Our ten favorite “date spots” in Arequipa

I wanted to list the places that have become special to Greg and me in Arequipa. We didn’t get to take a ton of date nights, but when we did, we would usually go to one of these places. Some of our spots are special because we went there with the kids, but this list is for us. These are “our special spots.” (and it is no surprise that they mostly revolve around food)

  1. Zig Zag: voted best restaurant in Arequipa. Besides the delicious tuna steaks and meat trilogies they served on sizzling volcanic stones, “our” favorites were “The Sexiest Salad of Perú” (think artichoke hearts, fresh asparagus, mango, shrimp, quail egg, goat cheese, and red bell pepper with a balsamic honey glaze drizzled across the top), the creamed quinoa (to die for), and their homemade bread.
  2. Crepísimo: the same owners as Zig Zag, but a nice date lunch spot. They have a whole menu of salty crepes and an entire selection of dessert crepes that can be served with or without ice cream. Their salads are amazing, and their fresh juices are divine. It is a perfect outing to share a salad, salty crepe, and chocolate crepe with the man I love.
  3. TGIFridays: When a girl’s hometown is located 15 minutes from the tiny town of Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniels, there is a great sense of homeyness that one feels in Fridays. Even though the burgers taste nothing like the pictures in the Peruvian menu, Greg and I always shared the buffalo wings with mojitos–they were fantastic. Sometimes we splurged and got the ribs with JD sauce. Yummo.
  4. El Gaucho: good beef, great all-you-can-eat salad bar and best fries in the city (and that says a lot for a restaurant located in the potato capitol of the world).
  5. Capriccio: They serve the best cakes in the city, but Greg and I love their menu selection. We would usually always try something different, but we seemed to always want to share the fried mushrooms as an appetizer. The fried chocolate filled churros topped with ice cream were pretty hard to beat as an after dinner dessert.
  6. Ekekos: This restaurant is part of a whole store, my favorite place to look for tourist gifts, but the restaurant has an unbelievable menu. There is so much to choose from, and Greg and I were never disappointed with our plates.
  7. Ras El hanout (Moroccan cuisine): Greg and I LOVE Indian food, and we found that Moroccan food had some similar flavors. We are sad to hear that they have gone out of business, but we sure did enjoy some meals of tender lamb, hummus, and falafels there.
  8. Chili’s and Starbucks in Lambramani: Chili’s is certainly a favorite of our whole family, but when just Greg and I went, we would do chips and queso, an appetizer and drinks. Chilis was comfort food to us for sure. Chilis is located in one of our favorite malls. Right across from it sits Starbucks. So basically, it would be our appetizer, dessert-coffee date night. And we could walk around the mall with our coffees to walk off those calories afterwards. 😉
  9. Hong Kong Express: Arequipa is full of mediocre Chinese food places, but we loved this place for its egg rolls. Most Chinese restaurants in AQP only have wantons on the menu, but Hong Kong didn’t disappoint us with their egg rolls. We would just order egg rolls from them. Such a fun date night. Unfortunately, they went out-of-business around two years ago.
  10. Cine Planet:  not much can beat the Jumbo popcorn and two drinks that we would order to eat with a movie. Besides our movie tickets costing about 3.50 a piece, our popcorn and drinks were around $7. I don’t think you can find that deal in the states. 🙂 We will certainly miss that.

I hope I didn’t leave any out. I will let Greg correct me if I did. These are the ones that have given me the best memories for sure. I am excited to find our new “date spots” in the next chapter, wherever that takes us.

Advertisements
Our ten favorite “date spots” in Arequipa

CT–AQP “lasts” 2014

One thing that experts say is good for expats to do before leaving one of their “homes” is to make a list of their favorite places and plan a “last” visit in order to say goodbye. My kids will return to the states with their Pop and Gram on December 28. We have 29 days left to say some goodbyes. It is a good thing that some of them overlap.

The boy. Our sweet, Cohen Timothy. You entered the world as an Arequipeño looking like this…

227719_10150167215463997_6976812_n

You will leave as an Arequipeño looking like this…

10411910_10152434956998997_8233892740591098094_n
taken in the Yanahuara Plaza by Eternity Fotos

You couldn’t be more excited to go to Pop’s farm in less than a month. You have no clue what is about to take place.

