauce was perfect to dip the fries into.

Peruvian Chocolates
We were treated to some complimentary Peruvian Chocolates that resembles the Andes Mountains. They too were delicious!

After two great nights in Urubamba, we traveled to Cusco for one night. Cusco is located in southeastern Peru and it is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. It was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire. One thing you do have to watch out for when visiting Cusco is altitude sickness. The city's elevation is at 11,200 feet. I definitely felt the elevation as it was hard to breath at times. One thing Cusco does have is great food! We stayed at the Palacio del Inka, another Luxury Collection Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel. We had dinner at the Inti Raymi Restaurant. They are well known for using local Andean ingredients that include Quinoa to a vast array of potatoes and vegetables from the Sacred Valley.

Dining Room at Inti Raymi Restaurant
We were seated in a small dining room in part of the restaurant that only contained four tables. The hotel is built on old Inca ruins over 500 years old.

Alpaca Tartar
We were treated to a complimentary Alpaca Tartar with mushrooms and vegetables. I was hesitant to try raw Alpaca meat, especially since Alpaca are cure furry animals, but it honestly was delicious.

Tagliatelle with Beef Sauteed, Creole Style
My main entree was Tagliatelle with Beef Sauteed, Creole Style. It was served with cooked tomatoes and onions. This was truly a delicious dish! The beef was seasoned perfectly.

Needless to say, I loved my meal.

Assortment of Peruvian Chocolates
We again were treated to some complimentary Peruvian Chocolates. They just love giving away their chocolates!

Various vegetables from Peru.
Various vegetables from Peru.
Peruvians are very proud of their food. Next to our dining room was another larger dining area that had two large tables displaying native Peruvian foods. On display were various types of potatoes, Quinoa, Lima beans, Caigua (a vegetable with a cucumber taste), corn and rice. One thing that I didn't know is that the potato is native to Peru. I have to also mention that the service at the Inti Raymi Restaurant was amazing! I could eat here every night!


The flags of Peru and Cusco.
Peruvian Bakery in Cusco.
Ricuras Bakery
I highly recommend visiting Peru to take in Machu Picchu and all of the natural beauty of the Andes Mountains. The food is amazing and the people are very friendly and welcoming.

Next week I will write about our stay in Santiago, Chile and the food we experienced there. Stay tuned!

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