Lunch at La Mar

La Mar Cebichería Peruana has as its main mission “attaining that all who visit discover, enjoy and forever make their own the marvelous invention that is Peruvian cuisine, created throughout the past 5,000 years” with locations in Lima, Peru and San Francisco, California…and soon to open in Mexico City and Santiago, Chile.

La Mar San Francisco is located at Pier 1 1/2 on The Embarcadero in an amazing space with soaring ceilings, full of light, and views of the San Francisco Bay.

Have you tried a pisco sour, the quintessence of a Peruvian cocktail?
  • 2 oz pisco brandy
  • 1 oz key lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 dash Angostura® bitters
Shake ingredients vigorously with ice, strain, and garnish with bitters. Pisco is made by distilling 100% fermented grape juice in copper pot stills. It is a method developed by Spanish settlers in Peru over 400 years ago.

You can sample pisco flights at the bar. How does one describe pisco? Unique, rich, clean, lush, fruity, tangy, crisp, smooth, nutty, spicy, grappa-y… I would love to hear how you interpret the taste of pisco brandies.

Cebiche Criollo: Baja California yellowtail, mussels, calamari, scallops in a spicy aji rocoto leche de tigre with habenero, cancha, red onion, Peruvian corn and yam. Very spicy (that’s a habanero ring as garnish) and very flavorful!

Tamalito Verde: Fresh Peruvian corn cilantro tamale with red onion and lime juice.

Causa: Whipped purple potato with avocado puree and aji amarillo sauce.

Cordero: Braised lamb shank, mashed rice and bean tacu tacu.

Some other dishes we enjoyed included…
Chorillana: Roasted red snapper, mashed yucca, tamarind, red onion and tomato sauce.
Lomo Saltado: Traditional stir-fry of sautéed beef tenderloin, onions. tomatoes, cilantro, soy sauce, garlic, aji amarillo with fried potatoes.
Arroz: Peruvian style vegetable risotto.

The desserts were excellent too. I love the china in which they serve their sunken crème brûlée over purple corn compote.

And these little orange glazed chocolate beignets were a hit as well…If you are in San Francisco, we highly recommend La Mar for its interesting and fresh Peruvian menu, both classic and modern dishes, its breathtaking colorful space, and engaging knowledgeable staff.
When we dine out, we love to share. With so many interesting dishes and new flavors, we had to put all the dishes in the middle of the table. In fact, we started out at a table for four, but had to move to a bigger table so we had room for all the plates. How about you, do you prefer to savor your own dish or would you rather try them all?

Turkey Mushroom Barley Soup

Doesn’t soup just hit the spot after the holiday meals?

Feeling lucky? Carve the wishbone from the turkey breast. Clean and dry the wishbone. Two people each grasp one end and twist until it breaks. The person left with the longer piece (the one who got the “lucky break”) gets to make a wish, a wish to be granted by the great turkey spirits!

Cooking the carcass for soup makes the kitchen smell like Thanksgiving all over again. I break up the carcass then simmer it for a few hours in water with rough chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Strain, cool, refrigerate overnight, remove some fat.
Add 2 bay leaves to the turkey stock and a generous cup of pearl barley. Cook for about an hour or so until the barley is tender. Meanwhile sauté chopped onions, celery, and carrots in butter until soft, then add sliced crimini mushrooms, and finally chopped garlic.
When the barley is tender, add the vegetables and leftover diced turkey to the soup. Simmer for about 10 minutes more, remove the bay. To finish, add chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
Wishbone lucky break or not,
May all your holiday wishes come true…

Foie Gravy

Want to impress your guests? Flambé !!!
Gravy is a key component to Thanksgiving dinner, no? This year, inspired by the fond memories of foie gras, I thought Foie Gravy would be a nice companion to the traditional style gravy. Kinda like giblet gravy but with liver only, lots of liver. I do not expect everyone to be a fan, I know my mother isn’t! But for those who love liver, this is for you!
Note: I am not able to light food on fire and photograph at the same time. This photo credit goes to Lena, our lovely guest from Germany.
Clean and rinse at least a pound of chicken/turkey livers. Sauté in butter until cooked through, then informedly add about 1/4 cup Cognac.  Do try this at home, but not before reading flambé tips first, linked from the Caramelized Apples Flambéd with Cognac post. Add fried sage leaves, salt and pepper. Coarsely chop.

Make your fabulous gravy as usual. Reserve half of your gravy for non-liver lovers.  Take the other half and add lots o’ liver. Don’t be shy.
If you would like my gravy recipe feel free to email me. And if you have a gravy recipe that rocks, please share!

Thank You Blogger

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We had a terrific Thanksgiving here, if you celebrate, I hope you did too. And the icing on the cake (or should I say pie?) was that Blogger picked Taste With The Eyes as the Blog of Note for Thursday, November 27! WOW. In between cooking the Big Bird (25.90 lbs.) and making the dressing, other side dishes, and playing with my nephews, I took a break to post that adorable photo of Stone. Little did I know that a neat surprise was waiting for me! There were comments from folks far and wide who had never visited Taste With The Eyes before. All this was due to the absolute honor of being chosen as the Blog of Note. I am really excited to meet new bloggers. The friendships that I have made so far are amazing. It is a special relationship that we form and how we come to care for strangers met through our blogs, a unique experience indeed. To my old and new friends alike, I sure do relish your input. To the Blogger Team and Blogger Buzz at Google thank you so much for this awesome distinction and wonderful opportunity to make new friends.
Oh, the party is not over yet. At 1 o’clock this afternoon we have 20 or more friends stopping by for our annual open house, we call it Leftover Day. We’ll be putting the leftovers out on the buffet and grilling some delectable turkey and honeybaked ham sandwiches on the new panini maker!

Last night was a blast. After dinner, we played a hilarious game called Mad Gab. Everyone was in stitches. The boys insisted we play charades, so we did that too! So I’m wondering, how do you feel about leaving the dishes until the morning? Me? I feel just fine about it. Would rather laugh and play while everyone is here. The dishes can wait. But they can’t wait too long, now we’ve got another party in a few hours, so I gotta go take care of business…