Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tag, I'm it

I've been tagged by Fringes, who actually posted over at Q's, and by Nina to participate in the latest meme. It's a food tag. I love food and I love being tagged. So I am playing: The Meme: list your top five local eating places.

There are few restaurants locally (by locally I mean in Aguas Buenas, where I live, there are more places to eat in San Juan but they mostly aim for the tourist market) All restaurants in my area are family type places, and all serve local Caribbean/Puerto Rican food. Our only chain restaurants are fast food places such as Mcd's, Wendy's and burger king. I don't go there. I can't link to any of my favorites because, well, these places are too small, and too local, and it's Puerto Rico, where technology still has a long way to go.

Puerto Rican cuisine has roots in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Most dishes still show traces of the original inhabitants of the island, the Taino and Arawak Indians. African cooks brought with them the preference for deep frying foods as well as cooking complex stews and rice dishes in iron pots, all of which are still near and dear to Puerto Rican hearts. From our Indian heritage comes our love of tropical roots and tubers. So enough with the history lesson here is my list:
  1. Don Jose's: A cafeteria style eatery. Serves nothing but traditional fair with plenty of cold beer. It has a huge outdoor seating area with great views of lush mountains and palm trees. Live folkloric music and dancers on weekends. Great Pork, chicken, fish and flan.
  2. El CocoTazo: this is more along the lines of a dive bar but with fabulous appetizers. They serve mostly fried stuff, such as empanadas, chicharones and alcapurrias. On the weekends they open at 6am. They serve hearty stews and soups at that hour. These are traditional breakfast choices on weekends. They also serve mondongo, which is really disgusting. It's a stew with parts of the cow that really should have been thrown out. Their claim to fame is drinks served in fresh coconuts.
  3. Los Corditos: this is perhaps as close to a local chain restaurant as we get. There are 3 of them on the island. Great chicharones (chicken, pork or fish), mofongo (not to be confused with modongo, this is made from green plantains), and coconut based deserts.
  4. Road side stand: the most common food stop on the island are road side stands. My favorite is one owned by a father and son team. Whole chickens cooked over charcoal. You can purchase a whole spicy chicken with enough sides (plus bread) to feed a family of 4 for just $5.
  5. Guavate: open only on weekends. It's an entire road of outdoor restaurants specializing in whole roasted pigs cooked over an open fire. This is the epitome of the Puerto Rican food experience. It's all about food, friends, family, culture and heritage.
Go over and visit either of these bloggers Nicole and Velverse for a full list of everyone who has participated in this tag, it now numbers over 150. And by all means, feel free to TAG yourself and tell me and everyone else about the great local food in your part of the world.





16 comments:

Kofi said...

...and those were five reasons why my next vacation clearly needs to be to Puerto Rico.

tlo054 said...

Hey Cuz,
How can I forget El Cocotazo,that cold beer as soon as I hit the island ,also mondongo is my favorite ,and it is cow stomach , nothing from the pig lol.
Also that chicken place is fantastic ,boy do I miss those things. Great memories!!! I could almost taste them......

velverse said...

Hahaha.. amazingly I have never heard of or try any of the appertizers you mention at El CocoTazo. But it sounds like nice place.

Guavate is my place... with the whole roasted pigs... oh yeah! I will kill for this :D

Nicole Tan said...

Woo Hoo you are the first from puerto rico that did the tag..well done..and wow I never knew the food there was so diverse and road side stand stalls are always yummy!!

Ps thanks for doing the tag. If you know of anyone else doing it please feel free to send me a message and I’ll update them too on the updated list of tag doers..and thanks for that link to my update

EsLocura said...

Kofi, I'll be waiting at the Cocotazo, cold beer in hand.

Tlo, damn, you are right, it's cow tripe and still grosses me out (I changed it, you are now on my editor list) looking forward to your visit.

Valverse, yeah the whole roasted pig thing is my favorite, yum.

Nicole, gotta love being the first in something. it's a cool tag, will keep reading the updates.

fringes said...

This post was extremely well-written. I got hungry simply reading the historical background. Thanks for participating.

I love well-written blogs.

EsLocura said...

Fringes, thanks for the compliment, much appreciated.

Tera said...

Great Post!!! You are always so thorough! You have given me 5 MORE reasons why my friend and I should continue to plan this trip!

Em said...

I'm actually sneaking a couple of minutes during my lunch break to read a blog or two...and now I'm realizing my lunch is not nearly delicious enough!

Dagromm said...

Man, yours is tons better than mine. My meme is ass.

EsLocura said...

Tera, now with all these food tags, makes me want to take a vacation, asap.

Em, don't you just hate when that happens. nothing good ever comes from sneaking blog time.

Dagromm, sometimes ass ... is a good thing.

Amadeo said...

I'm not even sure if my favorite spots are still open...Ras Doobie is, Iggies is a dope Pizza place I just found...you cannot get a plain pizza with cheese there...I'm sure they have one with artichoke hearts though. I have to see about the rest.

EsLocura said...

amadeo, damn I miss great pizza. There are pizza joints here but nothing compares to NYC pizza.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mmmmm, I love Caribbean food. You've made me very, very hungry.

EsLocura said...

hearts, promise to have some ready next time your in P.R.

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