Monday, August 27, 2012

It's my turn to choose!

We've been slacking off on our eating out lately, but for good reason, I've got a new job and we're working hard to save money.  Therefore we're cooking a lot at home, and when we are going out, it's somewhere cheap and well-liked.  I don't want to risk a once-a-week dinner on a new place that I'll end up hating.

But, in true fashion, its a Saturday night and we don't feel like cooking.  I take the iPad to the couch to search for ideas when I hear this from the office:

M: You can choose the place, I don't care.  You'll get bonus points though, if it's somewhere new AND ethnic.

Hmm, I think to myself.  Am I feeling brave enough to venture out of the box?
UrbanSpoon is one of my favourite apps on my iPhone and I pull it up for some inspiration.  Right there, first page, the #2 talked about restaurant in the city.  Inti Restaurant.  (Number one is a new chic Italian place downtown that I'm sure we won't get into at this hour, on a weekend - so scrap that idea).  This isn't the first time I've seen Inti on UrbanSpoon, so it must be good, let's see what it's about.

Oh! It's Peruvian.  Yup, as in food from the South American country Peru.  That's pretty damn ethnic to me, and it's new, so off we go!  I call to make a reservation and don't tell Mike where we're going.  It's a surprise, but he's driving, so I tell him to head north.  It's in a tiny strip mall just off Barlow and 32nd, and you could very easily miss it.  When we arrive he sees the sign and I am pretty sure he's impressed.  That was probably the last thing he thought I would pick.

The inside is sparse, just a few plain tables and two servers.  There are only two other tables when we arrive, but as we eat it fills up, quickly.  When our server comes over we explain that we're new to Peruvian and she goes through some basics.  (I gather she does this A LOT).  Our drink order consists of one of everything (it's only 3 drinks) and she's gone a long time to make them.  We felt a little bad about that, as it was getting busier, and this isn't the kind of place that would employ a bartender.  The servers do everything themselves.

I had already decided that I wanted an appetizer and my brave choice of the day was Beef Heart.  Anticuchos: Robustly flavoured beef heart skewers marinated in ají panca.  Served with fried yukon potatoes, salsa de rocoto and huancaína.  (I don't know what half of that means!).  I was a little worried about the flavour, was hoping it wasn't too spicy, but after my first bite I was satisfied.  The meat was a little bit tough, almost like a well done NY strip, or flatiron, but the taste was awesome.  Although, I did have to keep telling myself not to think about what it was.  I'd think about a heart and then get skeezed out.  But I made it through and quite enjoyed it.

Dinner was Lomo Saltado, Stir-fried tender marinated beef with sweet onions, ripe tomatoes, and julienne ají amarillo in a tangy sauce.  Served over fried potatoes and steamed garlic rice.  Basically beef in gravy on top of french fries.  That is so up my alley!  If I liked onions or tomatoes this would have been amazing!   None of the food was spicy, just flavourful, and I think Mike was very impressed with me.  

As we left I was on cloud nine.  I had chosen a new, ethnic restaurant and I loved it.  We both agreed that we want to come back to try other things, but maybe not soon.  For me it's a once in a while kind of place.  I am excited to visit again, especially for the Yuca Frita, and the Pisco Sour. 

T: Did I do good honey?
M: You did great babe, bonus points earned. 


Inti Restaurant - Peruvian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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