La tradición inamovible

Nada ha cambiado en este restaurante desde hace 40 años. Al contrario, la decoración es más kitsch, si cabe el término, porque a todas las colecciones se añaden ahora grandes canastones de fruta fresca a la entrada. El local no es grande, tiene cuatro ambientes abigarrados por el afán coleccionista de su dueño que exhibe una impresionante colección de botellas de todas las formas, tamaños y colores. Tiene 17 mil, lo que la convierte en la colección más grande de Latinoamérica y la tercera en el mundo. Además del decorado, tiene otra característica singular que lo hace único en la ciudad: aquí se cocinan todas las carnes de caza que uno pueda encontrar. Por ejemplo, liebre, conejo, faisán, vizcacha, venado, perdiz, jabalí. Y de las otras, como ternera, pollo, cabrito y alpaca. Su Carta es interminable e incluye antipastos, encurtidos hechos en casa (y exhibidos también en coloridos frascos de colosal tamaño), embutidos y quesos importados de Italia, cebiches y entradas calientes, pastas con salsas al escoger, platos criollos y postres clásicos sicilianos, cuna de Santino Balleta. En medio de esta aluvional oferta, vale detenerse en las carnes de caza preparadas con champán, vino y trufas y en postres como el cannoli y la torta de amaretto. El punto flaco del restaurante es que las fuentes no tienen samovar, si se enfría el buffet el plato se calienta en microondas. La Carta de vinos es interesante e incluye vinos poco conocidos; la oferta de cocteles también es extensa, no así la de piscos.

El Anfitrión
Santino Balleta llegó al Perú a finales de los 60. No pasó mucho tiempo antes de que abriera el Blue Moon en noviembre de 1966. Desde el inicio se planteó ofrecer carnes de caza y comida clásica italiana. La respuesta del público lo ha mantenido a lo largo de los años.
¿Usted caza?
No. Me gustan las carnes de caza y en Lima no había un restaurante para comerlas.
¿Cuándo empezó su colección de botellas?
Hace cuarenta años. No solo tengo botellas, también billetes, etiquetas, carritos antiguos.
¿Cambia su carta con frecuencia?
No. Tengo un buffet diario con 70 platos diferentes y los domingos son 80. Unos días es buffet internacional, otros italiano, criollo, marino. Hay variedad.
Su Carta de cocteles es amplia. ¿Cuántos ofrece?
Todos los que quieran. Tengo más de 300 licores diferentes.
¿Cuál es su preferido?
El chispita de amor, lleva cuatro tipos de licores: cointreau, galeano, vodka y curacao.

Ficha técnica:
Restaurante: Blue Moon
Dirección: Pumacahua 2520, Lince
Teléfono: 4701631
Horario de atención: martes a domingo de 12 m a 11 p.m.
Precio promedio: bufet S/.35 y 42
Cubierto: S/. 5
Carta de vinos: amplia
Descorche: no se cobra
Capacidad: 100 personas



El domingo pasado el periodista Jonathan Yardley publicó este artículo en el Washington Post. Nuestra cocina está de moda en todo el mundo. Albricias.

Lima Cuisine: You Don't Know What You're Missing
By Jonathan Yardley

Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, June 10, 2007; Page P01

In recent years, Jorge Chavez International Airporthas been so spectacularly rejuvenated that it inadvertently reinforces an old cliche about the city it serves: Lima -- the City of Kings, the capital of Peru, home to 9 million people -- is merely a way station for travelers en route to Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Iquitos, Lake Titicaca and Peru's other celebrated attractions.

As to what they're missing, they haven't a clue. Not merely is old Lima rich in history, but new Lima is so rich gastronomically as to put just about all the world's other cities to shame. Today it is not merely advisable but mandatory to come to Lima para comer: for the food.
At Punto Azul, the most expensive dishes on the menu cost less than $8.

Lima, Peru: Find where to stay and where to eat from the article's author.

Please don't ask me to be objective about Peruvian food or, for that matter, anything else in what has become my adopted second home. My wife is a native of Lima, and two years ago we bought an apartment in Miraflores, a district of the capital that was a seaside resort when it was founded in the late 19th century but is now a bustling city unto itself. We don't own a car, not only because taxis are plentiful and cheap but also because we can walk just about everywhere we want to go, including dozens of restaurants that range from haute cuisine to home cooking but have one thing in common: The food is indescribably delicious.

