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Grubbing across the Globe
-Exploring Puerto Rico's West Coast Region
I spent 9 nights in Puerto Rico last May and quite enjoyed my first visit to the popular Caribbean vaca destination. I saved my trip report up until now since its getting close to that time of the year when an escape to somewhere warm is in order. I would highly recommend a winter/spring trip to the lesser traveled west coast of Puerto Rico. I have loved the Caribbean very much since my first visit to the Bahamas as a kid and I always said I would do them all up in my lifetime. I hope this report lives up to my last trip down there's chronicle.
The West Coast of Puerto Rico
My now happily married friends ceremony down there finally gave me the chance to cross Puerto Rico off the list. I only spent but a few hours in San Juan which were when I was flying in and out and renting the car. My buddy's wife is from Mayaguez which is on the west coast and it PR's third largest town and a popular destination for surfers and people from the island now and originally. We stayed in the town next door called Rincon. We got an amazing villa right on the beach at a great price and I loved my trip on all levels, food included. The west coast might not be as well known and traveled as San Juan but its got as much going on from a Caribbean feeling standpoint.
En Route to the West Coast on the night of our arrival
I apologize that the larger pictures are slightly cut off, the software has changed since I wrote this post after my visit since there was no way I would remember it all now. If you decrease the size of your page view you can see it all but nothing much is missed. I am going to go through my eats one by one, day by day. The first place we stopped at was a panaderia while we were driving from San Juan to Rincon. Puerto Rico has a ton of bakery's and is a place where I ate alot more pastries and treats than I do here in the states. Baking and frying donuts and such is one of the islands food specialty's. I pulled over when I spied Brendalis bakery and hopped out for a quick snack for the ride to Rincon.
The first place I stopped the people were as nice as could be and it continued all trip
Puerto Rico is by no means a healthy eating island...
...but that doesn't mean the foods not good
My favorites here were the two long pastries in the back corner that were filled with cheese and I loved the coconut cupcakes with a cherry on top. The family that owns this place has been baking there for a while and were so so nice.
Everywhere you look and turn there's roadfood
Puerto Rico has a ton of actual roadfood. There are 1000s of food trucks that are mobile, 1000's of food trucks that are no longer mobile but serve food where they lay at rest all day and 1000's of people who set up shop along a road by bringing their bbq grill and a few tables and chairs for the customers to sit at and then packing it all up when the day is over. If I had my way I would of stopped at 100's more of these spots. I wasn't able to get to some which were high on my list and came rec'd by locals and our hosts for the week. But there will for sure be a next time for me in PR. My first meal of the trip wasn't even Puerto Rican food but instead popular Venezuelan sandwiches. This stop was very much enjoyed by me and my two buddies who flew in with me. The corn based fried bread is shaped similar to a pita and stuffed with many different things as you can see on the menu below.
These sandwiches with bread made of corn are pop. lunch in Venezuela
The dude who owns this truck is from Venezuela originally and moved to Puerto Rico where with his brother he operates two of these food trucks. One is near and or in Rincon on a main highway and this one was maybe 45 minutes outside of there. We were off to a wonderful start and just my type of stop. After we finished talking some Cubs baseball (Big Z the obvious topic) I asked him which was the most popular and he told me the ones filled with beef, chicken, shrimp and cheese. I got one of those along with a carne and a pollo. When you put the homemade cilantro mayo and hot sauces on these sandwiches it took them to another level and already had me thinking about going back later in the week and this was just our first stop.
beef and cheese before the hot and cilantro sauce goes on
The most popular at the stand: chicken, cheese, shrimp and beef...YES!!!!
So after that we were on our way into Rincon which is where we would be staying. Our first two nights we stayed at a place on the water called the Lemontree Cottages and they were wonderful hosts and also hosted a group of my friends thru the Sunday after the wedding. I moved about 500 feet down the block on Wed. when another group of 8 friends landed and stayed at a spectacular villa named Villa Orleans. I would highly rec' these spots to anybody thinking about a Puerto Rican vacation. The West coast is a place that I think is great for families and all other crowds. Its peak season is November thru Easter. There are casinos and tons of daytime activities on the West coast for people of all ages and all walks of life.
