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Archive for February, 2016

February 24th, 2016

Destination? Puerto Rico, The Caribbean, La Parrilla, Kiosk #2, Luquillo Beach, El Yunque, The Rain Forest, Warmer Destination!!

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My friends, Cindi and Jody, on their first trip to Puerto Rico, found the island very charming.  When you visit with a local you get a different perspective.  The people, the island, the food take a different meaning.  So, this was our second day in Puerto Rico.  We stayed in the areas of Old San Juan, Condado, and the northeastern side of the island.

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach

On this Thursday, we took off for the area of Luquillo Beach.  It was around 1 p.m. when we stopped to eat at La Parrilla.  La Parrilla is #2 Kiosk out of about 60 that have been in this stretch of Luquillo Beach, right next to the famous Balneario Monserrate.  They have been there as long as I can remember.  They have also evolved, keeping their very relaxed open air dining.  Some have seating, others you just stand and eat local Crab Tacos, Alcapurrias, Pastelillos and all that wonderful grub that you don’t eat on a daily basis.

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We were on the look out for Caribbean lobsters.  You know, when I lived in Puerto Rico I thought the local lobster was the best.  Living in Delaware…I totally love the Maine lobster.  But this particular search for a grilled lobster had me excited about tasting again that sweet local PR lobster.

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So we picked our 5 pound lobster right from the tank.  Here we were.

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Okay once that was done, a little Sangria for the group.  What a job!!

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Our open air seating was perfect. If you look closely you can see Jody, Cindi, and my cousin, Sonia, on the right hand side.

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We ordered the Sample Boricua for a little tasting.  Filled potatoes, mini piononos, corn sticks, and fried Puertorican cheese. Knowing we were having a full lunch we had a light breakfast.  You have to plan when eating in PR.

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That 5 lb lobster was to be shared.  We ordered Puertorican rice and beans and the tostones, also known as fried plantains.  The grilled flavor was so distinct and as you can see we loved it all.

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Why dessert was ordered, I don’t know.  We were completely satisfied but a sweet ending of not 3 Leches Cake but 4 Leches Cake was a must.  It is vey Spanish and usually served at all restaurants.  Sweet, delicious and very fattening.

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The Luquillo Beach Kiosks are great because you have options, even though a lot serve the same local food.  Some families have owned their kiosk for so many years.  At night you may find some offering local music entertaining and during the week-ends they are very crowded.

Please note that La Parrilla is on social media.  Their website is http://www.laparrillapr.com.

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Second stop was a drive through El Yunque.  This is the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system.  29,000 acres, is is one of the most biologically diverse of the national forests.  Please call 787-888-1880 for more info.  the Forest is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Also, you may visit http://www.elyunque.com.

A stop at La Coca Falls.  The temperature already had come down.  It can get quite cool and humid as you go up the Forest.

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For day trip tours, please visit http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com.

Have a great day…..Next?  The Bioluminescent Lagoon in Cabezas de San Juan in Las Croabas.

February 14th, 2016

Destination? Puerto Rico, La Isla Del Encanto, The Caribbean, Warm Weather Year Round

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This winter in order to get guaranteed warm weather you better go way south, past Florida…..needless to say, my friends, Jody, Cindi and I took off for La Isla del Encanto, otherwise known as Puerto Rico.  I think the best time to go to Puerto Rico is February.  The temperatures? 77 degrees to about 84 degrees.  I cannot believe that on my last day there I was complaining that it was too hot.  Well, that stopped me on my tracks when arriving in Baltimore it was a mere 34 degrees.  Brrrrrr!!!

My friends had not been there.  I told them that the airport could be a little hectic.  Guess what? It made a liar out of me.  Smooth arriving and picking up the luggage.  It early evening, and after a little wine on Ashford Avenue in the Condado section of San Juan we took off for some Puerto Rican fare.

Ashford Avenue is a tourist destination.  Oceanfront hotels and a great avenue to do some shopping, exercising or hitting some of the hotels for a little nightcap or some gambling.

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We decided to stop at Orozco’s Restaurant at 1126 Ashford Ave.  Tel. 787-721-7669.  This little restaurant has surprised me on other visits.  Even though is in a tourist area, the food is true Puerto Rican.  It is small and cozy.  You can sit street side or go inside.  Latin music is always playing.

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A little Sangria for us….it was the first of many Sangrias on the island.

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We ordered some Corn Fritters or Sorullos de Maiz.  Every restaurant has them.  They are served with a sweet sauce.  They are stuffed with a little bit of cheese. I was trying to have my friends get a taste of “comida criolla”.

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Plantains are a staple of the Puerto Rican cooking.  They are used like a potato.  You get it in different ways…..tostones (fried plantains) or Mofongo.  The traditional Mofongo is shaped in a mortar, adding bacon crumblings, garlic, and broth until mashed to the right consistency.  Then it would be turned over on a plate and served with broth on the side.  The purists still like it that way like my cousin, Sonia, who was with us through the whole week.

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Through the years as innovative chefs in the island learned that the Mofongo could be stuffed…..a new way of serving started.  You can get it stuffed with lobster, crab, beef, pork, you name it.  We ordered the one stuffed with beef.

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Another walk after our meal completed our first evening in Condado.

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