Alpaca holds a place of distinction as a staple food in Inca culture. It is lauded by those in the know for its leanness, lack of cholesterol, and most of all for its distinctive flavor.
The menu at this particular restaurant featured at least ten different preparations of alpaca. For me, the best way to try it out was to keep it simple, corrupting its natural flavor as little as possible. I therefore selected the grilled alpaca steak with avocado and a side of potatoes. I placed my order and received a satisfied nod from the Inca waiter, who apparently respected my choice of fare. Eva, who unfortunately does not boast the same lead-lined digestive system that will allow me to continue to post these entries during our trip, ordered a ham sandwich, which received a somewhat less enthusiastic response.
Here is what showed up a little while later. As a disclaimer, the dish shown here is being visually short-changed by the harsh phosphorescence of an old cell phone camera. In that place and time, it looked tasty.
While the leanness claims were certainly accurate, overall, I would rank the taste lower on the list of the creatures I've consumed over the years, though still a perfectly edible form of sustinance. (The dubious honor of last place has been held by the lowly camel since 2007, and from my perspective its throne is quite safe.) Perhaps the cut of meat or the preparation was not the best, or maybe the lustrous Inca manes of the guys on stage and their pan flute siren song simply overshadowed this humble meat. While I am not in a huge hurry to order another alpaca dish, I would certainly be willing to give it another try in a different time and place. However, on this day, it was the alpaca who got the last laugh.