Friday, August 2, 2013

Puerto Rico Vacation

View from window JetBlue
“Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position”. Soon after the plane lands and comes to a rumbling stop, the captain comes on the loud speaker and announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to San Juan Puerto Rico. Local time is 1:45 P.M. and the temperature is 89 degrees”.  We are filled with excitement as the plane moves and docks to the gate, we also quickly realize we are hungry.
We did some research of restaurants to visit while on our stay. But we still had to get our luggage and the rental car so food would have to take a back seat. Being in a new country is always exciting as you experience different life styles and cultures. Once we were in our rental we arrived at Panadería España Repostería. It was a very comfortable atmosphere as the locals were eating and drinking having a normal Saturday afternoon. We heard they had great breads, sandwiches, paella, and pastries. We ordered a couple of different things ensalada de pulpo (octopus salad) Pan con Bistec  (steak sandwich), Cuban sandwich, Ham and Cheese sandwich and some empanadas. It was all very delicious; it all had Spanish Caribbean flavors exactly what we were craving.
Octopus salad 

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But the pastries looked to be the main highlight as most of the food displays where pastries, and breads. So then after our lunch we had cortaditos (espresso coffee with a touch of milk) and some pastries.  It was the perfect ending to the beginning of a great vacation. 

Pastries display
Pastries display

Cortaditos and Pastries 
 Another restaurant we researched and heard rave reviews about was Pasion por el fogon. It is a casual but elegant restaurant offering traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. For appetizer we ordered chillo ceviche and sea bracelets (fried Calamari) with a passion fruit dipping sauce. The Ceviche had a great balance of acidity and freshness. The calamari was tender and when dipped in the passion fruit sauce it was a very creative combination of sweet and savory. 

Ceviche, Fried Calamari, Puerto Rican Bread 

For dinner I ordered a whole fried snapper with a side of mofongo. The fish was extremely fresh and topped with a lime, onion and cilantro garnish.  Mofongo is fried green plantains that are mashed in a wooden mortal and pestle with olive oil, garlic, pork cracklings or bacon. Those favors combined with the earthiness of plantains and smooth yet chunky consistency transmits intense Latin flavor. Mofongo can be served as is or stuffed with meats or seafood. It is a traditional Puerto Rican dish and I highly recommend mofongo with pork. Anna ordered fillet of snapper in a scampi sauce. It wasn’t traditional scampi; it had tomatoes, onions, peppers and some other Spanish herbs and spices. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. We had a side of white rice and red beans they were outstanding. 

Whole Fried Snapper With Mofongo

Fillet of Snapper
We also had the chance to meet the Chef, Chef Myrta Perez Toledo. We had a nice conversation with her; she was quite pleasing and loved to joke around. Puerto Rico had a lot to offer with its wonderful beaches, great weather, incredible rainforest, and a tasty cuisine. But our adventure didn’t end just yet. 

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