Taste of Peru 2014

Taste of Peru, the third in my annual Holy Trinity of Peruvian Gastronomic Festivals, returned yet again.  Last year, I was underwhelmed by the turnout.  This year, the Peruvians in Miami turned out in full force.  Even better, some new vendors made an appearance at the venue.  It was truly a testament to the growing prevalence of Peruvian cuisine in South Florida.

Sadly, my partner in crime was out sick this year.  So, I tackled the food on my own, and found that I simply cannot handle the sheer quantity of food at these events with at least one extra mouth to split the servings with.

IMG_0024The entrance to the festival showcased some of the new vendors.  Always great to have new things to try, especially with a limited amount of stomach space.

IMG_0029To my surprise, the Chancho al Palo vendors were here!  Plus, they were accepting credit cards for purchasing a plate of their delicious roast pork.  Ar $15 a plate, the price is a bit steep.  But, it can’t be found anywhere else, so it was money well-spent.

IMG_0032Peruvian cheese and wine!

IMG_0033As usual, Flor de la Canela is dishing out traditional Peruvian cuisine in the clay pots.  They are always a popular choice.

IMG_0036For the first time, La Granja shows up at a Peruvian Festival.  They served up ceviche, pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken) with rice and beans, and desserts.

IMG_0038Of course, no Peruvian festival would be complete without Los Suspiros and their picarones/anticuchos station.  Naturally, this was my first stop.  I regretted it afterwards, when eating a full serving of picarones on my own filled me up too much to eat much of anything else.

IMG_0040A warm welcome to Bravo, who offered gourmet sandwiches and empanadas!  Hopefully, I will get to try some next time.

IMG_0042Outside of the festival grounds, magic was happening.  I thought I would have to wait another year to have chancho al palo again, but there it was!  The pork was not quite ready when I got in line for my share, but it gave me an opportunity to chat up the vendors.  The large, rotating grills that they roast the pork on are custom-built, not store-bought.  They also had the recipe available.  Surely, they figured there would be some ambition Latino MacGuyvers anxious to try building their own roasting apparatus.  In fact, I am due for a trip to the hardware store very soon…

IMG_0044The pork is served with boiled potato, pickled onion salad, and spicy green sauce.  To tell you the truth, the other stuff was simply taking up space that could have belonged to more pork.  This, my friends, is the greatest argument against vegetarianism.

IMG_0051In between bites, you could enjoy the on-site entertainment.  Various Peruvian folk dances were features, and the not-so-Peruvian music from Disney’s Frozen was also played.  Out of place, but family friendly.  So, yay?

IMG_0056After stuffing my face full of Peruvian roast pork, I had room for only one more selection.  I can’t leave a Peruvian festival without having any ceviche, and I noticed Runas Restaurant serving two kinds.  Since they were one of the new kids on the block, I gave their classic ceviche a shot.  Spicy, but not bad!

As a lover of Peruvian food, I am so glad to see these events growing and attracting new vendors.  Everyone did a great job, and everything was delicious.  I can’t wait until next year.  In the meantime, I think I foresee some culinary experimentation in my future.

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