It’s one of the most magical times of the year; yes, it’s Dine LA week again! I always try to go to at least one new restaurant and revisit one I have not been to in over a year during the special prix fixe menu promotion. This week the new restaurant of choice was Picca, a Peruvian place specializing in small plates that are meant to be sampled and shared.

Mika, my adventurous eating partner, was so stressed from her 1.25 hour drive she ordered one of the exotic cocktails made with avocado (yes, really, avocado). I can not tell you everything in the drink; she is not a drinker, so she sipped it throughout our meal and said it tasted neither of alcohol nor of avocado, but was slightly tart, smooth and sweet. I opted for a glass of Malbec.

Although we ordered the prix fixe, we were hungry, so we added an order of the eggplant with sweet miso for $8. It was a beautiful presentation with edible flowers, crunchy buttery croutons, and a sweet miso that made the eggplant taste similar to the miso glaze usually used on fish. This was a definitely a happy way start to any meal.

With the Dine LA menu of $34 for three courses, Mika chose the grilled anticucho beet salad with burrata and lemon balsamic dressing. She adores beets and loved this salad.

I always order Spanish Mackerel whenever I see it on a menu, so my choice was the ceviche style version appetizer, made with crunchy garlic chips. The ginger sauce was so delectable, I could have slurped it. My only complaint was that it was a tiny portion because I could have easily made a meal of this dish if the portion was about 4 times bigger.

Mika chose the slow roasted beef short ribs estofado with palares beans and a salsa criolla, as her main course. I tasted the tender beef with the creamy beans, and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a classic comfort dish.

I chose the pan fried Branzino filet served with parihuela sauce and the same pallares beans served with the short rib. The fish was perfectly cooked and the creamy bean accompaniment added a hearty component to this light dish.

Mika preferred her churros plain, even though they came with three dipping sauces, dark chocolate (my favorite), salted caramel, and passionfruit.

The perfect finish to a delightful introduction to Peruvian small plates was the vanilla bean flan, which was served with a salted caramel sauce and edible flowers. It was as smooth and rich as it was visually appealing.

We’ll definitely be back:)

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