Monday, January 22, 2007

La Casa de Don Cucho in Pachacámac, Part Two: The Locale

As mentioned, our visit to La Casa de Don Cucho was one of the culinary highlights of the 2006 Peru Food Tour.

There are three different posts about our visit to La Casa de Don Cucho:

The Hacienda Casa Blanca is a house from the 1800s, built on the outskirts of Pachacámac village, about 40 minutes southeast of Lima.

Cucho La Rosa has refurbished and reconditioned the house, and rebaptized it, La Casa de Don Cucho. The atmosphere of this historic house located on a country lane enhances the dining experience.

To get there, we take the southbound Panamericana Sur expressway. Soon after passing the ceremonial complex of the Temple of Pachacámac, we turn inland onto the road to Pachacamác village. This is a popular destination and there are many roadside eateries for all budgets.

The road winds inland past fields and homes. Along the way there are signs leading us to La Casa de Don Cucho. Passing the village, we turn left and follow a dirt road until we reach the restaurant. There is a bucolic quality to the air, the river is nearby, and we feel we are truly out in the country.

As we enter, we proceed along an outdoor passageway lined with antique batanes, the carved rocks traditionally used as mortar and pestle. The colorful walls are decorated with geraniums. In the distance, we hear birds singing.

Cucho also has a collection of antique batanes from various parts of Peru inside the restaurant. We can tell their age because they are smooth from much use grinding herbs and spices.

They remind me of my grandmother's; she had two, a small, bowl-shaped one, and a large flat one.

Once outside in the garden, there are cooking stations. Here, anticuchos are being prepared. On the wall is a chalkboard indicating one of the house specialities: lomo saltado Don Cucho. The aromatic smell of grilled meat fills the air.

Cucho La Rosa is a welcoming host and cooks in full view of his diners. This is his outdoor kitchen, where he crafts his classic criolla dishes. As diners come in, Don Cucho greets them personally.

The alfresco lunch was perfect for a long, lazy Sunday afternoon lunch. There were strolling musicians: a guitarrist and a cajonero, a man playing the cajón. Since it was a pleasantly warm day, by mid-afternoon the outdoor dining area had filled up.

There is a small petting zoo and games for children. It is very much a gathering spot for families at the weekend. We never felt rushed; on the contrary, we felt like we could have spent all day there.

Next time in Lima, we're heading back to La Casa de Don Cucho.

La Casa de Don Cucho
Antigua Hacienda Casa Blanca
Calle 8, Lote 14-A
Open Tuesday to Sunday, lunch and dinner.
Closed Monday.
Reservations: 231-1415, 9920-6219

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana

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