early morning view from the deck at Lemontree
The first night we made sure to take care of some things that needed to be done to make sure over 30 friends of high school and college would have an absolute blast in Puerto Rico, and you know we did. While Bacardi is a Puerto Rican rum it was and or is owned by a Cuban family that moved to PR so the locals rum of choice is Don Q Cristal. I quite enjoyed the white make and didn't suffer from one hangover from rum the whole damn trip like I do in other Caribbean islands. The stuff was excellent and I brought a couple big bottles back. Just like every other Carib island, Puerto Ricans know how to party and are gracious hosts. If I told you about the whole nine days it would take me a month or two to make this post. I will say that I cant wait to head back so you know I had a great time. I met tons of locals and tons of people from NYC, NJ and elsewhere that moved there or are from there and or spend time between there and the states. Whenever there was a language gap (I should of paid more attention in Spanish class) a local or former local back on vaca was happy to help although it didn't happen but a few times, its still pretty easy to communicate if you only know a little Spanish like I do and many locals can speak a little or alot of English.
Early morning view from the deck at Villa Orleans
I love cruising thru towns and did so to many on my trip
The next day (tues) which was our first full day on the island we set out to cruise the coast and do some good eating and other things to go with it. I went prepared and did my research and was lucky enough to be sent a list of spots I should try that the locals love from my friend the brides parents. Before we set out for a coast cruise we stopped for breakfast at a very popular empanadilla restaurant on the ocean that was a 5 minute drive down from where we were staying.
Kaplash is a popular stop with everybody and I really liked it
The menu at Kaplash
view from our seats on the deck
comidas criolla, a Puerto Rican empanadilla
Its pretty well known that alot of stuff is fried in Puerto Rico and that's true. It also means alot of stuff is going to be pretty good, especially when paired with a cold one. These little treats were great. The beefs were really good but their specialty was a seafood and red sauce stuffed version that I couldn't eat enough of.
Kaplash house named seafood empanadilla
So after a late morning breakfast we were on our way south down the coast of the country to check out some spots that we were told we had to go see and of course there was eating involved. I know that there isn't much fresh seafood on the East coast of PR but that's not the case on the west side of the island. There are some great little stops along this easy and max relaxing drive. The roads are in great shape but the locals do drive a little crazy but nothing anyone from Chicago hasn't seen. The country is pretty similar to Jamaica in landscape because there are lots of villages and towns in the mountains as well as all the beaches on the coasts.
cruising the mountains
The town of Joyuda is just south of Mayaguez and has a bunch of seafood restaurants sitting right along the water and across the street. Johanna's (the brides) favorite is El Gatito. Ask for the fresh fish of the day. Unfort. El Gatito was closed when we were cruising thru so we didn't stop in this seafood town on our first trip down the coast. Instead we kept cruising and ended up in Cobo Rojo for a quick tour of the town. The drive down and up the coasts can easily be done in a day. It's really easy to see the whole island if you have a few days.
On the southwest tip of PR
Alot of towns were very fun spots to visit for a quick walk around
Rex cream is a popular ice cream station with spots around PR, I like their pina colada flavor.
After a walk around Cobo Rojo we headed over to Boqueron which I had read about from HERE. On our first full day it was just me and two other buddy's who arent fresh oyster and clam eaters but I was very happy to be visiting this popular wkd destination with locals. On a busy day the street along the ocean will be filled with food vendors with most of them offering fresh caught oysters. We got lucky and had a crazy lady shucking them at her tent on our first visit.
Boqueron, Puerto Rico
on any given day these stalls can be filled with food vendors esp. on wkds
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Crazy oyster lady
This wonderful local lady was a trip as she kept telling me "viagra of the sea" as she shucked fresh caught oysters and clams for me. Paired with a Medalla light and a hot sunny day spent on the beach, it was paradise in Puerto Rico indeed.
freshly caught goodness served in stalls on the streets of Boqueron
Fresh Conch, a popular Caribbean eat
We visited Boqueron on a Tuesday in the middle afternoon so it wasn't too busy but there was still a real nice crowd of locals at this open air bar right on the corner located from the street out to the beach. It was right out of the movies as the bar served great drinks and had two pool tables and a electronic jukebox with every song and album in it. Order a drink walk five feet and your on the beach overlooking the ocean. We sat our happy asses down and had the drinks come a flowing.
