Diners rejoice! Puerto Rico Restaurant Week returns for the fifth year in a row. Starting tomorrow, the best chefs in Puerto Rico will offer exclusive menus at a fixed price. ...
Hot off the Burner
There’s a reason why mojitos are the perfect summer drink. Multiple reasons, actually.
Plenty of ice.
Tingly, fizzy soda bubbles.
The smell of freshly muddled spearmint
The zing of lime
The only way to make a mojito even more refreshing? Turn it into a popsicle. Read More…
We are right in the middle of the dog days of summer. It’s HOT in Puerto Rico right now. The 2015 incarnation of El Niño, the warming of the Pacific Ocean, has brought upon the Caribbean an uncharacteristically dry summer. It has been twenty one years since the last time we had a drought this severe, aggravating the summer heat. On the upside, there’s nothing but sunny days for those looking to have fun outdoors. It’s also the perfect time to increase our intake of fruit and refreshing healthy treats. Sweet summer strawberries to the rescue! Read More…
It’s hard avoiding all the negative – and sadly true – news coming out of Puerto Rico this summer. Countless articles explain how the government borrowed beyond its means during the last four decades and the reasoning behind many families leaving the island in record numbers since the 1950s. Not as many articles have been written about the creative ways some Puerto Ricans are trying to solve some of our more pressing issues, like economic growth and sustainability. And there are many people who are leading the way down that road through entrepreneurship and collaboration. We – as a society – need to get through our thick skulls (and sluggish butts) that supporting these local products (and the businesses that consume them) is crucial for our economic recovery.
Let’s go to the
mall Plaza del Mercado today
We found out about Cabo Rojo Steaks, a local grass-fed cattle ranch operation, through a friend. Their Providencia Ranch is located in Cabo Rojo, a town in the Southwestern corner of the island, but they have a retail operation at the Santurce Plaza del Mercado. Their cattle is fully grass-fed, free range, and humanely raised for eighteen months. The Cabo Rojo Steaks product line includes everything – from the traditional steaks cuts, beef stew chunks, and churrascos to bones for stock, heart, tongue, liver… it’s all available at the Placita or by special order. All of their cuts are portioned and vacuum sealed for easy selection and storage.
Prior to cooking these steaks, I did not have experience working with grass-fed beef. Beef from grass-fed, free range cattle is leaner than the varieties more commonly available in retail. There is much less marbling, as you can see on the picture of the ribeye steak above. To ensure the meat remains tender, it is best to cook it to medium temperature at most. We coated these steaks in oil, salt and pepper just before tossing them over the hot coals.
Curry can’t be hurried
Grass-fed beef has a gamier flavor than corn fed varieties. If you like lamb or goat, you would definitely enjoy the taste of grass-fed beef. When we were looking at the different cuts at their counter at la Placita, I knew I wanted to marry the flavor of the beef with curry. Curried goat stews are very popular all through the Caribbean. Somewhere along curry’s journey from India (through Britain) to the West Indies its flavor mellowed out, it met a tomato or two, and obtained its own culinary identity.
This curry recipe would work well with short ribs, beef stew chunks, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and of course the shanks (osso buco). The smells that will come out of the oven while the beef braises… YUM! Plan to make this recipe with plenty of time. Prepping for the recipe and searing the beef takes approximately twenty minutes, and it the braising process requires two and a half hours. It will be worth the time: the meat from the shanks will fall of the bone, and explode with flavor. There will be plenty of sauce to soak up with white long grain rice, apio root puree, or mashed cauliflower.
Cabo Rojo Steaks has a retail outpost at the Placita de Santurce, operating at regular market hours from Monday through Saturdays. All of the products featured in this article were purchased with our own funds. We did not receive any compensation for writing this article or developing the curried grass-fed beef shanks recipe.
I purchased a basket of assorted cherry tomatoes on a trip to the warehouse club last week. It included every color under the sun, from striped brownish red, red, orange and yellow, to green. I made a point of using every tomato during the week – except the green ones. At the time I wasn’t sure to which dish I would be adding them to, but their destiny was clear. I was going to flash fry those green cherries. The last time I got my fried green tomato fix was back in November in DC. Seven months is a long time! Read More…
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to taste Bar Gitano’s rejuvenated menu. Chef Carlos Vázquez has added delicious small plates to the tasca’s already popular dishes – and inspired a salad recipe that would be right at home with them.
