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LLajtaymanta - Bolivian in Falls Church Report

Steve Jan 18, 2006 06:13 PM

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'
Pato (duck)
Beef Jerky
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...

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  1. r
    roe Jan 18, 2006 08:57 PM

    Grande Plates

    Image: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/we...

    3 Replies
    1. re: roe
      Roe Jan 18, 2006 08:58 PM

      Please cut and paste the pics of the Grande Plates


      1. re: Roe
        Steve Jan 18, 2006 09:45 PM

        Wow! Roe, You have outdone yourself. Man, those platters do look impressive. And the pickled pork roll looks impressively ghoulish. Or is that goulash?

        1. re: Roe
          Pappy Jan 19, 2006 10:11 AM

          Wow! I skipped this lunch, anticipating a dark and dreary, heart-clogging, bland experience.

          Shows you what I know.

      2. s
        Steve Jan 19, 2006 07:46 AM

        Also, can anyone guess what was in their picante sauce or what they call it in Bolivia? It was a thick yellow paste, not spicy, but was essential to enjoying the rather dry empanada, or the boiled egg, or the enormous baked potato. I have never had a condiment quite like it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Steve
          Roe Jan 19, 2006 10:31 AM

          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.

          1. re: Roe
            Bonz Jan 19, 2006 11:02 AM

            No wonder you guys were able to eat so much!

            1. re: Bonz
              Bob W. Jan 19, 2006 11:24 AM

              and why three of us went next door to the Vietnamese market after lunch for more food!

            2. re: Roe
              bacchante Jan 19, 2006 01:15 PM

              I ate practically an entire bowl of it by myself. It put all those brownies to shame.

              1. re: Roe
                bolivianita Aug 19, 2006 02:03 AM

                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.

            3. s
              Steve Jan 19, 2006 07:52 AM

              Can anyone guess what they used to make the 'picante' sauce? It came out as a thick yellow paste, quite mild, but was essential for enjoying the empanadas, boiled egg, and the enormous baked potato.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Steve
                PollyG Jan 19, 2006 10:23 AM

                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.

                Link: http://store.amigofoods.com/ajiamcr75...

                1. re: Steve
                  bolivianita Aug 19, 2006 02:06 AM

                  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!

                  1. re: bolivianita
                    Steve Aug 19, 2006 07:13 AM

                    Thanks for adding some real knowledge to this post. I think I missed the recipe above the first time around.

                    Are you a DC Chowhound, or are you chiming in from afar? Do you have any suggestions, recommendations, or tips for us? We are all hungry for insight!

                    1. re: Steve
                      bolivianita Aug 19, 2006 02:19 PM

                      I am writing from the Baltimore area where unfortunately I can't find any Bolivian food. If you know of any pass it on!
                      I always check out Pike Pizza or Luzmillas when I go down but the last time I had Saltenas from Pikes I was Dissapointed.

                      1. re: bolivianita
                        Steve Aug 19, 2006 02:33 PM

                        They have fabulous saltenas and humintas at El Pike in the Willston Shopping Center on Rte. 50 and Patrick Henry Dr. in Falls Church, VA. Also impressive platters on the weekends, but the buffet is awful.

                2. b
                  Bob W. Jan 19, 2006 10:35 AM

                  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.

                  1. b
                    bacchante Jan 19, 2006 01:20 PM

                    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.

                    1. m
                      MikeR Aug 19, 2006 09:23 PM

                      Steve -

                      What's the scoop on El Pike for weekday lunch? I've walked by there a few times and it looks empty, maybe even closed, and I've never gone in. I didn't want to feel trapped into eating a big meal. I'm a light lunch eater and I'd like a place where I can have a saltena and something to drink. I usually get my fix at My Bakery. And what's a huminta

                      And how come yours is the only post without a "reply" button, so this is probalby out of sequence.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MikeR
                        Steve Aug 19, 2006 11:01 PM

                        A saltena and something to drink is the perfect lunch!

                        Huminta: A type of corn cake, cousin of an arepa and tamale. Pyramidical, wrapped in corn husk, stuffed with cheese and often with some whole kernels of corn mixed in.. Usually denser and sweeter than a tamale.

                        I'm not often around El Pike midweek lunch, so I don't know what's up. But there are many places that look closed when they're not. I suppose a good tug on the door is the ultimate test.

                        I don't know why the reply button is missing on my post, but it's nothing I have control over.

                        1. re: Steve
                          MikeR Aug 20, 2006 10:47 AM

                          Thanks for the info. I'll give the door a tug. I just hate to be the only customer in a restaurant and then just order a few bucks worth - makes 'em wonder why they even opened up.

                          And your last message had a Reply button - musta been a fluke, or a flounder.

                      2. bolivianita Aug 30, 2006 01:29 AM

                        Just got off the phone with my Mom in Bolivia and asked her what Llajtaymanta means. It is a Quechua word (quechua is the indigenous language of Bolivia along with Aymara) and it means "de mi pueblo" or "from my town"
                        It is pronounced "yuh tie manta"

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