Monday, July 11, 2011

My Five Favorite Foods in San Juan

Puerto Rico fully merits the name "Isla del encanto."  I love the rainforest, the beach, and all the rest of the lovely island, but what really gets me excited about visiting is the food.  It is seriously some of the best on the planet.  If you go to San Juan, here are a few things you must try:

1. Mallorcas and coffee from La Bombonera.  The coffee is fabulous, and incredibly inexpensive.  The mallorcas are a sweet roll (like a cinnamon roll without the cinnamon), drenched in butter, pan toasted and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Melt in our mouth yumminess like you wouldn't believe.  My five year old remembered these from a whole year ago and couldn't wait to go back.

Mom, please don't interrupt my blissful munching for a pic.

2.  Quesitos con guayaba.  A flaky croissant, filled with a combination of sweet cream cheese and tangy guava.  I would include a pic, but they seem to get gobbled up before I have time to pull out my phone.  Yeah, they are that good!  My favorites are from the Repostería España in Isla Verde.

3.  Mofongo.  This is the ultimate comfort food.  Take buttery, garlic-smashed plantains, add your favorite meat (mine is churrasco--flank steak--but the chicken and fish are delicious, too).  Soak it all with an amazing salsa criolla of tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro and sweet peppers.  This is like steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, island-style.  Heaven.  You can find mofongo everywhere, but the perfect ratio of sauce to meat to plantains, IMO, is at Barrachina in Old San Juan.  The meat and plantains are both tender, and the flavor is rich and satisfying.

4.  If you are at Barrachina, you must have a piña colada.  This is the restaurant where they were invented!   You won't be disappointed.  It is the perfect balance of sweet, creamy coconut and refreshing pineapple.  A bonus--little ones with you get their own sample size virgin versions.  :)

Can you see that creamy goodness at the bottom of the plate?
5.  Pastel de tres leches.  If you are a cookie-dunker or you like ice cream on your cake, this one is for you.  Take a delicious, rich cake, then soak it in three milks, and you wind up with an incredibly moist (like dripping!) cake.  It tastes like cake that has been sitting in melted vanilla ice cream.  Yum!  If you are looking for the very best, check out Metropol, a Cuban restaurant in Isla Verde.  The mofongo is very good there, the beans and rice are out of this world, and their pastel de tres leches blows the rest of them away.

I haven't even mentioned that across the street from our hotel is Piu Bello, a gelato shop that we visit at least once a day.  My favorite is their coquito gelato, a fabulously decadent combination of coconut and rum.  However, I haven't had a flavor that I didn't like.  The blood orange is excellent, the limón is the best I have tried, they have nutella gelato with chocolate cookies crushed into it...  If I can gather enough evidence, I just might give it its own post... ;)

As you can guess, the reason I haven't been online too much the last week or so is because I have been stuffing my face researching some of the best foods that San Juan has to offer.  I will continue each day to seek out more yumminess for me you.  Wish you were here to share a cup of extraordinarily good Puerto Rican coffee and some yummy snacks with me!


Pippi said...

Ahhh, you're so mean! Ruining my diabetic diet lol. This food looks so good. How do people ever eat at McDonald's anyway?

dulce de leche said...

:) Would you believe that every year we have a few students who only eat at McDonalds or Burger King???

Angela said...

YUM! I only wish I had read this two months ago! We spent our 5 year anniversary in Puerto Rico. We spent a day in Old San Juan and camped the rest of the time on Culebra, on Playa Flamenca. Puerto Rico is so beautiful! At least I can say I know what you're talking about with the mofongo--that stuff is great. We had a shrimp version at Raíces. That place was pretty cool :)

Rae said...

YUM!! My mouth is watering reading this! I'm thinking of a way to make a vegetarian version of Mofongo. Sounds delish!

Staci said...

Oh my goodness! That food all looks & sounds AMAZING!!