Tag Archive | "food"

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Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza

Posted on 27 July 2009 by GSV

After last year’s resounding success, Saborea Puerto Rico returns for a second helping as the Caribbean’s premiere culinary event.  The three-day festival runs from Friday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 5th – at El Escambrón Beach near Old San Juan – and promises an extravagant gastronomic experience to delight even the most meticulous food enthusiast.   The festivities commence on Friday night with the Rums Of Puerto Rico Beach Soireé, a can’t-miss bash featuring an amazing assortment of cocktails and a menu created by chefs Bradford Thompson and Mario Ferro.

The Saborea Puerto Rico Village opens Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm and encompasses the main activities within the event.  At Al Euro Demo Kitchen Theatre, renowned local and international chefs will delight onlookers with cooking presentations.  Among the personalities participating in the event are: Iron Chef Cat Cora, Executive Chef of Bon Appétit magazine; Michael Psilakis, Best New Chef of 2008 for Food & Wine magazine; world-famous chocolatier Jacques Torres, and acclaimed Puerto Rican chef, Wilo Benet.  To see who else will be presenting, click here.

Tastings, seminars and other demonstrations are spread out across two pavilions, where foodies will get a chance to try dishes and sample a wide variety of wines and spirits from some of Puerto Rico’s finest dining places.  Some of the establishments showcasing the flavors of Caribbean and World cuisine include Ajili-Mojili, Trois Cent Onze (311), Morton’s @ Caribe Hilton, Old Harbor Brewery, and many others.  For a complete list of restaurants and exhibitors, click here.

Not to be left out, the Saborea Kid’s Pavilion offers youngsters the opportunity to learn simple and fun recipes through cooking demonstrations and other exhibitions.

With the abundance of activities, a picturesque setting and the exquisite flavors of the cuisine, events such as Saborea are quickly making Puerto Rico the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean.


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San Juan City Guide: Restaurants & Bars

Posted on 23 July 2009 by EyeFred

When our friends over at KitchenCaravan.com asked us to write a City Guide to Old San Juan gastronomy for their new sister site, Kitchen Caravan Travel, we told them, “It is not only a privilege but our duty to do so.” Well, we didn’t really say it out loud like that, but we sure felt it!  Enjoy an excerpt of Kitchen Caravan Travel’s City Guide to Old San Juan below and continue reading at their site, where you’ll find other city guides, including Miami, Rome, and Mexico City.  You are now ready to BE YOUR OWN GUIDE!

Walking the streets of Old San Juan, it’s easy to get lost in the history and culture of the surroundings as you make your way from museum to plaza, from fortress to fortress, from bar to beach and back again. Factor in some shopping and you see it’s not such a stretch to end up forgetting about food. However, the Caribbean sun is known to conspire with the city’s tapestry of streets and hilly climbs to work up an appetite in you. Thankfully, Old San Juan has developed into a Caribbean Mecca for food-lovers with a wide range of offerings that aim to accommodate all palates and preferences.

Before delving into food, I’d like to (or rather, as your host, feel the obligation to) guide you through a couple of my favorite spots in Old San Juan.  La Plazuela de la Rogativa in Las Monjas St. is one of the Puerto Rico’s best-kept secrets.  The iconic statue standing in the middle of this plaza is a tribute to the women of the city, who are said to have saved the city from the British in the late 18th century by holding a religious procession with torches and bells (the British mistook them for reinforcements and opted to sail away).  The plaza holds one of the best views to the bay and is an obligatory stop for photo enthusiasts.  It also reminds me of my childhood.  My parents used to take my brothers and I to El Morro (located nearby, to the north of the Plazuela) to fly our kites and we would always stop here to rest and enjoy a ‘limber’ (an iced, fruit-flavored treat; I mostly went with lemon).  These are still sold by one of the neighbors living directly in front of the plaza to this day – just look for an open door in Las Monjas St. with decidedly homemade advertisements for bottled water and other refreshments and ask for today’s flavorsFeel free to explore the city by foot and visit its many historical sites, museums, parks, plazas, and shops – Old San Juan is small enough so that you are never more than a fifteen-minute walk away from the closest bar or restaurant for you to rest, recharge, have a meal or enjoy a couple of drinks.  Many of the city’s streets include a restaurant or two; even in the most residential areas you’ll find a cafetín (cafeteria), bistro, or pizza place lurking right around the corner.  However, there are some streets you might want to consider if you wish to explore your dining options quickly: Recinto Sur Street., Fortaleza St. (particularly its southern end, also known as SoFo), and Del Cristo Street. Each hosts a variety of restaurants and flavors.

