Paila, in passing

Paila Peruvian cuisineSo I still haven’t tried Peruvian cuisine, at the new Paila restaurant or anywhere else, but I came a bit closer today. Now that I’ve opened the Chron for the first time this week, I see that the mysterious festivities at Paila today are to honor Peruvian independence. There was great music and a tombola (raffle) and it will all go on until 7 pm this evening. Today, unlike every other day, patrons will buy tickets from a cashier and then step up and spend those chits on today’s specialties. The regular menu and buffet prevail from here on out. I did pick up a “2go” menu (call 386-5799). Appetizers on it include papas a la Huancaina (boiled potatoes served with cheese-based and yellow pepper sauce over a bed of lettuce, garnished with chopped egg and parsley), ceviche, causa rellena (“a cold layered cake made of potatoes seasoned with lime juiice and aji amarillo, stuffed with shredded breast of chicken mixed with mayonnaise and avocado”), anticuchos (skewered grilled marinated beef hearts, and one of our party was inclined to stay just for this), fried yucas and hot sauce, a potato sampler served with a selection of salsas, and more. Main courses on the to-go menu include a Peruvian version of rice and chicken, chicken in Peruvian garlic sauce, beef stew and beans, lomo saltado (a stir-fry of steak strips, venegables, and potatoes served over rice, cau-cau (described as a stew of tripe and potatos), carapulcra (a stew of chicken, pork, and dried potatos), and a stew of spicy pork. Paila has looked like a very inviting spot every time we’ve passed by, and up close it’s even more pleasant than it appears from a little distance. Set back from the street, it has indoor and outdoor dining, under beautiful shade. Presonally, I’ll be skipping the anticuchos, but I’m proud to know someone who won’t be.

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