Saturday, July 7, 2012

La Sierra Restaurant (Pato/Duck)

Yum

In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, you grow up knowing about certain places and they become mainstays. There is less competition since the population is so small and little communities form to help each other out and their businesses. For example, the Korean community in Santa Cruz is so tight-knit that it's easy to identify them based on which church they go to and if they don't go to church, which church they are affiliated with (where most of their friends and family attend). This idea stretches to other types of communities of people who live in Santa Cruz.

On our last day in Bolivia, we went to our church to say goodbye to our community and an unexpected trip to eat duck was devised by a few family friends. "¿Quieres comer pato?" - "Do you want to eat duck?" exclaimed Mrs. Yoon.  We were about to head out to Cotoca, a neighboring city so we turned her down. Have you ever tried turning down an adamant Korean lady? Needless to say, five minutes later we were caravaning down a really long road to eat duck with three Korean families.

Traffic on the way to eat duck. Street Vendor selling corn.

In the parking lot of La Sierra Restaurant, there is a cage filled with monkeys.

I'm pretty sure there was a sign that said not to feed the monkeys.

 It was one of the most crowded restaurants we visited in Bolivia. 
This place was the place to be on that particular Sunday.
The restaurant staff knew Mr. and Mrs. Yoon (I guess they come here a lot)
so we got seated pretty fast and had attentive service all throughout the meal.

 
 The salad is simple and yet delicious because of all the fresh ingredients.
Tomato slices, big lettuce pieces, sliced onions, salt, vinegar.
You bring it to your plate and cut it into bite-size pieces before eating. 
Don't be a caveman and eat a whole lettuce.

 I don't know what kind of crack Bolivians put in their rice but it's to die for.
Moist, buttery, diced veggies and just enough salt. 
I can eat a whole bowl of this.

We ordered the Carnes a la parilla, which basically means grilled meat.
Sausage, tomatoes, beef. Smoky and delicious. 
My favorite part of the skewer is always the juicy tomatoes.

 Finally, what we came here for - the Fried Duck.
The skin is so crispy it just crackles inside your mouth.
It comes with fried plantains and fried yucca.

 Check out the duck - see how crispy it is? The inside meat is still juicy.

 The dessert was this cornflour consistency cookie/candy. 
It kind of reminds me of Necco wafers + Tums. 
Not the most appetizing dessert but who had room after all that amazing duck?

Our favorite non-alcoholic drink in Bolivia is SIMBA,
the best tasting Guarana ever.

When it comes to restaurants, you can ask any local where the best place for ____ is and they can rattle off the handful of restaurants that specialize in it. It's a totally different feel from the LA restaurant scene, where many restaurants open and shutter within a year. In fact, when I went back this time, not only did I see most of the familiar restaurants still thriving, but many of them have now become franchises. Even when trying to write this review, a simple question on facebook about the name of the restaurant had four of my ex-classmates chiming in to identify the restaurant.

If you're ever in Santa Cruz, this place is a MUST VISIT. You won't regret it. I still have yet to have better duck than this place in the last five years and I've eaten at some pretty swank places before.


LA SIERRA RESTAURANT

Especialidad en Patos, carnes a la parrilla 

(Specializes in Duck and Grilled Meat)
Km. 23 Doble Vía la Guardia

Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tel: 384- 0009


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