There’s no doubt that El Morro (short for: Fuerte San Felipe del Morro) is Puerto Rico’s best-known tourist attraction.  An impressive Spanish fortress from centuries back, it is undoubtedly a site to behold.  Trust me, you really have to see it for yourself.  However, I’d like to direct your attention to the large field in front of El Morro.  This is were adults and kids come to fly their kites on Sundays, were young couples hold hands and share their first kiss, were students from the nearby art school find inspiration, and people of all ages hold picnics with their loved ones.  The trade winds cast a spell (the ‘try having a cell phone conversation now’ spell) on those who wonder into this field, beckoning all to stay and stare at the fortress as it forever separates the emerald blades of grass from the deep blue waters of the Atlantic and the azure skies above.  Staring out into the ocean, breeze blowing by – now this is how you experience history!

El Morro and La Rogativa are some of the places I hold close to my heart, serving as inspiration for EyeTour.com – Puerto Rico’s Premier Online Video Guide – a project born out of love for technology, design, and my beautiful country.  I invite you to take a look at the site if you are interested in learning more about Old San Juan and the rest of Puerto Rico’s many wonders.  Now, on to some gastronomical exploration!


I. Al Estilo Criollo
Visitors might want to try the local criollo flavors first.  Puerto Rican cuisine, known locally as ‘cocina criolla’ is a unique blend of European, Amerindian Taínos, African, and North American influences that although similar to Latin American and Spanish cuisines, but has a flavor that is all its own.  Here are some of the best places to try it out in Old San Juan.

Since its humble beginnings in the municipality of Caguas, closer to the island’s central mountain range, Raíces Restaurant quickly became synonymous with ‘mofongo’.  A signature dish in Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisine, it consists of fried green plantain (or yucca), which is then mashed, seasoned (with garlic, olive oil, and chicharrones or pork cracklings), and oftentimes stuffed with meat.  The mofongo here is one of the best I’ve tried in my youngish life and their success in opening a second restaurant in Old San Juan’s Recinto Sur St. is ours to savor.  You can’t go wrong with Raíces’s specialty, the Mofongo Relleno de Churrasco al Chimichurri (that’s a mouthful – basically a mofongo stuffed with skirt steak).  Get the Festival Boricua, an appetizer platter, to sample several of the fried treats you’d buy off vendors in popular beach areas like Piñones and the Balneario de Luquillo.  Also worth noting is the restaurant’s central motif, which embraces the Puerto Rican criollo experience, recreating a typical countryside homecirca 1940 with local crafts, authentically dressed servers, and even live Plena music.  Some locals might find the décor a bit gimmicky, and I won’t argue with that statement, but ultimately it’s a good-natured effort to revel in our Puerto Rican roots and to let visitors join in on the fun.

What to read the entire article? Continue reading over at Kitchen Caravan Travel.


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EyeCandy: Saborea Puerto Rico

Posted on 09 July 2009 by EyeFred

To read up on this year’s Saborea Puerto Rico culinary event, click here.


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Top Pizza Places in Puerto Rico

Posted on 03 July 2009 by GSV

Revised: October 15, 2010

Pizza is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Puerto Rico.  Mamposteao, tostones, alcapurrias in Piñones, or lechón asado in Guavate are dishes Puerto Rican cuisine is mostly known for.  Yet there’s something universal about pizza; its undeniable appeal makes it a favorite dining alternative no matter where you are.  With that in mind, here are some of our favorite places in the metropolitan area to get a slice or a pie.

Unique Pies

Das Pastelhaus
2482 Loiza Street, Punta las Marias
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00917
Phone:  787-728-7106

A blend of culinary influences – German, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan – Das Pastelhaus offers a truly unique pie for the adventurous pizza-lover. Try their fantastic white sauce pies – your favorite toppings sauteed in a creme-based sauce that is rich and buttery and hidden under fresh mozzarella cheese. Perhaps most pizza places are not known for their desserts but Das Pastelhaus doubles as a bakery, so be sure to try out some of their butter cookies and delicate pastries after you are done eating your slices.

Bistro Pizza
2424 Loiza Street, Punta las Marias
San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00917
Phone:  787-982-2000

A wood-burning, brick oven isn’t the only thing that makes this Isla Verde eatery stand out; the variety of non-traditional toppings will have you scratching your head.  But bravery never goes out of fashion and, if you dare, you will find a whole new world of flavors (who knew nuts would taste good on a pizza?)  Even if you’re not feeling adventurous, you can still try a traditional pie and be blown away; Bistro Pizza is second to none.

La Cueva del Chicken Inn
507 Ave Ponce de Leon, San Juan, PR 00919
Phone: 787-753-1306

Let me state right off the bat that this is my favorite pizza in Puerto Rico.  It could be the fact that I’ve been going there since I was a kid.  Or it could just be the crunchy, chewy crust, the tangy sauce and the toasted cheese that make it an utter delight.  Feel free to add any topping you like, but you won’t get the same taste of perfection as a plain cheese pizza.  It doesn’t hurt that the place also makes great chicharrones de pollo (unbreaded pieces of fried chicken).

