Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Summer Sips at Gallo Negro Santurce

Gallo Negro Santurce - (Pirates) Booty Punch

(Pirates) Booty in Santurce

I’m not one to make a lot of cocktails at home.  Although lately I have been experimenting with simple syrups and homemade sodas, I haven’t developed that knack for mixing sweet, sour, bitter and savory in a glass.  Enjoying cocktails is one of the highlights of many a dinner out these days, especially with the continued mixology boom.  One of the best places to enjoy cocktails with specialty spirits and mixers is Gallo Negro in Santurce, a San Juan neighborhood.  The brainchild of siblings John Mercedes and chef Maria T. Mercedes-Grubb, Gallo Negro opened in 2013 and since then has offered modern takes on American and Caribbean cuisine.  Chef Maria first made waves in the Puerto Rico gastro-scene  in 2011 with the UDC – Underground Dining Club, one for the island’s first pop up restaurants.

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Buen Diente Features Adriana’s Kitchen

Salmon Rillettes - Picture courtesy of BuenDiente.com

Salmon Rillettes – Picture courtesy of BuenDiente.com

Back in September 2013, I had the chance to Dorie Greenspan.  Between conversations, she signed my copy of Around My French Table with the following inscription:

 

Her hope is alive and kicking.  A few weeks ago we hosted at home our friends Nelson Torres and Ismael Martinez from Buen Diente along with fellow food blogger Myriam Ocasio from Puerto Rico Eats, and food entrepreneurs Paulina Salach and Gustavo Antonetti from Spoon Food Tours and Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.  The overall theme of the dinner was my cooking journey and influences, especially those recipes featured in the blog.

We started the evening with Gougeres de Queso del Pais, followed by my take on New Orleans barbecue shrimp.  The main dish was one of my favorite recipes from Around My French Table, the Short Ribs in Braised in Red Wine and Port. To cap our meal, my sister made my paternal grandmother’s signature dessert, bienmesabe.  I can best describe a bienmesabe as a coconut cream layered dessert – sort of a Caribbean tiramisu. Our evening was beautifully recapped by Nelson here.

Photo Courtesy of Buendiente.com

Thanks again to our friends at Buen Diente for this wonderful feature and here’s to future gatherings!

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2014

Puerto Rico Restaurant Week 2014

Foodies in the island, rejoice!  For the third consecutive year, Puerto Rico Restaurant Week will take over some of the best restaurants in San Juan.  In addition to their regular menu offerings, the participating restaurants will offer pre-fixe dinner menus for $28 or $38 with options for the appetizer, entrée and dessert.  For the first time – and especially exciting for me, now that I’m back working in the metro area – several venues will also offer pre-fixe lunch menus for $14 or $19.  Close your kitchens from Wednesday, May 14th to Tuesday, May 20th!

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Saborea Puerto Rico Liveblog – Sunday April 6th

Saborea Puerto Rico Liveblog

We’re live blogging from Saborea Puerto Rico today!  You will know what we are tasting, who are we watching and talking to as it happens.  For more real-time Saborea updates, follow the Twitter and Instagram hashtags #saboreapr and #saboreando. Read More…

Saborea Puerto Rico 2014 – Saturday April 5th

Saborea Puerto Rico 2014

 Saborea Puerto Rico… it gets better every time!

Today we arrived at the Parque del Escambrón close to noon.  The day was beautiful!  On the Thursday press conference, it POURED and Friday was very rainy but there was nothing but blue skies today.  It was breezy at the Parque del Escambrón – the perfect weather to enjoy this culinary extravaganza. Read More…

The High Food Holiday: Saborea Puerto Rico 2014

Looking for more Saborea 2014 coverage?  Click here for my Saturday recap and here for Sunday’s liveblog.

April and May are my “big” food months.  No offense to the traditional Thanksgiving-Christmas-Reyes trifecta, but when I think of the best months to celebrate Puerto Rican cuisine, spring time takes the cake.

Saborea Puerto Rico

Some of the awesome local chefs featured in Saborea Puerto Rico 2014, with Clarissa Jimenez, president of the PRHTA and the Secretary of Tourismo Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. (Photo credit: PRHTA)

Next weekend, the island’s premiere gastronomic event, Saborea Puerto Rico, will take place.  This culinary extravaganza is presented by the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA) and it celebrates its seventh year.  Saborea Puerto Rico 2014 is a weekend-long feast of food and beverages that showcases the local hospitality industry while raising money for the PRHTA educational programs and scholarship fund.

