The Fat Cow in Peru

Buenos dias Amigo’s and Amiga’s!

The Fat Cow has become semi cultured and has found herself venturing from the pastures of Perth all the way to Peru, South America.

Although many of you may not be able to enjoy the culinary delights with which I am going to share with you today, I am sure that many of you will not be too disappointed about that (please read on to see why).

I am one who wholly believes in the saying ‘when in Rome’, and while in a different country I think it only polite to taste local delicacies.

This motto often works out well in places like Italy or France, where local delicacies include culinary delights like olives, pizza or croissants. You can only imagine my horror and concern when announced that Peru’s favourite dish is Cuy, translation = Guinea Pig.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen that furry, cuddly and somewhat adorable pet that you owned as a wee person, actually gets served up on a plate over here. Traditionally it is usually served whole (head included) and one must devour in the carnivorous fashion of eating it with your hands.

With the mentality of the guy from Man v Food, I put to the back of my mind that I had to eat my childhood pet and ventured to a recommended Peruvian restaurant (Inka Grill) in Cuzco. Aiming to check off all the local dishes we ordered the entrée of Trout and Mushroom Ceviche and a main of Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roasted potatoes to share. Considered a delicacy over here, the Cuy was the most expensive item on the menu, and I had concerns that I would be playing 60 soles for one mouthful of food.

To calm the nerves prior to my pet tasting, I further got into the Peruvian spirit by ordering the local drink called a Pisco Sour. This was delicious and although initially tasting highly alcoholic I soon settled into it. The flavour resembled Tequila but was mixed with citrus and egg white which took away the typical burning that usually comes with Tequila. After trying many local drinks in different countries E.g. Raki in Turkey (liquorice in a cup) it was nice to actually find a drink which was palatable.

Pisco Sour

The dishes arrived at the table and I was happy to see that the guinea pig had been separated and there was no sign of a head. I was doubting my ability to eat such a thing if it was in fact looking at me. The ceviche was nicely presented and came with a side of corn, regularly sold and eaten here.

We started on the ceviche to get into the swing of things and although the city of Lima is best known for its ceviche, it seemed Cusco did it pretty well also. The citrus base flavoured the trout well, and was an enjoyable and light dish, of generous entree portion size to start off the evening.

Mushroom and Trout Ceviche

Next was the Guinea Pig and with a deep breath I took my first bite. Despite being a little less meaty and slightly chewier, Guinea Pig tastes like CHICKEN.

Cuy (Guinea Pig) with roast potato

All was going well and I was considering my second piece of Cuy until the piece I selected had some unappetising kidneys attached. Based on this disturbing turn of events, the fact it was expensive and tasted like chicken, I have decided to end my Cuy adventures in favour of returning to eating plain old chicken.

The fateful piece of Guinea Pig with kidneys attached

In other exciting culinary adventures I was also able to try Alpaca. For some reason this seemed a little less daunting than Guinea Pig perhaps because I never had one in the back yard. The Alpaca was also enjoyable, tasting slightly sweeter and lighter to Australian Beef.

Alpaca stirfry

I assure you even though I have eaten Guinea Pig and Alpaca, Peru still has animals left in existence, evident after our visit to the markets.

I always enjoy visiting different countries markets as it gives you an idea of what you should be trying and eating. All I can say however is that after visiting Cuzco markets I have now turned Vegetarian. Filled with countless isles of fresh fruit and juicing bays, we were off to a promising start but things soon changed after mindlessly walking into the meat section.

Call me a prude but I firmly believe that meat and fish when out in the open should be kept on ice and fly free. Strolling through the meat aisles, the Peruvian people obviously don’t share these sentiments and all cuts of meat were laid out in the sun for the taking. I soon realised how wasteful we were in Australia with cuts including brain, hooves, intestine, cow nose, tongue all being available for purchase at a good price. Although we do have kitchen facilities at the hostel, buying dinner seemed like the easier option then knocking up a quick brain and tongue stew.

Cow nose and brain

It has been a gastronomic experience to say the least and I am glad to report that I have no food poisoning based on the above tastings. I look forward to the next part of the journey in Bolivia and have my fingers crossed that their local delicacy lies somewhere between chocolate cake and pie.

