San Sebastian ‘s Culinary Culture and Pintxos (What to Eat in San Sebastian) – Bicoastal Cook’s Essential Foodie Travel Guide

The Pintxos, Cuisine, and Specialities of the Basque Country. Wondering what to eat in San Sebastian? There is a lot. San Sebastian is often quoted as one of the new culinary capitals of the world. The food here influenced the likes of David Chang, was spear headed by the likes of Ferran Adria and Juan Mari Arrzak, and plays an instrumental role in both the field of Molecular Gastronomy, as well as, in the best kitchens around the world. San Sebastian is known to have the highest concentration of Michelin stars outside of Tokyo, making it one of the top culinary scenes of the “Western” world. This culinary culture was born from both Spanish and Basque cuisines. As any chef knows, the quality of produce is one of the most important aspects and the produce and markets here are spectacular which enables the restaurants to do what they do best. It has also been that ability to recognize the traditional cuisine, BUT continue to advance, research, and create new dishes and techniques that makes the cuisine here so influential. And through nothing else than walking the Parte Vieja and eating your hearts desire  in Pintxos you can get a sample of the amazing cuisine here–and it’s combination between traditional and modern. And in deciding where and what to try is where I come in. Pintxos “Opa” = Hello! You might be more familiar with the word Tapa, but a Pintxos is more or less the same thing–a couple bite mini-course that is eaten between meals, to start a meal, or as a meal. As legends go, Tapas were born in Southern Spain, but traveled, evolved into Pintxos and were perfected in San Sebastian (or...

What to Eat in Lima – Bicoastal Cook’s Essential Foodie Travel Guide

Lima is one of the culinary capitals of the world–amazing restaurants and chefs–and with the rise of Peruvian cuisine, Lima has been getting a lot of attention lately. From a foodie perspective, I wanted to concentrate on 3 things in Lima: Ceviche, Pollo a la Brasas, and Nikkei Cuisine. These were the three best things that I would be able to eat in Lima, while I focused on the more local cuisine in Cusco. (For a primer on the cuisine, and the dishes to try here, take a look at our Cusco guide.) Pollo a la Brasas – the is the dish that has exported the most around the world with the Peruvian tag. A roasted chicken with spices. Simple, but delicious. Ceviche – this is one of the, if not the, most popular dish for many tourists and local alike. Ceviche has also evolved over the past few years from a dish that was fish cooked in acid for an extended amount of time, to one (potentially from Japanese influence) that is fresh seafood only briefly cooked in acid. A small but tremendous different. Along with the acid, of typically lime/lemon juice, peppers and onions add flavor dimensions to the fish. I waited over a month in Peru to eat this dish at a city, like Lima, that had access to fresh seafood–the way ceviche is supposed to be made. The two below options will serve as the best representation of preparation styles as well as ingredients. Try Ceviche at the Market – El Cevichana, Mixed Ceviche Try Ceviche at a Restaurant – La Picanteria, Ask them for the best option Nikkei Cuisine...
Pisco and Peru

Pisco and Peru

Peruvian cuisine, by it’s own right, has increased in popularity around the world. Born from the cuisine of ancient civilizations, the cuisine has evolved from immigrant influences and modern chefs, such as Gaston Acurio, who have brought the cuisine to the international scale. Lima is now known as the gastronomic capital of South America—not only due to modern Peruvian cuisine, but the emergence other evolutions such as Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) and Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese). I had to make another decision on what to focus on during my travels in Peru and it started as an overwhelming task: on one hand, just focusing on the variety of peppers (Aji, Limon, Mirasol) and potatoes indigenous to this area would have been a decent amount of subject material. Or, I could spend my time learning about the variety of sauces (Ocopa, Rocoto, Huancaina) that are a central part to the cuisine and help to quickly create variations between dishes. Or, just learn as many dishes as possible from Lomo Saltado, Rocoto Relleno, and Adobo to Pollo a la Brasas, Cuy, and Chicharrones or Aji de Gallina, Anticuchos, Causa, and Ceviche. Or, corn stuff. I ended up doing all of the above (more here and here), managing to taste and learn my way through the cuisine—from frequent market visits, to making my way through Gaston’s book, and hosting a Peruvian inspired dinner party—as well as decided take the opportunity to explore a lesser known ingredient: Pisco. Pisco? Yes, Pisco. Pisco is one of the underlings of the alcohol or cocktail world. Famous in both Peru and Chile, Pisco is the alcohol of choice for many and...

To Eat in Cusco (And A Map of the San Pedro Market) – Bicoastal Cook’s Essential Foodie Travel Guide

Let us start with a quick Peruvian Cuisine primer: Utilization of indigenous produce such as the varieties of peppers (amarillo, limo, mirasol, rococo) and potatoes Delicious sauces that help add variety to dishes (Ocopa and Huacaina) A foundation built upon a blend of Spanish and Indigenous cuisines; along with, a development of “fusion” cuisines (Nikkei and Chifa) through the influence of Chinese and Japanese immigrants The caloric source revolves largely around potatoes and rice; meals are hearty with a typical two course consisting of a meat based stew starter and a rice and protein base main course   For many, a trip to Peru is focused on Machu Pichu, which means that you will be spending sometime in Cuzco. While this post focuses on the options in Cusco, the local dishes can be applied to other cities such a Lima or Arequipa. Cuzco is a tourist town, there is no getting around that. I mention some specific restaurants below to eat in Cusco, but other than that, I would recommend you focus on local spots, the street, and markets to get a taste of Peruvian Cuisine. You might be thinking, “Dude, you forgot about Ceviche and Pollo a la Brasas!” at the end of this post. But no, I didn’t and would never. I believe that both those items should be eaten in Lima, and you can learn more on that city in our Lima Guide. One of my favorite activities in a new country is to hop over to a local market to get a lay of the culinary scene, along with a delicious and cheap meal. The San Pedro market in Cusco is a great...

A Foodie’s Walking Tour of Santiago (or, Where to Eat in Santiago) – Bicoastal Cook’s Essential Foodie Travel Guide

Back in NY, when friends visited, my speciality was taking them on a food-oriented walk through some of my favorite spots in the city, sprinkled with some of the tourist sites. After pulling together my research for Santiago, I was frankly overwhelmed by everything I needed to eat and solved this problem by both extending my stay and making food centric plans around the city. Lucky you, I’m gonna spoil you a little and put together a where to eat in Santiago in a walking tour format. I was located near the metro station Boquedano to serve as a bering for these walks; and it’s mid-summer right now. The idea is to provide experiences in all parts and vibes of Santiago—from the history, trendyz, and other influences. It’s important to know that Chilean food focuses on the natural—from location to taste of ingredients—sprinkled with influences from Peru, Japan, and Spain; that’s the food we are going to explore along with evolutions, fusions, and spins. There’s a decent amount of walking, cause there is a decent amount of eating that’s gonna go down. I also assume that you had breakfast in the morning, but there’s more than enough food to be had if you didn’t. Street Foods: Other than the Completo, Empanada de Pino, and Mote con Huesillo which will be readily available across the city, if we head to the myriad of intersections between Tirsa de Molino and Mercado Central, we can find vendors that have built food carts out of shopping carts. Complete with full fryers or grills–selling the following: Ceviche over Pasta (sounds like an abomination, but was...