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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peru in Baltimore: Chicken Rico


A recent trip to visit Caroline in Pennsylvania had me routed through the Baltimore airport thanks to a Southwest Airlines buddy pass from the one and only Amanda Ball.  Since I had a couple hours to kill in Baltimore before Caroline could come pick me up, I gave drinking and sailing pal Doug Avnet a call to see if he could join me for lunch.  Fortunately for me, he could; and he knew exactly where to take me.  I met Doug around Camden Yards on a snowy Baltimore afternoon.  We hopped in his cab and took off towards Chicken Rico, a Peruvian chicken joint on Eastern Avenue.  Baltimore is a city known for being rather multicultural, and one tour down Eastern showed why.  I'm used to "Latin" restaurants meaning Mexican, Tex-Mex, or possibly a little Mexican-Cajun fusion, but is rare to see authentic Cuban, Peruvian, Honduran, and more.  I knew I was in for a treat!

Clearly, charbroiled chicken highlighted the menu.  Whole  roasted chickens revolved continuously over red-hot charcoal on a rotisserie spit.  As the birds slow-cooked to hot, juicy goodness, customers could see exactly where their food was coming from.  The chickens were rubbed with Peruvian spices to give them proper flavor.  When ordered, the staff takes a plump chicken and chops it up with a cleaver right in front of you.  Doug and I ordered a "family special" that came with a whole chicken, two sides, and a few beverages.  Within about ten seconds the chicken had be deconstructed into eighths and piled onto a platter.  For side items we opted for thick-cut fries as well as fried plantains.

A whole charbroiled bird, fries, and fried plantains from Chicken Rico
I tried Inca Kola for a change of taste
The chicken exploded with juices on first bite.  The tender and moist meat had a great flavor with more herbs and spices under the skin.  Each bite pulled off the bones of the bird and made my stomach extremely happy.  The fries and plantains were just okay though.  I would try something else if I went back to see if any of the other side items were any better.  In the end , after I ate half a chicken, it's not like I really needed any sides!  I also tried Inca Kola, a carbonated beverage that Chicken Rico had in their cooler.  I figured I might as well drink something that I've never had before.  I don't know that I'd choose Inca Kola again, but they at least wet my whistle while I enjoyed the chicken!

Chicken Rico on Urbanspoon