View of the beach upon leaving the bar
This place was so cool and everything you think of when you think Caribbean vacation that I had decided that it would be our stop for Fridays actions. We rented a school bus to bring a group of 25+ down here for a day of drinking and sun before sending our friend off to the chapel the day before his wedding. Both visits were highlights of my trip and I had a great time and wouldn't of done it any other way. Everybody had a blast here on Friday and it was 90+ and super sunny out, so I stayed inside the bar blasting tunes and throwing down shots of Jack and Cuba Libres with some rum punches and Medalla Lights to chase them with. Like always we left having the locals love Chicago as we put alot into their community on our two days spent there. The beer of choice is Medalla light and they come served ice cold everywhere in 10 oz cans and always cost a $1. Great spot, great people both those working there and the local customers.
Medalla Light, Rum Punch and Cuba Libres (along with lots of shots) were consumed all week long
Chicken Wings from the bar in Boqueron, PR's know how to make chicken wings
We then headed to the brides parents place in Mayaguez for dinner and drinks and to also watch the Blackhawks game. My buddy is a lucky man, his wifes family can cook and she is no different. Soon after the game we headed on back to our villa in Rincon to get ready for Wed. which was the day many people would be arriving in PR for the wedding weekend.
Homemade hot sauce was also applied generously all week long from everywhere we went
So then it was off to more cruising on Wed. morning. Our first stop of the day was to a place that had alot of good reviews and wasn't but a 5 minute drive from Villa Orleans in Rincon. I read many a great stuff about this somewhat new place called El Fogon De Le Curva where they roasted a pig everyday and had great food and was a great place to eat in the area. Its owned by a former New Yorker named Tommy and along with his business partner, Freddy the fisherman, they run a sports bar like restaurant connected to a fresh fish monger outlet next door. This place was awesome and we stopped in at least three times on our trip. Tommy made me feel right at home as if I was sitting at Glascotts, Gaslight, Hawkeye's or Toons watching baseball which Puerto Ricans love. There are so many stadiums all over the island. Tommy and his lovely wife who's from Puerto Rico and Freddy got it going on.
Located in Anasco right outside of Rincon on highway 115
fresh roasted pig served everyday made in this
This is the only time on my report where I'll merge a few days since we couldn't get enough of the people that run it and the food they serve. Tommy was so cool that he insisted in his thick New York accent that whatever we drank, to let him know and he'd get us a bottle or tree of it if he didn't already have it. So he went and got some bottles of Jameson for us to down on our visit to Rincon. I think all drinks here were $3 except the Johnnie Walker black and blue labels and the food was pure Puerto Rican, amazing, both the land and sea dishes were all some of the best eating one can do when on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Everything is made fresh from scratch at this spot. Even better is the fact that the fish market next door is open from 1-6p daily and opens when Freddy comes back from his morning fishing. So since this place was right by our Villa Orleans we also grilled some fresh caught tuna and snapper we bought from here on our last night in town.
all fresh caught that morning
Freddy the fish dude and some fresh snapper
blackboard lunch menu at the restaurant
On our first visit around noon on Wed. we wanted to get a bite to eat before we headed off to the coast again to visit the seafood village Joyuda mentioned above and some other stops along the way. We ordered alot and were hooked up with quite a few things on our visits to El Fogon and I enjoyed it all. I will go thru them with you pic by pic.
App Combo Platter: From the left carne frita (fried pork) and going up pork empanadillas, carne frita tossed in pineapple bbq glaze, fish balls and bbq chicken wings.
lobster empanadillas that you dipped in melted butter...OH YEA!
Roasted Pork sandwich served with garlic smashed tostones
Pollo Asado with yellow rice and peas
a Puerto Rican National Dish: Mofongo
Mofongo is a mashed mound of plantains into which a combination of seafood, meat, or vegetables is added. Its very stew like and this chicken version from El Fogon De La Curva was excellent and would be really good in a Chicago winter. I want some right now. I'm going to have to find a spot in Chicago that serves a good mofongo. Any suggestions?
The Carne Frita app. at Fogon De La Curva was SO good, I ate it all week and at $2.99 per plate it was a steal
Up close of a fresh fried piece of pork
Tommy was a cool dude and a helluva host and made sure we ate right (fresh fried pork skins compliments of the house)
Even though Tommy was an Italian New Yorker who married a Puerto Rican, he is also a BBQ dude. He originally moved back to PR with his wife to raise there daughter and opened up a smokehouse in Rincon where he served ribs smoked on his smoker he brought over with him from NY. After selling that place which we went to and is seen below, he opened up El Fogon De La Curva. A few years later and has the game on lock. His pigs are full of flavor and come in all sorts of different tasty ways to chow on.
