Wednesday, January 30, 2013

World class cusine at Astrid y Gaston, Lima

          The pleasure of the meat one of the culinar wonders served  at Astrid y Gaston 
Astrid y Gaston in Lima is owned by Gastón Acurio Jaramillo a Peruvian chef and ambassador of Peruvian cuisine. He is owner of international restaurants and author of several books. In Peru he's the host of his own television program and contributes to several magazines. Astrid y Gaston has been ranked as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, and one evening there is highly recommendable. My rating of the food, nay the culinary wizzardry at Astrid y Gaston (4,91 points) is one of the highest score yet awarded any restaurant jere on Enjoy Food & Travel. At a € 125 pricetag for the whole experience, it is one place I will recommend anyone to visit Astrid y Gaston when staying in Lima.  
Rating Astrid y Gaston: BBBBB- (4,60 points)
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBBBB
  • Interior & design: BBBB+
  • Food: BBBBB
  • Wine: BBBBB
No one respects this sign asking for "silencio"
Astrid y Gaston is located in Miraflores, one out of three upscale district pf the Peruvian capital. The restaurant is located in a dark street bt Parc Kennedy the centre of Miraflores. 
This area is packed with people around the clock and feels quite safe, except for the odd pick pocket you are asked to watch out for. 
Miraflores is one of the the areas where tourists stay, but if you find yourself in another area taking a taxi is easy, cheap (but not entirely safe). 
Astrid y Gaston: Interior
You find Astrid y Gaston in a darker, less populated street.  Not very charming, it does not look like a Michelin Star restaurant.
Interior, at least we were seated was simple looked Parisian, but stylish. White tables adorned with large decorative canvases, under a beamsd ceiling. We were comfortably seated by a round and very formal set table.
The service was excellent, but as we started our meal, the staff seemed not entirely prepared for the logistics following a tasting menu. 
The combination of hospitality and kindness did not match the hesitation on what knives, forks, and spoon that were to follow all our dishes. 
When this is said we loved every moment of the meal to come. We chose the tasting menu and the food were small works of art and divine taste.

We were offered a culinary revelaton with so many flavours and textures reflecting the rich culture and the abundance of natural ingredients of Peru. For us to be offered such a exquisite meal at such a favourable price was an extraordinary privilege. 
First we were presented home made bread and grissini, and that was followed by another small dish not on the menu.  We were not properly informd what it was, but it was definitely seafood.

The dishes perfectly balanced sweet, savoury and sour tastes, and were 
You could choose from a wine menu or two hand picked Malbec wines from Argentina, and we chose the latter. The whole meal ended at around 450 soles ($ 172 / € 126 per person), including a foredrink (three pisco sours)
These to amuse gueules made from seafood were served before the meal started.
I have not tasted sea urchins before, but they are a delicacy. This beautiful and extremely tasteful duo of sea urchins and scallops was called on vacation. 
This dish is called "Pulpo" described as octopus trapped in a smoker cylinder. Exquisite aromas, but the octopus was not as tender as many of the other meats and fish served  
Ceviche, raw seafood "cooked" in vinagre og acidic fruit juices are Peruvian signature dishes. This Cebiche de un amor de verano or the summer's love cebiche was described as Passion, romantic and fleeting
Frutos de verano de los valles del sur (or the summer fruits from the south valley). Fig cold soup from Chilca elicia apple and foie tartar - sweet aromas perfectly matched by the rich liver. 
Cuy or guinea pig is a meat many would hesitate to eat. This sliced in a Chinese disguise (was not sure was that all about) tasted deliciously like pork, so this rodent certainly deserved the last part of its name. 
Choclito or peruvian white corn "Rebel with a cause". The meat served with the large kernels was raw beef. 
This dish is called un pez de altura que parece mantequilla or a fish from the deep who looks like butter. The fish is served with Peruvian asparagus creamy rice and an artichoke parihuela, a concentrated soup of fish and shellfish
The second fish dish was un pez de roca que parece loco or a rock fish who looks like crazy, served with multicolor quinoas and coconut.   
Multicolor quinoas an provided an interested contrast to the tamarind.The quinoa are seeds from a native plant grown in the Andes and revered by the Incas.
The main dish, el placer de la carne or the the pleasure of the meat, was braised beef cheek meat with crispy potatoes. The meat tasted great, in spite of it being just a little tough.  
One out of two desserts was el mango y su cómplice el camu camuor the the mango and its accomplice, the camu camu. Hidden under a refreshing camu camu layer (rumberry), served with coconut tapioca and mint syrup. Camu camu is called rumberry or guavaberry picked from a bush growing in the Amazon rainforest
The second dessert was called La manzana castigada or the punished apple. Baked apple in a caramel shell, served with dulce de leche spread foam, sphered apple juice reduction and ginger ice cream. The caramel shell was extremely sticky and hard to bite through in order to get into the soft fruit inside. 

