Bingham was given credit for his discovery. Recently I made a similar dubious find, though I would certainly not take credit for locating Casa Inka.
The Peruvian restaurant has been in a little strip mall on Warner Avenue for several years, clearly visible from the street, not tucked away high in the Andes Mountains.
While the location was not a secret, I fear the food might be, and that would be the true crime.
My girlfriend and I studied the menu like it was a topography map, finding items that neither of us had encountered before.
While we looked at the selections, a wall-size picture of Machu Picchu loomed behind us in the cantina-style dining room.
Our odyssey of taste began with the garlic bread and green chili dip that is deceptively spicy. The first couple of dabs with the bite-size bread were tame enough, but then the fiery sauce catches up to you quicker than a bail bondsman with a default notice.
That would be a problem if I had not had a bottle of Cristal within arm’s reach. The Peruvian beer was one of two the restaurant offered, and the light, almost ale-like beverage soothed my searing tongue.
Rosa had a mango margarita to quench any peppery thirst she encountered. The libation was sweet, but not overly so.
We wanted to sample as many authentic dishes as possible, and we started with Papa ala Huancaina, but tempered it with the more widely accepted empanadas.
The Huancaina has different variations and Casa Inka widely chose to skip the bed of lettuce and just present the potatoes and cheese on its own.
Boiled potatoes were sliced thickly and placed on a plate. The four slices then received a mix of cheese sauce and aji amarillo. The yellow pepper and white cheese was great with the potato. It was topped with a slice of hard hard-boiled egg, which curiously was on only two of the four potatoes.
Another popular garnish for the dish was black olive, and there was only one for me and my girlfriend to fight over. Rosa, of course, was the victor.