peruvian


My friend and I had tried to go to Inti Peruvian earlier but they are closed on Mondays (something they don’t tell you on their Web site).   

  • Food: To start, we shared the chicken tamale.  I’m not usually a huge tamale fan, but this one was really good.  What I loved was that the ingredients weren’t chopped up so fine that you couldn’t tell what it was — there were nice chunks of egg, pepper, shredded chicken, etc.  Then my friend ordered the Seco a la Nortena con Frijoles which was so tender and delicious.  I thought it was a great choice!  I ordered the Picante de Mariscos and was disappointed with rubbery seafood.  But the sauce was really good, especially when I added their green chili sauce.  There were two huge mussels though on either side of the seafood which were quite impressive.  BTW, the green chili sauce wasn’t really spicy, but it did add a tiny amount of heat.
  • Service: Our server was really polite and I liked her.  She also had good timing — she was there when we needed her and otherwise, left us alone.  I like that.
  • Atmosphere: So when we walked down the steps, we weren’t sure if we should go to the door on the left or the right.  We went to the door on the right, although I think both would have worked.  Then they told us that we could sit outside.  Really?  So we were surprised that outside was an option.  Inside they have 12-15 tables but outside, they have a cute deck with 8 tables with huge umbrellas that keep you covered.  At night, they have holiday lights on the inside of the tables.  The inside of the restaurant doesn’t have a lot of atmosphere, but it works.  It seems to be comfortable and cozy, but I’d suggest sitting outside if you can.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:So other than my chewy seafood, I also have to complain about the fact that they didn’t give us any bread (even though we saw everyone else on the patio get a basket!) but we did get this interesting corn thing — kinda like corn nuts but without a lot of flavor.  Overall, I’d go back.  I love their small, but comfortable patio.  Next time, I’ll try their beef or chicken entree.  

Details:

  • Reservations not required
  • Hours: Tues-Thurs 11 AM-10 PM; Fri & Sat 11 AM-11 PM; Sun 11 AM-9 PM; Closed on Mondays
  • Address:1825 18th St. NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 797-0744
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I have found my new favorite restaurant.  This is ridiculously good food at an insanely cheap price.  Why haven’t people been talking about this place more often? 

  • Food:I’ve been here twice in a week and yet I continue to find new and yummy items on their menu.  I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of possibilities!  Everything is outstanding — the fried plantains are some of the best in the city.  The spinach empanadas are also amazing because they’re so light and flaky.  They are a cavernous kind with spinach and garlic — way better (and cheaper) than Julia’s Empanadas.  In the 4th photo, the salad had a tang to it with a pico de gallo type dressing.  The rice was light and flavorful.  So far, the weakest item was the beef burrito because it was ground beef and didn’t have a lot of flavor. 

Photos from left to right are: cheese pupusa; two chicken tacos; spinach empanada; burritos amigos (1 beef and 1 chicken); fried plantains.

Casa Blanca Pupusas  Casa Blanca Chicken Tacos  Casa Blanca Spinach Empanada  Casa Blanca Burrito Amigos  Casa Blanca Fried Plantains

  • Service: They’re very nice and it’s clearly a family-ran joint. 
  • Atmosphere: What it lacks in character with their interior, their food more than makes up for it.  This is a bare-bones kind of establishment where you’ll see a variety of eaters from college students to business executives.
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: This is a cash only establishment so make sure you hit the ATM before you go.  So far, I know a half a dozen people who have gone and no one has had given this place anything but fantastic reviews.  This is definitely one of my favorite places and I can’t wait to try everything on their menu!  Speaking of which, here’s their menu: Menu Page 1; Menu Page 2; Menu Page 3.   Oh, and they do say they have delivery, but their service is sporadic. 

Details:

  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 AM-10 PM; closed Sundays
  • Address: 1014 Vermont Ave NW; Washington, DC 20005
  • Ph: (202) 393-4430

So that does it for my trip to the San Fran area.  Thanks for continuing to read the blog and I hope you were able to at least enjoy the photos/stories! 

I’m back to living in DC now so in that spirit, here’s a restaurant review of a Peruvian place called La Granja de Oro.  You’ll see it because it has a red/brown awning with the words “Rotisserie Chicken” and a wooden (but covered) patio.  Here’s their menu:

 

  • Food:I ordered the chorizo sandwich for $5.95 and it was good.  I think I got the end piece though of the chorizo so it was a bit tough, but the flavor was good.  I also love fried plantains so I ordered a side to try.  These were OK, but not great.   My favorite are still at Mixtec.  They claim to have the best rotisserie chicken, but I think I “OD’ed” on rotisserie for now.  I want to go back sometime and try it.

Granja De Oro  Chorizo Sandwich  Fried Plantains

UPDATE 10/2008 — I went back for their rotisserie chicken.  I’m bitter it took me so long.  It’s phenominal.  For $6.59, you get a 1/4 piece of chicken (your choice of white or dark meat), salad, and a side of either fries or fried yucca.  I went yucca and it was awesome.  There’s so much food! The chicken is so moist and flavorful without a lot of grease.  They also provide three small sides — one is a salsa verde (hot!), a yogurt-type sauce, and a thicker cream sauce.   BTW, their menu says that they marinate their chicken in their own special sauce in a rotisserie “over natural hardwood charcoal, makingit moist yet practically greaseless.”  You have to try this chicken…and yes, they are the best!

La Granja De Oro 1/4 Chicken with Fried Yucca

  • Service: It was fine.   
  • Atmosphere: I don’t think the restaurant could be more casual if it tried.  You walk in and order at the register then you pick it up on the side.  I think of it as a Peruvian fast food restaurant. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: Once I’m over chicken, I’m looking forward to trying their rotisserie.   I have a feeling it’s spectacular.

Details:

  • Reservations are not accepted.
  • Hours: 11 AM – 10 PM daily
  • Address: 1832 Columbia Road NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-232-8888/89

A few weeks ago, I went to Las Canteras with a friend.  Not knowing what to expect, we went with low expectations.  I came away knowing that I really enjoyed my meal while my friend wasn’t too pleased with her order.

  • Food: I ordered Camarones a la Limena (sauteed shrimp in garlic, butter, and white wine with cilantro).  I thought it was good, but I realized I could have made it myself at home.  My friend ordered the mixed greens salad which was fine.  For dinner, I think my friend ordered Aji De Gallina, shredded chicken in a sauce of bread, peanuts, and yellow pepper.  But she hated it compared to my dish.  I have to admit, it was fantastic.  I ordered the Pescado Al Horno, which is fresh fish baked or broiled, served with mashed potatoes and quinoas cakes.  Those cakes were ridiculous. 
  • Service: Very courteous.
  • Atmosphere: It’s on the 2nd floor with beautiful red walls.  We were fortunate and were able to sit by the front window.  It’s definitely casual, but it’d be cute to go with friends or a date. 
  • Attire: Business casual/casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: The quinoas cakes are really good.  I’m looking forward to going back and getting those cakes!  I definitely wouldn’t order what my friend got, but I think it’d be good to go back and try some of their other offerings.

Happy Hour: Tuesdays 1/2 priced bottles of wine.  They offer only about 15 different varieties so the selection is limited.

Las Canteras

The building is actually a light purple, but you can’t tell from my photo. 

Details:

  • Reservations are accepted.
  • Hours: Closed Mondays; Lunch 11 AM – 3 PM; 5 PM – 11 PM; Sat & Sun 11 AM – 4 PM
  • Happy Hour: 6-8, Tuesday through Saturday. Specials Daily.
  • Address: 2307 18th St. NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: 202-265-1780