Lorrie has not been to Peru, but she is the only person I know who has ever been to this amazing tiny restaurant, tucked into the Art/Warehouse District of Houston. (I didn't even know there was such a thing) 5 Bonus points for taking me to a part of Houston I've never visited!
This old building may not have been built by the Incas, but there is a great deal of charm to the worn exterior. In fact those block-like stones sort of look like the stacked stonework of Machu Picchu!
I have used the word adventure often, when describing these food outings! I also appreciate people encounters, when evaluating these excursions. But I never realized you could start racking up points before even entering the restaurant! 2 Bonus points for a people encounter before dining!
We met these 2 fellows after parking the car and asked if we could photograph their retro VW Van. John, the guy in yellow, owns Dharma Cafe, known for great brunches and Jazz nights. Our friend in the hat owns a shop called "Grow Your Own" ?? I think we're talking vegetables here??
I was busy getting a business card from John, when I turned and saw Lorrie and Shari enjoying a view of tattoos. Now Shari and Lorrie are both artists, so I understand their curiosity...but you must admit, their body language does look as though they are keeping a polite distance from the tattooed creature on his arm.
Once inside, we met Roberto Castre, the gracious and talented chef and owner of Latin Bites. He was born and raised in Lima, Peru and also attended culinary school in his country. Although the dishes he creates for Latin Bites are a fushion of many internationl foods, he puts his Peruvian roots into all of his cooking.
Roberto said he would try out a new dish on us. He experiments and changes his menu often. No wonder the New York Times gave this tiny restaurant a good review! It's like no other in Houston!
I would like to say we called ahead and asked about the color of the china to make sure we matched. But I promise you, it was just good luck. 1 bonus point for matching our plates!
Now honestly, the food was absolutely mouthwatering! I only give 5 points at most for food, but my rating system makes no sense at all, so I'm giving Latin Bites 6 points for food!
I had no idea our appetizers would come out looking like this! "Delicate flavors and sophisticated appearance" are words I have since read in reviews...and how true! Here we have empanadas filled with beef tenderloin and Arepitas, which is cornbread dough stuffed with Oaxaca cheese...and 3 meats AND Tacu Tacus, rice and bean cakes served with 3 meats! Perfect!
This is the dish Roberto created for today. We told him to come up with a name, but forgot to ask before we left. Let's call it The LoShaBe for the 3 diners who first sampled the dish!
We split this heavenly feast 3 ways, after devouring many appetizers. The pork with special spicy rub melted in the mouth and the discs of turnip-like goodies on top, were a nice surprise. I can't remember all the details about the sauce...chopped zucchini and other goodies...but i know it was a perfect addition.
We also shared a fruity Peruvian drink of blended apples, raisins, blue corn, orange and cinnamon. The only thing missing was a shot of PISCO, Peru's National alcoholic beverage. At their new location in December, they will be able to serve Pisco!
We were getting ready to leave when Roberto's wife and cousin introduced themselves. I told them I'd been to Peru and had never eaten anthing close to this delicious. They seemed pleased, but then cringed when I told them I had eaten guinea pig and alpaca on my trip many years ago. Once again I learned to not make assumptions about cultures! For years I thought everyone in Peru ate those 2 animals. 2 Bonus points for learning that!
So on top of delicious food and fun people encounters, we must throw in 2 Bonus for interesting fellow diners (no pics) and 1 Bonus for some nice, possibly Peruvian music playing softly. We will be sure to try out their new location after December!
TOTAL OF 19 POINTS FOR LATIN BITES!!!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.