Thursday, September 29, 2016

Peru Cafe Express

3885 Southwest Freeway

Peru Cafe Express has moved (correct address above) and Empanada Factory has commenced operations in the space at 3833 Southwest Freeway.

The owners of this place and Argentina Cafe on Sage have recently opened a new Peruvian-Argentinian place, Che Inka, on Memorial, in a former Los Cucos.  My friend Lambowner checked it out and reported on it on Hungry Onion.  When we checked out the website we learned this place is slated to become an Empanada Factory.  I stopped by today to check it out.  It's still Peru Cafe Express and I saw no mention of an Empanada Factory but there were signs in the window announcing this place is moving a few doors down to a larger space soon so I guess the Empanada Factory is on hold until then.

I was very impressed with Argentina Cafe but had never checked this place out because it's mostly take-out and it's a little far from my home for that.  Today I picked up a 'sauteed beef sandwich' - i.e., Pan Con Lomo Saltado, and a Peruvian pork tamal with salsa criolla.

I'd never tried a Peruvian tamal, not even sure I remember seeing them on any menus, but this was the real winner here for me.  It had already been stripped of whatever it was steamed in (corn husks and banana leaves are mentioned in online recipes) when it was stuffed in the clam-shell but it stayed moist enough on the trip home.  The color comes from a Peruvian red chile, aji panca I think, and it was delicious with a generous filling of chunks of pork.  The salsa criolla, a ubiquitous condiment in Peruvian cuisine so I understand, is red onions sliced a la pluma (like a feather), dressed with fresh lime juice, a little salt, maybe a hint of chile.  There was also a container of a salsa verde in the bag.

The sandwich didn't fare so well; closed up in a clam-shell the bread lost any crustiness it had and the handful of potato chips included wilted as well.

I'll be looking forward to the new location for this place, where presumably there will be better accommodations for sit-down dining, and to the new Empanadas Factory.