Pig Head, Tommy made sure I got cheek meat everyday I was in there
fresh fried pig skin on top of roast cheek meat
On our last day we headed over to buy the fresh fish to grill and drink some rum punch and eat some bombass lunch before our fresh grilled fish dinner. Tommy and Freddy took me to the fish cleaning room and showed me what was caught that morning including this live monster lobster which would quickly become our lunch.
Freddy with a live lobster about to be cooked by the restaurant
What a lunch it was, grilled with butter and garlic...GREAT!!!!
We couldn't eat the meat fast enough
Puerto Rican surf and turf (pig cheek meat and lobster meat)
So getting back on to my day by day eat by eat track. We headed back down the coast on Wednesday morning and went to eat a late lunch in the above mentioned seafood village, Joyuda. The restaurant that came rec'd wasn't open again so we tried this other cool spot called El Bohio with a back dining area right on the water.
Joyuda, Puerto Rico is a seafood town with lots of it
The view from my seat
We were here for seafood and specifically lobster. As was to be expected in PR, the fried lobster came rec'd by a couple next to us from Jersey that were originally from Joyuda. We also got a butter, garlic, pepper, onions and olive topped lobster to go with some fried chicken, tostones and shrimp cocktail.
lobster with butter, garlic, peppers, onions etc...
sides from our seafood lunch
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Video from our seats
The video is family of carpenter fish that lives near the restaurant and only eats meat, they would not eat the bread tossed in. We then went to meet my boy and his bride at a yacht club and boat harbor somewhere about an hour from where we had ended up when cruising down the coast. We took out her fam's boat and had a blast on the water before the sun went down.
Spent Wed. evening boating around the waters
Since this was a destination wedding I had quite a few things to do and parties to attend and so believe it or not, this was kind of a tame trip for me as far as visiting food stops. However my buddy's brides parents knew they had alot of people from Chicago coming down there and weren't going to let us leave without getting a true feel for what I believe needs to be our 51st state. Its quite possible that the best meal on my trip came from a party hosted by her parents at their house the Thurs. night before the wedding. They acted on the suggestion from me to my friend that they have an authentic pig roast dinner. Well it was out of this world good. We spent the morning and early afternoon on a small island about 10 minutes off the west coast called Gulligans island and the gracious hosts they were, made sure we had sandwiches, bakery goods and tons of liquor complete with bartenders for our day of sun and pig. The island was awesome but the party at her parents place after was legendary.
Gulligans Island, PR
Thursday was a real long day but well worth it when the party started and the visitors in town for the wedding were treated to an authentic Puerto Rican pig roast amongst many other great eats. My guys wife's dad and mom know how to throw a party and they got a friend who does up these roasts all over the island by hauling his pig roaster bbq on the backhatch of his pickup and going to wherever roasted pig is needed.
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Man oh man, was this pig good...
We arrived on the scene at about 4p and the pig was spinning away as seen in the video above. Of course me and a few friends went and got our drinks and hung out with the first family of Puerto Rican pig roasts as it crisped up into sheer goodness. They had the whole family working on this thing and along with the pig they were serving yuca, blood sausage, yellow rice and Puerto Rican pasteles and some other things I'm most likely forgetting.
Wherever your reading this I know your eyes are wide open staring at the computer screen
Puerto Rican Roasted pig ready for carving
This pig had the crackliest mouth watering skin I ever had, I ate most of it as I sat there and they went to work on it, chopping away, they kept handing me pieces of crispy skin. They were thrilled how into it we were and I was delighted to be there.
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all day long....
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Pro's at work...look at that skin piece!
Pure Puerto Rico
After a long night of entertainment and great music it was back to Rincon to get ready for another day of drinking at the beach. The next morning we awoke in a haze from rum and pig and decided we needed some fruit in our life. So me and a buddy took a ride to one of Puerto Rico's abundant fruit stands along the roads. I didn't get a chance to make it to the Mayaquez farmers market but it goes on every day of the week (except Sunday) and is said to be flooded with tropical fruits of all sorts amongst other things. I plan on doing that for sure whenever I take my ass back there. The people running our villa (Villa Orleans) are great folks and told us everything we needed to know and had no problems with our large group. I was even offered to be taken to the market by one of the people who runs the villa but couldn't make it b/c we were headed for another day of drinking.