You cried that Manuela wouldn’t be at the house the last time we returned to Arequipa. You are upset when you don’t get to say goodbye to her when she leaves for the day. When we dropped Etelvina off after spending the afternoon with her, you cried that she wouldn’t come to the house to spend the night. (Ha!) You have such a tender heart, and you have won the hearts of two Peruvian grandmothers for sure. You will miss them so much, but you are so young, your memories will probably only be captured by the pictures we have taken, and believe me, I have taken plenty. 😉

I still thought it would be fun to ask you about your AQP favorites. You have completed an entire year of preschool all in Spanish with your 3 year old class. We are so proud of you. You will change so much by the time we return for our first visit back.

Places to visit:

  1. the playground close to our ASA house
  2. the café (unfortunately, it shut down a few months back)

Foods to eat:

  1. Ají de Gallina
  2. chicken enchiladas (apparently AQP style)
  3. apples and strawberry/vanilla yogurt
  4. Queso Helado

What is one of your favorite memories of living in Arequipa?

firetruck birthday

What is your favorite Arequipa dish?

 Ají de Gallina

What will you miss the most about living here?

 Daddy and Mommy and Manuela (you apparently understand that we aren’t going with you in December)

What are you most excited about moving to the states?

the playroom (Pop and Gram’s) and playing with bicycles and basketballs outside and their playground castle

Anything else???

I am going to miss my playroom upstairs.

 

CT–AQP “lasts” 2014

MK–AQP “lasts” 2014

One thing that experts say is good for expats to do before leaving one of their “homes” is to make a list of their favorite places and plan a “last” visit in order to say goodbye. My kids will return to the states with their Pop and Gram on December 28. We have 29 days left to say some goodbyes. It is a good thing that some of them overlap.

Maggie Kate, you were our first AQP-born TCK. You were a full head of hair with two giant blue eyes…

10391998_213243548996_74795_n

and we are leaving Perú with you looking like this…

10669998_10152434958293997_3762581925565377997_n
taken in the Yanahuara Plaza by Eternity Fotos

You are in Kindergarten with your big promoción (Kinder graduation) coming up at the end of the month. You are so excited to get to wear a “princess dress” like your sister did for her graduation (we will rent the dress). Your class picked the color “lila” which is the same color as Sophia the First. 😉 We are excited for you, and what makes your graduation extra special is that Pop and Gram will get to be here for it!

You told me in the taxi this morning that Daddy told you (while I was gone somewhere) that it’s okay to be sad this coming month. You know we are moving back to the states, but you are at such a great age to make the transition. I am so delighted that you completed all three years of preschool in Spanish. Now, you are most excited to get to live near your cousin Ruby and to start in a new school.

It was a little bit harder to get your “lasts” recorded, but we will try our best to make your last memories here some of your best! We love our Maggicita!!!

Places to visit:

  1. the zoo (your school just had a field trip there this past Friday)
  2. Shaye and Cora’s house

Foods to eat:

  1. Manuela´s Ají de Gallina (surprise, surprise. It is on the menu for every other week until you leave!)
  2. Etelvina´s Papa a la Huancaína (We are making a date to eat this with her while Pop and Gram are here.)
  3. King Burger (I had to write it out just as you said it. It’s Burger King, and it tickles us that you have nooooooo idea what a good hamburger should taste like. Living on an angus beef farm for 6 months should cure that.)
  4. Chili’s cheese dip (you would request this at almost every restaurant birthday meal)

 

What is one of your favorite memories of living in Arequipa?

going to Shaye and Cora’s house and play with each other

What is your favorite Arequipa dish?

Ají de Gallina and Papa a la Huancaína

What will you miss the most about living here?

 Miss Yomara (your teacher that you have had for all three years of preschool)

What are you most excited about moving to the states?

We will see Ruby and Sam… and Judah, and that I am going to start a new school.

Anything else???

  • I am going to miss my best friend from my school, Ana Paula.
  • I am so excited about my promoción!
MK–AQP “lasts” 2014

AG–her AQP “lasts” 2014

One thing that experts say is good for expats to do before leaving one of their “homes” is to make a list of their favorite places and plan a “last” visit in order to say goodbye. My kids will return to the states with their Pop and Gram on December 28. We have 29 days left to say some goodbyes. It is a good thing that some of them overlap.

Anastasia Grace, we brought you to Perú looking like this…

1930667_25549033996_1025_n
taken right before coming in 2008

We are leaving Perú, and you have turned into this…

10599674_10152434959068997_3809131353912223160_n
taken right before coming in 2008

Where does the time go? You are very aware of what is taking place. Your daddy and I have already seen your emotions come out about the move that approaches. You are nervous, scared, happy, excited, apprehensive… all at the same time. Kinda like me. 😉 You are a lot like me because you show your emotions, and it usually comes out in the form of tears. We have told you that it is okay to be sad. It is okay to cry. It is even okay to be mad at us. But it is not okay to not talk about it. It is not okay to lash out at others around you. This will certainly be a journey for all of us, and we realize that out of all three children, you ‘get it’ the most.

