(mid june. number 19.)
For this Secret Restaurant, we wanted to try something pretty far outside of our usual realm of experience. Inspired by a visit to famed ridiculous Peruvian restaurant in the pearl district Andina, and tales from friends of eating experiences in South America, we ended up with Ecuadorian Nouvelle Cuisine! Our pretend fusion all-lowercase named restaurant this time would be named after Aria's former place of residence, cuenca.
O brother, we asked ourselves, where will we go next?
On the Table
Tortilla chips (store-bought, we can't make eeeverything!) and homemade spice slam habanero salsa.
Skewers & Salad
Rock fish and prickly-pear cactus on skewers. The fish was rubbed with blackening spices, and the fruit touched up with a little sugar for extra caramelizing, then cooked on an outdoor grill. Drizzled with a deep, dark mole sauce.
The salad was a mexican-style coleslaw, with cabbage, red onion, spring turnip, pickled cactus, and underripe kiwi, treated with lime juice and white wine vinegar. Served on top of fresh lettuces from our backyard garden.
Served with a slice of yellow hothouse heirloom tomato, touched up with pink himalayan salt and lemon pepper.
A take on some traditional Ecuadorian seasonal soups, this stew featured yuka root, yam, homini, and a multitude of early summer squashes. Achiote and a faint hint of cinnamon spiced it. Served with braised chaote and red onion, fresh corn, and a baked egg, topped with porcini salt.
Llapingachos, a kind of potato pancake (we're fond of potato pancakes around here) prepared like a thumbprint cookie (if the batter with mashed potatoes), stuffed with queso fresco, and then folded over. Cooked on a sizzling hot cast iron slammer. Topped with a mango salsa.
Black Bean Souplet. My black bean soup recipe, developed over the last many years, served in tiny espresso cups. Crushed cumin seeds fried in hot oil and butter with onion, shallot, ginger, and garlic. Then simmered for many hours. Served with fancy sour cream from El Salvador, and whole roasted spring onion (prepared like we're used to seeing roasted garlic, so the soft onion could pop out of the skin).
Quinoa Tabbouleh. Black and white quinoa cooked and then cooled, tossed with lemon and lime juice, with diced tomatoes and cilantro. Served with a fancy arrangement of avocado slices.
Baked plantains, brushed with butter and brown sugar and stuffed with queso fresco. This crazy fruit, Pouteria sapota, cut into slices and prepared like baked apples. Drizzled with fresh cream.
Served with fresh mango batida.
A Laurelwood Pilsner
Bottled up in growlers for us nearby at Saraveza Bottle & Pasty Tavern.