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New Yorkers like secrets, and (since 1936) one of the most closely kept has been the Valencia Bakery, known in Manhattan and the Bronx for a particular style of cake -- rich buttercream frosting covering super-moist white cake with three layers of real pineapple filling.

Well, the secret is out in Casselberry, where you'll find Ray Perez's own Valencia Bakery. It is filled with sugary pasteles (pastries from Puerto Rico), including cannolilike sweets with flaky outsides and custard fillings, and turnovers filled with guava jelly. There are also pastelitos (like empanadas), but they sell out fast.

Well, the secret is out in Casselberry, where you'll find Ray Perez's own Valencia Bakery. It is filled with sugary pasteles (pastries from Puerto Rico), including cannolilike sweets with flaky outsides and custard fillings, and turnovers filled with guava jelly. There are also pastelitos (like empanadas), but they sell out fast.

Then, of course, there are the cakes, actually made in the original New York bakery and shipped down. Valencia has only been open since November, but more than 800 of these beauties already have graced local palates.

Lee & Rick's is an experience; it's an event, not to mention a tradition. You go with lots of people. You dress so it doesn't matter if you drop a Tabasco-laden raw oyster down your shirt. You eat way more than you expect to, and it's all good -- even when you do things that you normally would not, like gesture wildly with a shrimp tail or eat great stacks of saltine crackers covered in horseradish and cocktail sauce.

A restaurant doesn't stay in business for 50 years by accident, especially not one shaped like a dry-docked old boat and about as unfancy as they come on the inside, particularly not one on the far end of Old Winter Garden Road. I am told on very good authority that the place hasn't changed an iota since the early '60s, so we can probably say with some safety that it has never changed at all.

And why should it? Not when you can order a dozen oysters (raw or steamed, $6.95), and a large plateful of the ocean's jewels are laid before you, the raw mollusks straight from Apalachicola Bay and so fresh that they're sweet. When steamed, they are cooked just enough to satisfy the squeamish, but they're every bit as good.

The best deal is a bucket - three dozen for $14.95 - but you have to sit at the room-length oyster bar to get it. Settle in with a group at the bend of the bar, on the right side, so you can talk and watch some world-class shucking at the same time.

A pound of shrimp (hot or cold) is $12.95, and a big helping of fresh shellfish it is - firm enough to give your teeth some resistance, steamed spicy but not overbearing.

Fish dinner platters, like stuffed flounder ($9.95), come with a heap of fries. There's a lovingly uncomplicated piece of flounder, filled with a crabmeat (real and faux) and cracker stuffing. My companion described the fish as tasting "like my dad just took it out of the water," and I can't think of higher praise.

Those same plump shrimp can be ordered fried ($11.95 platter) with just enough breading to satisfy your craving for carbohydrates without masking the shrimp.

The servers don't lack from experience; this is a fast-paced atmosphere, and you've got to know your stuff to work here. So it's a pleasure to get food delivered quickly, to never have to worry about running out of beer and to be called "honey," all at the same time.

Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar just kicked off its 50th year in the business this month. They're going to be shucking like crazy, so take along a few friends and an old shirt, and have yourself a time.

Claude and Chantal Wolff’s unassuming cafe on the fringes of Dr. Phillips may not conjure up images of enjoying lattes and croque monsieurs on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, but it won’t conjure up images of pouty, mustachioed servers dishing out attitude along with the chocolate croissants either. The Wolffs are so genuinely charming and exuberantly welcoming that you’d think they’re out to single-handedly undo France’s reputation for brusque, splenetic service.

Claude, it seems, takes it upon himself to personally greet every customer, while Chantal, though somewhat limited in her proficiency of the English language, perpetually beams as she preps soups, sandwiches and salads behind the counter. The French quarters here are cramped: The handful of tiny tables can sometimes make for a near-mob scene, and the tables outside fill up quickly. But there’s good reason for it – the savory sandwiches.

