So, maybe a month ago, we wanted to try something different. We came up with Peruvian. I think we were looking for a certain restaurant, but we didn't find it on the internet. So we found this place on Genesee right off Clairemont Mesa called Aji Seco. The website is:
So it was hidden in a strip mall that is not visible on the road. We had to do a loop, but after researching on the internet, I kind of guessed it was tucked away in a corner like it was. The area kind of reminded me of Metry. When we walked in, the guy who must be the owner was at the front, all friendly and... Latin American. You, know, a big friendly Hispanic dude. So we were seated. The decor was pretty nice for a strip mall - which is part of what reminded me of Metry. It didn't have many tables, and the kitchen was teeny. It was in the back, with not much storage space. I assume that the back part of the space (which is shared with a mexican more fast-foody type taco shop) must have storage back there. Right next to us, there was a soundboard, and they were setting up the PA. This guy with an apron on was sitting on a cajon and was checking the mic. We found out that they do lots of live music and dancing there, and it seems that a lot of the staff provide some of the entertainment. It's gotta be way cheaper than hiring musicians all the time.
We got the menu, and it was pretty exciting. My heart started racing, my mouth was watering, and I think my body heat increased by 10 degrees or so.
So the server brought us a little dish of the criollo sauce and a dish of fried pinenuts. So the sauce was like a red pepper sauce, pretty good, but I was waiting for something to drench it with. I wanted to get the yuca fries, but we were kinda low on our budget, and I really don't ever need the extra calories.
So I have this thing that I almost always do when we go out to eat, especially at a new place. I can't decide what the fuck I want to eat. I just can't. It's such an important decision. It could be the difference between an okay blog entry and a dynamite piece of award winning literature. So when the server comes back the first time and asks if we're ready, I have to say no, just 2 more minutes. The problem is, the FP is always starving and impatient, so I hate to keep him waiting, and I have to be ready when they come back the second time, or they will punish me and wait 10 minutes to come back to the table the third time. So I feel under a lot of pressure, and can I tell you, in most situations under pressure, I cave. You know how the job listings in craig's list or monster or whatever will say: We need an individual who is flexible, can handle curveballs, thrives under pressure, is comfortable in fastpaced environments, is able to multitask and is a take charge kind of person. I am none of the above. That's why I'm such a masochist. I hate cooking for a living, yet I guess I get off on being pushed and annoyed and frustrated to almost my breaking point. And then I can walk out of work and have a nice rest of my day. I guess its like working out.
Getting back to Aji Seco...
Actually, I have a question for you. Have you ever noticed how I tend to digress in my stories? I wonder if this bothers anyone out there in internetland. If so, please comment and tell me so.
BTW, no one ever (barely ever) leaves me comments. Can no one relate to me or does no one like me that no one wants to comment? Okay, I realize that most of the people who happen upon my page are looking for some creepy porn or corned beef "ash" or hamachi kama or carlino's hamburgers or laska's pizza or super cocina. Yeah, I read my statcounter statistics fairly often. And I tell the FP about the funny searches that lead people from Turkey or Ireland or Afghanistan to my page.
Getting back to Aji Seco....
I got the Lomo Saltado. The Food Pimp got the Saltado de Mariscos. So we got the same dish, different proteins. Well, the Lomo Saltado is like the national dish, so I had to try it. Also because at Vagabond, they usually don't have it. Only the chef can make it, and if he's not there, there ain't no lomo saltado in the hizzy. So can I tell you, this food came out pretty damn fast. Usually we are waiting forever, and it's kind of the same torture as when you're waiting to piss (or poo for that matter) and the person in the bathroom who you're waiting for is taking forever, as if they have this personal vendetta against you and your bladder or something....
I can't believe I didn't write about this before!!!!!!!
I am so sorry that I don't have a picture. Wait, I'll look to see if someone else posted a picture...
So I found a picture from this local food blogger, Kirk. This guy is like a professional, so don't be comparing my little new blog to his big old blog.
Wait, I found these on my camera. Wow, I did take pictures...
Anyway, it's like this marinated beef dish. The beef was so meaty, you know, like, really sink your teeth into it, I wanted to be sitting outside on the side of a canyon masticating this meat with the coyotes. I don't know...I try not to edit, it makes this more, well, more me.
So it was delicious. If I had finished that meal, and then someone had come in and shot me 10 minutes later, I would have died as happy as I could ever hope to die. I didn't though, obviously. Don't you hate it when people say obviously, as if you're stupid.
Not to digress, but the other morning, my boss comes in and asks for breakfast. He asks for 2 eggs overeasy, and potatoes with chicken. He's never ordered this before. So he says, put the potatoes in first, and then the chicken (the chicken is already grilled), obviously. And put some onion in too. I was very unhappy with that "obviously." And then I cooked it. And when he was done, he said, that was good! As if he was surprised. See, we do not have similar taste in food at all, so I guess it was a surprise to him. Which is funny, because he trusts me to cook. Whenever I work with the chef at lunch, he specifically asks me to make him his food, cause he doesn't want the chef's dirty hands on his salad.
Getting back to the saltado. This is getting ridiculous, I know. The fries were perfectly cooked, and the onions, and the tomatoes were kinda big wedges, but they were cooked enough to be easily edible, and for the tomato flavor to have melded with the garlic sauce. And we used the criollo sauce too. But it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good, that I could have done without the rice, but I ate it anyway, because I wanted to soak that flavor into the rice. So the rice was just another flavor vehicle. A lot of what we eat are flavor vehicles. Like fries. Those fries had absorbed the garlic, the meat, the tomato, the onion and all the other good shit they put in there.
And the Food Pimp's dish was just as good, but with seafood. I didn't really eat his too much, cause I was too busy chowing down on my own plate.
So after that, the server asked if we wanted dessert. I asked what she had, and she said she would bring them out. So she came back out with little packages of cookies and cakes. And she explained them, but I wasn't interested because they were packages of cookies I could get in a store probably down the street. So then she said they had ice cream. She listed flavors. The first one, I'd never heard of. It was lucuma or something. Some Peruvian fruit. So I ordered that. I just wasn't ready to leave the place. So she brought it out. It was about 4 little scoops. Way more than I wanted after all that food, but, oh well. So this ice cream was bright yellow. Must have been a surplus of yellow no. 40 when they made it. So it looked and tasted like margarine. Whatever the fruit was supposed to taste like, I wasn't sure. It had a bit of that asian must taste, so I wonder, does this fruit taste like musty margarine? Okay, so after brief casting of the internets, all I could find was that it is supposed to be a very popular flavor to its native region, and europe. Hmm.. And that its a sweet indescribable flavor. If I ever get my hands on one of these fruits, I'll describe it's flavor.