Archives for posts with tag: peru

One of our biggest and most interesting challenges at 4 Suyos is to create food that EVERYONE can eat. We want all of our customers to be able to enjoy the incredibly dynamic tastes of Peru, whether they are vegetarian, vegan, or have a gluten-free diet. Aside from our current menu that has some vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, we will do our best to modify or transform a dish to our customer’s liking–often replacing regular wheat beer with our chef’s homemade chicha de jora (more on that later). However, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the last few months is telling our customers that our mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding) is not gluten free. Well, I was wrong. I sat with the chef yesterday and watched him prepare our mazamorra, and to my surprise, he was using sweet potato flour! So, for all those gluten-free folks I steered away from the mazamorra, I’m so sorry. Come back and try it!

Now, if you’ve not been to 4 Suyos or any other Peruvian restaurant, you may be thinking, what IS mazamorra? Mazamorra is a traditional Peruvian dessert made with the extract of purple corn. It is made by first making chicha morada. Then the chicha is mixed with pineapples and plums and then thickened into a pudding.

It is delicious served as el clasico. El classic is the combination mazamorra morada and arroz con leche. It is named for a famous futbol match between the two biggest soccer teams in Peru, Alianza Lima and Universitario. (If you haven’t been to the restaurant, you may not know about the photo scandal concerning this dessert…)

So, no gluten in 4 Suyos homemade mazamorra. Enjoy!!

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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!

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.

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!

This is where we are at now!

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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.

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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.