New Mixtura restaurant founded on Peruvian food, embraces the world | VailDaily.com

New Mixtura restaurant founded on Peruvian food, embraces the world

When food is done right, the flavors flow through you like a warm, gentle embrace.

Mixtura restaurant in Edwards is like that. Every bite is filled with full, distinct flavors that make your insides feel happy.

You're not smacked in the head, but rather caressed.

Jonathan Rojas and his wife, Johanni Alvarez, opened Mixtura with executive chef Neil Velasquez a couple of weeks ago because they love to eat well and they love others to do the same.

"It's a family restaurant for our community," Rojas said. "We love to see people happy. Life is better when you're feeding people."

Ask Velasquez how he prepares one of his dishes, and he'll smile and say, "With passion and love. The kitchen is a magic place."

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The foundation is Peruvian food, the hottest new cuisine among foodies. It makes sense because Rojas, Alvarez and Velasquez are all natives of Peru. But its fusion menu pulls from the entire world: tacos and pasta, of course, but also North and South American cuisine.

The Peruvian lamb chops are the most expensive item on the menu at $24.99: three lamb chops, sauteed veggies and a traditional anticucho sauce.

"We have expensive ingredients, not expensive prices," Rojas said. "Quality does not mean expensive in our restaurant."

They even use New York steak in their tacos.

Do yourself a favor and open with a pisco sour. It will remind you of a margarita, but with fuller flavors. Alvarez makes them. It's a stunning looking drink and tastes even better.

Sip it deliberately while you nosh on homemade chips and huancaina sauce. You don't need to know how to pronounce it. Just enjoy it, along with the toasted corn. Peru, you should know, has 1,600 varieties of corn and 3,200 kinds of potatoes. Mixtura uses the best of them.

You should also try a Chicha Morada, a lemonade-type beverage made from purple corn. The flavors are subtle and pleasantly surprising.

Rojas said ceviche originated in Peru, and he may be correct. Mixtura's certainly tastes like they've had decades of practice.

To make their Mediterranean paella, they cook the rice in seawater imported from Spain.

They work with local growers for as many of their menu items as possible, Velasquez said.

What they can't get locally they import from Peru, such as the chilies in the Lomo Saltado.

Rojas, Alvarez and Velasquez have all worked in local and regional restaurants. Velasquez has been a chef for almost a decade and spent a couple of years under the careful instruction of Kelly Liken.

Rojas has 20 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant business around Peru, Guatemala and the United States, as has Alvarez. They're proud of their Peruvian roots and its culinary traditions.

"Peru is considered the best culinary destination right now," Rojas said. "Nine of the world's top 50 restaurants are in Peru."

Mixtura may be about to take its place among them.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If you go …

What: Mixtura Restaurant.

When: Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Where: 34500 U.S. Highway 6, Unit B1, Edwards.

Cost: The Peruvian lamb chops are the most expensive item on the menu at $24.99.

More information: Call 970-569-2440, or visit http://www.mixtura-restaurant.com.