Peruvian Food at Latin Bites

Peru, South America — By on April 21, 2011 5:00 pm

A Visit to Latin Bites Restaurant in Downtown Houston

I dont need to tell you about the Latin influence on Houston’s food industry. Mexican, Spanish, and Brazilian are everyday flavors in our city, but I bet you cant describe what Peruvian food is like right off the top of your head. It’s very different from the Latin flavors you know.

Pervian Food Chef Roberto Castre

Roberto Castre & Maya Fasthoff

If you have followed my blog for some time you know Im a proud Colombian. What you didnt know is that I was actually born in Lima, Peru.

After my parents divorced, my mother and I moved to Colombia, my mom’s native country. I was just more than one year old when we moved. Throughout my childhood, I recall her cooking up a storm of food experiments which were often very different from Colombian dishes, but I never bothered to ask why some dishes were different. When I traveled to Lima as an adult I discovered that her “food experiments” were actually traditional Peruvian dishes.

For years Ive looked to find a restaurant in Houston that offered Peruvian food, hoping to find some of my childhood favorites. Though I found some Peruvian restaurants, none of them had the unique and exciting flavors I remembered from childhood. Its hard to create Peruvian dishes like those I had when I was a kid because Peruvian recipes have many elements that aren’t easy to find in the U.S., such as organ meats, certain varieties of potatoes, Guinea pig (yep).

One of my viewers (you know who you are) suggested I visit Latin Bites. To be frank, I was not in a rush to go. The Peruvian restaurants I’d tried before were good, but I was looking for something really different. I finally went, and loved it so much that I’ve been back several times since.

Latin Bites is the creation of chef Roberto Castre who also had a mother who experimented with food. Roberto’s mom was a great cook who took pride in cooking traditional Peruvian dishes and in teaching Roberto and his siblings to cook them. I find this to be one of the best way to teach your kids about your culture.

Robertos mom challenged her family by having what might have been the very first Master Chefs competition. Each kid would cook a dish and the family would vote on whose was the best. Roberto tells me he won most of the competitions. This helped Roberto discover his love for food. His sister also partook in the affair and is now a pastry chef. I love stories like this!

Now for the food.

Causa or Causitas:

Causa gets its name from the 1800s war with Peru’s neighbor, Chile. It was designed for the soldiers cause, in Spanish causa. In its traditional stuffed patty shape the mashed potato dish can be carried easily and eaten cold. Causa is traditionally made with tuna, chicken or other fish, and it can pack a great punch these mashed potato patties have a great punch. Latin Bites has different kinds of Causa, including Orange causita, which gets its color from the Rocoto pepper and is topped with chicken salad; the yellow causita, which is mixed with yellow pepper and topped with shrimp; and the green causita, made with basil and spinach and topped with red peppers.

Causitas Peruvian Food

Causitas

 

Ceviche Mixto:

Mixed fish, shrimp and calamari bits with delicious lime flavor.

Peruvian Food - Ceviche Mixto

Ceviche Mixto

 

Anticuchos:

Very lean and soft beef heart skewers. If you get them from a street vendor in Peru they are usually tough to chew, but Roberto takes his time to make sure they are just right!

Peruvian Food - Anticuchos

Anticuchos

 

Cara Pulcra:

A traditional dried potato stew with pork. The pork just melts in your mouth. I highly recommend it.

Peruvian Food - Cara Pulcra

Cara Pulcra

 

Tacu Tacus:

Rice and bean stew made into a patty topped with stewed meats. It’s delicious.

Peruvian Food - Tacu Tacus

Tacu - Tacus

 

Leche de Tigre:

Translates Tigers Milk. Its the lime juice and salt left from the ceviche, mixed with different kinds of Aji or hot peppers. Its believed to be an aphrodisiac. I dont know how effective it is but this appetizer will definitely jolt you!

Peruvian Food - Leche de Tigre

Leche de Tigre

 

Lucuma tiramisu:

Love tiramisu? Add some Lucuma, a native Peruvian fruit.

Peruvian Food - Lucama Tiramisu

Lucuma Tiramisu

 

I really enjoyed my visit to Latin Bites. Roberto Castre has done a great job with adding a modern touch to authentic, traditional Peruvian food at his restaurant. Stop by and visit Latin Bites, then come back here and let me know what you think.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to know about the next destination I visit, click her to subscribe to our mailing list. See you next time!

 

 

 

 

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