Monday, December 31, 2012

Post 102: Más Peruvian in SF - Fresca (SF: Pacific Heights)

Over the holidays I got another opportunity to visit the Bay Area.  This time I took a road trip with my cousin Emily instead of flying.  Can we say quality cousin bonding time? Packed with a carload of snacks and Porto's pastries, we went up to San Jose to meet some of our South Bay friends.  My old roommate from college Kevin played host for the weekend, and along with some more hungry friends, we ventured into the city for some awesome food.  We sat down for dinner at Fresca, a cozy restaurant in the Fillmore District specializing in comforting Peruvian food.  While we waited for our table, we set out to Harry's Bar down the street from some drinks.  It's also where we returned after dinner for... well, more drinks.

When we finally got seated, we ordered a wide array of various ceviches that were on the menu and a second round of sangria.  Looks like I may have skipped over the mention of the first pitcher of sangria.  Chronological order of events does not bode well with stream of consciousness writing, eh? We were in the mood for seafood, so all of the oyster lovers at the table went in on two dozen oysters.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was completely out of fresh oysters for the day.  We were a little bummed, but it wasn't anything that a little paella, lomo saltado, or another round of sangria couldn't solve.

The lomo saltado was everything that it should be.  The strips of steak were tender, and the French fries were sliced from potatoes with the skin on.  With fresh Jasmine rice and a splash of soy, this dish had to be one of the best fusions of Asian and Latin cuisine I had come across.  It was comfort food at its finest.

Even more comforting was the arroz con mariscos, the Peruvian version of a Spanish paella.  This version was called "green paella" on the menu, most likely because the rice had chopped cilantro and peas mixed in with it.  There was also clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, fish, and scallops in the cast iron pan.  It even came with a couple of lemon wedges for a last minute citrus addition.

What I really enjoy about Peruvian food is that it starts with fresh or raw dishes like ceviche, but it usually ends with something warm and hearty usually with rice or potatoes.  It really does make for a homey, comforting feeling.  It was a memorable way to finish up the last travel adventure of 2012.  Cheers to all the food, fun, and friends that were a part of this past year.  Oh, and thanks to the guys and Maggie for being good sports about the pit stop on the way up to the city.  You're all diamonds... in the sky.  Until next year, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20121229

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