Le Café de Paris’ secret lies in the baguettes, which Claude flies in daily from a small village in his home région of Lorraine. So whether you opt to layer your baguette with ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato (as in the croque monsieur – $5.95), or with butter, brie cheese and tomato (as in the Le Parisien – $5.95), it’s really hard to go wrong. The pan bagna chicken ($6.50), a livelier version of the chicken salad sandwich with black olives, is so named because the bread (pan) is usually bathed (bagna) in olive oil, but because many patrons here don’t have a palate for huile-dressed bread, Chantal will only brush the oil on by request. I enjoyed the enormous sandwich, which was cut into three filling diagonals, but I would’ve preferred a side of potato salad instead of a bag of Lays potato chips.

Though the quiche (as well as all tarts and pastries) is prepared by a good friend of Claude’s, the outsourcing hasn’t affected the taste any. The fluffy core of eggy quiche Lorraine ($5.50) is accentuated with bacon and ham and walled by marvelous crust. Vegetarians will enjoy a more intensely flavored version with spinach, broccoli and cheese ($5.50), but if you’re up for a high-caloric intake, the tartiflette ($5.50) with potato, eggs, bacon and cheese will disprove the claim that real men don’t eat quiche.

Chantal’s salad du jour ($6.95), on this visit a Niçoise-like salad sans hard-boiled eggs, was a humdrum assemblage of green beans, cucumbers, black olives, onions and thin tomato slices with a dollop of canned tuna occupying the core of a large plate. Tomato bisque ($3.95), though a tad salty, was perfectly rich and creamy, while chicken soup ($3.95), with its pungent oniony broth teeming with carrots, celery, thick noodles and morsels of chicken, proffered one comforting slurp after another.

I’ve always been partial to chocolate croissants ($1.90), and the flaky rectangles served here are buttery indulgences. The only issue I had with the crème brûlée ($3.38) was the consistency – more runny than custardy – but the wonderful essence of vanilla bean had me scooping the bowl clean. The flaky peach tart square ($4.50) would’ve been better served warm, a request I later realized I could’ve made. A thick chocolate chip cookie ($1.50) goes well with any of their espresso-based coffees, which Claude is more than happy to refill au gratis should the mood strike him.

In France, I quickly learned that conversing in the native language, or at least making an effort, resulted in pleasant experiences and favorable outcomes. At Le Café de Paris, a similar approach may tip the balance in your favor, though the Wolffs are so affable, they seem to extend their hospitable generosity to just about everyone.

Dim sum: It's not for brunch anymore. Not under the auspices of Ming's Bistro where the a la cart scarfing extravaganza is an all-day affair. Sure, the cart (and a few specialty items) is only available weekends before 3 p.m., but the selection is impressive and, more importantly, as authentic as any you'll find in cities with large Chinese populations. So don't come expecting to find egg-foo-this and sweet-and-sour that; bastardized Chinese fare can be had up the street at P.F. Chang's.

Like many a dim sum joint I've visited, the dining room is spacious, high-ceilinged and almost proletarian in its essence, nuanced only by a half-dozen faux-crystal chandeliers and a trio of horizontally hung Chinese watercolor prints. Dinner by the flicker of fluorescent lighting is the norm, but it fails to cast a shadow on the medley of items on the dim sum menu, most of which can be had for under $3.

Dumplings ' shrimp, pork, taro and turnip ' are dim sum staples, but a true gauge of a kitchen's worth is the quality of its chicken feet ($2.50), and this kitchen does 'em right. Textural excellence is attained by frying, boiling, marinating and then steaming the talons, the end result being nothing short of divine. There's not much flesh to chomp on, granted, but teething the delicate bones, then tearing away the fiery-hot and velvety skin is absolute magic.

