Miraflores: Cats & Churros

Another day, another exploration. I was ready to explore one of the neighborhoods I was most keen on visiting during my stay in Lima – Miraflores. I had heard it was probably the most Anglicized areas of Lima and of its beautifully scenic oceanfront walkways. But what adventure could begin without a sweet treat to start off the morning?

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Cocada: tasted like two pieces of sweet, caramelized coconut macaroons with plenty of dulce de leche (or “manjar blanco” as they call it in Peru) in the middle

I quickly devoured a cocada which I purchased from the neighborhood Don Mamino’s the night prior. I adore coconut and manjar blanco (which is basically the same thing as dulce de leche) and the wonderfully nutty and crispy coconut macaroon textured cookie along with the wonderfully sweet and gooey manjar blanco filling definitely gave me the sugar rush which I was craving!

Our first stop to Miraflores entailed a walk around Parque Kenedy and the stray cats that famously make up it up. Sadly, the cats here have all been abandoned but I hope some generous souls either adopt one of these felines or at least feed them every here and then.

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Had to pose with this cute feline! 
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There were a lot of napping kittens.
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I’m no mind-reader but this one looks quite cozy on a balmy Spring afternoon.
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Plenty of company for one another at this park.
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Audacious little one perched upon its own automobile.

We next headed to Manolo’s to sample the dish for which they’re most famous: churros. Not sure if this is the first place that started selling churros but they’ve been in business for awhile and the churros are the bread & butter of their business.

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Two pieces of chocolate churros and one vanilla and another manjarblanco-filled churro. We wanted to taste all they had available!
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This traditional vanilla-filled churro went perfectly with my espresso.
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But the manjar blanco-filled churro stole my heart! Churros, for those who don’t know, are fried dough covered in sugar on the outside and have a sweet filling in the center (chocolate, vanilla, manjar blanco, etc).

I was told the price of these churros have risen steadily as the popularity of Manolo’s grew exponentially – believe one churro went for about 6 soles (~$2 USD). It’s possible for find churros for a cheaper price than that even in the US, but I was glad to have sampled some just for the novelty of it all. And yes, I can attest that the churros tasted fresh as can be!

After having indulged in enough sweets for the day, I was keen on looking for gifts for some friends back home and luckily found myself a couple “Inca Markets.” These markets contain small boutiques in large building where they sell artisanal objects from other regions of Peru. There is a mix of touristy goods as well as more practical, high-end silver jewelry and decorative items for the home.

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A step illustrated in the decorative matés (dried squash with carved embellishments outside) – very intricately detailed and incredibly time intensive to create.

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Cute little decorative matés!
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This was perfect for a close friend from home. Can you believe all this handiwork?
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I was drawn like a magpie to jewelry! Picked up two pairs of silver earrings for 150 soles (~$50 USD), a price with which I was more than content.

Needless to say, there was so much upon which to feast my eyes, we easily spent hours at the Inca Markets in Miraflores. We headed back home not too long after to recuperate ourselves for a weekend night out in Lima.

A friend of a friend was hosting a BBQ on the roofdeck of his apartment so we headed on over, along with requisite pisco and meat. I was so appreciative of the fact that Latin culture is so friendly (though I’m sure it helped that I was only around my fiancé’s family and his close friends during the entire trip) I didn’t feel unwelcomed at all. Also, nearly anyone who has gone to university here can at least generally have a decent conversation in English.

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Roasting chorizo, potatoes, ribs and chicken wings outdoors on a windy Spring evening on a roofdeck in Lima.

After we stuffed ourselves silly with loads of meat and potatoes, it was time to finally hit town and get a taste of Lima’s nightlife. We once again headed to the Miraflores neighborhood to head to a couple bars. Unpretentious, down-to-have-fun kind of atmospheres made the night a wonderfully hilarious evening after one-too-many heavy-handed vodka-based drinks.

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A bar in Miraflores

We didn’t return home until the wee hours of the morning having spent countless hours dancing to reggaeton (very popular in Lima) the entire night. I was truly appreciative of everyone for being down to drink vodka the entire night as I have poor tolerance for dark liquor (like rum, which everyone else in the group liked apparently). Luckily everyone made accommodation for me, the sole American, for which I was truly happy. This sort of wonderfully accommodating hospitality would continue to resonate during my entire time in Lima and easily became an aspect I love about Latin culture.

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