New Times Managing Editor Ashley Shwellenbach can brag all she wants about how she got to try real Peruvian ceviche and fresh chicha morada in Peru (food envy is a real thing, and it can destroy relationships). I can’t whine too loudly about missing out, however. I actually enjoyed the next best thing while dining at Paso’s new contemporary Peruvian fine dining haunt, Mistura, last month. As you may have read in last week’s feature, Mistura Executive Chef/Owner Nicola Allegretta is whipping up authentic, elevated Peruvian fare—everything from Andes alpaca to fresh, adventurous seafood—and nothing washes it all down better than a tall glass of chicha morada, made with purple corn, Peruvian spices, clove, sugar, and citrus. Try it for yourself and earn your own bragging rights!
• Mistura's Chicha Morada–About $5; Mistura; 700 Club House Drive, Paso Robles.
Naughty is nice. I love LXV’s swanky Kama Sutra-inspired tasting room in downtown Paso Robles. With its plush day beds and sensual spice pairings, it’s easy to get swept up in a wave of pleasure (on “shoeless Sundays” tasters enjoy a foot massage). Each Friday and Saturday this January, the winery is offering new Tantric Bites pairings, including a combination of LXV Winemaker Amy Butler’s 2013 Dark Romance with a special pepper shooter you’ve got to try. The soft, luscious chenin blanc is brilliant alongside the cherry peppers stuffed with aged provolone and prosciutto. With three other gourmet food and wine pairings—featuring everything from black truffle pâté to cranberry-spiced goat cheese rolled in smoked duck breast—this is far from your average cheese-and-toothpick experience.
• LXV’s 2013 Dark Romance–$35 a bottle, or stop in for a pairing; 1306 Pine St., Paso Robles.
Send spicy drink suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.