March 6, 2012

Victoria’s victorious!

First things first: I have to tell you how beyond excited I am that Meryl Streep has won the Oscar for Best Actress after thirty years!!!  What an amazing accomplishment!  When Colin Firth said her name at the Oscars I jumped out of my seat and started screaming in delight as if I were the one winning the Oscar.  Again – congratulations to Meryl Streep!

We were in Florida to visit our dear friends Traian and Anda not so long ago, but we’d go back in a heartbeat.  The clear cloudless sky, the deep blue ocean, the hot weather and the always green palm trees make you want to stay in the Sunshine State all year long.  Alright, perhaps the agonizing humidity during the summertime might make you move to the North for a couple of months, but that’s it.  You just want to soak up the hot sun and drag your feet through the warm grainier white sand while listening to the beautiful calming sound of the waves that build themselves until they vanish onto the shore. 


I know that Florida is a big state, so I’ll narrow it down and tell you that we were in Palm Beach.  Not a bad location for our first time in the state of the orange blossom.  And the best part was that we got to explore the surroundings by foot.  We walked around; saw little lizards and other small reptiles roaming around (by the way, I hate reptiles, so I was grabbing and crawling onto Adrian every time I saw one); walked over a draw bridge, admired the pelicans, and discovered local restaurants specialized in foreign cuisines. 

Strolling around Palm Beach we came across a tiny Peruvian restaurant in a strip mall.  To be honest, I felt like Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives when he discovers true gems in unexpected places.  This is what Victoria’s is, a hidden treasure buried in the middle of a forgotten strip mall across from the Post Office in Lantana, FL.  It’s easy to overlook but it’s a true gem if discovered.  In a tiny place, with no more than ten tables, cozy ambiance and rustic décor, Victoria’s offers blissful traditional Peruvian cuisine.  I have to say that I don’t know much about Peruvian food.  All I know is from what Tom and Louise experienced while in Peru at Machu Picchu a couple of years ago.  Apparently, Peruvians, who live in the Andes, eat a lot of purple potatoes, corn and guinea pig.  Well, we didn’t find guinea pig at Victoria’s but we did find a lot of superb dishes to introduce us to the Peruvian gastronomy.  And after eating there once, we went back the next day.

This is what we ordered at Victoria’s:

-          Anticuchos
-          Chupe De Camarones
-          Ceviche Mixto
-          Arroz Con Mariscos
-          Lomito Saltado

I know that the Spanish names don’t say much, so let me clarify.  Anticuchos are marinated chunks of beef heart.  At first, they look just like shish kabob, skewered and grilled.  But it’s beef… heart!  Growing up in Romania, we’re used to eating offal, and I have to say that this beef heart was outstanding!  The heart was tender and juicy, and very well complemented by the grilled sweet potatoes and corn.  Not to mention that it’s a very generous portion for an appetizer.


However, if your heart can’t take more heart, I would recommend the Chupe De Camarones, which is a rich Peruvian style shrimp bisque.  Another huge hit!  First of all, this soup reminds me of our Romanian way of serving soup in gigantic bowls, which make you want to rub your tummy and take a nap after you’re done.  Although, this soup is listed under the soup section in the menu, it can easily be considered a full meal and you’ll definitely feel satisfied after a bowl…huge bowl of shrimp bisque.  What’s most important is how unbelievably delicious this soup is!  It’s creamy, spicy, filled with large shrimp, which stare at you with their big black eyes, corn, green peas, rice, potatoes, and a poached egg that makes the soup even smoother. 

If you’re looking for a masterpiece for your main course, try the amazing Ceviche Mixto.  This traditional dish of fresh fish and seafood cured in lime juice is out of this world!  The bright flavors pop in your mouth; the red onions add texture, and the corn and sweet potatoes bring sweetness and color to this perfect marriage.  By the way, isn’t this the biggest corn you’ve ever seen?  It is for me.  Also, don’t forget to ask for a spoon; you don’t want to leave that tasty broth on the plate.      

The Arroz Con Mariscos, or mixed seafood and rice, is another successful dish on their menu.  The brilliant combination of seafood, golden rice, corn, green peas, roasted red peppers and crunchy red onions will have you ask for more.  It’s a light but filling main course.    

And let’s not forget about the Lomito Saltado.  This staple Peruvian dish is a winner.  The succulent beef strips go perfectly with the crunchy sweet red onions and juicy tomatoes over a bed of delicious shoestring fries. 

To cleanse your palate after a satisfying meal, treat yourself with this lemony soda, Inca Kola, which is considered to be a Peruvian icon

Or a sweet Peruvian rosé wine.

In the end, it was a memorable Peruvian experience that we hope to repeat as soon as possible! 

Restaurant Information:
Victoria’s Peruvian Cuisine
111 Third St.
Lantana, FL, 33462
Phone: (561) 588-9606

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