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Cassava Shepherd’s Pie (Pastelón de Yuca)

pastelon de yuca

Have you ever gotten so hooked on a recipe you’ve made it over and over in a very short period of time?   This holiday season I made not two but three pastelones de yuca.  A Caribbean interpretation of the shepherd’s pie, this pastelón is a layered casserole that combines yuca (cassava) and a savory filling – meat, soy, or veggies.   Pastelones are one of the most versatile pies that can be assembled.  The starches and the fillings are limited only by your imagination.  Any root vegetable or plantain that can be mashed into a soft but substantial puree can be used for pastelón.  Some of my favorites include ripe plantain (the classic!), malanga (taro), and potato.    Read More…

Farmers Market Finds: January 19th, 2014

farmers market finds celery

It has been a while since I last visited the Cooperativa Organica Madre Tierra farmers market at la Placita Roosevelt in Hato Rey.  Today the stands were full of delicious greens, root vegetables, plantains and citrus.

This time around, I shopped most of my goods at a stand from some young farmers from Orocovis, a small mountain town right in the middle of the island.  They had a delicious stock of reasonably priced greens.  From their table, I picked out the impressive celery bunch in the top picture, a salad/stir fry mix that included rainbow chard and tatsoi among other greens, kale and arugula. Read More…

Gougères (de Queso del País)

Gougeres de queso del pais

Feliz día de Reyes!  Happy Epiphany Day!

One of my New Year’s blogging resolutions is to continue incorporating Puerto Rican ingredients into my posts.  While some times these flavors will be shown in their traditional preparations, it’s also fun to integrate them into dishes from other cuisines.  Today’s recipe, gougères, is a traditional French cream puff that can be enjoyed as as sweet treat or as a savory snack or appetizer.  Instead of using Gruyére or Cheddar cheese, I made these with queso del país – Puerto Rican white cheese. Read More…

GF360° Top 5 Posts of 2013

GF360° Top 5 Posts of 2013

I am a statistics nerd… putting together this recap of the most viewed posts of 2013 was fun and eye-opening.  Puerto Rican flavors, both and and out of my kitchen, keep bringing friends, family and the curious into Great Food 360°!  Without further ado, here are GF360­° Top 5 Posts of 2013.

Gracias, gracias, gracias!

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French Fridays with Dorie: Hurry-Up-and-Wait Chicken

Hurry Up and Wait Chicken

I have become a fan of roasting whole chickens in no small part thanks to Around My French Table. While growing up, roasted chicken came in from one of two popular rotisseries near my home: Fuentes BBQ in Altamesa or Nieves BBQ (before it moved to another location in neighboring town Bayamón). My mother would bake whole chicken legs or cook with chicken breasts but she left the roasting to the pros. When I have cravings for good PR style roast chicken, I almost always go to El Guateque in Cupey. Right by my work, the friendly folks at Pagán BBQ greet us by name on a weekly basis and have our usual orders committed to memory.
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Arborio Rice Pudding with Guava Sauce

Arborio Rice Pudding with Guava Sauce

Guava season is here!  A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at Freshmart, the local health food/market chain to pick up a few items on the way back home.  Once I stepped into the store, the smell of ripe guavas stopped me on my tracks. It’s no coincidence these sweet, fragrant fruits were placed right by the entrance… and that I fell prey to the supermarket’s logistics game.
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Pumpkin Stuffed with Beans and Ham (Habichuelas Guisadas en Calabaza)

 Pumpkin Stuffed with Beans and Ham

It’s fall, aka pumpkin season!  I had so much fun a few years ago when I made the Pumpkin Stuffed with Cosas Ricas, and wanted to reinvent that dish, but with Puerto Rican flavors.  Rice and beans are staples in the island, and since beans are often stewed with pieces of pumpkin, I thought of flipping the equation: beans cooked inside a pumpkin. The pumpkin imparts not only a little sweetness, but also adds body to the sauce or caldito.  I am not the biggest fan of beans, but E is and I hadn’t made any since we came back from our trip to Seattle.  The timing was perfect for putting together this pumpkin stuffed with beans and ham.

Local inspiration at the farmers’ market

Today I was lucky  to find a gorgeous pumpkin at the farmers’ market at la Placita Roosevelt.  Coming in at six pounds, it was the perfect size to stuff and roast inside my five-quart Dutch oven. This type of pumpkin is called “taína dorada” (golden taína – native Puerto Rican).  `Taina Dorada’ is a relatively new variety of pumpkin bred to produce a tastier, smaller fruit.  Read More…

Coconut Mango Bars (Panetela de Mango)

Coconut Mango Bars

Some things need time to come on their own.
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Mallorca Bread Pudding

Mallorca Bread Pudding

When I visited En Boga Gastrobar for Puerto Rico Restaurant Week, one of their featured desserts was a bread pudding made with mallorcas (ensaimadas) – a sweet enriched bread.  I didn’t get to try it but my sister did and gave it rave reviews.  It became an item in my  unofficial to-cook list until last Sunday.  I made a stop on a whim on my way back from the farmers market to our friendly neighborhood panadería, Moncho Pan.  They bake the largest mallorcas I had ever seen.  It’s impossible for these pastries not to catch your eye – they are right by the register and they are just so big when compared to the other mallorcas in the area. Read More…

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