Try Peruvian specialties at Jose's Family Restaurant

On a recent afternoon at lunchtime I was out in Northwest Indiana for work. I was getting hungry and thought I'd stop somewhere for lunch. Not a grab-n-go lunch. I wanted to make time to sit down and enjoy my meal rather than gulping it down in my car. I asked Siri for "restaurants near me." One that came up was Jose's Family Restaurant. Underneath the name, it indicated that they served Italian and Peruvian food. I had never tried Peruvian food. I didn't really know what to expect. But I was excited to find out. So, on to Jose's I went.

My server (who is also one of the owners), Lorena, was super friendly and gave me a little run down on Peruvian food. Turns out it is nothing like Mexican food (which was what I thought it might be) and that there's Italian influence in a lot of Peruvian cooking. Lorena told me that she never had a tortilla before coming to the United States. I also learned that although they make tamales, they are way different than the ones I've had before.


At Lorena's suggestion I tried their homemade Peruvian tamale, which is flat and made with white corn. The pork inside was more like a slice of pork tenderloin than the shredded pork I am accustomed to with tamales. There's also Peruvian olives in it and peanut. I think she said literally "one peanut" is in it. I'll have to find out more on that next time I go in. It's also served on a soft roll and made into a sandwich with a red onion salsa on top. It was really good and I'm so glad I stopped there and got to try out some Peruvian cuisine.

I also picked out an appetizer - the one that Lorena said was the best representation of Peruvian food if I had never had Peruvian food before. It was called Papa Relleno. I'd had chili rellenos before in Mexican restaurants and it's a dish I love that is stuffed with cheese. It turns out this is also a stuffed food. Relleno translates into filled our stuffed. So, it's actually mashed potatoes filled with a very flavorful meat with minced pepper and onion in it and boiled egg. It's then lightly pan fried and super delicious.

I also tried a little sample of the Chica Morada purple corn drink, which was delicious. You can get it by the glass or the pitcher. Peruvian dishes can be ordered for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

If you're not feeling the Peruvian vibe, there's also a big selection of traditional Italian dishes on the menu as well. Among the dessert options are cheesecake tiramisu, homemade flan and bread pudding.  On my next visit, I'm definitely leaving room for dessert.

Jose's Family Restaurant
2934 Highway Ave.
Highland, IN