Spicy, tasty, fresh Peruvian cuisine

Friday after I taught my elder art class, I went exploring on Filmore St in SF. I used to hang there when I was younger, but not in a loooong time. I came upon a really great restaurant I want to recommend called, Fresca. It said “nouveau Peruvian cuisine” on its sign. I thought that sounded kinda hoitty toitty, but thought, why not give it a try.

I had a large bowl of roasted mussels with chorizo and a zesty tomato broth full of garlic and onions, for $10. It came with 2 slices of toasted garlic bread. Though this was an appetizer it was very filling and satisfyingly wonderful. Many diners were going for the seafood ceviche which looked glisteningly fresh.

Here are some other appetizers on the menu:

camarones chicama « coconut crusted jumbo tiger prawns, black bean salad, lucuma-orange glaze.
crab croquetas « jumbo lump crab cakes, coconut cream, mango coulis, pickled papaya salad.
papa rellena « fried potato croquette, beef picadillo, pickled onions, aji panca miso.
ceviche 5 elementos « halibut, lime juice, rocoto aji, red onion, sea salt.
ceviche chino « big-eye tuna tartare, ponzu sauce, avocado, aji huacatay, butter lettuce, wonton chips.
ceviche mixto « squid, halibut, prawn, clam, cilantro, red onion, rocoto aji, lime juice, sea salt.
tiradito « kona kampachi sashimi, jalapeño, soy, white truffle oil, andean corn.

When I looked up their website I was surprised to see that they have two other restaurants in the SF – one on 24th St and the other on Portal Avenue.

I highly recommend Fresca – the one on Filmore anyway. It looks a little fancy for a quick lunch, but the staff is very friendly and the food is terrific!

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candlelight and whirling red skirt

Our friend Tantric Paul took us to a wonderful place called the Green Tea Palace. It is a little place near the Santa Fe plaza, is 2 months new and run by Leland and Vera. The cafe was beautiful in candle light and spiritual art from around the world and also the art of their daughter Beri adorned the adobe walls. Regular tables and chairs are interspersed with cushy pillows and low tables. While a very pregnant Vera cooked all the healthy food, some of it raw; her husband Leland , (with one daughter on his hip), ran around and made space for every person who stuck their head in the door, drawn to the wonderful live music like moths to a lantern. He rearranged chairs, and asked people to make room in such a gracious way, that everyone complied with a smile. Their kids, Beri and Rose ran around and enjoyed the music, while baby Jasmine slept in a stroller near her mother. Watching this family navigate their business and enjoy their customers was very heart warming.

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The incredible music was provided by “The Shiva Brothers” who played together for the first time. Musicians included Danesh – sitar and guitar; Paul – bells and percussion, Adam – urdu, and our own HMBer Ander – electric bass. They had a special guest, Sita, a wonderful woman who chanted and played harmonium. The music was very moving and special. I do not think one could listen to it without feeling glowy (is that a word?).

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One gentleman, Oma, got so into the sounds that he put on his dervish red skirt and twirled up a storm. He’s from the Carolinas (can’t remember which one) but looks like he is from Morocco and specializes in sculpting pregnant women using clay. When asked why pregnant women, he answered, “How else will more Goddesses come into the world?”

The Green Palace Tea House
209 East Palace Ave
Santa Fe, NM 87501