Oddly named, but superbly tasty, 'fried noodle rice pasteâ?� ($2.50) ' rolls of flaky pastry wrapped in a soft, candy-white noodle and splashed with sweetened soy sauce ' could be served for dessert. The peppery zing of spicy beef tripe ($2.50) outdid that of the chicken feet, but the dish was far too chewy to devour. Best to suck the spicy juices out of the honeycomb stomach lining and discard the remnants. If you're used to meatballs of the Swedish or Italian variety, you'll likely find the trio of ashen-colored steamed beef balls ($2.50) too dense, pasty and flavorless. Dim sum dishes are often loaded with salt and MSG, so order a pot of tea (the oolong is good); if you want more tea, turn the lid over to get the waitress's attention.

If you'd rather order a la carte (not cart), there's a host of dishes from which to choose ' everything from barbecue to congee to casseroles. The house special spicy beef hot pan ($8.95) is served in a small steel wok and kept simmering by a burner underneath. The advertised spiciness in the piping-hot mix of tender beef strips, vermicelli, carrots and mushroom caps was lacking, possibly because my mouth was still feeling the burn from the chicken feet and tripe.

Vigorous slivers of ginger in the ginger scallion fish fillets ($8.95) are the sole flavoring in this simple, refreshing dish. Circular morsels of soft whitefish are accented by scallion, all held together by clear, thick sauce. Glistening stalks of bok choy highlight the tender beef and vegetable chow fun ($6.95), a decent, if entirely pedestrian, dish.

Aside from the occasional 'Are you sure you want to order that?â?� look, my waitress, one of a small army of red-vested waitresses patrolling the restaurant, was quite affable and helpful in pointing out the ingredients of the assorted dishes (menu descriptions are terse).

Ming's is a little hard to spot, tucked away a block north of the intersection of Colonial and Mills, but it's well worth seeking, and its reign as the top Orlando destination for real Chinese cuisine is sure to flourish into a dynasty.

Food and film: It's an odd combination, but it works, even if there are a few interruptions while watching the movie. Order staples like buttered popcorn, soft pretzels or chocolate-chip cookies, or get fancy with creative salads, sandwiches and pizzas. The al fresco Eden bar is a good place to grab a cocktail before the show.

Neighborhood jewel offers an eclectic pan-Mediterranean menu, with Indian, Latin and Asian influences on the horizon. Curry-crusted fish is deftly executed, as is chef Bret Ashman's intriguing take on gnocchi alla Sorrentina. A delightful smoked onion mince offers a contempo take on traditional Caprese salad. The wine list is ample and studied. Sunday brunch offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 


Teaser: Neighborhood jewel offers an eclectic pan-Mediterranean menu, with Indian, Latin and Asian influences on the horizon. Curry-crusted fish is deftly executed, as is chef Bret Ashman's intriguing take on gnocchi alla Sorrentina. A delightful smoked onion mince offers a contempo take on traditional Caprese salad. The wine list is ample and studied. Sunday brunch offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At least once a year, on St. Patrick's Day, many Americans take to the streets in search of an Irish way to celebrate. There's no reason to settle for fake green beer at chain outlets when there are wee mom-and-pop pubs that can dish out the real deal, like Claddagh Cottage, on Curry Ford Road, of all places. Keep your eyes open as you drive east from Semoran Boulevard past the blur of shopping strips to spot the sliver storefront and shamrocked sign.

Inside Claddagh (pronounced KLA-dah) Cottage, it's like a scene from "The Quiet Man." Faded lace curtains hang in the windows, wooden beams crisscross on the ceiling. Dusty black-and-white photos of the old country fill the walls, and the whistles of Irish folk music fill the air. Instead of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, you'll find proprietors Jimmy and Kathy Mulvaney, formerly of Dublin and Limerick, respectively. They keep the ale flowing, fortified by traditional Irish stick-to-your-ribs meat-and-potatoes fare.

