Photo Credit: Tina Wong, Wandering Eater
Peru and Japan have had deep cultural ties since the late 1800s, when waves of Japanese immigrants began arriving in Peru for the first time. Today, individuals of Japanese heritage are the largest minority group in the country. With this history in mind, then, it is natural that Peruvian-Japanese came to mind when Zengo wanted to create a special fusion menu.
Available for the month of October, the “Taste of Lima-Tokyo” menu is the first in a series of menus that take Zengo’s overall Latin-Asian fusion concept and narrow it down to focus on specific locations on those two continents and bring out the connections and contrasts between them, while infusing it all with a modern, cosmopolitan taste. The special menu consists of a collection of small plates and cocktails.
Last week, Zengo hosted a tasting for members of the media and food bloggers, where we were offered the opportunity to sample all the items off the food and drink menus and hear from the chef and bar director about their inspirations. Chief among them, the traditional grape brandy native to Peru, Pisco.
‘I take the fifth’
courtesy of ‘Lars Plougmann’
It has happened to everyone at some point or another. You’re sitting with a group of your friends at the end of the meal, and the waiter drops off the check. Some of you had drinks, you split an appetizer, and your one just-laid off friend only had dessert. This is going to be one heck of a check to try and divvy up. Finally, after some awkward shifty looks, someone brave picks it up, you dig around in your purse for a pen and the person of your left busts out the cell phone calculator. You pass the check around, and inevitably someone forgot to bring cash. You flip over the check, write dollar amounts next to your last names, and yet the bill doesn’t add up in the end. Someone gets shafted, someone else insists they paid what they owe when the obviously didn’t, and your friend that is the notoriously bad-tipper left 50 cents on a $25 bill. It’s just generally awkward all around and someone in the group winds up taking a big hit to the wallet. It’s an awful way to end a meal. Last week, after one terribly frustrating experience at dinner with a huffy waitress and paying in way more than what I owed, I finally had it. I decided that this issue of splitting checks in DC needed to be investigated, so I set about doing just that.
To begin, let me explain to you what I’m used to. In North Carolina, where I come from, individual checks are the norm. Generally you don’t even have to ask for them, but when you do ask for them, the waiter or waitress doesn’t blink an eye, and an itemized list appears with what you owe. Then you can tip on your total, and pay how you please – cash or credit. Unlike in DC, you don’t get a huffy waiter, and you definitley don’t have to scramble for pens or pound away on the cell phone calculator to divide the tax. Individual checks are just the way of the world down there – and maybe that’s not everywhere, but I’ve talked to so many people in DC that think it’s frustrating, annoying and unlike where they come from that I just HAD to investigate and write about it.
So I interviewed a bunch of people – customers, wait staff from some of the area’s most popular restaurants, managers and also the king of power dining in DC, Ashok Bajaj – and have finally come up with some answers. You may not like them, but at least next time you go out on the town with six of your closest friends, you’ll be armed with better information. Continue reading