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COOKING FROM CUZCO

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Though Peruvian food hasn’t quite made it to the haute cuisine circuit, restaurants offering the South American fare have cropped up all over Orlando; Limeña Chicken in the Winter Park area offers one of the most exhaustive all-Peruvian menus in Central Florida.

Selections cover the gamut of Peruvian food, from aguaditos ($7), a hearty cilantro-based soup brimming with chicken or fish, to a melting amber-hued tamale ($4), stuffed with earthy black oil-cured olives and shreds of spiced chicken, to the ubiquitous Peruvian lomo saltado ($8.75), a stir-fry of thinly-sliced beef, tomatoes and scallions piled atop French fries. Limeña’s lomo left much to be desired – it was served lukewarm and the meat was tough. The accompanying rice, however, was aromatic and perfectly portioned.

It’s advisable to prime your digestive system for a few days prior to visiting if you plan to order the jalea ($13), a heaping mound of deep-fried fish and shellfish. It’s not exactly diet food, either, so if you’re counting calories, head instead for one of the ceviches ($10 for fish, $12 for mixed seafood).

Finish the meal with a small cup of lucuma ice cream ($2), apricot-colored with the fragrance of raisins and honey and a radiant aftertaste that lingers long after the ice cream has been demolished.

Limeña Chicken is quiet on the weekdays, but Friday and Saturday the band walks in and plays until 2 a.m. The service is friendly, though a bit leisurely. Be prepared to remain flexible: On any given day they may not have what you order, but rest assured, whatever your order, it will be Peruvian.

(Limeña Chicken, 1810 N. Semoran Blvd., 407-265-6699)

dining@orlandoweekly.com

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