I had my first taste of Tacu Lomo at a restaurant in Lima, when I was 11 years old. I remember how the dark and dimly lit space—adorned with various statues and paintings depicting antiquated wars—felt like a dungeon. My grandfather, brother, and I, were the only guests. It didn’t surprise me considering the decor—but what about the food?
“I want ceviche”, I said.
“No!”, my grandfather said, with a defiant smile on his face. “Today, I want you to try Tacu Lomo.”
I looked back at him with a squint, quickly glanced over at the server standing at attention a few feet away from our table, then sunk back into my chair.
“I want ceviche”, I murmured, to no avail.
Time went by. We had to wait so long for our meal that in order to keep our sanity, my brother and I took to composing a contemporary piece with our bright red 90’s windbreaker pants. The wait was excruciating, but it didn’t phase my grandfather who was enjoying his wine and sharing awkward jokes with the servers.
Sometime later, there it was. As a server made his way towards our table I could see him carrying an enormous egg shaped mass. Rice, beans, onion, garlic and aji amarillo, joined together in holy matrimony during a slow-fry ceremony. The dish was accompanied by sweet fried plantains and a fried egg placed gingerly on top.
I was fascinated— infatuated with it’s golden perfume. As I grabbed my fork and proceeded to crack its delicate shell, the Tacu Lomo spilled forth a yolk of juicy meat, tomato, and onions. I struggled to balance every single ingredient on my fork, and when I finally managed to get my first mouthful… I ceased to exist.
Back home in Miami, I begged my mom to learn how to make this dish. After some trial and error, she succeeded at preparing one of the best Tacu Lomos I have ever tasted and has since passed down her recipe to me. To date, there has not been a single person who has not fallen in love this comfort food the way I did so many years ago.