First of all, South America is enormous and extremely diverse. It houses 12 sovereign countries, the Amazon rainforest, the Andes mountains, and 400 million people. That gives us a lot to work with. Each country is unique with a long history of blending indigenous cultures with all types of European, African, and Asian cultures through conquest, slavery, and people immigrating to seek refuge during or after war. This diversity makes for a lot of options for our menu to the point that it is nearly overwhelming.
When we did the 7 banned countries menu, we actually had a dish from each country on the list. On this menu, we want to cover as much territory as possible, but won’t necessarily always have a dish from each country. Our focus will be on trying to capture the best of the soul food of as many regions as we can cover using the best food available here from our local farms and importing what we can’t get here. We are also obviously not on a coast, so the seafood won’t be local, but we will be working with the best we can get our hands on! Expect to see lots of seafood on this menu. We will be serving different types of ceviches and tiraditos using Japanese fish like Jack Mackerel (Aji), Fluke (Hirame), Japanese Sea Bass (Suzuki), Filefish (Umazurahagi), and Grouper (Ara). We will also include shellfish like laughing bird shrimp and Peruvian bay scallops (when we can get a hold of them live and in the shell).
Moving into hot appetizers, we will include black-eyed pea fritters with shrimp and criollo sauce, oxtail empanadas, a Brazilian fish stew called vatapa, baked corn cakes, anticuchos (which are skewers of marinated beef hearts), macaroni and cheese with huancaina sauce, as well as many others as we go through 6 weeks in this part of the world. Entrees will include cola-braised chicken, curried lamb stew, pork ribs with elderberry sauce, potato cakes with beet and avocado, and some form of fish wrapped in banana leaf. Desserts will include caramel pudding, pumpkin donuts, sour orange flan, and variations of ice creams or semifreddos. Cocktails will be fresh and interesting riffs on caipirinhas, mojitos, pisco sours, punches, and sangrias. We’ve already been enjoying listening to Latin American funk, jazz, bossa nova, and cumbia and can’t wait to dig deeper in the Latin music realm. This menu will run until early to mid-July.
Hope to see you soon!