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Friday, August 7, 2015

Check out the Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Oakland's Mistura

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge Layers of whipped potato, avocado and chicken make for a colorful appetizer at Oakland's Mistura. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • Layers of whipped potato, avocado and chicken make for a colorful appetizer at Oakland's Mistura.

"It's amazing. Am I allowed to say that about my own food?"

So says Chef Daniel Luna, of the rotisserie birds at his new Peruvian eatery on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue, Mistura.

The Mary’s free-range chickens are beautifully bronzed, after being brined for 24 hours or more in dark beer and plenty of cumin, and then roasted over an open flame. Their grocery store cousins simply cannot compete.

A quarter chicken can be had for $9, a half for $14, and a whole for $22. Take your pick of two sides and sauces included in the price.

A warning must be made about the rocoto sauce, which is only for the fire-loving maniacs among you. A wiser choice for the spice-seeking gringo might be either the queso fresco rocoto aioli, or the rocoto and huacatay aioli. (Huacatay is a Peruvian mint grown by one of Mistura’s own chefs.) Each sauce a good amount of heat without setting one’s tongue on fire like the rocoto can.

Mistura means mixture, and it’s also the name of a food festival in Lima, where one can taste food from all the various regions of the country. Luna’s father is Peruvian, and the Oakland native grew up traveling there quite a bit to visit family, and to learn some culinary secrets while hanging out with his grandma in the kitchen.

Causas are an appetizer made of whipped yellow potatoes layered with avocado, minced chicken — though a vegetarian version is available — and a yellow pepper sauce ($8 with chicken, $7 vegetarian). With a hard-boiled egg and black olives sitting atop a bed of yellow sauce, they were certainly beautiful to look at, and had a good pucker of lime, too.

Other dishes on the menu include lomo saltado, a dish brought to Peru by Chinese immigrants, in which filet-mignon ($22) or sirloin ($16) is stir-fried with large chunks of tomatoes, red onion, and a bit of soy sauce, and served with white rice and French fries. Other entrées soon to be on offer are a coastal dish, jalea, which features crispy fish with calamari, shrimp, and yucca ($14), as well as a lamb stew in cilantro sauce ($16).

Classic Peruvian sides round out the menu: plantains and yucca, sweet potato fries, and ceviche ($13). There's even a few obligatory salads, though Luna sagely observes that Peru isn’t really a salad-eating culture.

But Peruvians do love wine, and there plenty – both local and non – most of them whites to go with the spicy flavors. You'll find sangria and three local beers on tap, with two of them (Linden Street Brewery and Line 51) from Oakland and one Peruvian beer, Cusqueña, in the bottle.

In the non-alcoholic section, in addition to the Inca Kola and organic Peruvian coffee, there is chicha morada, a vibrant purple cold drink made by boiling purple corn with pineapple, and flavoring it with lime, cinnamon, and cloves ($3.50).

Desserts include coconut crema volteada (a coconut cream caramel, $6), and alfajores (a butter cookie with dulce de leche, $3.50), and ice cream ($6).

Mistura not only adds something new to the international options on Piedmont Avenue, but it’s also certainly worth making a detour for that rotisserie chicken with its accompanying sides and sauces, rather than buying the pale comparison at Safeway.

Mistura, 3858 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-652-1439.

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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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