Food Travel America / LAX

Picca for the (not so) Picky eater

I’ve mentioned it before, but I get pulled in a lot of directions when it comes to posting for Call Me a Food Lover. I know I’m most passionate when it comes to being in the kitchen at home or with family. That’s generally when I have the time to be the most introspective on what food means to me. But travelling is an important piece of my life and I’ve been fortunate enough to go to some amazing places in the past few years. I don’t take these opportunities for granted and I do my research to get the most out of my time in each place I visit.

My exploration of the dining scene in cities has led for some to ask for suggestions on where to go if they’re planning a particular trip to places I’ve visited. Part of my hope with CMAFL is to help guide others to some fantastic food finds, so they don’t have to put the time in that I do. But then again, according to Ben, no one puts the time in that I do when it comes to thinking about food.  So even if you don’t think that the travel posts are relatable to you, maybe someday soon you’ll plan a fabulous getaway and can use some of my suggestions.

Some trips have become annual occurrences, like the weekend in LA that I’m currently enjoying. But I’m pleased that although the schedule for the weekend and the players involved have stayed the same over the past many years, I still relish in the wonderment of weekend and find new and exciting things to love about LA.  I guess it also helps that LA is such a food lover’s city and every year there are new gems to discover.

Over the past few years, we’ve fallen into a routine over the weekend and I look forward to spending both Friday and Saturday evenings out with friends.  Friday this year was spent with the one I had dubbed last year as the “picky-eating banker” and his wonderful wife.  Over the past few years I’ve been careful on where to eat to ensure that we would please the picky eater, but I’ve realized over the past year that he’s not actually picky, but just particular.  Particular, we can deal with in any setting.  So this year, I chose a restaurant that I hoped would please his wife, whom I’ve heard considers this evening one of her “big nights out of the year”.

Picca opened early this summer to great reviews of creative cocktails and food.  It looked like it would have great energy and I was excited to try a cuisine, (Peruvian) that I haven’t had that much experience in.  I was happy that the restaurant did not disappoint in any way.  The only sad thing from the evening was that I forgot my camera battery at home and am forced to present sub par photos from my iPhone as part of this post.  I even thought that I wouldn’t post about Picca Peru because the photo’s kind of suck, but the experience at the restaurant was so amazing, that I needed to share it.

The menu is huge, and with so many things that sounded intriguing we were lucky that our server Gilberto not only confidently chose our dishes for us.

The Avocado Project – Avocado, lime juice and agave nectar, shaken until smooth. One of the sexiest drinks I’ve had in the longest time.

Cocktail guru Julian Cox, mastermind behind the wildly tempting drink list, was behind the bar so I knew we’d be in for an extra special treat.  We weren’t let down as all of the many cocktails we sampled were met with “wow’s” across the table.  I love a great cocktail…

And the food?

Perfectly fried Jalea mixta -crispy mixed seafood with tartar sauce

Anticucho black cod – miso marinated with crispy sweet potato. One of the favourites around the table.

Tiradito de atun – Albacore tuna with soy ceviche dressing.

Choritos-steamed mussels, pancetta, aji Amarillo butter. I ate more than my share of the bread to sop up the savoury butter sauce.

Ceviche criollo – sea bass, rococo leche de Tigre, choclo, sweet potato.

Causa spicy yellowtail – spicy mayo, green onions, wasabi tobiko on top of a piece of pressed potato. Billed as Peruvian-style sushi this was one of my favourite bites of the night.

Chicharron de pollo – marinated crispy chicken, salsa criolla(Peruvian style), rococo sauce.  Who doesn’t love fried chicken?

Chicharron de costillas- crispy pork ribs crostini, sweet potato puree, feta cheese sauce. This tasted as messy as it looks.  But messy in a good way.

Bistek a lo pobre- skirt steak, egg, pan-fried banana, chickpeas.

Arroz con erizo- Peruvian paella, mixed seafood, sea urchin sauce.  I wished this way a bit more sea urchin-y, but then again I always want things to be more sea urchin-y.

Anticucho corazon- beef heart, rocoto walnut sauce.  We hid the fact that this was beef heart from the table so everyone would try them. It turns out that beef hearts are a big hit if you don’t know it is heart.

Conchas a la parmesana- scallops, Parmesan cheese, spinach, lemon sauce.  This should have been a knock out, but unfortunately it was a bit salty and over-cooked.

Anticuchos alitas de pollo – chicken wings, lime.

Branzino with chimichurri sauce.  After talking about the 3-eyed fish from the Simpsons, my stomach almost turned when this hit table. What I tasted instead was moist, delicate and flavourful… nothing like the mutant that Marge served Mr Burns.

A table full of parents who were raving about Disneyland churros, these little beauties had a lot to live up to.  The verdict?  Absolutely yummy and even better because there was no aftermath of sugar-crazed young ones to deal with.

If someone were to ask me today where to go in LA for dinner, Picca would be one of top recommendations.  Go in a big group and you can tackle a lot of the menu.  Or have an awesome date night out sampling all the causas coupled with the cocktails.  Either way, just go.  I know I’ll be back.

Picca Peru – 9575 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

2 thoughts on “Picca for the (not so) Picky eater

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