Adios

Love The Fat Cow x

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Source Foods Cafe: Highgate

It’s a word in a foodies vocabulary as repugnant as diet. Starting with a B and ending with a T, some may think I am referring to the word ‘bloat’. Although highly unpleasant, this foodie phenomenon is something I embrace and comes with the overeating territory. The dreaded B word I speak of and is currently putting a pickle in the works is ….BUDGET.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have had ‘my last supper’ at Perth’s fine dining restaurants. The time has now come for me to become financially responsible, and scope out Perth’s cheap eats to save some money for the impending holiday. I am determined to find places which keep both my belly and wallet full, yet still enjoy great quality food. Although I enjoyed Nando’s chips and chicken (with peri peri sauce) the other night, I will try my best to avoid blogging and reviewing ‘fast food’ joints. We all know how delicious big macs or fried chicken can be, especially late on a saturday night.

In an attempt to find low-cost but great tasting restaurants, I perused the Urbanspoon website for inspiration. As luck would have it Source Foods in Highgate caught my eye, hearing many recent positive reviews primarily for their organic all day breakfast and enjoyable lunches.  As luck would have it however, Source Foods opens its doors for 1 night a week; that being Friday burger night!

Source Foods Cafe

Phone: 08 6468 7100

289 Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000

http://www.sourcefoods.com.au

Burgers aka food of the gods, would have to be high on the list of my favourite foods. As a kid my favourite meal was a ‘salad sandwich’ (sad, sad child) and obviously as I have  become older and developed mature tastebuds I have upgraded from a salad sandwich to a burger. The combination of fresh bread, succulent meat, topped with fresh salad and melted cheese, elicits a creepy drool out of one side of my mouth. Mentioning the above ingredients makes it seem like anyone can make a burger, but from my experience there some seriously inept burger artists.

Source Foods wasn’t the case though. Looking through the menu it was clear to see that everything was produced locally and freshly sourced. I opted for the El Scorcho Burger – Organic Dandaragan beef pattie with tomato, fried onion, lettuce, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream and chilli jam ($15). My fellow burger buyer went for the Harrisa Steak Burger- Organic steak, tomato, fried onion, lettuce, feta cheese and minted yoghurt  ($16). Ordering these meat filled burgers ensured we would not be welcome at any ‘vegetarians r us’ conferences in the near future.

I was disappointed to find that our burgers did not come with the staple side of chips. Burgers and chips are like peas and carrots, and in my opinion one should not be served on a plate without the other. Like many places these days, Source Foods had them as a side order, which we quickly invested in to share ($5.50). Topped with texan seasoning the chips we ok, and enough to share between 3 people. As you may have noticed I tend to favour hand cut chips (nice and chunky) these however were shoestring fries, so they didn’t particularly win me over. Although the chips were ordered to be part of the meal, they arrived well in advance of our burgers. This in the end was a saviour, with the burgers taking a significant amount of time to present themselves despite being relatively quite in the restaurant. A few chips later and I had managed to curtail any cannibalistic tendencies I was starting to have due to insane hunger.

Shoestring fries with texan seasoning

Eventually the burgers arrived and looked very appetising (probably a lot to do with being hungry). The bread was fresh and the burger well stacked with the listed ingredients. It wasn’t exactly good ‘date’ food. Streams of sour cream and beef juice ran distasetfully down my arm, but when in the presence of great friends I didn’t care and simply licked it up. The pattie was tasty and best of all the combination of jalapeno and chilli jam added the ‘El Scorcho’ spice promised on the menu. No complaints were voiced by my happy burger companions, although water was being consumed at a rapid rate by my friend eating the steak harrisa burger. *She learnt harrisa was spicy that night.

El Scorcho Burger

I was very satisfied by the completion of my burger and it was nice not having an oil slick sitting at the back of my throat, so often experienced when eating crummy burgers.  Not only was I left happy, but my bank account was definitely happier than previous Friday nights.

Positives: Fresh produce, organic, great range of burgers (meat, veto, gluten-free)

Negatives: Long wait, separate order show strings fries and sparse environment.

Overall: 3/5. This is a great burger joint which is worth a Friday night visit, even before going for drinks across the road at The Brisbane. I would be interested in heading back to try it all day breakfast, as I feel the ‘organic’ ingredients lend itself well to the menu.

Love The Fat Cow x

Note: Apologies for the average photos. I am currently living back in the 1800’s with an extra old nokia phone after ‘misplacing’ my HTC. In 3 months time I may even upgrade to an iPhone 5!

Source Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

The Classroom: North Perth

Reflecting on my school report despite my best efforts I have never been a straight A grade student. Easily distracted by others in class and busy masterminding plans on how to be excused from Economics, I guess I was never destined for greatness in The Classroom environment…until now!