Roadside fruit stand in PR
We spent $41 at the stand and came back to the house with a bunch of everything, my favorite being the small Caribbean bananas which you see in front. They make for great banana mudslides, which was the drink of choice on the wedding morning at our villa. We had a school bus pick up about 30 of us that Friday morning to take us back to Boqueron (seen above) to chill at the beach and the bar all day long. It was the wedding mans last day of freedom before the machine said "Game Over" the following day. People had a blast in the town as we took over the bar and the dock where boats pull up to stop in for a drink and some of the famous foods from the stalls that line the streets. It was a great day and great way to send off the groom. The next morning was the wedding day and me and a buddy awoke and decided to take a ride into the town of Rincon which I had barely seen up to that point.
Said to be the best place in the Caribbean to catch some waves
Rincon, Puerto Rico
Like every other neighborhood in PR they have a few baseball fields and a couple basketball courts but Rincon also has an amazing sporting complex. I'm talking way better than any neighborhood in Chicago has. They also have a hockey team (hey, if Jamaica has a bobsled team...) and yes a rink that it plays on. After cruising around and snapping some photos of the main strip of Rincon me and my friend wanted to get something to eat and needed something in our stomachs that would soak up some alcohol. So we decided on another food truck, this one specializing in fried chicken.
Nieve's had a few locals picking up and it smelled magnificent
Nieve's fried chicken
Similar to Harold's and other Chicago fried chicken spots, the fried chicken came loaded with fries on top and was blasted in ketchup and hot sauce. The chicken was awesome, full of flavor with the skin being very thin and the meat cooked to perfection. All for $4 with drink. After the expertly fried chicken we went back to the villa to make up some banana mudslides and start getting ready for the reason we were down there, the wedding. At about 3p there was a bus arriving to pick us up and bring us into the center of town in Mayaguez where the wedding and reception were taking place.
'cause we goin to the chapel! and then we goin to get tipsy!
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Lucky for us the reception was right across the street from the church. The food was amazing, I had so many good things including about 40 fresh oysters I cant begin to remember all if it but Puerto Ricans take food and weddings seriously so you can imagine the love put into everything. Not to mention open bar with lots of shots of black label and amazing expert made mojitos all night long.
As far as weddings go, it was about as good as it gets. The night, or morning, ended at our villa as we threw the after party for the newly married couple and everyone that wanted to come. The house was in surprisingly good shape the morning after but still needed a real deal cleaning so as most people left to head back to Chicago, a group of four us planned what we would do with our Sunday. I had a specific spot in mind up in the mountains that came highly rec'd by the brides dad for a place world famous for its ice cream. So we were off to the town of Lares. When traveling to Lares from Rincon you go thru San Sebastian which has a really stunning waterfall.
Cruising thru the mountains of Puerto Rico
San Sebastian's Salto Collazo
One of my buddy's has an iPhone and it worked great as far as getting around. We never had any trouble and found our destination town of Lares, Puerto Rico with ease.
Lares, Puerto Rico
Papa rellano and fried saltfish cake
It was a Sunday on our visit so the center of town had a little festival going on with vendors of crafts and foods alike. As a little app. to the ice cream I got a papa rellano (potato ball filled with beef) and a fried salted codfish cake.
But the reason for our visit to this tiny little town in the mountains was for some of its world famous ice cream that we were tipped off on. I was told as so "There is a famous ice cream joint in the town of Lares. Johanna's dad said just go to the town and ask where it is. Apparently they have crazy ice cream flavors like rice and beans ice cream. I think this town is in the middle of nowhere so it may not be worth driving there just for that. But might be a nice mission for you." Well I talked to her dad all week long and he kept asking me if I had made it there yet and I always felt disappointed when I had to say no, so for someone who calls no mission too much, you knew I was going to make it. We learned it was from a place called Heladeria Lares. They weren't lying either when they said it would be easy to find, it was packed this Sunday afternoon. I'm not at all surprised that since my visit this place was faetured on Andrew Zimmern's "Bizzare Food's" on Travl Channel.
World Famous Puerto Rican Ice Cream Shop in Lares, PR
This stop was one of the most interesting and fun parts of our trip. Me and one of my two buddy's who were up there were very excited to try as many of this popular ice cream shops variety of flavors. Of course they had all sorts of fruit flavors but they also had, red beans and rice, bacalao, rice pudding, corn and so many others, I couldn't keep track. But I did snap as many pics as I could of the types offered. I wasn't the only one who came up there to try this place and was snapping away photos. As I was doing so, there were a bunch of people from NYC and the east coast who were doing the same.
