Back in January of this year, I had the opportunity to escape the negative thirty degree Ottawa winter for a few weeks, so I pounced on it. That opportunity brought me to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
I will start doing a couple of posts about Puerto Rico, of course, mostly focusing on the food there. But just to show you that I am interested in things other than food, I will also include some snaps of the scenery. Ha.
About a 10 minutes drive away from Condado, a very popular tourist area in San Juan at the north end of the island is Old San Juan, or Viejo San Juan. It is like a small city inside the larger city of San Juan and it is an absolutely beautiful place. I spent a lot of time there admiring the multicolored architecture, visiting many museums in that area, and of course, ate my little heart out.
All the buildings there are painted in different colors, from vibrant bold to creamy pastels. While a lot of tourists visited there, I also saw a lot of locals living there.
Brazil has the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico has the San Sebastian Festival in January, commonly known as the “SanSe.” This was taken on the first night of the festival, which lasts an entire weekend. Street art and food festival during the day, salsa at night. It was absolutely amazing, the energy, the people, the music…I highly recommend people to visit San Juan during the festival time.
Now, onto the food!!
The glass display of a very busy, little restaurant in Viejo San Juan called La Mallorca. When I visited, it was crammed full of both tourists and locals. The restaurant is famous for their Mallorca sandwiches, and also does other local dishes.
This is the Mallorca, which is a sandwich known for the dusting of powder sugar on top of a savory sandwich. I ordered one with all of its typical fillings: ham, cheese and eggs. The sandwich also comes with sweet fillings. The sandwich may look weird but it was delicious. The contrast of salty and sweet makes it taste different and the powder sugar only really added a hint of sweetness to the sandwich, which highlighted the flavor of the ham and cheese. Most of the food at La Mallorca were reasonably priced, and it appears that a lot of people go there for a quick breakfast or lunch.
This is the coconut french toast with pineapple marmalade at another restaurant I really liked in Old San Juan called Caficultura. Second breakfast is important! I really loved the french toast. It was made with brioche bread and the pineapple marmalade was sweet and slightly acidic. Though it looks indulgent, it was actually quite light tasting. Plus the french toast was just so fluffy! I noticed that desserts in San Juan tend to play on tropical flavors, this is one example of them. I highly encourage people to try this place, they have an extensive breakfast/brunch menu, which they serve daily, though they are extremely busy.