Foods & Culinary

My favorite meal on the first day after vacation

This post was originally published in the Friday Packet for May 10, 2021 of The movement, a place where Eater’s editors can share their recommendations and tips for professional restaurants – sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone who moves. Subscribe now.


For some reason, figuring out what should be my first dinner after coming home from out of town has always been an intense internal debate for me. We could try to stop at a restaurant on the way back from our trip or from the airport, but I’m usually a little tired and just want to go home. Ordering supplies like pizza or Chinese seems like a good option, but also indulgent after spending a lot of time eating over several days. I could cook something pseudo-healthy, but there probably isn’t a lot of food in the fridge. I could draw a meal from the freezerbut that would be just a little disappointing for the meal on the last day of the vacation.

Give Peruvian Chicken.

Pollo a la brasa places are a dozen in the Northern Virginia area where I live. It’s definitely possible to put together a take-away order loaded with fries and yucca, but I tend to focus mostly on the chicken and its fabulous green sauce and then add side dishes like salad or beans when I do I felt a little disgusting after the trip. (My husband usually has no such concerns, so we usually have some french fries in our order or chaufa, the Peruvian variant of fried rice.) Peruvian chicken restaurants always had fast service here – even in the pre-pandemic times – So there is no real need to call ahead. You can stop by for takeout on your way home if you know you will be starving when you pull into your driveway. It’s pretty affordable too, so it’s easy to justify the cost even if you ran out of your dining budget when out of town. But it still feels festive and it means I can postpone cooking for at least one more night.

An order for Peruvian Chicken prepares me for success for the rest of my week as well. Never have I ever ordered less than a full chicken for the two of us. That means leftover meat can be eaten for lunch, folded into chicken salad, or reused in a variety of ways before I have time to refill my fridge. Sides can play a similar role: Often my breakfast the next day consists of either a chaufa omelette or steamed beans with a fried egg.

But Peruvian chicken is more than just a breeze after the trip (which is good as travel isn’t exactly that common these days). We take it in when the world seems to be conquering us and cooking is just too much trouble. Massive failure in the kitchen? Work went on until 8 p.m.? The roast pork that I ambitiously thawed now just looks unsightly? Peruvian chicken is the answer.

If you are not fortunate enough to have access to Peruvian chicken near you, I am sorry for your loss. A roast chicken bought in the store could go a long way equal Gates You are preparing for that dreaded first week out of town, but I can’t promise it will be just as satisfying. Maybe if you Make your own green sauce? That sounds like a lot of work after I just got home.

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