Inside Claddagh (pronounced KLA-dah) Cottage, it's like a scene from "The Quiet Man." Faded lace curtains hang in the windows, wooden beams crisscross on the ceiling. Dusty black-and-white photos of the old country fill the walls, and the whistles of Irish folk music fill the air. Instead of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, you'll find proprietors Jimmy and Kathy Mulvaney, formerly of Dublin and Limerick, respectively. They keep the ale flowing, fortified by traditional Irish stick-to-your-ribs meat-and-potatoes fare.

Jimmy Mulvaney claims to serve the best pint of Guinness in town, using a "double-pour" method that's been approved by the brewery: He fills the glass three-fourths of the way, then allows time for settling before topping off with a smooth, creamy head ($3.50). He refined his art at Mulvaney's Irish Pub on Church Street, which he co-founded with his brothers before branching off. The two pubs are different as night and day. Where Mulvaney's is a polished club that attracts a business crowd by day and barflies by night, Claddagh Cottage is a neighborhood draw, where the beer splatters on the wall only add to the character.

Jimmy Mulvaney claims to serve the best pint of Guinness in town, using a "double-pour" method that's been approved by the brewery: He fills the glass three-fourths of the way, then allows time for settling before topping off with a smooth, creamy head ($3.50). He refined his art at Mulvaney's Irish Pub on Church Street, which he co-founded with his brothers before branching off. The two pubs are different as night and day. Where Mulvaney's is a polished club that attracts a business crowd by day and barflies by night, Claddagh Cottage is a neighborhood draw, where the beer splatters on the wall only add to the character.

We visited on a Sunday, and some menu items weren't available, like "Cottage pie" ($5.25), a beefy stew crowned with mashed potatoes. So we started with a "country sausage roll" ($4.25). It was a glorified pig-in-a-blanket, but good, with two links of mild Irish pork sausage baked in puff pastry. We tried a steak and mushroom pastry pie, and another with chicken and mushrooms ($5.25 each). Both were filled with savory, meaty gravy inside buttery crusts. We also enjoyed a steamy "Dubliner" sandwich ($5.50), stuffed with shredded roast beef, sautéed onions and melted Swiss cheese.

We visited on a Sunday, and some menu items weren't available, like "Cottage pie" ($5.25), a beefy stew crowned with mashed potatoes. So we started with a "country sausage roll" ($4.25). It was a glorified pig-in-a-blanket, but good, with two links of mild Irish pork sausage baked in puff pastry. We tried a steak and mushroom pastry pie, and another with chicken and mushrooms ($5.25 each). Both were filled with savory, meaty gravy inside buttery crusts. We also enjoyed a steamy "Dubliner" sandwich ($5.50), stuffed with shredded roast beef, sautéed onions and melted Swiss cheese.

Claddagh Cottage is laid-back, so don't expect speedy service or get in a twist if some items aren't available. Expect a friendly crowd that includes genuine Irish expatriates lined up at the bar, as well as others trying to soak in that world-famous Irish charm.

If you were turned off by the Geek Easy when it first opened, with its fluorescent lighting and weird membership fee, it’s definitely time to revisit the place. Recent renovations have doubled the space, the lighting is now at an appropriate level, and the selection of beer and “cocktails” is both varied and cheap. Various events occur weekly, from comedy to trivia to the aforementioned karaoke, making good use of the new stage and PA.

An interesting statistic: In the United States, the incidence of heart disease is almost four times higher than it is in Colombia. I mention this fact because when I opened the menu of Colombian dishes at Oh! Que Bueno, I swear I could hear my mother yelling, "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll get sick!"

Housed in a small, nondescript fast-food makeover off fast-traveled South Semoran Boulevard, the family spot was formerly the Sunrise Restaurant, a schizophrenic endeavor that served omelets for breakfast, Chinese food for lunch and Vietnamese at dinner. No such confusion at O!QB ... the bill of fare is so constant it doesn't vary from morning to 10 p.m. close.