Family Friendly Fare

Faccio Pizza Isla Verde @ Howard Johnson

Faccio Pizza Isla Verde @ Howard Johnson

Magno’s Pizza Palace
26 Ave Domenech, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Phone: 787-764-3756

Situated in the heart of San Juan’s Hato Rey neighborhood on Domenech Avenue, Magno’s offers a spacious and amiable setting for any occasion – from a business lunch to a gathering of friends and family – at very reasonable prices.  The pizza might not be groundbreaking but it’s definitely worth the visit.

Faccio Pizza
Lobby Hotel Howard Johnson, Ave. Isla Verde, Carolina, PR
Ask for other locations
Phone: 787-268-7755

What started out as a single restaurant in the community of Cupey in the municipality of San Juan has branched out into seven franchises peppered throughout the greater metropolitan area.  Faccio’s does pizza well: a chewy, thin crust, savory sauce and a variety of fresh toppings (my personal favorite: chorizo).  Along with the pasta menu, their wide selection of beers and the easy-going ambiance make Faccio’s one of the island’s favorite dining spots.

The South American Flavor Tour

Pizzaiolo's savory Brazilian-style pies

Pizzaiolo's savory Brazilian-style pies

47 Ave. Isla Verde
Carolina, Puerto Rico, 00984
Phone: 787-268-0622

One of several pizzerias lining the Avenida Isla Verde, Pizzaiolo offers authentic Brazilian flare, not only with the food, but with the atmosphere created by the music and decor.  The pies are covered with cheese, a small amount of sauce, and any fresh vegetables or meats that you can think of (sausage or chicken work very well but there is a wide array to choose from).  Do have a Caipirinha if you are there, it would be almost a crime if you didn’t.

Ferrari Gourmet
51 Ave. Isla Verde, Isla Verde, Carolina, PR 00979
Phone: 787-982-3115

A few yards away from Pizzaiolo we find another South American flavor, Ferrari Gourmet‘s Argentinian cuisine.  Over forty different varieties of bold flavors and very hearty toppings  characterize the restaurant’s pizza menu.  A must for visitors staying along Carolina‘s Isla Verde Hotel Strip.

Juan Pan Pizza
Ave. Piñeiro 1117, San Juan 00920, Puerto Rico
Phone: 787-792-6735

Another Argentinian pizzeria, this one on Piñeiro Avenue in San Juan.  The ingredients go all the way to the edge of the pizza making the small crust it has super crunchy and the cheese around it deliciously golden.  Very hearty, extremely satisfying and a quaint setting to boot.  You can’t miss the building either – a giant mural in honor of “The King of Tango” adorns one of its sides.

When In Condado…

Danny’s International
1351 Ashford Ave., Condado, San Juan, PR
Phone: 787-724-0501 / 787-721-4231

Usually packed, and for good reason, I would venture to say that Danny’s is my second favorite pizza on the list.  The soft, chewy dough and the unbelievable variety of specialty pizzas make each bite a pleasure unto itself.  They haven’t reinvented the wheel, they just make some darn fine pizza.  If you are feeling bold try the Puerto Rican specialty pizza with ground beef and ripe plantains (amarillos).

Via Appia
1350 Ashford Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico
Phone: 725-8711

Featuring sidewalk tables for a better view of Avenida Ashford, Via Appia’s offering of Italian food and spectacular pizza make it one of the area’s most popular restaurants.  There’s also inside seating for those not interested in people-watching (but still interested in pizza-eating).

The Night Cap (by the slice)

Pizza City's sign (hard to miss, even at night)

Pizza City's sign (hard to miss, even at night)

Mike ‘s Pizzeria
1024 Ave. Ashford, Condado, San Juan, PR
Phone: 787-722-2480 / 787-722-2484 / Fax: 787-723-0118

Another pizzeria in Condado (formerly known as Mike & Charlie’s – adios Charlie!), and open till late so you can get a slice (or two) before heading off to who-knows-where.  Small space but very friendly staff and pizza slices overflowing with toppings (they certainly don’t skimp on those).

Pizza City
5950 Ave Isla Verde
Phone: 787-726-0356

Let’s be honest, at 3 o’clock in the morning you’re not looking for anything complicated, you’ll settle for a nice cheese pizza straight out of the oven.  Just another reason to love Pizza City.  You could go there at anytime – the pizza is excellent – but it becomes magical when you’re desperate for something to eat and you see that great, big, kitschy sign welcoming you, and others, to sit down, relax, and enjoy

Hope you enjoy the list (and the pizza).  Found a new pizza place worthy of our list? Let us know by replying below and we’ll set our pizza-tasting experts loose!


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