Rafael Osterling’s latest creation is Lima’s most buzz worthy restaurant of the moment. The cebicheria, a huacas length from the cluster of other trendy cebiche spots on Avendia La Mar in Miraflores, is well priced, better executed, and in my opinion the cebicheria to beat in the La Mar restaurant zone right now. The lunch only spot is more casual than his signature Rafael, though it’s still has an upmarket foodie feel with a long wooden bar, large chalkboard displaying the daily specials, and an open air dining room with a Playa de Asia style beachy décor.
Francis Mallman is Argentina’s most identifiable chefs. His signature restaurant, 1884, in Mendoza is the preeminent restaurant for meat in the world’s most preeminent meat country. His book, Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, is basically the bible of cooking Argentine meat. The emphasis on the food here is rustic. Many dishes are cooked over an open fire or in a clay oven. Mallman gravitates not toward the European influenced kitchens of Buenos Aires, but the gaucho ways of Patagonia and beyond.
Steven Roll, who writes a great blog about Latin American travel, Travel Ojos, asked me a few months ago to contribute a short story in an ebook project he was working on called Celebrating Latin America at Ground Level. I’m happy to say that the free book has been released and it’s quite good.
Lima, Peru’s famed seafood restaurant La Rosa Nautica, which is set on a pier that extends a hundred meters from the city’s shore into the Pacific ocean, is opening its second restaurant in Bogota, Colombia.The restaurant should be open by mid-December 2010. They are also planning to open a third La Rosa Nautica franchise in Argentina.
Easter Island, or Rapa Nui (or Isla de Pascua) finally has a beer and brewery to call its own. The non-filtered, 100% natural, and double fermented Mahina beer operation is partially owned by explora hotel associate and one time underwater diving champion Mike Rapu. The bottle states that the beer is produced under a full moon using an ancient recipe from the wise man Paca, though that may be a bit of an embellishment.
Peru’s culinary boom has spread to more remote parts of the country and more Amazonian chefs are returning from cooking schools and high-end restaurants in Lima tot heir birthplace. Iquitos is the natural choice for the center of the Amazon’s new culinary boom: it has gone through several major booms and busts in the past century (rubber, oil, drug trade) where great wealth has come and gone that it is one of the Amazon’s more cosmopolitan cities. Pedro Miguel Schiaffino of Lima’s Malabar, one of the city’s great chefs and one of two South American chefs known for their explorations of Amazonian cuisine (Alex Atala in Sao Paolo is the other) has been actively involved in pushing local producers to produce premium products and encourage local chefs to look deeper.