Housed in a small, nondescript fast-food makeover off fast-traveled South Semoran Boulevard, the family spot was formerly the Sunrise Restaurant, a schizophrenic endeavor that served omelets for breakfast, Chinese food for lunch and Vietnamese at dinner. No such confusion at O!QB ... the bill of fare is so constant it doesn't vary from morning to 10 p.m. close.

There's not a veggie among the listings of tipicos (traditional dishes), platos (combination plates) and bocaditos (appetizers; literally "little mouths"), unless you count corn, rice and red beans. Don't look for anything green. How do the fit and sound people of Colombia go through the day without their hearts attacking them? Maybe Mom was wrong and taste does count for something.

There's not a veggie among the listings of tipicos (traditional dishes), platos (combination plates) and bocaditos (appetizers; literally "little mouths"), unless you count corn, rice and red beans. Don't look for anything green. How do the fit and sound people of Colombia go through the day without their hearts attacking them? Maybe Mom was wrong and taste does count for something.

Take, as an example, the "bandeja campesina" ($9.95), a "farmers meal" that's half dinner, half breakfast. White rice, savory red beans, a thick link sausage and a large slice of fried pork skin (more like thick bacon than the crunchy snacks) join a typical morning repast of steak, fried eggs and corn cake. There's enough food to last most of the day, and each bit tasted as authentic as the presentation. And I tell a slight lie -- there was green in the form of a creamy slice of avocado.

Take, as an example, the "bandeja campesina" ($9.95), a "farmers meal" that's half dinner, half breakfast. White rice, savory red beans, a thick link sausage and a large slice of fried pork skin (more like thick bacon than the crunchy snacks) join a typical morning repast of steak, fried eggs and corn cake. There's enough food to last most of the day, and each bit tasted as authentic as the presentation. And I tell a slight lie -- there was green in the form of a creamy slice of avocado.

The "mariscos" menu offers fried red snapper (frozen rather than fresh), mojarra, a small tropical fish, and various shrimp dishes. I tried camarones al ajillo ($10.95) and was rewarded with several plump shrimp swimming in a garlic and butter sauce liberally spiced with cilantro and excellent when spooned over the rice. Green plantain fritters -- CD-sized disks of fried cooking bananas -- were surprisingly moist and tasted great dipped in the garlic.

The "mariscos" menu offers fried red snapper (frozen rather than fresh), mojarra, a small tropical fish, and various shrimp dishes. I tried camarones al ajillo ($10.95) and was rewarded with several plump shrimp swimming in a garlic and butter sauce liberally spiced with cilantro and excellent when spooned over the rice. Green plantain fritters -- CD-sized disks of fried cooking bananas -- were surprisingly moist and tasted great dipped in the garlic.

The bites of sweet plantains ($2) were fried almost to caramel without turning to mush, and a sugary delight. I have yet to really acquire a taste for arepas, the flat, grilled corn cakes that are like a thick tortilla and are served with everything from shredded beef to a slice of bland queso blanco, but they're available in all their permutations. A popular treat for carnivores is the morcilla black sausage ($2.50), like German blood sausage or English black pudding with a hot-pepper kick.

The bites of sweet plantains ($2) were fried almost to caramel without turning to mush, and a sugary delight. I have yet to really acquire a taste for arepas, the flat, grilled corn cakes that are like a thick tortilla and are served with everything from shredded beef to a slice of bland queso blanco, but they're available in all their permutations. A popular treat for carnivores is the morcilla black sausage ($2.50), like German blood sausage or English black pudding with a hot-pepper kick.

Service is polite and prompt, and protein fans will shout, "Oh! Que bueno!" for the ethnic cuisine.

Welcome to one of the best patios in town, wrapping around the building and facing Lake Eola. Literally hundreds of beer choices from all over the world rotate through the taps and coolers, both seasonal choices and perma-faves, plus a decent wine list and hand-built craft cocktails. Add comically huge pretzels and “tavern taters,” and you’ve got a bar anyone can love.

