Posted by: Jessie Kwak | November 18, 2009

Midweek Snack: Generous Sandwich

Welcome to the Midweek Snack, a weekly feature in which Rob and I will explore Peruvian cuisine. Each week this might take the form of a restaurant review, a featured regional dish, an interview with a local chef, or a recipe. From time to time we’ll also write broader pieces, which we’ll call “Peruvian Cuisine 101.”

In today’s episode: The Man Behind “Generous Sandwich”

Rob and I went out restaurant hunting our first night in Huanchaco–we had a few favorite places from our earlier visit, but we wanted to try something new. We saw light flooding into the street from open doors and hovered, attracted like moths. There was something about the large cartooney hamburger that was friendly and inviting.

We went in.

The front door for this Huanchaco burger joint

Generous Sandwich is a beacon of light in the darkness

Generous Sandwich. It’s a cozy place, one that we’ve come to frequent in part because of the delicious hamburgers and in part for the company of Luis Felipe Uceda Montero, the 27-year-old surfer and restaurant-owner who has sated our hunger oh so many nights.

Peruvian hamburgers are different from those we’re used to in the US. Sure, they come with beef and cheese and lettuce and tomatoes and buns (although like most things Peruvian, the buns are sweet).

Luis Felipe and a queso doble burger

Luis Felipe poses with Rob's queso doble burger

Hamburgers: Terms you need to know

  • Simple: beef, lettuce, tomato
  • Royal: + a fried egg
  • A Lo Pobre: + a fried egg, ham, and sweet plaintains
  • Italiana: + chorizo, italian sauce and oregano
  • Peruana: + cheese, egg, and sliced hot dogs
  • Queso Doble: beef, cheese, beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato

I’m a big fan of the Hamburguesa a lo Pobre, though the plantains always try to mush out of the bun. Rob always goes for the Queso Doble, and when prodded, Luis Felipe admitted that the Hamburguesa Italiana is his favorite.

Luis Felipe’s burgers are notable for two things:

  • First: the buns aren’t sweet. Rather, they’re plain and hardy, the better to hold all the goods in the burger.
  • Second: the sauces.

Ketchup and Mustard? Pshaw. Luis Felipe provides his customers with a whole slew of things to spread on their buns, including my personal favorite, chimichurri (garlic, parsley, S&P, olive oil). He also makes a chimichurri with pineapple, which I haven’t been brave enough to try yet.

chimichurri and other fantastic sauces

Delicious homemade chimichurri

Luis Felipe opened the Generous Sandwich two years ago, when he got tired of his job managing a restaurant in Trujillo. When I asked him what he liked most about owning his own place, he grinned. “No bosses.” He looked around his restaurant and shrugged. “It’s like my home, my family’s close by, and my friends can come by. I can turn the television on whatever channel I want.”

It is like home: the walls plastered with surfing posters, “Friends” playing on the TV, Luis Felipe cooking up burgers while his patrons sit and chat.

Generous Sandwich is only open after six o’clock, because like most of Huanchaco’s young men, Luis Felipe is a surfer, and has been since he was a kid. He’s being kept out of the water for a few months due to an illness, but once he’s back on his board Rob will surely regale you all with a photo essay.

And even if you don’t make it to Huanchaco, put a plantain and a fried egg on your next burger. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

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