On the Pan-American highway, the Pan-Americana, about an hour south of Lima near Cañete, there’s a roadside criollo restaurant, which borders a gas station, called El Piloto. Originally, El Piloto, was intended for truckers, but became so popular that the truckers have been priced out. They serve massive portions of the regional specialties, such as Tacu Tacu con salsa de Camarones (refried day old rice and beans in a sauce of prawns). Their signature dish though, El Tanque (the tank), combines a heaping pile of Tacu Tacu with a fried egg, fried bananas, and a plate size beef milanesa(a pounded thin, breaded, fried steak; like a schnitzel) that sits on top of everything. Olive oil is served on the side to drizzle over the dish. It’s still a simple place and a simple, impossible to eat dish, however, a perfect image to keep in your head as you drive across the long, lonely, Peruvian coastal desert.
Carretera Panamericana Sur Km. 138
San Luis, Cañete, Peru
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.