Friday, July 3, 2009


After stopping by La Bombonniere I decided to walk a block further up Burgos street to look for another small eatery I had heard about.

My path took me past the long abandoned Clinica Italiana. The clininic, a large edifice in that grand, marble-clad institutional style so common in the first half of the 20th century, was establsihed by the Societa Italiana di Beneficenza e Asistenza and was long counted among the better health care centers in the city.

I have memories of it because my grandfather was interned there at one point in the 1970s. He was so badly off that my parents took my brother and I there to see him in what amounted to an unspoken chance to say good bye. To our great joy h e recovered from that illness, and lived for another decade.

In the 1990s the hospital was forced to shut down as a result of the hostage crisis at the nearby Japanese ambassador's residence. It has since been acquired by the Mapfre company which planned to reopen it with a crematorium, which has not happened due to the neighbors' opposition. Until, and if, that gets resolved, the clinic is left to the vultures which haunt its roof.

At the end of the block, I found what I was looking for: a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, without an external sign. This is Bodega Nishida, which began as corner grocery store run, as so many in this city, by Japanese immigrants. The son of the family, Carlos Nishida, acquired a knack for cooking and added cooked foods to the family business. In time this was expanded into Nishida restaurant right next door to the shop.

Nishida is known -among those who know about it- for its sandwiches, and specially for the unique flavor of its glazed pork (lechon glaceado) sandwiches. The pork is slowly cooked with cognac, pisco, red wine, honey, sugar, and aji colorado.

I had never eaten there before so I decided to eat my sandwich plain, without any dressings or condiments, the better to taste the pork. I must say that it was delicious, and well worth the search to be sure.

With Nishida being only two or three blocks from home, it may well get another visit from me at some lunch time.

Burgos 310
San Isidro - Lima

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