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What's Cookin' Behind the Curtain - Perusing Some Peruvian

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Every Friday, LAist is taking you on a trip down to Orange County to uncover the unique dining experiences that await adventurous eaters willing to explore beyond the county line.

A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in Peru. Like most tourists that visit, I backpacked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (which was one of the most spec-TAC-ular things I’ve ever done). But I also had a chance to spend some time in the cities of Cusco and Lima, absorbing the culture with the help of some local friends who provided an insider’s guide of sorts.

One of the things that stuck out to me was the friendliness and welcoming nature of the Peruvian people (which was obviously aided by having locals with us). At all the places we visited, whether restaurants, bars, shops, or street vendors, it seemed everyone made us feel at home; well, other than the guys who mugged my friend outside of a fútbol match at the Estadio Nacional. Although we were thousands of miles away from home, it felt very familiar.

So when I went to Inka Mama’s in Foothill Ranch this past week, I felt like I was revisiting those days in Peru, minus the thieves. Tucked in a typical Orange County strip mall between a Staples and a Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts store, Inka Mama’s doesn’t necessarily replicate an authentic Peruvian dining experience, but does possess an environment in which diners are wholly welcomed and served authentic homestyle dishes.