Luzmilla's Cuisine in Falls Church Report
I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to Luzmilla's, an important stop on the Bolivian food circuit in NoVa. The value here is amazing, and the cooking earthy and assured. Seven Chowhounds tackled huge platters of lomo chorellano (steak), tongue, picante de pollo, falso conejo (breaded beef cutlet), and enrollado (pork and ham salad). We also had a satisfying bowl of lawa de quinua ( a creamy, meaty soup) and appetizers of saltenas, humintas, and empanadas. Mocochincho, a spiced peach juice to drink .
The steak was the best Bolivian steak I've had in both flavor and texture. Finally, I've found THE place for steak. Everything else was quite good with only the chicken being boring. Also, Bolivian empanadas are not my thing, dry and cold bread with cheese.
The tongue was a winner, and the cold dish, enrollado, was a success. We benefited in ordering as a group. I can't see how an individual could ever put away that much vinegary cold pork in one sitting.
This is true home cookin', the platters are enormous, and this is a place to impress Chowhound friends interested in exotic food.
I'd be inclined to return for a simple lunch of a couple of saltenas or one and a small bowl of the soup.
Just to clarify - this isn't a steak house steak, it's more like chicken fried steak smothered in a salsa and a couple of fried eggs on top. Good, though. It would make a great breakfast for two, or one large long-haul truck driver (though parking is a bit tight).
The peach juice had a pretty subtle peach flavor, but a strong cinnamon flavor. I can imagine it being really refreshing on ice on a hot day. If I remember next Summer I might try making some at home.
A great lunch--my thanks to Steve and Roe for organizing.
To further clarify the steak, which for me was hands down the best dish of the meal, I would describe it as essentially the house's take on bistec a lo pobre (poor man's steak) as it is made in the Bolivia/Peru/Chile region, a preparation typically involving a thinly cut fried/grilled piece of beef with onions, served over french fries, with fried eggs on top. This version, while perhaps not completely true to the model, was nevertheless an excellent example.
Steve -- great job. Luzmila's is definitely a place I miss in FC.
NB: If you go with someone who is not overly adventurous, try the well-named pique macho. I think I could get a week's worth of lunches out of one of these things. I'd love to see somone eat an entire order.
How did the peach drink compare to Llajtaymanta's version?
re: Bob W
I personally like the peach drink at Llajtaymanta better. It had (correct me if I misremember) the salt dried peaches, somewhat like the salted plum drink you get in Vietnamese places. This version had a strong clove flavor. It helped cleanse the palate, but perhaps too cleansed--too overwhelming.
The lomo/steak tasted great. It seemed to me as if it had been marinated before cooking. The eggs were nicely runny and mixed together with the meat, sauteed onions, fries, and rice. I liked it better than the version that I sometimes have at Costa Verde. I also liked the breaded cutlet a lot.
I don't have much for comparison (half of one at Luzmilla's) but I rather like the ones at My Bakery. There are a few locations around town, plus they supply a lot of snack counters. The one I go to is just off Columbia Pike a few blocks toward Annandale from Bailey's Crossroads.
My Bakery & Cafe
3508 Courtland Dr, Falls Church, VA