Sweet girl, you were born in the states, but you call Arequipa home. You have your favorites, and when I asked you some questions about places you’d like to see and “say good-bye” to before leaving, you didn’t hesitate. I want to remember this list. It will be fun to look over years from now. It will be even more fun for you to visit these places when you come back to AQP for a college summer internship 😉 .

We love you, Anita. What a journey you have already had in this life.

Places to visit:

  1. your jardín at Francisco Rojas School, specifically to say goodbye to your preschool teacher, Miss Kathya
  2. “Ana’s park”–as we call it. It was the great big park that sat diagonally across from our house in Miraflores.
  3. Manuela’s house in Naranjal
  4. the Plaza de Armas

Foods to eat:

  1. crab empanadas and ceviche (good choice, girl. Since it’s on my list too, maybe we should go twice?!)
  2. Manuela’s Atomatada
  3. anticuchos (beef heart) and picarones at Festejo on Ejercito
  4. Ibérica Chocolate
  5. the Lambramani food court
  6. Manuela´s Adobo

 

What is one of your favorite memories of living in Arequipa?

Our church… we get to see our friends, and sometimes Arelí takes us out.

What is your favorite Arequipa dish?

 That’s a hard one. I have two. Crab empanadas and Adobo.

What will you miss the most about living here?

 I will miss Manuela the most, because I love her dishes (food) and where she lives.

What are you most excited about moving to the states?

Going to a new school and making new friends

Anything else???:

  • I love Misti, because it reminds me about friends and family from our church in Arequipa.
  • I am excited that I will still get to see Shaye in the United States.
  • I am going to miss all of my friends in school, especially my teacher named Miss Angela.
AG–her AQP “lasts” 2014

Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

SDC19842We had a lovely afternoon with Paty’s familia. I had asked her a while back to teach me her ways in the queso helado world. She kindly obliged, and went all the way by inviting the McKinzie fam over for lunch and dessert. So delicious. I could have taken lessons on preparing her “Soltero de Queso,” another dish that I need to learn, but we enjoyed the time of visiting and eating delicious food. Afterward, Greg returned to our home with the the two littles, and Ana and I stayed for our ice cream lesson.

Queso Helado is a famous homemade ice cream served all over the city on a hot day. The women will wear the traditional Arequipa outfit and scoop the portions from large wooden vats of the ice cream. We love queso helado. It literally means “cheese ice cream,” but there is no cheese to be found in the ingredient list. The ice cream usually comes out with a yellowish tint that is similar to the color of cheese. Coconut is a main ingredient in the icy treat, and the portion is always sprinkled with ground cinnamon. My family’s Christmas tradition is to serve boiled custard over a piece of coconut cake. I think that is why I like this ice cream so much. Minus the cinnamon, the flavor could be titled, “Boiled Custard over Coconut Cake.”

a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.
a while back. Hanging out in the Plaza de Yanahuara where they always serve Queso Helado.

Queso Helado

Ingredients:

DSC_0264

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 8 eggs
  • 100 g of shredded coconut
  • 1.5 c of sugar
  • 1 can or small bag of evaporated milk
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Echar un litro de leche, 100 g coco rallado, una rama de canela, 1.5 T azucar en una olla (medio fuego). Combine the milk, coconut, cinnamon stick, sugar in a small pot on medium heat.DSC_0266DSC_0267DSC_0269DSC_0272
  2. Separar 8 huevos clara de yema. Separate the eggs, yolk from whites.DSC_0274
  3. Mezclar yemas. Mix the yolks.DSC_0275
  4. Cuando liquido hierva, apagar el fuego. Colar la mezcla para eliminar el coco del liquido. When the mixture begins to boil, turn down the flame. Strain the liquid in order to remove the coconut pieces from the liquid.DSC_0273DSC_0276DSC_0278DSC_0280
  5. Agregar leche evaporada a liquido. Add the evaporated milk to the liquid.DSC_0282
  6. Enfriar el liquido (10-15 minutos). Allow the mixture to cool.
  7. Agregar las yemas. Add the yolks, but temp the yolks with a little bit of the hot mixture first.DSC_0283
  8. Echar en un fuente. Cubrir con plastico. Pour into a 9×13 pan and cover with plastic or a top.DSC_0284DSC_0285
  9. Congelar de una noche. Freeze over night.DSC_0286
  10. Servir con canela molida. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon.SDC19842

    Ana and Lola
    Ana and Lola
Queso Helado–starring Paticita y Lola

Rocoto Relleno and Pastel de Papas

DSC00778

Today is August 15, the anniversary of Arequipa. Arequipa has some delicious food, and one of our favorite plates (and one they are known for) is Rocoto Relleno and Pastel de Papas. Today was my first time to prepare this plate by myself.

rocotos are either green or red
rocotos are either green or red

The rocoto is a hot pepper that looks a whole lot like a bell pepper. Bell peppers are actually used for small kids since they have no spice (but not the McKinzie children). 🙂 The rocoto is gutted, stuffed with a flavorful meat mixture, topped with cheese, and baked to glorious perfection in the oven.

