Sunday, January 3, 2010

Qusqo: Peruvian Food

I've previously blogged on El Rico Pollo, a Peruvian restaurant in San Bernardino. I've now eaten twice at another Peruvian restaurant: Qusqo, located at 11633 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles 90025. It is near where Andrew lives and very convenient for a quick meal when we are visiting him.

Both times Andrew has gotten the chicha, purple corn juice. As with every other item on the menu, it is a little fancier and more expensive than its San Bernardino counter-part. This particular drink has fruit floating in it.

This last time I got choros a la chalaca, steamed mussels, topped with onions, tomatoes and lemon and corn. They were good, but very expensive. They were different than the steamed mussels I am used to getting, which generally come in a broth with bread, and we also got very few mussels for the price ($10.00). I prefer regular steamed mussels and the quantity for the price was not worth it.

The tamale was filled with olives, chicken, bell peppers, onion and egg. It was better than a typical Mexican tamale, not quite as dry and with more ingrediants. However, I did not like it as well as Honduran and El Salvadoran tamales I've had recently that are wetter and better, even with fewer ingrediants.

The inside of the tamale, but you can even tell from the picture how dry the outer white corn dough is.

For my main meal I got arroz con mariscos, a paella of saffron rice tossed with shrip, mussels, scallops, calamari, chilies and vegetables. This was truly excellent, the best paella I've ever had (better than any I had in Spain). One of the things that distinguished it was how moist it was. Most paellas I've had have been dry. The calamari and shrimp were juicy and not over-done and it was good to the last bite.

Andrew got free range chicken with sweet potato fries. The chicken was to die for. It was moist, saturated with spicy goodness and the creamy dipping sauce was very good. Peruvians know how to cook chicken. The sweet potato fries were also the best I've ever tasted. They were relatively crisp, but still with plenty of moisture and fried flavor. Andrew has gotten this dish both times we've been.

We also shared some chocolate cake which was very chocolatey, rich and good.

On our previous visit, when I did not have a camera, we got a couple of other dishes which were good. Overall, I love the food. It is a little over-priced compared to some other food we've had in Los Angeles and in comparison to El Rico Pollo, but it has very good food and very much worth going to.

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