Food Coma in Peru

I’m a little late in blogging about my October Travel from Home trip, but I fake traveled to the country of Peru. The hardest part of it for me was the food. There’s a Peruvian restaurant within walking distance from my house, and there are another dozen or so close to where I live and work. However, almost none of them had any vegetarian options at all. I knew Peruvian chicken was popular, I just didn’t realize it was so popular that restaurants offer almost nothing else!

I finally found a restaurant called Inca Social located about 25 minutes away that had some non-chicken, non-beef, and non-fish options (though I still had to put in a special request to avoid the fish sauce). I went early in the day to pick up my order, and the television over the bar was playing the first Fantastic Four movie. I walked in just as Chris Evans made his appearance at the beginning of the big showdown. Not especially Peruvian, but it was great timing.

My Choices

Meal: I ended up ordering the Lima omelette, which contained sauteed garlic mushrooms, spinach,
mozzarella, parmesan & feta cheese. It was, hands-down, the best omelette I have ever eaten in my life. 11 out of 10 stars. It came with potatoes and a small cup of fresh fruit, but I also ordered a side of yuquitas fritas (Peruvian yuca fries). They were pretty bland, which is frankly fine by me. But I was pretty packed full of carbs by the end of this meal!

Dessert: Despite being full, that did not stop me from enjoying my first ever churros. I know—gasp—I had never tasted a churro before! As such, I didn’t have anything to compare them to, but they were absolutely spectacular. With warm chocolate sauce for dipping, I eagerly devoured them all. Then I ended up taking a nap because I was almost immediately propelled into a food coma.

Book: When I started thinking about a travel from home trip to Peru, I did a search for books at my public library. There were some books on the Incan civilization that sounded interesting but dauntingly lengthy. Then a soon-to-be-published children’s nonfiction book caught my eye. Fourteen Monkeys: A Rainforest Rhyme by Melissa Stewart with art by Steve Jenkins. The book is set in Manú National Park in Peru, where more species of monkeys live together than in any other rain forest on earth (fourteen species, if you couldn’t guess). The rhyme was cute and fun, focusing on maybe one or two particular traits that are unique to each species. And if you want to know more, there’s a whole section in the back that lists more information, so you can compare them by diet, community size, and even caregiving for their young. My favorite feature, however, was the little graphic on each page that showed at what elevation of the rain forest each species lives. The diversity of locations within the ecosystem is what allows so many monkeys to coexist and not directly compete for resources and space. My favorite animals ever are golden lion tamerins, and so it was great to see some tamerins and marmosets in the book, but there were so many other species—some I had never even heard of and want to learn more about now! It was an excellent, delightful book.

Music: Once again, I resorted to workouts to fulfill my music requirement. It wasn’t easy finding Peruvian dance workout videos, but I did find a few:

Movie:  I had a few contenders, but I ended up watching the 2017 movie Retablo via Netflix. It is described as “The life of a 14-year-old boy in an isolated Peruvian village is turned upside down when he accidentally discovers his troubled father’s secret.” I guessed the secret from the start, but I was not prepared for the turns the movie took once the secret was out. I am sure I’ve seen a story-box or two at some point in my life, but I didn’t realize how much artistry could go into making them. I loved seeing this father and son bond over the creation of amazing art created of and for members of the community. And I was most fascinated by the painstaking process of safely transporting these delicate works from mountainous countryside to town for sale.