since it was my turn to cook but i was busy all day, i asked julie if she wouldn't mind eating out tonight. we decided on the peruvian restaurant machu picchu in union square (somerville). for a cold weekday night the place was doing pretty good business, with a lot of spanish-speaking customers who may or may not be peruvian. just an observation, but peruvians look sort of asian; i wondered if i ever visited that part of the world, whether or not i could blend into the population by trimming my goatee into a stylish moustache. earlier i'd done some research on peruvian food and i was hoping they'd have cuyes, otherwise known as guinea pig. no such delicacy, but they did have anticuchos; you knew it was good because it was one of the few items without english translation (anticuchos is ox heart kebabs). i knew i had to have it. julie went with a cerviche dish for the main course, while i had the bistec. our waiter was a nice gentleman who seemed to be running the restaurant all by himself (although i spied at least one cook in the kitchen when he went back).
the anticuchos came with a pale green colored hot sauce as well as these "beans" that looked like enormously large corn kernels. ox heart tastes a little slimy and chewy, although the barbecue flavoring and the hot sauce made you forget about the texture. next came julie's cerviche. now i've heard that word before, but never really knew what it was. it was a large dish of seafood, served cold, heavily marinated in lime juice. turns out that's exactly what cerviche is: seafood cooked naturally by the acid in citric juice. we were both expecting a warm-cooked meal but what we got was a bit of a surprise. julie ate her cerviche heartedly though, which is ironic because she won't even touch sushi because she can't stand raw fish. i watched as she dug into her plate of peruvian fear factor; besides fish, there was also octopus, snails, scallops, and maybe a few other unidentifiable sea creatures. my bistec (mild in comparison) came with french fries and fried plantains. at one point the waiter gave us a different hot sauce to sample after seeing us finish the first sauce. i worked my way through half my steak before i decided to spare julie anymore gastronomical hardship by switching food with her.
when it came time to leave, our check came with chicha flavored candy and these glossy trading cards with a photo of scenic peru on one side and a handy spanish 2006 calendar in the other side. all and all, it was a very interesting dining experience, and it's not everyday we get to have authentic peruvian food. if nothing else, at least we finally figured out what cerviche is!
we came back to my place where we watched the "i'm too pretty for prison" episode of SVU guest starring linda carter ("wonder woman") and estella warren ("planet of the apes girl"). i showed julie my new reshapeable flower pots and the suspended upside-down tomato growing gadget that came via UPS today.