Quinoa-crusted happiness completes time spent in La Paz

La Paz, Bolivia

Dinner on our third night in La Paz was spent at the quinoa-centric restaurant Ichuri Food, located at Av. Mariscal Santa Crus esquina Sagarnaga No 918 in the Galeria La Republica.

High above the city of La Paz - and tucked away in a high-rise building that you'd never guess would house amazing food - Ichuri features the native Bolivian, protein-packed, super grain quinoa in many of their specialty dishes. At only 4 Bolivianos, the fresco quinua - a horchata-like beverage made from quinoa, barley, cinnamon and sugar - is perfect for sipping whilst perusing the menu.

While the quinoa-crusted chicken strips are a perfect option for traveling children (my siblings loved them), but as a twist on the French Chicken Cordon Bleu, the Enrollado de Quinua (rolled quinoa) is a must-have for adults. The chicken filet in this dish is layered with ham and cheese before being rolled into a pinwheel, dipped in a quinoa batter and fried. Served with a light drizzle of honey mustard sauce, this was one of my favorite dishes of the trip.

Ichuri's balcony view of the Iglesias San Francisco is gorgeous at night, and the Wifi availability makes it a great stop for travelers.

With bellies full of quinoa, we trekked back up the mountain to our hotel after dinner. The next day was Indigenous People's Day, a national holiday where people flood the streets in celebration, and we listened to President Evo Morales' speech on the radio while taking a hired comvee to the ruins of Tiwanaku.

Located close to Lake Titicaca and about an hour outside of the city of La Paz, the Tiwanaku archaeological site features four beautifully restored structures from the epicenter of the pre-Incan culture of the Tiwanaku people. Many of the ancient drainage and irrigation systems at the site are still operational, and several carved monoliths stand at the site.

Originally sized at about 257x197 m wide and standing at 16.5 m tall, the largest structure at Tiwanaku is the Akapana, a step-pyramid structure built on a man-made hill. Once impressive in size, years of looting, erosion and vandalism by Spanish raiders have diminished the size of the Akapana significantly. Unfortunately, many of the stones from the Akapana were used to build a neighboring Franciscan church, but archaeologists have been rebuilding the pyramid with stones found at the site.

Next to the Akapana is a platform known as the Kalasasaya, where the Gateway of the Sun and several of the site's Staffed Gods monoliths stand, as well as a sunken, open-air "room" where the inner walls are lined with carved faces, said to be the faces of all the ethnicities of the world.

After touring the ruins and museum at Tiwanaku, we returned to La Paz for our last night before heading to Cochabamba. My mom, siblings and I returned to Bansai for a low-key dinner, did a little shopping, and turned in for the night (an adventurous day in the Andes Mountains made us awfully tired). After breakfast in the morning, we went to the bus station to take a bus to the city of Cochabamba, on another bus with a dysfunctional bathroom.

Check out my next post where I pick up the trip in Cochabamba before heading to Buenos Aires.

The Iglesia de San Francisco, as seen at night from the patio of Ichuri Food. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
The Enrollado de Quinua at Ichiri Food is a Bolivian take on the classic French Chicken Cordon Bleu. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
The semi-subterranean temple at Tiwanaku features carved faces of the ethnicities of the world along the inner walls. in Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
Carved faces line the walls of the subterranean temple at Tiwanaku in Bolivia. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp
Our traveling group next to the Gateway of the Sun at Tiwanaku. Top Row: Me, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, Louise Schmeiser, Percy Schmeiser and Elijah Trujillo. Bottom Row: Lavina Gray, Mitchell Gray and Emigdio Ballon.


An irrigation canal at the Tiwanaku archaeological site in Bolivia. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp

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