Archives for category: Menu

Pionono Peruano

With a name like Pionono, this spongy, creamy Peruvian dessert takes the cake for me! A delectable sponge cake roll deliciously glued together with manjar blanco. I fell in love with the dessert when a Peruvian woman in Chicago made it for me, and sealed the deal on it being one of my favorites when I went to Peru.

I’ve been practicing and tweaking a recipe that I will post as soon as I feel I have it perfected. The version here is much to thin and has way too much manjar blanco (if that’s ever possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pionono will be available at 4 Suyos soon, so stay tuned!

Image courtesy of farandulachola.com

I like to talk. I like to eat. These two things don’t mix well, often resulting a disgusted conversation buddy. However, when I’m at 4 Suyos, I can do my eating and talking–just not at the same time. One of my favorite conversation topics is conveniently, Peruvian food. Humberto is really the expert, but since he is generally knee deep in ingredients, I get to relay the Peruvian food info to the customers.

The number one question I get is what I would recommend. The answer to that is easy: everything. However, I understand eating a menu’s worth of food in one sitting isn’t generally possible, so I pick a few things I think are absolutely crucial Peruvian dishes to have tried to say you’ve had Peruvian food. One of those dishes is Papa a la Huancaina.

Papa a la Huancaina is a traditional Peruvian dish consisting of sliced, boiled potatoes topped with a sauce made with blended cheeses, cream, aji amarillo, garlic, and a few secrets our chef has asked we not disclose per his grandmother. It is a drippy, yummy slice ofย  highland heaven.

The dish originated in Huancayo, the capital of the Junin region in the Peruvian central highland and remains their signature dish. To this day it is served in just about every Peruvian restaurant, so if you stumble upon a restaurant claiming to be Peruvian, and they don’t serve Papa a la Huancaina, it’s safe to say you can consider it not Peruvian.

Photo courtesy of Perudelights.com

I’m going to start this post with the obvious–Pisco originated in Peru NOT Chile. I mean there IS a town in Peru named Pisco! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re unfamiliar with Pisco Sours or Pisco itself, you must familiarize yourself. Pisco is a grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru. There are generally regional differences to Pisco. Peruvian Pisco is produced in the Ica Valley region of Peru using copper pot stills. Pot stills are generally also used for producing single- and double malt whiskey. Regulations in Peru require the variation of grape and aging process be the determination for the type of Pisco.

While there is a million things that can be said about Pisco production, history, and cultural influence, one of its best qualities is what it can do to a little lime, eggs, and sugar, also known as the the intensely popular Pisco Sour. In fact, the Pisco Sour’s notoriety has gained it an official day in Peru. National Pisco Sour day falls on the first Saturday of February each year. This year, the celebration falls on February 4.

To make a Pisco Sour, you’ll need 3 oz. of Pisco, 1 oz. of freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 1/2 oz. of simple syrup, 1/3 of an egg white, and 1 drop of angostura bitters. Blend until frothy, and serve with a tiny bit of cinnamon on top.

This Saturday, if you’re not feeling up to making your own Pisco Sour, pick up some Pisco at Vas Foremost just around the corner and stop into 4 Suyos. We’ll make your mix for you!

Lomo SaltadoNow that the restaurant “construction” is complete, and we are waiting for our license inspection, I’ve had a little time to learn more about Peruvian food. (Thankfully, I’m not the chef–that has been left to a team of Peruvians.:) However, I am a food nut, so this experience has been beyond wonderful.

I started with Lomo Saltado, one of Peru’s most famous dishes consisting of sirloin strips marinated in vinegar, Peruvian spices, and soy sauce stir fried with onions, parsley, and tomatoes. The stir-fry is served over rice with potato wedges. This is the traditional way to make Lomo Saltado, but be rest-assured, our chef has a few secrets!

When researching Lomo Saltado, I kept running across the name Gaston Acurio. And after researching the name, I’ve found I’ve been completely in the dark about Peruvian food until now. Gaston is Peru’s cuisine ambassador as well as one of the world’s most famous chefs. He owns several international restaurants, including Astid & Gaston, which he opened with his wife Astid in the Miraflores district in Lima. Since opening, the chain has spread to eight countries! (Gaston…come to the US!!!)

Gaston is also the star of La Aventura Culinaria, a culinary television show featuring the chef visiting Peruvian restaurants. He is also a published author.

I’m learning a lot from Gaston, including how to make Lomo Saltado!

The poor man next to me on the train falls asleep for a second after every word he gets on his crossword puzzle. Exhaustion–I get it.

While we are still working on construction, we have a menu to hammer out. There are certainly disagreements about which Peruvian dishes to feature (they are all so good), as well as disagreements about where to get ingredients, what specials we will feature, and who cooks what when.

All and all I can say there are some extremely passionate people involved in the birth of 4 Suyos.

Do you have a favorite Peruvian dish? Or is there something you couldn’t imagine a Peruvian restaurant not offering?

If you’re not familiar with Peruvian cuisine, check out this site.

20111213-175150.jpg