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Ceviche in Lima

Ceviche at La Mar in Miraflores

Celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions Hispanics have made in the United States.

While there are several ways you can celebrate the vibrant Hispanic culture in Chicago, I can think of no better way than by eating. Whether it’s Mexican, Argentine, Peruvian, or a mix, Latin American cuisine seems to me to always be delicious. An assortment of colorful peppers, creamy avocados, hearty breads, juicy pork, tender steaks—it’s difficult for me to pass up any Latin-inspired dish.

Yes, I lean towards LOVING Peruvian food, and after a short trip to Peru to mainly eat (and visit family), I say the home of the wondrous Machu Picchu should be highly praised for it’s amazing contributions to the culinary arts!

From Lima to Cusco to Ica and Mistura, I ate my way through various regions and cuisines. I have to say I fell in love with the country’s Pollo a Brasa. And while you can get an amazing ceviche in Chicago, there is no ceviche like ceviche made with a Peruvian lime. It’s puckery goodness subtly cures the amazing fresh seafood fetched from the Pacific only blocks away from several of Lima’s cevicharias. (See food photos here.)

So whether you choose to eat, dance, sing, read, or celebrate with family, be sure to take time to pay homage to a culture that makes Chicago a very, very special place.

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ImageNext week, I’m heading out to Peru to experience Peruvian food in one of the most exciting ways possible. A food fair, brimming with all foods Peruana—Mistura! Stay tuned for updates from the festival….

Humberto and Erin with ABC 7's Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez

Humberto and Erin with ABC 7's Sylvia Perez and Linda Yu

Well, after a crazy few months here at 4 Suyos, we found a fan! Steve Dolinsky of ABC 7′s Hungry Hound popped in one night, and after trying a few of our dishes, settled on the causa rellena as being one of his favorites. The wonderful ABC team contacted us a few weeks later and invited us to share our food with them.

Steve, his cameraman, and his wonderful and extremely helpful assistant Tiffany came by the restaurant and filmed our chef Humberto making our causa rellena, aji de gallina, and ceviche mixto. After only a few hours, we wrapped up and were invited back to the station on the show’s air date to prepare food for anchors Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez–both of whom were extremely friendly and encouraging.

Everyone here at 4 Suyos is extremely thankful for the opportunity to be on the Hungry Hound and thank the entire ABC team! Click on the video below to watch Humberto mix up some fabulous Peruvian food!

4 Suyos on Hungry Hound

Oxapampa, PeruThe story has been told to me several times now–there is a place deep in the jungle of Peru where blue eyes and blonde hair speckle the landscape and Bavarian architecture is hugged by the draping jungle fauna. In a country where the ordinary natives sport sun-kissed, cocoa-colored skin and lounge in brightly painted, boxy buildings , this myth is something to ponder. Is it true? Is there a little place Peru where an entire Eastern European culture has remained nearly untouched?

Not exactly, but there is truth to the legend in a small town called Oxapampa. In the nineteenth century, the Peruvian government signed a contract with Central European officials allowing 10,000 colonists to migrate to the area of Alto Huallaga. When the first three hundred boarded ship in 1857, they headed first to Lima to undergo quarantine procedures. After they were officially welcomed to the country, the group migrated to the town of Pozuzo and from there, Oxapampa.

Aside from its cultural mythology, Oxapampa is also know for its artisan cheeses and coffees. In addition, UNESCO has named the Oxapampa-Asháninka-Yanesha reserve a world biosphere–one of 564 in the entire world.

Thanks to the New World Review for a Oxapampa travel stories.

It’s official, 4 Suyos is official!! We passed our initial inspection yesterday. Both Humberto and I are thrilled, and while we can open as soon as we receive the license–which I was informed would arrive in just a few days–I think we may take a few days to recoup and open next weekend. I will be sure to post the opening date here as soon as we decide.

This is where we are at now!

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It’s freezing in Chicago today. Just something to note. However, today we made our biggest mistake to date. After four full days of sanding and priming, someone opened the semi-gloss paint and painted the entire ceiling in eggshell (which I have learned is basically semi-gloss).

It doesn’t seem like much, but in order to repaint with the intended flat paint, we have to resand, reprime, and then paint. It’s midnight, and we’ve just finished an entire “makeup” day. Whew!

We got through it. Tomorrow–paint, lay tile, and hopefully enjoy a few friends’ Christmas parties!

A view of the ceiling

What it feels like after finding out you have to resand, reprime, and repaint your entire ceiling.