The Classroom

http://www.theclassroom.com.au/

1 / 356 Charles St, North Perth WA 6006

Tues to Fri – 4pm to late

Sat to Sun – 11am to late

Mon (private classes)

Ph: 08 9444 7729

No bookings taken

This Classroom specialises in the only subject that I could get an A in – Home ECONOMICS (minus the sewing). The setup is intriguing with retro tin lunch boxes, old wood desks and seats, blackboards and hand paintings clearly demonstrating that this is a well thought out ‘themed’ restaurant/bar. Like many of the newbies to the North Perth Bar, I spent a good 10 minutes discussing which items I rocked back in the day realising that I was shamelessly white and nerdy.

Unfortunately there is a no booking policy and by the time we arrived it was evident that we had hit “peak hour traffic” in restaurant terms. With limited seating  it is clear why there is a no booking policy in place, but does make it difficult to organise a group of friends to have dinner running the risk of waiting a period of time to find a large enough table.

I have now realised I have restaurant rage issues, after a fellow diner parked her rear on a seat/table that I had clearly stalked and scoped out. Refusing accept my move on notice in the form of daggers and one raised eyebrow, I scanned the room to see if there was a punishment cane available – lucky for her weapons were not kept on the premises and she lived to steal more tables another day (sorry Perth). Fortunately enough after another 20 minutes of making people feel uncomfortable by breathing heavily over their shoulders a table magically became available.

The three of us nestled around the school desk but instead of writing lines we perused the drinks list. The menu had been creatively stuck into a small school notebook which was another nice touch in setting the school scene. One of my fellow diners who demanded she go by the alias ‘Black Betty’, thought that I had taken my critiquing to a whole new level by bringing my own notebook with the menu stuck in it. I think she may have been relieved to find out I wasn’t that anal about my reviewing hobby.

The drinks menu was comprehensive and it was clear The Classroom is trying to build a reputation for both quality food and cocktails. In hope that someone may have thought I was talented in Chemistry, I selected a cocktail from the science menu aptly named The Bunsen after Burner ($20) with Chairman’s Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters. The delicious aroma of the caramelising banana permeated the bar throughout the night and certainly smelt better than the usual waft of burning hair often a result of playing with Bunsen Burners. It was a tough decision opting for The After Bunsen Burner with  the  LNO2 Espresso Martini ($22) with fresh pressed Darkstar Espresso, The Classrooms Espresso mix, liquid nitrogen, mascarpone sherry foam and shaved chocolate also looking appetising.

The Bunsen after Burner

The Bunsen after Burner with Chairmans Spiced Rum, bunsen-burned bananas, fresh pressed lime, maple syrup, smoky bitters

Next on the agenda ordering food. Perusing the menu attached to a clipboard, we marked (with the good ol 2b pencil) which items we wanted before handing it to the teacher (waitress). Black Betty opted for the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing ($16), while Smeagle’s carnivorous side got the better of him with selecting the 4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges ($17 small or $32 large). I couldn’t go past the Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli ($8) and Pork sausage rolls with fennel & apple, apricot chutney ($14) . Shortly after ordering my cocktail arrived served in a cute jam jar and smelling delicious. The quality spiced rum flavour was highly evident but nicely balanced by the sweetness of the maple syrup and bananas. The creativity and flavours featured in this cocktail won me over, and I would be more than happy to go back for pre-drinks with the girls despite being highly priced.

The Classroom order form

The Classroom order form with 2B pencil

The tuckshop lady must have worked hard as the food buzzer vibrated across the table in no time resulting in Smeagle and I sauntering through the crowd to the canteen to pick up our tea. I didn’t mind this self-service idea but logistically due to the large amount of people standing around the bar, for the non-trained waiter the journey from the canteen holding multiple plates is a perilous one. One can only imagine what would have happened if someone knocked my chips? Furthermore imagine if it was the lady who stole my table. Excuse the pun but I would have literally been spitting chips (Dad joke). The self-serve style restaurant also posed a few more problems with table service. Unfortunately for us we were sitting at a table that had not been cleared or cleaned from the last group sitting there making it sufficiently awkward for space once our food arrived. We weren’t the only ones with a table next door following suit and dropping a glass upon trying to clear their own table. Being a new restaurant this may just be teething problems, but self-service doesn’t mean a customer should be without table service all together. End of gripe!

Top marks go to the hand cut chips which proved to be highly addictive and enjoyable with the dusting of sumac over the top, something which I hadn’t seen done with chips before. Served in the old yellow chip bucket with generously cut thick chips, I could have devoured another bucket to myself (without even having to add more salt!). Due to Black Betty being a crispy chip lover and myself a soggy, we a had a great chip eating partnership worked out.

