Exploring Lima’s Seaside Neighborhood

Last year, I spent a week in Lima, Peru’s sprawling capital. I stayed in Barranco, a sleepy, seaside neighborhood south of Miraflores. Barranco is a place of crumbling mansions. Rusting gates line the narrow, cobblestone streets. Ravens perch on fences, as still as gargoyles, while the ocean mist creeps to shore. Barranco is coated in nostalgia during the day, but at night, this sleepy neighborhood swings open its doors, the Pisco Sour flows, and the rock n’ roll bass is so strong it can beat your heart for you.

Here are some of my favorite places in this neighborhood, from the weekend food stalls, to the quiet side streets near the Bridge of Sighs. If you’re ever in Lima, Peru, make sure to check out this neighborhood!

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Cuy, or roasted guinea pig, is a Peruvian specialty.

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Preparing local food at the weekly feria gastronómica in Barranco.

Ceviche restaurant in Barranco.

Ceviche restaurant in Barranco.

A walk across the famous "Bridge of Sighs".

A walk across the famous “Bridge of Sighs”.

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A quiet afternoon.

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Pisco: Perú vs. Chile

Pisco tasting in Chile’s Elqui Valley.

I may never be allowed into Perú again for what I’m about to say.

I like Chile’s pisco sours better than Perú’s. Yes. Perú may have better food, but Chile takes the gold for this fiery grape brandy.

It’s a touchy subject. Perú and Chile rival each other in more ways than one. From territory disputes and battles lost, the two countries have a simmering rivalry.  And pisco is a matter of national pride for both countries.

To be fair, the Spanish  originally brought the grapes to Perú and began making pisco there. But they also began making pisco in what’s now Chile. Both countries claim pisco as their national drink. (Nowadays, Chile is the main exporter of this potent liquor.)

However, after trying the pisco sour, both country’s signature cocktail, I realized that they’re very different. From the way the pisco is made to the very ingredients in the cocktail, you can barely call it the same drink.

Anyway, some photos from my field research…

A Chilean pisco sour

A Peruvian pisco sour

Distilling pisco in Chile’s Elqui Valley region.

Pisco bottled by hand in Chile’s Elqui Valley. “Fuego”, on the right, is sold exclusively in Chile. 40 Pisco is exported internationally.

Chilean pisco sour recipe:

  • 3 ounces of Chilean pisco
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg white 
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Put everything into a blender and blend on high speed until ice is crushed. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Salud!

Lakes, theaters, and torta Alemana

I had to remind my self that I was actually in South America. For all I knew, I could have been near the Black Forest, the flag’s  black, red, and gold colors flying high against a backdrop of wooden, Alpine houses. Frutillar is one German-influenced town in Southern Chile. 

It’s mid-winter break, so most of us teachers have some time off to travel. Frutillar-bound we were. It’s only a 2 hour bus ride south of Valdivia, right on Lake Llanquihue. Everyone raves about this town with its lakeside theater, that attracts everything from ballet performances to jazz concerts. It’s definitely one of my favorite towns in Chile so far.

We could almost see the entire volcano! The most sun we’ve had all week.

TRIVIA TIME! How many Nestle logos can you find in the rest of my photos? Nescafe is omnipresent in Chile. Brian joked that he was almost expecting to see a Nestle mosiac floor when we walked into the theater. (Sadly, there wasn’t one.)

From the veranda.

Veranda ceiling. Amazing

Elise wanted to know where the best German cake in town was. So we went and asked the local municipality…

Asking city hall…

This is it! The best place for dessert in Frutillar, where the locals come and go.

Ridiculous cake creations in this place.

Nestle is the top

Just when this town couldn’t get any more cute, a rainbow appears…

The end.