Pastel de papas can be compared to a potato casserole or scalloped potatoes. The distinct flavor, though, is the cheese that you buy from the market to use in it. Many restaurants serve pastel de papas with the traditional Rocoto Relleno.

ROCOTO RELLENO

Ingredients

  • 12 medium to large rocotos
  • 3/4 k thinly cut steak meat
  • 3 generous Tbs of Aji Colorado molido, or a mixture of spices (garlic, oregano, and cumin)
  • 2 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 c of peanuts, chopped finely
  • 1/4 c of dark raisins
  • 4 large onions, diced finely
  • oil
  • fresh parsley, diced finely
  • cheese (queso serano)
  • evaporated milk (1.5 large cans)
  • 3 eggs

1. Ask a Peruvian expert cook. Manuela is my go-to-profesora. She taught me the best way to gut the rocotos and soak them to get some of the spice out. The day before cooking, you clean out the seeds and veins, remove the tops (so that you can place them back on top to bake), and place them in a bowl of water with the juice and skins of 5 limes and 2 tbs of red vinegar. You allow them to soak all night. ***Greg loves spicy food. I did not soak his rocotos at all. I gutted his two rocotos right before stuffing for baking.***

Manuela and I preparing the rocotos
Manuela and I preparing the rocotos

DSC00733

2. The next morning, rinse the rocotos, refill the bowl with water, add 1/4 c of sugar to the water, and place the rocotos back in the bowl to soak throughout the morning.

DSC00735

3. Preparing the meat mixture:

  • Dice and cut all of the ingredients…

DSC00737

diced peanuts
diced peanuts
finely diced onion
finely diced onion
finely cut parsley
finely cut parsley

DSC00743

  • heat the Aji Colorado until bubbly, add 2 Tbs of oil and stir until it is all the same color.

DSC00744

  • add the meat (with salt to taste) and brown.

DSC00745

  • add the onions and cook until translucent.

DSC00746

  • add everything else.

DSC00747DSC00748

4. Remove peppers from sugar water, place in a colander, rinse, and then pour boiling water over the peppers to prepare them for baking. Place the pepper shells in a greased casserole dish.

5. Stuff the peppers with the meat mixture.

DSC00749

6. Add a piece of cheese and place the tops on the rocotos.

DSC00751

7. Mix the can of evaporated milk and 2 eggs. Pour them over the rocotos in the dish.

DSC00752

8. Bake at 475 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

after baking
after baking

PASTEL DE PAPAS

Ingredients:

  • 2 kilos red potatoes (papas rosadas)
  • 1/2 kilo queso serano
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 eggs (3 whole, 3 egg whites)
  • 1.5 cans evaporated milk
  • anis
  • 6 pads of butter

1. Clean dirt off of potatoes, peel, and cut into thin discs.

2. After buttering a deep 9×13 casserole dish, place one layer of potatoes into the dish.

DSC00753

3. Slice the cheese into fine layers. Add a layer of cheese over the potatoes.

DSC00755

Ana, my cheese helper
Ana, my cheese helper

4. Whisk the evaporated milk with the 3 whole eggs. Add salt and pepper. Pour some of the mixture over the first layer of potatoes and cheese.

Catherine, our beautiful visitor, whisking the milk and eggs.
Catherine, our beautiful visitor, whisking the milk and eggs.

5. Repeat the layers two more times, pouring the milk mixture over the 3rd layer.

DSC00759

6. Take the three egg whites, and mix them until stiff peaks form.

DSC00760DSC00763

7. Spread the egg whites over the top of the potato dish evenly.

DSC00765

8. Now sprinkle anis over the egg whites.

my anis helper
my anis helper
almost finished
almost finished

9. Add small pads of butter onto the top of the egg whites, and bake for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees F.

DSC00768

The finished product…

DSC00771

Serve with a big stuffed rocoto!!!

DSC00778

Rocoto Relleno and Pastel de Papas