Clocked Out: Westside (happy hour) story

Massive mimosas, vegan empanadas, Peruvian beers and more at Casa Chaskis.

Clocked Out: Westside (happy hour) story
The Tofu Saltado at Casa Chaskis is a vegan stir fry with onions, tomatoes and French fries, served with rice. Photo by Kat Schuster

Happy Tuesday, Watchdoggies,

While I don’t have a clever line to draw between a certain classic 1961 musical and a Peruvian restaurant in Long Beach, I will tell you a Westside story today.

From Wrigley Coffee to Pho Long Beach to that one place with the dancing horses that I keep meaning to visit — there are so many gems on the Westside. It’s also where you can find two of my favorite eateries on adjacent, competing corners: Vegan Castle (best vegan sushi in town) and Casa Chaskis. Today, we’re just going to talk about the latter.

This May, I’ve found myself at this Peruvian restaurant twice, first for happy hour with fellow Watchdog Dennis Dean and again for Mother’s Day brunch. There are many reasons why this place is near and dear to me, but let me just say, the massive happy hour mimosas and tasty yuquitas don’t hurt.

The Quechuan word of the day was Hanak Pacha. Photo by Kat Schuster.

When owner Agustín Romo opened the eatery in 2018, he created a menu and decor that focused on Peru’s vibrant Andean region. When you enter, notice the woven blankets, decorative masks, fleece chullos (hats), baskets, mini alpacas and, of course, the Quechua word of the day, drawn in chalk. When we visited during happy hour, that word was Hanak Pacha, which is a phrase that refers to the sky. So naturally, we chose a seat under it on Casa Chaskis’ sunny patio.

A happy hour menu is offered Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.

What’s worth sipping:

  • Peruvian beers ($5) - Cusqueña, Cristal or Pilsen.
  • Sangria ($5) - Red or peach.
  • Mimosa ($9 ) - Flavored with fresh passion fruit or strawberry.
  • Chamoylada ($9) - Also massive and similar to a michelada.
A Chamoylada on Mother’s Day at Casa Chaskis. Photo by Kat Schuster.

But it isn’t all about the booze. Casa Chaskis was the first restaurant in Long Beach to use its own vegetable garden, from which fresh ingredients are plucked for menu items like the Saltado de Vegetales, Kale Saltados and more (according to them).

On Romo’s happy hour menu, you can also find cheap bites, including $8 Calamari Frito, $8 Pollito Broster, $5 Yuquitos Fritas, $8 Chicharrón de Pescado and last but never least, $3 empanadas. You must try the vegan empanadas — try them twice.

Casa Chaskis also has a remarkable amount of vegetarian and vegan-friendly food that may be driving my bias, but to hell with objectivity today.

Kat Schuster was laid off from the Long Beach Post on March 22, yet she still authors Clocked Out and serves as editor of the Watchdog without pay. Thank her for her work.

The vegan empanadas at Casa Chaskis are stuffed with Impossible meat, vegetables and raisins. Photo by Kat Schuster

So what’s worth munching?

I’m willing to wager just about everything they offer, but let’s narrow it down to what I tried during my two most recent visits.

  • Tofu Saltado ($14) - A vegan tofu stir fry with onions, tomatoes and French fries, served with rice.
  • Picante de Vegetales ($13) - A spicy vegan dish with cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and carrots in aji panca (chili powder) served with white rice.
  • Yuquitos Fritas ($5 during happy hour) - Peruvian French fries made from yuca, the edible root of the cassava.
  • And here’s where I deviated from my diet: Pescado Frito ($14) - Fried fish filet with yucca fries, rice, homemade tartar sauce and salsa criolla.

Although 90% of the time I stick to a vegetarian diet, there is some sort of cat-like cartoon parasite occupying my brain that just won’t let me resist things like sushi, smoked salmon or any kind of fish really. When I caught a glimpse of the Pescado Frito being served at a nearby table on Mother’s Day, I was doomed. This fish filet is lightly fried and is perfectly tender. If you partake in pesce, you won’t be able to resist it.

Do you have any Westside recommendations for me or do you have a ~ fun ~ idea for a Long Beach itinerary? Email me here.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Vegan Castle and Casa Chaskis are located on the Westside.


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