Comida Mexicana

Like most American college students, my former roommate Kathryn and I, have a slight obsession with Mexican food. Our weekly date would inevitably take us to Las Palmas to stuff ourselves with cheese dip, tortilla chips, a taco salad or burrito or whatever else was our favorite dish of the month. Over countless tortilla chips and drinks we would sit for hours and hours analyzing boys, Gossip Girl and Phi Mu.

Now that I am in Peru, I need to have Mexican food. Unfortunately, it won’t be the same without my dear Kathryn, but at least the enchiladas can try to cure my broken heart from missing her.

Alvaro claims that there is absolutely no Mexican food in Peru. Hmph, I set out to prove him wrong. Last week when driving around Lima with his mom and aunt, we passed by a restaurant and all I saw was “Comida Mexicana” (!!!!). I didn’t catch the name of the restaurant but quickly looked around for a landmark so that I could give Alvaro directions. After some thorough investigating we discovered that the name of the restaurant is Como agua para chocolate (Like water for chocolate) and luckily for us, it is within walking distance of my apartment.

We arrived there Saturday night and were greeted by piñatas, Corona signs and somberos, perfecto. We were seated and promptly ordered chips with guacamole and pico de gallo. For the main dish Alvaro ordered a steak burrito and I ordered chicken enchiladas. Needless to say, we cleaned our plates.

While we were eating, I noticed a lady going to each of the tables to check on the food and chat with the customers. She wasn’t wearing anything to distinguish her as an employee of the restaurant and I just assumed that she was the owner. After we finished our meal she came over to our table and in Spanish said, “You didn’t like it, huh?!” Alvaro looked directly at her and responded in English, “What?” She rephrased her question in English and we chatted for a couple of minutes about her restaurant and where we were from.

As soon as she left, Alvaro asked me, “Why did she start speaking to us in English?” to which I responded, “Because you spoke to her in English.” After nearly one and half years, I witnessed his first language blunder. I have seen him conduct three simultaneous conversations in English, Spanish and German without confusing a single word. Last night, here in Lima, he spoke English to a Peruvian.

But she wasn’t a Peruvian. We soon learned that this woman is Mexican and she owns the restaurant with her Dutch husband. Downstairs they serve Mexican food and upstairs is a bar that serves an assortment of Dutch and German beers. Every last Thursday of the month is “Dutch Night” where they forgo tacos and burritos for sauerkraut, bacon and kale.

Our new friend was a welcoming host. She assured us that if there was a dish that we wanted but didn’t find on the menu, not to worry, she would make it anyway. Not that she is biased, but she assured us that her restaurant has the most authentic Mexican food in all of Lima. Upon finding out that I am American she said, “Oh, yes, well then you know Mexican food.”