'I feel like a 5-year-old!â?� says my wife, who, though certainly young, has at least graduated from kindergarten.

Dwarfed by the epic-sized slices of pizza at Lazy Moon Pizza (12269 University Blvd., 407-658-2396), she was reminded what it's like to be a miniature person, when everything seems outsized. The wide variety of toppings make for endless flavor combinations, but it's the thin, crispy crust that allows one to devour these ridiculously mammoth pieces without exploding. (And, with the honey decanters on the table, it also makes for a cheap dessert.)

The collegiate crowd that packs the place for said slices is able to wash down the pizza with an impressive selection of imports and microbrews, and the soups and salads on offer put Lazy Moon quite a few notches above the average pies-and-beer joints that dot college campuses. Keep in mind, however, that the median age of the UCF clientele may have some of you feeling the opposite of 'young.â?�

When I walked into the giant pineapple housing Bongos Cuban Café, I wasn't sure what to expect. As we are all aware, the 470-seat restaurant at Downtown Disney is the brainchild of singer Gloria Estefan (there's another one in Miami), and the combination of the Mouse and the Diva made me wary.

I went early to avoid the inevitable theme park rush, and was seated at the only table actually under the winding concrete staircase that leads up to the second-floor lounge and live music area in the light, pineapple-themed – and at this point, nearly empty – room. I changed tables immediately, and waited for the expected disappointing meal. I waited in vain.

I went early to avoid the inevitable theme park rush, and was seated at the only table actually under the winding concrete staircase that leads up to the second-floor lounge and live music area in the light, pineapple-themed – and at this point, nearly empty – room. I changed tables immediately, and waited for the expected disappointing meal. I waited in vain.

To put it succinctly, dinner at Bongos is superb. Chef Quintin Larios is, if anything, conservative when it comes to his takes on Cuban cuisine. For instance, the appetizer Tostones Rellenos con Camarones ($9.50), tiny shrimp or beef in a thick and tomatoey creole sauce, presented in deep-fried cups made from green plantain. The plantain, more like potato than banana, gives a pleasant earthy taste to the mild dish. Ask for extra creole on the plate and Bongos own hot sauce to add some needed kick. For more authentic starters, order the Tamal en Hoja ($6.75), polenta with seasoned pork and wrapped in a corn husk, or ham croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon; $5.25)

To put it succinctly, dinner at Bongos is superb. Chef Quintin Larios is, if anything, conservative when it comes to his takes on Cuban cuisine. For instance, the appetizer Tostones Rellenos con Camarones ($9.50), tiny shrimp or beef in a thick and tomatoey creole sauce, presented in deep-fried cups made from green plantain. The plantain, more like potato than banana, gives a pleasant earthy taste to the mild dish. Ask for extra creole on the plate and Bongos own hot sauce to add some needed kick. For more authentic starters, order the Tamal en Hoja ($6.75), polenta with seasoned pork and wrapped in a corn husk, or ham croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon; $5.25)

Main courses affirm the talent in the kitchen. Mariscos Salteados ($26.95) is a simple combination of seafood in a garlic, butter and wine sauce. It had me eating with eyes closed to savor the perfectly prepared baby scallops, green mussels, mild white fish, tender calamari, grilled shrimp and a toothsome lobster tail that easily lifted out of its half-shell and was eagerly devoured. Pollo Asado ($14.95) was a tender marinated half-chicken, served with a slightly different version of the creole sauce from the appetizer – here it was more piquant and nicely set off the very juicy grilled chicken, virtually falling off the bone. Entrees come with green or sweet plantains, and the choice of rice and black beans is a good one, tasty without inauthentic seasonings and not the least bit dry, as Frijoles Negros can be at times.

