The all too familiar scenario for any airline traveler:
Delayed flight = Missed meals and messed up eating schedule = Becoming “hangry” (hungry + angry) = Ugh
It’s the drill we all have unfortunately experienced. My latest travel snafu during my trip to Peru reminded me of this inconvenience. The sad thing is that our flight from Cusco to Lima was only 1.5 hours delayed, but it really put a dent in our plans to arrive at the hotel by 1pm and be in search of vegetarian food in the “Gastronomic Capital of South America”.
When traveling, I’m always equipped with granola bars and other snacks, but I didn’t want to ruin lunch so I waited it out for this particular situation. And, even though I had a whole list of previously researched vegetarian food options in Lima, we were having a difficult time locating them on Google Maps (not sure why Google Maps SUCKS in Peru, but it does). So, now as it was approaching 3pm and we hadn’t eaten since 7am, the situation was not looking good.
Shradha and I ended up ditching the Google Maps search option and head down to the concierge to ask for vegetarian food recommendations within walking distance. We were directed to a restaurant called El Vegetariano (which ironically was on my list) and who knew it was right around the corner from our hotel in Lima’s Miraflores district?
We look around at the cozy restaurant at what other patrons are enjoying and then intently read the menu to figure out what we want. (Oh, and by the way, we were surprised and intrigued at how many people were eating at an all-vegetarian restaurant in such a meat-centric country at such a late hour in the day. At least they are open to the idea of a vegetarian meal!)
As we were mulling over the menu, it boiled down to this: we were hungry and everything sounded good. We were kind of all over the map (literally and figuratively) so we ended up with the most random smorgasbord of things to eat…don’t laugh:
- Vegetarian ceviche- mushrooms, onions, cilantro, jalapeno and the most awesome, light lime marinade with some serious garlic, served on lettuce
- Chaufa (Chinese) style fried rice- soy “meat”, green onions, egg, Chinese spices and soy sauce
- Italian style garlic bread – grated and whole chunks of roasted garlic on wheat sandwich bread (ha ha)
I ended up calling this our “international fusion lunch” cause really…Peruvian, Chinese and Italian? So random, but it was so good. I’d never had ceviche before (since it is usually prepared with seafood) so I really enjoyed the authentic Peruvian, vegetarian version; fresh, light, healthy, raw and vegan. All great adjectives to describe how I should eat more often (on vacation and especially on a daily basis)!
Let’s just say when we were leaving El Vegetariano around 4pm, we were ready to walk off what we just put away; we were stuffed. Shradha and I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon walking down to the beautiful coastline to the Larcomar Mall and then back to the happening area near our hotel and Parque Kennedy.
Around 10pm we were discussing if we wanted to find a spot for dinner but neither of us was hungry (that Chinese rice was surprisingly filling). As we were talking about it, we passed a place that was literally bumping at 10pm and was clearly the happening place to be. It was Manolo’s and all we saw was a glass case filled with beautiful varieties of churros. We started taking a bunch of pictures and decided right then and there that we would come back just for those churros.
About an hour and half later we returned to Manolo’s with the same goal in sight; churros. We knew the place had to be legit as it was full of mostly locals and never had an open seat. We were lucky enough to get an outdoor seat for some prime people watching and churro inhalation.
Yes, these churros were the bomb. Warm, slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, served with amazing, hot, Peruvian dark chocolate sauce. While I was savoring these delicacies, I was consumed by one mission; how to get the most amount of chocolate sauce on each bite of that churro. Luckily there was plenty of sauce so there was no fear of running out of it (cause after that no one wants to eat a plain churro).
Actually, the biggest travesty was when we finished off the churros and there was still some of that magic chocolate sauce left. Since neither of us really wanted more churros, we sadly knew the fate of the remaining sauce. I think for a brief moment we were both separately strategizing on how to possibly bottle up that sauce and take it with us. No such idea and no such luck.
In the end, it was the perfect way to end our culinary adventures in Peru…with dessert! I’m pretty sure my Mom isn’t going to be thrilled when she reads this and finds out that I ate churros for dinner. Sorry Mom!