Some of Bar Gitano’s new menu items developed by Chef Vázquez include:
- Veal and pork meatballs braised in sherry with tomatoes, shallots and migas
- Arugula salad w roasted beets, fried goat cheese nuggets and pistachio and fig jam vinaigrette
- Brandada de Bacalao: Codfish croquettes with lime aioli
- Goat cheese pizzeta with romesco, fig jam, truffle oil & arugula
- Lamb skewers with mint salsa verde and fennel salad
- Mussels with chorizo in a rich pimenton-wine broth & toasted bread
- Medjool dates stuffed with Valdeón cheese wrapped in bacon
- Coconut Cake Gitano with guava mousse and topped with toasted meringue
When May rolled in – particularly during third week of the month – my social networks swelled up with all the activities surrounding my alma mater’s commencement ceremony. Lovely birrete art, the second lines and music that only come from New Orleans, and Maya Rudolph’s hilarious address. It made me nostalgic for my own hectic graduation week, so I scoured the web and my own ‘archives’ for those memories from fifteen years ago. Read More…
From May 27 until June 3rd, Puerto Rico will celebrate the fourth Puerto Rico Restaurant Week. This highly anticipated event will take place from Wednesday, May 27th through Wednesday June 3rd. As in previous years, restaurants throughout the Island will offer pre-fixe dinner menus for $28 or $38, with options for the appetizer, entrée and dessert. Several restaurants will also offer pre-fixe lunch menus for $20. Participants include more than twenty-five of the best eateries in San Juan, Santurce, Condado, Miramar, Ocean Park, Isla Verde, Hato Rey, Guaynabo and Humacao. Read More…
Is harissa the next sriracha?
It seems many blogs and food publications are ready to anoint the next big thing when it comes to hot sauces and spice flavors. Sriracha’s supremacy has been challenged by condiments from all over the world. Harissa – a north African blend of peppers and spices – has been floating around for a few years now as a contender. What sets harissa apart from other pepper blends is that it includes a hint of mint. It doesn’t cut the heat, nor overpowers it. I wish I had a better way to describe how the flavors complement each other. In addition to hot red peppers and mint, harissa contains caraway, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Read More…
It feels good to be back after a break of a few weeks without doing much cooking or writing. For most of February and March I was caught up in training for the Puerto Rico Marathon and Half Marathon. Those focused weeks definitely paid off: I shaved off over six minutes over my previous half marathon personal best. Read More…
Earlier this week we talked about my five lessons for best enjoying Saborea Puerto Rico. I’ll show you today why you shouldn’t miss the most important culinary showcase in the Caribbean.
New restaurants for culinary adventures
My friends and I are already planning road trips to visit delicious “new for us” places like Asadura in Luquillo, and Asador San Miguel in Naranjito.
Winery Experience in Puerto Rico
We love to do wine tastings and visiting wine countries in general. The Ambrosia Fine Wines area in the middle of the Tasting Pavillion brings the tasting room experience to Saborea Puerto Rico. The delicious wines and knowledgeable pouring staff will guide you through the wines and suggest pairings from the featured Saborea restaurants and food artisans.
New Products Showcased
Our favorite discoveries in the new product front were the versatile recipes from La Hacienda Foods, the micro-greens from Tropical Fresh, and the delicious Empanadillas Geometricas available to purchase by the dozen. Those will come in especially handy next time we’re having a party. The chicken curry and carnitas ones blew our minds.
Chef Talent for Sunday
I cannot stress this enough. All the chefs we talked to yesterday are incredibly approachable. We bumped into a few in the Tasting Pavillion and didn’t hesitate to ask questions about recipes and their restaurants. Whatever your kitchen conondrum, take it to the experts. And chances are you will learn a trick or five by sitting in the GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theatre.
This is today’s GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theatre schedule:
Chef Alex Perichi-Instituto de Banca & Juan Nieves
José Santos: presented by Dominican Republic Department of Tourism & Pedro Alvarez
Denisse Oller & Maria Germania Diaz
Chef Chango & Luis Piñeiro
Jeremie Cruz & Chef Marilyn & Angel Santiago
Chef Lorraine & Ana Parga
Mayra Alejandra & Lorelei Carrión; presented by Splenda
Juan José Cuevas & Luis Castillo & Rafael Barrera
Ben Vaughn & Giovanna Huyke
Puerto Rico National Culinary Team 2015
Johnattan Hernandez, Gerardo Lugo, Suzette Diaz Alberto Febo- Jorge Olivera, Elvin Rosado: presented by Subway
Victor Rosado & Kunal Chakrabarti
Ventura Vivoni & Joel Rodriguez
Josue Diaz & Hector Gonzalez
Need more reasons?
Browse through Twitter and Instagram using the #SaboreaPR hashtag to see all the great food and moments enjoyed by many. And head out to El Escambrón to enjoy it for yourself!
The Saborea season is finally here! Saborea Puerto Rico kicks off this next Thursday, April 9th, celebrating the best of Puerto Rican gastronomy and hospitality. For the eighth consecutive year, this culinary extravaganza takes over San Juan, showcasing local chefs, restaurants, produce and artisanal products.
We’d like to think we are Saborea veteranos after three years of enjoying this festival, so we will be sharing our top five tips to enjoy the Saborea experience. Got any of your own? Make sure to share them in the comments section below.