My flavors lined up: Red beans & rice, rice pudding, corn, strawberry, pine-banana.
The Red beans & rice was my favorite of them all, hinted with cinnamon it somehow worked so well.
A couple other spots we hit during our stay in Rincon were known for their Chinese and BBQ in the area. I have a fascination with Caribbean Chinese food which blends produce and meats native to the islands with old favorite Chinese dishes. Chinese people make up small percentages of people in every area including the Caribbean. Tang China was in a strip mall with the Walgreen's and other shops in Rincon and is run by a Chinese family. We stopped in one day for a midday snack. We went with an order of the egg rolls, dumplings and a large bucket of shrimp fried rice. We were satisfied with what we got and the bucket of fried rice was a godsend come 3am that night.
Tang China in Rincon is a locals favorite Chinese joint
Egg Rolls were homemade and had a hint of peanut butter
I don't think the dumplings were homemade but they were good
On our final night in Rincon we were worn out and there were only four of us remaining. We had a chill session and then headed into town to try out Simply Delicious BBQ Smokehouse. This place is ran by a couple of surfing transplants from the states who actually bought their barrel smoker from my guy Tommy who owns El Fogon De La Curva seen up above. I went with the smoked ribs as did two other friends and the other guy got the shrimp mofongo. I thought the ribs were pretty good, nice smoke flavor and tasty sides to go with them. Probably better than I was expecting. I don't think my friend cared for his mofongo as much as other places versions of it.
a popular surfers dinner destination
House smoked ribs with mac and cheese
After our trip up to the mountains and the ice cream spot we decided to head back down asap because one of my good friends wanted to catch the Blackhawks game and so we rode back to our villa in Rincon. We were pretty out of it all day Sunday but I felt like I needed to document another spot so me and another friend rode to this authentic Puerto Rican roadside stand not but 5 minutes from our place. I had been riding by it all week and wanted to get in there to try some of their comida criollas, which is just authentic Puerto Rican dishes.
The menu at Rincon Criolla
This was a really cool place with really good cheap priced food
Rincon Criolla Food Stop
Red Beans & Rice and a Cup of Conch. Both were worthy.
Spicy chicken wings with yellow rice
So I hope you enjoyed your e-trip to the West Coast of Puerto Rico but we are sad to announce that this is where it ends. I was really taken in by PR and when I consider I got my ticket from Chi for $260 RT and paid a sick price on our amazing villa and was able to rent a car with other travelers it was a really cheap vaca as well. Obviously I liked the food a bunch and enjoyed my trip very,very much. I have to get back, not just for the food and fun but to say whats up to all the great people we met on our journey thru Porta Del Sol. I would encourage you to take the family, wife, girlfriend, whoever it be in the near future when your feeling like some island entertainment. I don't have addresses and stuff to share but do have important links listed below. It's all easy to find and the locals love to help.
See ya next time on Caribbean livin'.
Pure Puerto Rico __________________________________
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Weather in Rincon Right Now
I do not think I have ever met a pasta that I do not like. This is a recipe full of smooth and sharp flavors that give you that down home Cajun feeling with every bite. I tried to create an easy at home pasta that you can make with all things on hand. Try to pick up a Cajun spice blend next time your out if you do not already have some. You can not go wrong serving garlic bread and a simple salad with this fulfilling meal.
4 chicken breast, boneless skinless and diced
250 grams farfalle pasta
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
2 scallions, sliced
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1. Boil pasta according to package directions. In a medium sized bowl add chicken and Cajun spice, mix well and refrigerated until needed.
2, In a 9-inch skillet on medium-high heat add butter and chicken. Cook until golden and chicken is no longer pink. Make a well in the middle of the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Add scallions, tomato, salt, basil and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
3. In a measuring cup add milk and cornstarch, mix well. Carefully pour milk into pan over chicken. Raise to a full boil continuously stirring. Reduce heat to medium and stir until sauce has thickened. Serve sauce over pasta.