My wife and I do not exactly take for granted the food of Miraflores, but during our frequent stays there it is inextricably intertwined in our daily lives. From street-corner vendors we buy mangoes and cherimoyas bursting with sweet juice. At E. Wong, the cornucopian supermarket chain, we get the golf-ball-size limones (tart limes) that are essential ingredients of the puissant Peruvian national drink, the pisco sour, and langostinos (shrimp) so fresh that their heads and tails still twitch. The bakery two blocks away has a startling variety of breads and homemade sandwiches, not to mention splendid beef empanadas.

This is a side of Miraflores that few tourists see. They arrive in taxis or tour buses and are shepherded to the places where tourists are fed: Larco Mar, the lively commercial center cut into the oceanfront cliff a few blocks from our apartment, or the two famous restaurants on the beach below, Costa Verde and Rosa Nautica. These range from okay to fine, but you'll get only a hint of what Miraflores offers if that's as far as you go.

Miraflores is scarcely the only place in Lima where excellent restaurants are to be found. In two adjoining suburbs, Barranco and San Isidro, there are a number of good places, and lovers of the Peruvian twist on Chinese food often head for restaurants known as chifas in Chinatown, in the old center city. But the concentration of fine restaurants in Miraflores is nothing short of remarkable. Add to this that Miraflores has many good hotels and shopping districts, is clean and safe, and offers breathtaking views along its three-mile malecon (oceanfront avenue), and it comes down to this: Miraflores is the perfect place for the traveler to discover and savor Peruvian food.

South America has long known about Peruvian food, but only in recent years has the rest of the world begun to catch on. In large measure this is due to the efforts of Gastón Acurio, now in his late 30s, who with his wife, Astrid, a decade and a half ago founded the most famous restaurant in Miraflores, Astrid y Gastón, but whose influence reaches far beyond that. He is a passionate goodwill ambassador for Peruvian food; he has a popular television show that regularly draws attention to other restaurants both great and small, he has published popular and influential cookbooks, he's opened many other restaurants of his own, and he's far better known in Peru than any celebrity chef in the United States.

Gastón's food (in Peru everyone refers to him as Gastón) is an artful blend of traditional Peruvian with contemporary nouvelle techniques. For generations, Peru's has been a fusion of all the cuisines developed there or brought from elsewhere: native (or criollo), Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Caribbean, Italian, African. Peru gave the world the potato -- it grows thousands of varieties in more colors than you can count -- and the potato remains essential to its cuisine, most nobly in causa, a concoction of potato mashed in lime juice and the fiery indigenous pepper aji, and filled or topped with everything from crab (my favorite) to avocado to boiled egg to shrimp to octopus.

As that suggests, seafood is at the heart of Peruvian cookery. It is from the Pacific that Peru's two greatest dishes come. These are seviche (spelled ceviche or cebiche in Peru) and tiradito. The former is fresh, raw fish, often sole, cut into chunks and "cooked" in lime juice; the latter is fresh, completely raw sole or a native fish called corvina, thinly sliced and covered with one or more of Peru's innumerable sauces, many based in aji or another hot Peruvian pepper, rocoto.

Before a quick tour of the glories of Miraflores, a few pointers for visitors:

· Peruvians eat late, so you can arrive at just about any restaurant by 1 p.m. for lunch and 8:30 p.m. for dinner and be assured of a table without a wait. Virtually all restaurants that specialize in fresh seafood -- cevicherias -- are open only for lunch, usually between noon and 5.

· Dollars are accepted in most places, as are standard credit cards.

· Tipping is not as common in Peru as in the States, and 10 percent is considered generous; at some places service is included in the check, so ask if you're not sure.

· With the exceptions of Astrid y Gastón and Costanera 700, restaurants in Miraflores are cheap by American standards; two can eat gloriously for under $30 (not including alcoholic beverages) at many of my favorite places.

Indeed, that's where we'll start: at one of my favorites. It's a cevicheria called Punto Azul (Calle San Martin 595), a half-mile from our apartment. It's hugely popular in the neighborhood, and after 1 p.m. there are always long lines outside. The food tells you why. Punto Azul (which has four other locations in Lima) uses a fish called palmerita for its seviche and tiradito. It is perhaps not quite as sweet as sole, but it is tender and tasty. I usually order tiradito, half under aji sauce and half under rocoto; it costs less than $6 and is a meal in itself. The most expensive dishes on the menu are under $8. Somehow my wife and I managed to spend $22.50 on our most recent visit, but that was a three-course meal.

