Saborea Puerto Rico 2013: The Event

What a great day!  Saborea Puerto Rico, a Culinary Extravaganza took over the grounds of el Parque del Tercer Milenio in San Juan.  Hundreds of people from all corners of the island, the US and beyond arrived to the Saborea village to enjoy a sunny afternoon of food tastings, cool drinks, and entertainment.

The Pavilions

The Saborea Puerto Rico village included the following pavilions, in addition to the main tasting area:

  • Beverages Pavilion
  • California wines tasting area
  • Coffee and Sweets Pavilion
  • Local Products Showcase (new for 2013)
  • GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theater
  • Sponsor tents

We spent most of the time hanging at the main pavilion and the Demo Kitchen, although we took a break to enjoy the California wines distributed by Ambrosia Fine Foods & Wines.  The showcase for local products was especially fun.  They had everything: Artisanal cheese, spirits, sweets, condiments…  The sponsor tents had additional seating area, music, and other amenities.

Main Tasting Pavilion

Out of the thirty stations from the restaurants and the culinary academies, these three dishes stood out:

  • La Casa in Royal Isabela’s dorado crudo on top of a melonball with artisanal olive oil and merlot salt
  • BLT’s braised short ribs on top of a creamy polenta made with mascarpone and truffle essence
  • Zest’s Israeli couscous arroz con pollo and the marinated octopus bites

I’m not sure if there will be changes in the restaurant lineup for tomorrow, but hopefully I can taste these delicious bites again.  Other memorable dishes include the ceviche from Perurrican in Condado, a tasty fritter with smoked pork from Marullo’s Art Cuisine in Aguada, and a risotto with gandules from Lola Eclectic Cuisine  in Ponce.

The Demonstrations

The GE Monogram Kitchen Demo Theatre was the place to be during the afternoon.  Chef Denisse Oller and Chef Roberto Treviño worked the crowd and gave terrific play-by-play of all the cooking action up on stage.  Chef Steven McQueeny broke out the molecular gastronomy toys for a very unusual take on paella.  Our friend Jimmy Carey traded his chef whites for a bright orange Puerto Rico t-shirt and prepared a grouper filet with root vegetable mash and limón criollo emulsion.  His demo companion, chef Fernando Parrilla made fresh lettuce wraps, very suitable for the hot day.

This picture BEGS for a caption...

 I was very lucky to be invited to taste the dishes prepared by two fabulous “expat” chefs: Giovanna Huyke (“roll wave roll!“) and Héctor Santiago.  Giovanna prepared a seared tuna steak with fantastic ájili-mójili on top of a zapote purée.  The tuna was topped with nísperos (loquats) lightly sautéed in the same olive oil as the fish and it was all pulled together by a tasty slaw with jalapeños.  Chef Santiago prepared a melt in your mouth fantastic goat stew on a spicy sauce.  It was served with a bright pink plantain and beet mofongo and a pickled squash blossom.  I’m still grinning – it was fantastic to be up there, tasting these great meals.  Two of my table companions were representatives from the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, and I learned a little about their strategies for making local products even more accessible to restaurants and the general public.

Chef Héctor Santiago (Pura Vida – Atlanta & Top Chef Season 6) and his dish for the GE Monogram Demo Kitchen Theater

The Company

Enjoying food is infinitely better when you are surrounded by great company.  I finally got to to meet Madelyn Rodriguez from Karma Free Cooking.  She’s a dynamo!  We had a very animated conversation about food blogging and communities.  We will definitely be collaborating in the near future.  I also talked a lot with Paulina Salach and Gustavo Antonetti, the team behind Spoon Food Tours and the upcoming Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.  They are committed to promoting Puerto Rico as the ultimate foodie paradise and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Saborea Puerto Rico continues on Sunday, April 7th starting at noon at the Parque del Tercer Milenio.  Tickets can be purchased on site or online at TicketCenter.  The Saborea 2014 dates are out as well.  Mark your calendars for April 3rd to 6th for another fantastic weekend of seaside gastronomy.

Great Food 360˚ was granted a press pass to attend the Saborea Puerto Rico Village on April 6th and 7th.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

6 Responses to “Saborea Puerto Rico 2013: The Event”

  1. April 7, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    Woww… So cool! Beautiful pictures chica. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m getting ready for Puerto Rico Restaurant Week as well and a couple of other events. Can’t wait. This culinary boom is very exciting! That mofongo picture made my day, btw. Totally making that one! Saludos! 🙂

  2. April 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Hey girl!!! It was so nice to get to meet you in person and to actually be present when you were guest judge in one of the demonstrations. Coincidence??? Don’t think so…

    I’m going to have to borrow some of your pics from Saborea… They’re wonderful!! I didn’t go with my “blogger” head originally, but I think I may have a few posts from what I got to experience.

    Collaboration time is ON!!!

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