Yields: 4 servings
Read The Full Article:
Attention, preachy health nuts who always make ordering food in a restaurant as complicated as possible: Recently, The Guardian reported that a new eating disorder, orthorexia nervosa, is on the rise. Orthorexia is characterized by an adherence to impossibly strict food rules, and a full-blown obsession with the quality and purity of every ounce of food that one puts into one's body. Sufferers are typically college-educated, middle-class women and men older than 30. According to The Guardian, orthorexics revile and shun sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, soy, yeast, corn, and dairy products ? and that's just the beginning. ... More »
Post from: BlissTree
Are you one of those people in the die-hard "chocolate or bust" camp? Or are you more attracted to the rich, smooth velvetyness of the custards, the flans... the cheesecakes! I can never decide for myself. I mean, I adore chocolate - what girl doesn't after all? - but like my dad, I have a penchant for rich, creamy rice pudding. I picked up a love for Boston Cream Pie from grandpa. And cheesecake? Well, that's all mom's doing, for sure.
But finding good combinations for the two is tricky. The texture thing, for one - brownies are fudgy to cakey, easily eaten out-of-hand, slightly gooey and just brownie-ish. Rice pudding is thick but spoonable, requiring a bowl. Boston Cream Pie and cheesecake (for the most part) require forks. Then there's the whole taste factor: both the creaminess of the non-chocolate desserts and the fudgy qualities of the brownies are rich, and easily overpower a dessert. I've tried recipe after recipe over the years that combined the two - brownie batter-swirled rice pudding, brownie crusted cheesecake, and yes, even the common cheesecake swirled brownie, but there was always some sort of sway one way or another that meant one side won out over the other.
So why would I try another recipe for the exact same thing? Well, for one, I needed a dessert to bring to a class function, and my brownies are famous (go figure, we're nutrition students). Two, I wanted to really play round with this combination and see if I could finally get the darn thing right. Three, I had an ace up my sleeve. This was no vanilla-cream cheese batter. Nope, I whipped out some cherry flavour and ricotta, along with my go-to cheesecake binder of silken tofu, for a new splash to the brownie world. I don't know myself how they tasted - but judging by the fact that they disappeared about 10 minutes into the meeting I'd say they were probably okay!
Cherry Cheesecake BrowniesMakes 24Brownie1.75 oz bittersweet chocolate1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vanilla
8 oz silken tofu
¾ cup spelt flour
½ cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
9 oz ricotta
5 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz silken tofu
1/2 cup cherry-flavoured, low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp cold water
This is the blog post that I have been most looking forward to writing. Gracie's is what I consider to be my favorite restaurant in Providence. The food is always excellent, the service is always welcoming and efficient, and they think of little things that make your meal memorable. I was a little nervous about writing a review of my favorite restaurant, however. Would I be able to remain objective or would I overlook any flaws, just because it's my favorite restaurant?
November 5th was the day of my 37th birthday. Birthdays in my family, as you may have noticed from my previous birthday related posts, are occasions that are celebrated in a big way. My aunt who was also born on November 5th (but in 1945) sent me a birthday card wishing me a happy "birthday month." Maybe a month is exaggerating a little, but it is a good full week of dining out and being toasted! From my Grandmother calling on November 4th to be the first one to sing "Happy Birthday" until a final dinner out at Chez Pascal on November 9th, my birthday is seemingly non-stop fun.
We arrived at Gracie's right on time for our reservation at 6:00. The excellent service starts with the valet. He was right there to take our keys, hold open the door to the restaurant, and wish us an excellent dinner. There is a private table for two located right behind the hostess stand. It's one of the best tables in the city. The manager told me once that the table is in high demand with many people requesting it. I believe that people celebrating special occasions and Gracie's regular customers get top priority to be assigned to this table. Since it was my birthday, we were shown to the table. The table was set with classy silver stars acknowledging that it was my birthday.
The service at Gracie's is awesome. No few than five people attended to our every need. When my cocktail glass was looking empty, three different people came up to ask if I needed my drink refreshed. Our main waitress was very friendly. Her only mistake was forgetting to read to us the additions to the menu. Granted, I wouldn't have known that there were additions at all, except I overhead another server reciting them to his table. I'm sure it was just an oversight, but what if one of the additions was something I had wanted to order? Our waitress started us off with a complimentary tasting of sparkling wine to toast my birthday. It was a nice touch.
