The best Peruvian style chicken I’ve ever eaten isn’t from Peru. It’s from a Korean-american team in Los Angeles lead by Roy Choi, best known for their creation of the Korean taco and helping jump start the gourmet food truck craze in the United States.They call it “Cracklin Beer Can Chicken,” and it’s served Peruvian-style, with century egg, salsa roja, salsa verde.” A half is 10, a whole is 18.
In Peru, Pollo a la Brasa is done rotisserie style, which isn’t necessarily uncommon anywhere in the world. However, in Peru the secret to fine Pollo a la Brasa is seasoning the chicken, usually with some secret combination rub combining of various aji peppers (aji panca, aji Amarillo) cumin, paprika, garlic salt, and a few other spices and herbs. At Aframe the chicken isn’t rotisserie at all, but beer can, which means they slow cook the chicken with a half full can of beer directly inside of it, which makes the meat tender and the skin crispy. Their seasoning is far from a traditional Peruvian seasoning. There’s aji, salt, garlic, paprika, but maybe something more exotic too. Cardamom. I don’t know. Whatever it is works.
Aframe was designed out of the remnants of an old International House of Pancakes (iHop), like it was carved out of a piece of seemingly useless driftwood or something. What I appreciate most about the restaurant (and the same can be said about Kogi BBQ, of which I fall more and more in love with) is that it’s just a new angle on Pacific Rim food, which includes not just Pacific tuna, but the spices and dishes of Korea, Mexico, Peru, Claifornia, Hawaii, and other places all fused in and out until something new and original comes out. The menu is inexpensive, but creative: Hawaiin Style Kettle Corn, Bluecrab Cakes, Cornbread and Chicken Salad, Carne Asada Tortas, Fried Apple Pie with Cheddar Ice Cream, etc.
“A-Frame is a place that came from the feeling I used to get when cracking crabs on Redondo Beach Pier as a youth. The salt air, the cement benches. Newspapers and wooden mallets. Family and friends. The kind of food that you wanted to eat then and there is re-imagined here and now. Eat with your hands, reach across the table, lick your plates clean and share food with some strangers. Walk around, talk with your mouth full and get ready to get dirty.”
12565 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, California
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.