Ah, the bittersweet epiphany that you actually have to LEAVE your vacation spot… that icky feeling right before you close your hotel door… hoping your foot gets caught in it so you have to inevitably miss your flight and stay in paradise at least 4 more hours… I WISH!
We finally got to take a vacay last week for our 1st wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico00! 🙂 (It just sounds better in my head with lots of o’s and an “!”)
Shayne knew the food was going to be great. He had a childhood friend who was from a Puerto Rican family and he told me that when his mom would make spaghetti, he would go over to the _____’s house and eat chuletas – Puerto Rican pork chops. So, before we even got off the plane in San Juan, he was already salivating over these chuletas we were going to be eating at some point.
Well, we ate the chuletas… and more flavorfully sinful Puerto Rican vittles. It was a beans and rice heaven! …and if you love pork, bacon, pork chops, straight up pig – go to PR. And if you can’t eat pork or choose not to – I don’t know what to tell you. They flavor everything with pork fat.
Puerto Rico by the Meals:
Our first taste of PR cuisine was at our hotel, actually. OK so it probably wasn’t the most outstanding representation, but we eased into it… I gotta say, though, at the moment this was all great and wonderful but in hindsight – which is always 20/20 – this meal was probably my least favorite and come to think of it… did not come out hot. Hmph. I think in the moment we were just excited to be in a fancy hotel, eating Puerto Rican food.
This is called the “Saborea” 4 in one tasting. But as you can see there are only 3 “dishes” We were confused and asked but still we remained confused. But anyway… its mofongo balls, empanedos and chicharrones.
@ marbella, rio mar beach resort in puerto rico
….and for dessert: coconut terrine. If you’re a texture eater, I wouldn’t order this. It’s like a cross between pudding and jello. It’s really odd. But flavor was fantastic!
We shared nibbles on this delightful Puerto Rican-style French Toast.
It was prepared like a sweet sandwich – two pieces of white bread with cheese in the middle with guava jam, dipped in an almond batter and fried. AMAZING.
One night for dinner, we escaped the massive depths of our resort and shared a cab with two of our now New Yorker friends and ate here, Don Pepe. (OF COURSE I looked up restaurants in our surrounding area before we left – How else would I have known to look for this place on our shuttle to the hotel!) 🙂 :
I had the Arroz con Bistec (Rice and Steak) and Shayne had Camarones de Monfongo. (Monfongo was another dish Shayne had his eye on since landing on the island. Its made of smashed, fried plantains and usually stuffed with seafood, pollo, vegetables, beef… whatever.) What a delicious and beautiful dish. I wish I would’ve gotten a better picture, though.
We are very much the “when in Rome…” people so we had to try some of the local brew. SO GOOD:
So, like I said, we made buddies with a couple from New York (whom we totally plan on visiting soon! HOLLA!) and they took us (in their rental car) to the next town over, Luquillo, where they have a strip of shops and eateries called the kioskos. There are literally dozens of tiny little restaurants, bars and souvenir shops stacked along this main highway, and right on the beach! We had the BEST nom nom’s at kiosko # 57. Gracias amigo!
It was a blessing and a half to be with those awesome peeps – she is Puerto Rican and is fluent in Spanish. Hook uppppp! Si, amigos. All FRIED:
We found them. Chuletas!:
I, thankfully, had her order this out-of-this-world, I-can’t-even-explain-it, amazing, my-taste-buds-have-never-met-anything-so-good, “pollo taco.” Ridiculously flavored, cooked chicken, wrapped in dough.
Our last day, before we left for the airport our friends took us back to this kiosko one last time so I could buy a couple so we could eat them on the plane. 🙂
Shayne’s chuleta and arroz:
We ventured out more than once. This dinner was from Antojito’s Restaurant in Rio Grande, PR. Seriously, the food was sooooooooooooooooo good in that homemade, Puerto Rican lady in the kitchen over a hot stove all day kinda way. What a treat, my Arepa Rellena. A stuffed chicken biscuit – so simple and delish!
The cute little restaurant:
Definitely one of our favorite days was going on a catamaran snorkel tour with East Wind tours. We had been looking forward to it since we booked it upon check-in. Open bar & lunch buffet. HELLO!? The rum punches flowed all day and we prepared ourselves a deli feast!
Duh. We went to the Bacardi Distillery. When you arrive, the greeters give you two tickets for free drinks at the bar. Seriously, Puerto Rico GIVES away rum. You should not have to buy a single drink when you’re there.
After a series of unfortunate events on the day of our anniversary, we ended up treating our friends to a dinner of pizza. In Puerto Rico. When in Rome, folks… those Ricans LOVE Italian food. And to tell the honest truth, this was one of the best za’s I’ve had in awhile:
Our last morning was spent with our friends, (ha you’re thinking, did we ever have time alone!? We totally did), who treated US to breakfast at Antojito’s:
So, I have like 40 more pictures of these dishes and restaurants but you know my hand is getting tired and I’m sure you’re like… over it. But we had a great time.. and not just eating. 🙂
I think I married a Puerto Rican. We got home Monday night and instead of immediately going home and resting – we went to the grocery store and bought ingredients to make arroz con pollo and I was going to try my damnedest to make those pollo tacos. Look forward to those *original* recipes, because we essentially just threw ingredients together and the damn things came out AWESOME. 🙂