Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Dog Ate My Pickle

It seems that I have committed the Cardinal Sin of blogging: it's been months since my last post. However, I have a good excuse, as I've been traveling for work and pleasure since August.

I have returned home to NYC inspired by the pickles and preserved foods I encountered in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and San Francisco. Though not technically a pickle, ceviche is one of the most fascinating cured foods in the world. For starters, it's a pickled protein, not a fruit or vegetable, and it's "cooked" with lemon or lime juice, then mixed with slivers of red onions, enormous Peruvian corn kernels, and slices of sweet potato, which absorb the tangy marinade.

If you're heading to Peru, be sure to spend a few days in Lima--everyone will tell you to skip it, but it's home to some of the best ceviche in the entire country. Nobu Matsuhisa learned to master ceviche and sushi at Toshiro's, where the Japanese-Peruvian fusion is clean and vibrant (try the ceviched scallops on artichoke hearts). Gaston Acurio, gets adventurous with bold combinations, such as the black scallops with yellow pepper sauce, at La Mar, a sophisticated al fresco cevicheria with cement floors, Bossa y Stones tunes, and palm trees. Pescados Capitales, a clever play on the Spanish phrase, pecados capitales--the seven deadly sins--is another urbane spot with impeccably fresh tiraditos and cebiches. Buen provecho!