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Downtown Dining: Where to Get Alpaca Burgers For Lunch

Alpaca Burger at Mo-Chica (Photo courtesy Mary Park)
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After sweeping up a bunch of national magazine awards, Peruvian superstar chef Ricardo Zarate outgrew his digs at the humble Mercado La Paloma, so earlier this month he opened a larger location of the restaurant on 7th and Grand. The modern industrial space launched their lunch menu this week, which includes some tame items, like quinoa risotto with wild mushrooms and parmesan, and lomo saltado -- a sautéed beef filet with roma tomatoes and red onions.

But if you're looking for some adventure eating to break the monotony of your 9-5, Mo Chica will also be flipping burgs made from a blend of alpaca and lamb meat. Alpaca has made some appearances at Zarate's more upscale eatery, Picca, and at food festivals like the LAFW Grand Tasting. We were pleasantly surprised by the slightly-gamey yet super succulent flavor of Zarate's alpaca, which was once considered a delicacy in Andean culture.

Items for Mo Chica's lunch menu will be upsized compared to the share plate sized portions served during dinner. Here's a peek at the full lunch menu. Items reange from $8-16, and are served with a side of rice or bread. It will be served from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Paiche - Amazonian fish from Peru, ajiaco de arroz, cherry tomato escabeche
Cau Cau - Tripe stew with Peruvian potatoes, cumin yogurt, and mint chimichurri
Colita de Rez - Oxtail with trigo de mote and huancaina salsa criolla
Quinotto - Quinoa risotto, wild mushrooms, parmesan, parsley infused oil
Estofado de Alpaca - Alpaca stew estofado, tagliatelle, aji Amarillo sauce, fried organic fertile egg
Lomo Saltado - Sauteed beef filet, roma tomatoes, red onions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, banyuls vinegar with Kennebec fries