Category Archives: dinner
A few weeks ago while enjoying an amazing dinner at Marcelo Batata, Elizabeth, who owns the restaurant (and another) along with her husband, stopped by our table to chat. We immediately bonded over our shared love of food and decided that we should get together to check out Kintaro, a Japanese restaurant here in Cusco we had both heard great things about. (BTW, Marcelo Batata is an AMAZING restaurant and I highly recommend it. I unfortunately didn’t take any pics that night, but if you are in Cusco, get your butt there for some great alpaca).
After an email exchange, we made plans to head to Kintaro last Monday night and after some confusion over where the restaurant is located and also walking by each other without recognizing one another, we finally arrived!
Kintaro is located just off Plaza des Armas, the main square in Cusco, on Plateros which is home to a lot of tourist-friendly restaurants, shops, and travel agencies. The restaurant itself is not located right on Plateros, but just off of it in a kinda-alley like place. Hard to describe.
Upon entering, both Elizabeth and I were struck by the simplistic layout of the restaurant and the decorations. I also noticed a lot of Japanese people were seated at the tables which, to me, was a good sign. If Japanese tourists are going there to eat, that definitely says something about the quality of the food.
After we ordered drinks (Japanese wine for Elizabeth, a beer for me), we started chatting and getting to know each other. We both realized that we’re a little weird, food-obsessed, interested in politics, and much more. It wasn’t long before we both agreed that we’ll have to do dinner more often together!
We started off with this complimentary dish. Of something. I don’t know what. There was shredded veggies and it was tasty. And then we got our sushi on! We ordered three types of rolls: the special chicken teriyaki (different from the chicken teriyaki), a tuna roll, and a simple cucumber roll. Elizabeth also tried a miso soup that she said was amazing and we got a small bowl of sauteed spinach which was good.
I ordered the Black Forest Cake and Elizabeth tried the mocha cake. I’ve also had the triple chocolate cake at la Bondiet and Ii definitely prefer it over the black forest. This was good, but the triple chocolate? Well, with such an emphasis on chocolate, how could I not love it?
I swear, as much as I love cooking and baking, if I could eat in restaurants all the time, I would. The food here is just so delicious and because of all the tourists, there are so many restaurants plus so many types of food to try. Japanese, Indian, Chinese, and, obv, Peruvian.
Thank goodness I renewed my gym membership yesterday. It makes me feel less guilty about eating desserts all the time.
Given that I have a number of American friends and family who live in the ol’ U.S of A, I think it is only reasonable that I, too, observe Thanksgiving. After all, who wouldn’t want two Thanksgivings in one year? Two days of delicious food, two days off work (well, most people in Canada don’t get US Thanksgiving off), two days of family and friends, and two days to be grateful for all that we have.
In past years I’ve been fortunate to have celebrated American Thanksgiving with friends who, for various reasons, celebrate. This year, I’m on my own. Thanks to the inspiration of Kelly on Twitter and supported by Julie, I decided to make a Thanksgiving Poutine!
Wait, can it be poutine without cheese? Since I’m trying to keep dairy to a minimum, I didn’t add it. But what I did include in this delicious bowl of goodness was the following:
- sweet potato fries (homemade: cut potato, tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper, roasted for 40 minutes at 375F, tossing halfway through)
- turkey breast (dropped in the slow cooker with some sliced onions)
- green beans (admittedly from a can)
- gravy (mixed together almond flour with cold water in a small saucepot, added turkey drippings, brought to a boil and then stir until thickened. Mine was to thick. Oops!)
- cranberry sauce (brought some water and sugar to a boil, added cranberries, brought back to a boil then let simmer until cooked down)
Okay, so I ate it on Wednesday, which isn’t actually Thanksgiving, but this way you get to see the results! It was really delicious. I loved everything mixed together but I know that if cheese had been added, it would have been outta this world.
So even though it really isn’t my country’s thanksgiving, I think it is still okay that I give thanks, as we should each and everyday.
Today I’m grateful for so many things. First, the messages I received yesterday from friends after I whined about my foot was really appreciated. I know people have far worse health problems to deal with and I realize that my foot problem is minimal in comparison.
I’m also thankful for my family and friends, both near and far, for being positive influences in my life and just all-around pretty great people.
I’m thankful for the good food I have access to and that I never have to go hungry. Almost 1 billion people in our world go to bed hungry every single night. Thinking of this number and all those people is a reminder that I never have the right to stand in my kitchen and say “there’s nothing to it.”
