Step into a Peruvian Kitchen
The road “less travelled by” is the one that will make all the difference. So said Carl Sandburg.
I thought of that quote, when Andrew and Jacci began raving about a restaurant they’d discovered in St. Charles.
From my research, I found that the St. Louis fooderati had, indeed, cast a handful of stars upon the new Peruvian bistro in Old Town. I had to see for myself.
But it’s a “fer piece” from my condo to St. Charles. Even so, it sounded worth the trip to dine at Jalea, (pronounced huh-LAY-uh). Off we went.
“Landing” in Peru
The restaurant is unassuming from the street, but once inside you get the feeling of having been airlifted into the South American countryside. The interior of the bistro is handsomely decorated with the work of Peruvian artists, that complement the cozy, welcoming space.
As soon as we settled in, a bowl of something appeared on our table. Hmm. . . what was it? I gave it a try. The crunch tidbits reminded me of popcorn. Andrew explained that the gratuitous appetizer was roasted, corn kernels called Cancha. Great for nibbling.
A pleasant, young woman by the name of Mimi appeared next. She happily answered our questions about the classical Peruvian menu. As it turned out, she was the co-owner along with her brother Chef Andrew Cisneros.
A Bevy of Colors, Shapes, and Flavors
If you need an excuse to get out of town for a short excursion, put this quaint Peruvian bistro in your GPS system and get ready for some mighty fine eating.
Jalea: 323 N. Main in Old Town, St. Charles. Open: Wed-Fri 5p-9p; Sat noon-3p. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Co-Owners: siblings Chef Andrew Cisneros and Samantha “Mimi” Cisneros.