There's no such thing as a cevicheria district, but many of the best seafood places are concentrated in an otherwise unfashionable section of north Miraflores centered on Av. La Mar. These include La Red, Pescados Capitales, Costanera 700 and La Mar, an offshoot of the Gastón empire. As to which of these is the best, my honest answer is that though all are excellent, the best is the one I ate at most recently. La Red (Av. La Mar 381) is the least expensive -- our three-course lunch weighed in at $30 plus tip, pisco sours and wine included -- and has an especially good causa, though I'd be hard-pressed to choose between that and the causas at La Mar and Pescados Capitales.

La Mar (Av. La Mar 770) and Pescados Capitales (Av. La Mar 1337) are five blocks apart and look a lot alike, with open, airy dining rooms under bamboo roofs, and roomy tables spaced generously. The causa at La Mar is basically the same as what Gastón serves at his flagship restaurant: four little potato mounds topped with the ingredients of your choice. My wife is especially partial to the wontons packed with shrimp at Pescados Capitales, and we tend to agree (at least immediately after eating there) that it serves the best pisco sours -- Peruvian brandy, lime juice, sugar syrup and egg white -- in Miraflores. At both restaurants the seviche and tiradito are superb, though by the narrowest of margins I favor Pescados Capitales. At La Mar, a superb lunch set us back $90 plus tip, while we got out of Pescados Capitales for $60.

The most expensive restaurant in this part of town is Costanera 700 (Av. Del Ejercito 421), operated by the legendary Japanese chef Humberto Sato. Ask for a table upstairs, where you can look across a small park to the ocean. I recommend the tiradito lenguado ($14) and the causa de centolla ($8). On a recent visit, we shared the house's signature dish, a tender fish called chita baked in a thick crust of salt, and we shared, as postre (dessert), a heavenly plate of three sorbets made from indigenous fruit. It all came to $95 plus tip. A bonus was that as we walked out the rear entrance we saw, eating quietly at a corner table, Gastón himself, checking up on the competition.

Gastón wasn't on the premises when we visited Astrid y Gastón (Cantuarias 175) in April, but the restaurant was at full glory. We were seated in the wine cellar and welcomed by the manager, whom the Easter holiday seemed to have inspired to heights of hospitality. For the somewhat daunting price of $185 we had a meal that can only be called astonishing, beginning with (of course) seviche and causa, continuing through stuffed rocoto, grilled swordfish and shrimp ravioli, culminating in dessert, coffee and the unique jungle-fruit confections with which the restaurant closes all meals. Wow. Or, as we say down there: Guau.

Still, if I could go to only one restaurant in Miraflores it would be (again by the narrowest of margins) Alfresco (Malecon Balta 790), where the tiradito lenguado alfresco ($7) apparently is made in heaven. It swims in the simplest of olive oil sauces, delicately flavored, and is tenderness defined. The causa mixta of fish and shrimp ($5) ranks with Gastón's, and the panko fried shrimp ($7) are the best I've ever eaten. Anywhere. The restaurant is in an old house, but the enclosed main dining room is built out onto the sidewalk and is as airy as any cevicheria. Lunch for two came to $62.50.

There you have it: Seven restaurants for seven lunches during your week in Miraflores. For dinner or breakfast, try the other places listed under Details. I can vouch for all of them. Of dining in Miraflores, this must be said: It is just about impossible to have a bad meal there, and it is easy to have a great one.

Jonathan Yardley, book critic of The Post, lives in Washington and Miraflores.



Simpática y exitosa es Rachael Ray, joven chef, empresaria, autora de libros de cocina y conductora de un recontra sintonizado programa en la TV gringa, "30 minutes meals", donde enseña a cocinar rico y rápido. Un menú completo en media hora, tema que a los americanos les cae de perillas dado el poco tiempo que disponen para menesteres domésticos. Rachael también tiene un programa viajero "$40 a Day", en el que muestra cómo comer bueno, bonito y barato cuando uno se desplaza por el mundo. Este peregrinaje la trajo al Perú donde visitó Scena (la foto es de ahí), al maestro Javier Wong, La Mar y La Rosa Náutica. La vi disfrutando un cebiche, un tiradito y causas varias. Punto para Perú.



