4 Suyos Pan con Chicharron!

Sandwiches, sandwiches, sandwiches. When I surveyed several of my Peruvian friends, they dreamily recounted the numerous types of sandwiches they would take for breakfast back in Peru. Pan con camote (sweet potato), pan con chicharron, pan con jamonado, pan con queso, pan con huevos, and our waitress Cynthia’s favorite, pan con pollo.

Aside from the sandwiches, Peruvians traditionally also eat tamales, and the chef’s mother said she’d occasionally enjoy tacu tacu for breakfast. However, the other Peruvians insisted that was a lunch dish. The chef’s mother also mentioned a dish called relleno, which I think may be sausage, blood, garlic, and onions, but I’m not quite sure.

While 4 Suyos isn’t serving up a ton of sandwiches, we are paying homage to the Peruvian breakfast with the addition of the pan con chicharron to our very new brunch menu. Yep, we are now serving a Peruvian- American brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We are also serving locally-roasted Metropolis’s Peruvian coffee too!

Check out the complete 4 Suyos brunch menu! Los veo para desayuno!

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.

Kermit the Frog. Image: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Kermit_the_Frog

Kermit the Frog. Image: muppet.wikia.com

The very little I know about frogs consists of warts, princes, and rainbow connections. What I don’t know is how they may be good for me. However, Peruvians are making the bold statement that a little freshly-squeezed frog can liven up your bedroom and ward off asthma and fatigue.

Known more commonly in Peru as extracto de rana, frog juice is gaining momentum. While I haven’t seen it in person, I’ve read that a common juice stand in Peru–one like we have here featuring strawberry, blueberry, and orange juice–may skip the standard and leap straight to the eclectic by featuring frog juice. Fresh frog juice.

According to the Associated Press, to make the juice, one pulls a live frog out of an aquarium, bangs it against a hard surface to kill it, and then peels off the skin.

Flavors are added, and for around $.90, you can down a refreshing class of  extracto de rana.

You can watch a video of the process here, but I have to warn–it’s not for the faint at heart.

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 of  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! 🙂 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!

This past December, Peru’s Presidencia del Consejo de Ministros announced the country’s 2012 public holidays. This rather seemingly-boring announcement stirred up a bit of excitement when two days were unexpectedly added to the list, February 13 and 14. Peruvians celebrate el dia del amor y la amistad on February 14. Thus, this announcement lead many to believe the government had declared Valentine’s Day a public holiday; however, I’ve also  found a few accounts of officials saying the holiday is rather a celebration for the Festival de la Virgen de la Candelaria en Puno. Either way, 4 Suyos can definitely get behind taking a break to celebrate our loved ones!

Read more here.

To celebrate Peru’s newest vacation days, 4 Suyos is offering a special Valentine’s Day package. Make a reservation at 4 Suyos for February 10–14, and choose one appetizer, two entrees, and two desserts for $40.00.

To make a reservation, call 773.278.6525 or email contact@4Suyos.com.