Cusco Food and Dining

Cusco’s international exposure and Peru’s South American-leading cuisine combine to provide fantastic food options. Following are seven favourite places from my July-August 2016 stay.

ChocoMuseo Café

Although touristy, the ChocoMuseo museum, gift shop and café are well worth a visit, or, in my case, multiple visits. The museum explains the chocolate production process and history and the café serves exquisite chocolate-based food and drinks. ChocoMuseo’s workshops also come recommended.

Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Mousse, ChocoMuseo, Cusco

Chocolate mousse and mix your own Mayan hot chocolate ingredients (chilli, honey, hot milk and cacao) viewing Plaza Regocijo and the city beyond Continue reading

Porto Alegre, Friends and Food in Southern Brazil

The final week of May I spent in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. From Foz do Iguaçu I took a 21 hour bus ride that, after a vehicle breakdown and wait for replacement, lasted almost 24 hours .

The climate from Foz do Iguaçu to Porto Alegre is subtropical. I’ve never seen as much green foliage as on this journey. At one of the trip’s many stops was a sculpture exhibition by Katielly Lanzini. The models seemed out of place, surrounding a dimly lit concrete bus station stairway.

Chapecó Prefecture, Santa Catarina

Katielly Lanzini dinosaur sculptures at Chapecó Prefecture bus station in Santa Catarina Continue reading

Returning to Buenos Aires and My First South American Soccer Match

In mid-May I returned to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, a city I inhabited in the summer. This time I was lucky enough to spend time with Rebecca and her enthusiastic children Kaye and Robbie in Belgrano. West of Palermo, Belgrano is one of Buenos Aires’ grandest suburbs, full of old mansions and tree-lined streets.

I was also fortunate to catch up with Australian expatriate Pat. Pat is a mad Huracan fan. Huracan is the best Buenos Aires soccer team no one has heard of. If you come to Buenos Aires, don’t ride on the Boca Juniors, Racing Club or River Plate bandwagons, join Huracan’s passionate supporters instead. Pat initiated me into Huracan at a Primera Division match against Unión de Santa Fe.

Huracan Match, Buenos Aires, Argentina

With Pat at Huracan’s Tomás Adolfo Ducó Stadium; note the empty ‘away’ end Continue reading

Córdoba, Argentina’s Second City

From Mendoza in early May I took my most comfortable South American bus ride yet, a nine hour overnight Andesmar “suite 1st class” bus to Córdoba. Córdoba is Argentina’s second largest city (behind Buenos Aires) and with world heritage listed 17th century architecture it has something for tourists.

Santi, who I’d met in Santiago, kindly showed me around the centre, pointing out interesting places. Importantly, Santi also recommended places to eat typical local food including lomito, a South American steak sandwich and locro, Córdoban stew.

Córdoba, Argentina

Lighting features at one of Córdoba’s entertainment areas Continue reading

Bariloche, Northern Patagonia, Argentina

In January I flew south from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, a picturesque town in northern Patagonia. Bariloche is place of lakes, mountains, chocolate, ice cream, berries and inappropriate signs (for anyone fluent in English).

Bariloche, Northern Patagonia, Argentina

Inappropriate sign # 1: Salon Cultural de Usos Multiples (SCUM) approximately translates to Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. I’m sure most people who use it are not scum

Bariloche, Northern Patagonia, Argentina

Bariloche is located next to the navigable freshwater Nahuel Huapi Lake. In fact, the region is full of freshwater lakes Continue reading

Roast pork, cauliflower potato bake, spicy apple salsa, broccoli

Roast pork, cauliflower potato bake, spicy apple salsa, broccoli

Last night’s dinner:

  • Rolled roast pork: rubbed in olive oil and then thyme salt and cooked in the Weber Baby Q
  • Cauliflower and potato bake topped with tulum cheese with nigella seeds and cooked in the conventional oven
  • Boiled broccoli
  • Spicy apple salsa left to slowly cook for a few hours on the stove

The roast pork turned out very well and although not all the skin crisped, there was enough crackling. The apple salsa, cauliflower and potato bake and broccoli, with their contrasting tastes and textures all complemented the pork.

T-bone steak and salsa burger

Tonight’s meal creation was extremely delicious. Yes, extreme is an extreme word and should only be used on extreme occasions but I rated this burger 9.8 out of 10 so it deserves a superlative descriptor.

T-bone steak and salsa burger

The parts of this feast:

  • T-bone steak briefly marinated in black pepper, salt, sumac and olive oil; grilled medium rare in the Weber Baby Q and then allowed to rest in a warm oven
  • Lepinja bread fresh from the local Balkan bakery cut in half; leftover spicy salsa spread on the base and tulum (a crumbly dry Turkish cheese) with nigella seeds sprinkled on the top half; placed in a moderate oven to add a crunchy texture to the bread
  • Fresh basil, parsley and spring onion straight from the courtyard garden, chopped finely
  • Grape tomatoes halved
  • Ripe avocado flesh squashed on the salsa base

The bread provided both crunchy and squishy textures and all ingredients complemented each other perfectly. Yum!