¡Qué bien se come en Malabar! Cada día hay algo nuevo, sabroso, creativo. Pedro Miguel Schiaffino se toma muy en serio la cocina, y la asume con verdadera pasión. La semana pasada estuve en una prueba de platos para el evento PASION POR LA TIERRA organizado por Panuts para el miércoles 27 de junio dentro del ciclo Nueva Cocina de Autor. La idea es que Marisol Olivas, el ángel de Panuts, propone los vinos y Pedro Miguel los platos. De armonías y maridajes trató la prueba.
Los resultados fueron los siguientes:

Lasañeta fría de trucha salmonada con crema agria, pesto de muña y kushuro (algas de la selva medio insípidas pero marinadas en vinagre y especias a la usanza japonesa)con un Juvé y Camps Reserva Cinta Púrpura 2003, España
Camarón reventado en mojo de naranja agria y aceite de coral y Lomito de cerdo con shitakes frescos y lechuga rellena de langostinos. Ambos con un Muga blanco fermentado en barrica 2006, Rioja, España.
Cabrito braseado en chicha de jora con escamas de papa al romero con un magnífico Zuccardi Q Cabernet 2003, Mendoza, Argentina.
Corderito lechal de 8 horas al aroma de culantro con alverjitas al tenedor con un gran Prado Enea, Gran Reserva 1998, Rioja , España
Entre plato y plato un refrescante sorbete de maracuyá y de postre una torta tibia de queso de cabra y chocolate bitter con helado de chirimoya y naranjas confitadas armonizado con un Malamado, Malbec a la manera de Oporto, Mendoza, Argentina.
Grandes platos, grandes vinos, gran menú.
Reserve su mesa en el 444-4159.



Muchos creíamos que la centolla era un decápodo marino que solo habitaba en los mares al sur del Continente. Pues no. Existe en nuestras costas y en abundancia. Las centollas viven por debajo de los mil metros de profundidad, son más grandes que las chilenas (entre uña y uña pueden medir alrededor de un metro) y más espinosas. Su carne es de textura firme, sabor delicado, rica en proteínas y baja en grasas. Hace dos años la empresa Lucidor se dedica a la pesca en línea capturándolas en jaulas especialmente diseñadas para levantar los cangrejos gigantes desde el fondo del mar sin dañarlos. Son conservados en cámaras refrigeradas hasta que llegan a tierra, se despulpan y se envasan al vacío sin preservantes ni aditivos. Si bien se destina casi en exclusiva a la exportación (cinco mil kilos al mes) la demanda en restaurantes está creciendo de manera importante. Con centolla se puede rellenar una causa, hacer un chupe o una salsa para bañar pastas. Más información en www.centollaperu.com


Maribel Florez vuelve a la carga

En la transitada Avenida Colonial un nuevo restaurante pone calor al ambiente. Se trata del Cuatro Postes, sencillo local que ofrece una propuesta muy interesante de la mano de su joven chef Maribel Florez. Después de su aventura en Kyncha donde puso una Carta moderna de base tradicional, ahora profundiza su tendencia hacia los platos de la cocina clásica peruana con guiños personales que la identifican. Mantiene el interesante lomo saltado taypá servido sobre una cama de tallarín chino en lugar del arroz, la cazuelita mar y tierra con crema de ají con mariscos y el dúo de causitas rellenas con pulpa de cangrejo y pulpo al olivo. Para paladares entusiastas o curiosos persiste en el delicado lomo de alpaca servido con risotto al pesto. Como platos nuevos ha desarrollado un pollo capiro empanizado con quinua y unos fideos con calamares, langostinos y conchitas salteadas. La zona atrae también a oficinistas de las cercanías para quienes propone un menú diario y platos del día (S/.15 soles): lunes tacu tacu con mariscos, martes fetuchinis con salsa marina, miércoles chaufa de pollo y jueves adobo. Los viernes son de lomo saltado con copa de vino incluida (S/.18). Hay pocos postres pero bien hechos que van desde el tiramisú en salsa de café a panqueques con helado.

Ficha técnica
Local: Cuatro Postes
Dirección: Av. Colonial 5795, Callao
Teléfono: 4989173
Horario de atención: lunes a viernes solo almuerzos
Cubierto: No cobra
Precio promedio por plato: S/. 20
Descorche: No cobra
Carta de vinos: discreta