Vis Peru March - April 2012 i et større kart

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Smart(er) packing

My Swiss Victorinox backpack. Photo: eBay 
Short weekend, half or one week - what and how much to bring? This is an important thing to decide for any traveler. Here are a few of my answers to these questions. 
Short weekend = bring one piece of carry on
Luggage compartments of Airbus 340-600. Photo: Mattes
Norwegians are traveling more, and more often. If you travel for a short weekend, you better pack less and avoid sending any luggage. 
The main advantage is to save time. When traveling for 48 to 72 hours you will not spend time on check in or waiting in pick-up lines. Only carry-on makes it easier and quicker to embark and disembark, and catch transportation  and save time to spend on your destination.
If you travel with carry-on luggage only, be aware of limitations on what (and not) to bring on board:
  • When packing carry on you must be aware of the regulations on liquids. You cannot bring more than 100 ml of liquids, and they must be placed in a sealed plastic bag through security. This also means that if you plan to buy articles as cream, perfumes, spirits on your destination, you will have to check in your hand luggage. 
  • Do remember that you will be allowed to bring things as scissors or other pointed items through security.     
Smart advice for the 48-72 hour traveler
  • Buy a small, thin backpack. I have a very good and durable one manufactored by the quality Swiss firm Victorinox. With nothing in, it takes no room, even in a carry-on suitcase. When on destination you can carry it around on your back. If you should decide to buy any articles you can decide you check in your small suitcase and use the backpack as your carry-on. 
  • If traveling to a cold destination wear an extra warm sweater in order to save room in your suitcase.   
Half week = one backpack and one small or large suitcase 

Baggage claim, Baltimore Airport: Photo: PD-USGOV-NASA
For those of you traveling up to one week, you will have more time and can check in and check out your luggage. Longer stays will also give you more time to do some retail therapy. 
That is why I highly recommend travelers to bring one backpack and one small or one big suitcase. 
Choice of size of suitcase depends on what you plan to do and importantly, what to bring back from your destination.
Smart advice for those traveling up to a week 
  • If you travel during summer and bring a small suitcase, pack only a few items of each, and buy the rest at your destination. 
One week + = one small AND one large suitcase (and a backpack)  
Grey suitcase. Photo: JEXP
For longer travel you need to bring more clothes for your travel, OR keep enough space to shop for a new wardrobe as well as high-quality goods to bring home. 
When I travel to Marrakech in three weeks I have decided to pack one large suitcase and take my small as a carry-on.
Smart advice for those traveling over a week
  • If you overindulge in shopping pack your backpack in your large suitcase. In this case you can send two suitcases if you find much (as I expect I will in Marocco).   


Monday, January 28, 2013

Berlin A-Z 2007-2013

Vis Berlin on Enjoy Food & Travel i et større kart

Here are stories previously published and coming stories on Berlin, Germany 2007-2013

Food stories
  • Berliner Dom
  • Brandenburger Tor
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
  • Pergamonmuseum
  • Reischstag
  • Mariakirche
 Wine and spirits