Hand-cut crinkle chips, sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Hand-cut crinkle chips,sumac dusting & chipotle aioli

Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing

Szechuan pepper squid,compressed watermelon,nam-jim dressing

Smeagle was focusing on the ribs being a regular Tony Roma rib eater. Although stating they were good, he felt they didn’t pull of the bone as cleanly as he liked and were also fairly fatty. The rib I had pulled away nicely almost falling off the bone but I have to agree the fat to meat ratio was a bit out of kilter, which can sometimes happen with short ribs. The dipping sauce and side of barbecued pineapple was a plus, even for me who prefers fresh over cooked pineapple.

The pork sausage rolls were enjoyable with the apple and fennel sauce complementing the pork. In my opinion pork and fennel are like peas and carrots and is a classic flavour combination which should never be scoffed at. The pastry casing was nicely cooked with some crunch on the outside, something different to the usual soggy Mrs Mac’s sausage roll. Finally we move onto the Szechuan pepper squid, compressed watermelon, nam-jim dressing which caused some debate among the diners. The squid was well cooked avoiding any chewiness that sometimes arises with overcooked squid. The Szechuan flavour of the squid was also spot on, but the pairing of it with watermelon for me did not work. Eating each item separately was ok (with the watermelon cleansing the palate between the squid) but having a combined mouthful of the squid and watermelon made it became a wet dish taking away from the outer-crispyness of the squid. I am not sure which way it was designed to be eaten but either way Smeagle was in favour of the combination finding it quite refreshing.

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

4hr Bourbon beef short ribs, smoked salt & chilli pineapple wedges

The total came out to around $40 each including a drink which wasn’t bad for the quality of food and cocktails made. On a night out this may have come to a bit more, as I have no doubt that more cocktails and hand cut chips would be ordered. The vibe of The Classroom was inspiring and I am glad that North Perth finally has somewhere decent to eat. With my brother living just around the corner it will be nice to have a local restaurant vs having to drive into Leederville for a quality meal.

Positives: Interior decor, cocktail list and themed concept which Perth is yet to really see.

Negatives: Limited table service and no cane to hand out suitable punishment to rude diners.

Overall: 3.5/5. I love the concept and can see this place has great potential, already getting a good response from the locals. Hopefully after another month of being open they can solve a few of the table service problems which would see them take the bar to the next level.

Love The Fat Cow x

The Classroom on Urbanspoon

 

Moore and Moore: Fremantle

Words can not explain how much I adore and love breakfast. It is without a doubt the best meal of the day and one which I live to ‘eat out’ for. If you are sitting there thinking this cow clearly has too much energy in the wee hours, I can tell you I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. However……….knowing in an hours time I could be sipping on coffee, reading the paper and eating something other than heated up Uncle Toby’s oats, I find the motivation to emerge from under the sheets.

On this particular Sunday morning I was quite sprightly knowing that I was about to embark on a journey (with my partner in crime) to one of our favourite breakfast haunts Moore and Moore in the funky and slightly hippy district of Fremantle. With a smell of incense in the air and the sun on our back, I was hoping that M&M was going to live up to its usual high standard which I have come to admire.

If you haven’t been to Moore and Moore before it is located in The Moores Building
46 Henry Street, Fremantle, WA 6160
T: (08) 9335 8825

http://www.mooreandmoorecafe.com

The cafe itself lies right next to the art gallery, so if you are feeling particularly cultural you can enjoy great food while attempting to interpret a vast array of artistic works.

The quirkyness of the interior and the open alfresco area makes for a perfect Sunday morning (while getting the recommended dose of Vitamin D.) We ordered the French Toast and  Parmesan & Spinach Poached Eggs on Turkish Bread, with fresh tropical and apple juice to wash it down. The photos attached speak for themselves with both meals looking fantastic and tasting even better. If I had one complaint it would be the I would have liked my poached eggs slightly runnier to soak into the fresh turkish bread. My fellow grazer however would have liked to level out the rustic paving, to stop the slight rock on the table impeding his ability to tuck into his French Toast.

This place comes highly recommended with most breakfast mains being under $20 and producing great meals time after time. Being here previously I would also recommend the Fruit Toast with the mouth-watering cinnamon butter and home-made preserves that come with it.It is very rare to come here and get food envy with everyone’s meals often being of equally high standard.

For me this place is a 4.5/5 (losing marks on the eggs…. next time it could be 5/5)

I am happy to endorse such a cafe which embodies good food, coffee, service and ambience.

Love The Fat Cow x
Moore & Moore on Urbanspoon