Main courses affirm the talent in the kitchen. Mariscos Salteados ($26.95) is a simple combination of seafood in a garlic, butter and wine sauce. It had me eating with eyes closed to savor the perfectly prepared baby scallops, green mussels, mild white fish, tender calamari, grilled shrimp and a toothsome lobster tail that easily lifted out of its half-shell and was eagerly devoured. Pollo Asado ($14.95) was a tender marinated half-chicken, served with a slightly different version of the creole sauce from the appetizer – here it was more piquant and nicely set off the very juicy grilled chicken, virtually falling off the bone. Entrees come with green or sweet plantains, and the choice of rice and black beans is a good one, tasty without inauthentic seasonings and not the least bit dry, as Frijoles Negros can be at times.

There's live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 10:30, featuring Latin bands that will make it hard to sit still. Even Desi Arnaz Jr. has played there.

There's live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 to 10:30, featuring Latin bands that will make it hard to sit still. Even Desi Arnaz Jr. has played there.

My waiter was an attentive and helpful chap who knew the menu, checked on me at all the proper intervals, and made good suggestions, like dessert of a cortadito – a small Cuban version of espresso – and Flan de Leche. Pumpkin-pie colored and covered in sweet caramel sauce, the creamy texture of this simple custard is a delight to the mouth and one of life's simple pleasures.

My waiter was an attentive and helpful chap who knew the menu, checked on me at all the proper intervals, and made good suggestions, like dessert of a cortadito – a small Cuban version of espresso – and Flan de Leche. Pumpkin-pie colored and covered in sweet caramel sauce, the creamy texture of this simple custard is a delight to the mouth and one of life's simple pleasures.

Oh, and one more thing: Babaloo!

Though Peruvian food hasn’t quite made it to the haute cuisine circuit, restaurants offering the South American fare have cropped up all over Orlando; Limeña Chicken in the Winter Park area offers one of the most exhaustive all-Peruvian menus in Central Florida.

Selections cover the gamut of Peruvian food, from aguaditos ($7), a hearty cilantro-based soup brimming with chicken or fish, to a melting amber-hued tamale ($4), stuffed with earthy black oil-cured olives and shreds of spiced chicken, to the ubiquitous Peruvian lomo saltado ($8.75), a stir-fry of thinly-sliced beef, tomatoes and scallions piled atop French fries. Limeña’s lomo left much to be desired – it was served lukewarm and the meat was tough. The accompanying rice, however, was aromatic and perfectly portioned.

It’s advisable to prime your digestive system for a few days prior to visiting if you plan to order the jalea ($13), a heaping mound of deep-fried fish and shellfish. It’s not exactly diet food, either, so if you’re counting calories, head instead for one of the ceviches ($10 for fish, $12 for mixed seafood).

Finish the meal with a small cup of lucuma ice cream ($2), apricot-colored with the fragrance of raisins and honey and a radiant aftertaste that lingers long after the ice cream has been demolished.

Limeña Chicken is quiet on the weekdays, but Friday and Saturday the band walks in and plays until 2 a.m. The service is friendly, though a bit leisurely. Be prepared to remain flexible: On any given day they may not have what you order, but rest assured, whatever your order, it will be Peruvian.

Inviting neighborhood pub with a refreshing lack of pretense takes bar-fare standbys to higher gustatory levels. Delectable mac & cheese-rubbed chicken wings and the 10-ounce Bloodhoung burger will stick to one's ribs, no doubt, while excellent street tacos and friend chicken and biscuits on a stick also stand out. A decent beer selection is offset by indifferently executed dessert options. Live music every day.


Teaser: Inviting neighborhood pub with a refreshing lack of pretense takes bar-fare standbys to higher gustatory levels. Delectable mac & cheese-rubbed chicken wings and the 10-ounce Bloodhoung burger will stick to one's ribs, no doubt, while excellent street tacos and friend chicken and biscuits on a stick also stand out. A decent beer selection is offset by indifferently executed dessert options. Live music every day.
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