We began by ordering our drinks. I am a huge gin gimlet fan, as old school as that is. I've ordered them in most of the fine dining places in Providence and they range from undrinkable (Ruth's Chris) to just okay. Gracie's is the only place that mixes a perfect gimlet. The waitress explained to me that they don't use Rose's Lime Juice, but rather fresh squeezed, so I might want to add some simple syrup. I didn't want simple syrup, just the gin and fresh lime juice is good enough for me. My dining companion questioned the waitress on the wines ordered by the glass. Our waitress did make a mistake in describing the wine. My friend was looking for a dry Sauvignon Blanc, commonly referred to as a Fume Blanc. The waitress dismissed her description saying that Fume Blanc was just Sauvingon Blanc aged in oak barrels which isn't true. The second mistake in the wine service was that my friend's glass of white wine came out room temperature, not chilled at all. Warm white wine is a serious gaffe.
The bread service should be specially noted. There is a giant basket of four types of housemade bread that is brought to your table - beer bread, baguette, raisin baguette, and focaccia. The bread makes several passes by your table so you can try all of the different kinds. It is served with a delicious creamy, salted butter. Along with the bread, the chef sent out an amuse bouche that consisted of celery crème fraiche, a golden raisin and some fresh herbs. The small bite was yummy and did its job of titillating our taste buds.
The dinner menu is set up as a prix fixe. Three courses begin at $30 with additional charges added on for more expensive menu items. The menu isn't huge, but offers a nice selection of creative cuisine. Our waitress seemed a little disappointed that we were not ordering dessert. Usually I would have, but I had a huge pumpkin praline tart at home in the refrigerator that I was dying to eat. We both ordered the Butternut Squash Soup to start. It was rich, creamy, and delicate all at the same time. The texture was perfect - not too thick. There were some preserved apples and melt in your mouth hazelnut agnolotti in the soup. I could have licked the bowl clean, it was so good. After we finished our soup, the chef sent out a palate cleanser of tangy apple sorbet.
For my entrée, I ordered the lamb loin chops. In some ways, I like it when a chef doesn't ask you how you want your meat prepared. In my opinion, a chef knows what the perfect temperature his meat should be prepared at for the best flavor. Someone who prefers his meat well done, probably wouldn't have liked the fact that I wasn't asked for a temperature specification for my lamb. It came out prefect. It was somewhere between medium and medium rare. The meat was delicious, full of flavor. It was accompanied with spiced chickpeas, melted swiss chard, salty sea feta, glazed cippolinis, and a mint reduction. I loved the combination of flavors, but to be really picky, the whole dish was slightly over salted. My friend went with the George's Bank Sea Scallops for her entrée. Frankly, Gracie's has by far the best scallops in Providence. They are always fresh and perfectly cooked, no matter how they are seasoned. These were served with charred brussels sprouts, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), house cured bacon, and butternut squash. My friend commented that the sauce included with this dish was so delectable that she wishes that she had had some bread left to sop up every last bit of the sauce.
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Here’s a look back at the food, cooking, and recipe posts that appeared earlier in the week here on HuggingtheCoast.Com…please join us tomorrow for the start of next week’s exciting food features!Looking Back: 11/1/2010-11/7/2010Wednesday: Marie-Helene?s 4 Apple Cake Recipe From Dorie Greenspan?s New Cookbook (Fruit Dessert Recipes)Thursday: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Hummus Recipe (Party Appetizer [...]
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For the second meal in my birthday week extravaganza, I knew exactly what I wanted - a big juicy cheeseburger and a draft beer. Hamburgers are all the rage these days. The popularity of Danny Meyer's Shake Shack franchise in New York is just one example of how America is falling in love all over again with hamburgers. Busy New Yorkers will gladly wait in line for one of the hamburgers being served. In August, Alan Richman bravely ventured to all of the Shake Shack's in New York to try to get inside the fad. His article was featured in GQ and it was called "Today the Shack, Tomorrow the World". Even Hubert Keller, the famous French Chef of Fleur de Lys fame has a Burger Bar franchise. In Providence, there are quite a few burger places that have popped up recently. There's Luxe Burger, Harry's Burger Bar, and a soon to be open Fat Belly's.
My brother had come in from New York for my birthday and was up for a meal at my favorite place in Providence for a burger, La Laiterie. La Laiterie is the kind of neighborhood spot that you long to have settle in your neighborhood. They provide what every neighborhood needs honest, local, high quality food. It's a restaurant that is attached to an awesome cheese shop called the Farmstead. Chef Matt Jennings is the owner of both the shop and the restaurant. He has begun to get national recognition for his amazing work as both a chef and expert on cheese. He also operates a smaller scale cheese shop and sandwich stand in Downtown Providence called Farmstead Downcity.