LLajtaymanta - Bolivian in Falls Church Report
The food here is as exotic as the name of the restaurant, which I do not dare try to pronounce without medical personnel nearby.
We all marveled at the stupendous concoctions brought before us. Even though I've been to quite a few Bolivian places, the platters still amaze me. And confound me. Really, is this food or a construction project?
We ordered far more than we needed to in name of research, and started up with soup de mani: a peanut based broth with oxtail, chicken on the bone, pasta, and some french fries floating on top.
A kind of empanada (I didn't note the name on the menu) with spicy cheese: this was served room temp, and is soft, slightly sweet, and dry.
Conejo (rabbit) in a tomato wine 'breading'
Pickled pork Roll - a kind of head cheese, on steroids.
All platters were dressed differently, which made for much excitement and color, but plenty of starches added for heft. Rice, hominy, two kinds of potato, medium boiled eggs (peel and eat!), chopped vegetable salad, pickled vegetables, fresh soft cheese.
To drink, we hit the bargain spiced peach juice for a buck each. This is always a great order in Bolivian places. Free peach pit in the bottom of each glass!
This is by far the most exotic Bolivian place around because they cater only to Bolivians. Though, I much prefer the weekend platters I have had elsewhere, notably El Pike. (Unfortunately, El Pike has added a rather disgusting AYCE buffet on weekends, so you just have to make sure you avoid that.)
Finally, when jaded NYers want to have something they can't get there, have I got a place for you...
The sauce is called Llajua but many of us won't be able to make the complete recipe I found in a translated page. No wonder we had such a pleasant
1 great tomato
2 Havanan or serranos Locotos or verdes(chiles red peppers), without seeds.
2 small branches of parsley
1 or 2 small branches of quilquiña(epazote)
1 small branch of marijuana
4 water spoons hervida(si is wanted more liquid, to add more water spoons)
salt to the pleasure
To grind everything in a fulling mill or molcajete, can be ground the ingredients in mixer, but it is not the ideal since it is skimmed.
Llajua does not have to be very worn out.
To add salt to the taste and to serve.
If You want you can add to more grass and locotos therefore llajua will become greener.
If it wants that his llajua is very sharp, it grinds the locotos and seeds yet.
In some regions of Bolivia red or yellow red peppers instead of the locotos are used.
Llajua is excellent sauce for soups, meats, fish, etc.
this recipe is totally bogus. llajua does not contain marijuana ever. its basically tomato, rocoto or locoto peppers, wacataja (i have no idea what this is in spanish or english but i use parsley and or cilantro and or mint)and green onion. with salt of course added to taste. this sauce is served with everythin from soup to saltenas.
I'm pretty sure that a major component was Aji Amarillo, a Peruvian yellow peppper paste. A lot of the bodegas carry one or more brands.
I've provided a link below for the picture only--I think the pre-shipping price is easily twice what I've paid for mine. It is an ingredient in one of the few recipes we've found for chicken a la braza.
if the sauce was yellow it was most definitely aji. a pepper that comes in yellow or red and varies from mildly spicy and kind of sweet to mind blowingly hot. I think it is also called aji panca. i can't find it here but my mom brings me a few pounds when she visits every year. a major staple in the andean region along with all those starches. lunch isn't lunch unless you have potatoes with your rice and potatoes!
Steve: Thanks for a superb writeup. I just wanted to add that there was yet another starch on some of the platters: Pasta (pretty good macaroni actually).
Also, the fresh homemade cheese was really really good. Queso fresca indeed.
I can't really add to what the rest have said except that I went in with somewhat of the same expectation that Pappy had. The experience far exceeded the expectation.
Although the peanut soup was my favorite, I really enjoyed the souse/head cheese. I took the remainder home for a Bolivian/Vietnamese fusion homemade bahn mi. It was intended for my supper, but I was still so full I couldn't quite face it last night. It's calling to me now.
Nice duck bones to chew on, too.