There are many more people/things I’m grateful for and appreciative of, but I won’t get into it all.
If you are celebrating today, enjoy the time with the people you love, eat and drink in moderation, drive safe if you are on the roads, and please, if you hit up Black Friday sales, don’t be involved with any stampedes and trampling of people.
Over the past year, I’ve struggled with a lot of digestive issues arising from food sensitivities. It was emotionally exhausting, frustrating, and annoying but things really started to turn around after I had food allergy testing done and took on an elimination diet based on the results. While I have cut or drastically minimized a lot of foods out of my diet, the impact has been tremendous. I feel so much healthier, have more energy, and I’m not as scared of food now as I was.
If you haven’t been tested for food allergies, I highly recommend it if you are experiencing a lot of digestive discomfort, skin and throat/mouth reactions.
Over the past few months, I’ve had to experiment a lot with food to figure out what really bothers me (wheat, yeast, carrots, and corn are pretty big ones), and which foods are okay in small doses or prepared a certain way (bananas, baked apples, white flour tortillas). It’s been challenging, but I’m dealing.
When family and friends have found out about my allergies and I list off all the foods I need to be wary of, the first question is typically:
“What in the world do you eat?!”
Well, quite a lot, actually. I’m becoming more creative with food and also more dependent on a few foods, like sweet potatoes. I thought now would be a good time to share what I eat and that I do it quite a few different foods.
Salads are my friends. So easy to put together and very filling. I load them up with veggies, add some protein, a healthy fat like avocado or olive oil, and sometimes a bit of cheese.
I’m still eating oatmeal for breakfast most days, but instead of relying on whole eggs or egg whites for protein, I’ll have it with greek yogurt or cottage cheese. This is a bowl of cranberry oatmeal with yogurt and some cooked banana. I love the tartness of the cranberries – try it if you haven’t already!
To make things easier, I roast a lot of vegetables on the weekends. Sweet potatoes are a go-to food for me and I’m regularly roasting some type of squash. The one in the picture below is a buttercup squash. Love it! I’ll often roast cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, zucchini, leeks, and whatever else I happen to pick up at the grocery store. These veggies not only provide the foundation for meals, but often snacks as well.
I’m now starting to recreate favourite meals with friendly-to-me ingredients, like this butternut squash lasagna to take the place of my mom’s beloved lasagna made with tomato sauce.
Every now and I then I’ll enjoy something that has ingredients that bother me. If I remember, I take some aspirin or alka seltzer beforehand to alleviate the symptoms. Or I just suck it up, I mean, how could I not try one of these caramel-cashew bars? (Wish I could have shared the recipe, but it is from a book!
Or my aunt Miriam’s amazing apple strudel? This one actually didn’t bother me much, yay!
I’m slowly reintroducing some foods I tested positive for into my diet, but on a very limited basis. For example, I can’t eat a raw banana every day, so I’ll have one every few days. Cooking it also helps minimize symptoms. I’ve started trying eggs again, but sticking with one whole egg right now and not eating only the egg whites. Apples seem to be okay on a limited basis, or cooked, and every now and then I can have a slice of bread without problems.
It is going to be a constant experiment and struggle to find the right balance of what to eat and how to eat it, but I’m okay with that. I know what I really need to avoid and I also know that if I do have something, it isn’t going to cause long-term damage. I think the hardest part is actually the wheat/yeast/corn allergies, which elicit the strongest reaction from me. To help manage this, I’ve been reading a lot more about the Paleo diet which basically relies on meat, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. Grains are completely cut out. While I doubt I’ll go 100% Paleo (give up my oatmeal?? nooooo!), learning more about this diet has resulted in me increasing my veggie intake, ensuring I have a good amount of protein, and making sure I don’t overload on fruits.
So there you have it, a quick snapshot of some of the things I’m eating more regularly now. Eating out is a struggle, but I’m being more assertive with servers and explaining my allergies to them. For the drive down to Florida, I picked up some gluten-free instant oatmeal packages. At breakfast, I would check with the server if the oats served are gluten-free and, if not, I would explain my situation and request hot water and a bowl for the oatmeal I brought. I ordered fruit and yogurt to go with this and it was a system that worked out pretty well.
Have you tried eating paleo? If so, I would love to know what you think of it and how it works (worked?) for you.
Enjoy your thursday!