San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood

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joerogo
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San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 11:18 AM
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I just got back from a short trip to San Juan. Before I list my three favorite RoadFood spots, let me tell you about what I encounted at my hotel.

I stayed at the Caribe Hilton. I like this property because its away from the tourist areas and close to everything. I didn't plan on using this picture in a trip report, but I want to give an overview of the conflict I encountered.

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Please Don't tell my wife I put her picture on the internet, She'll kill me. To the right of my wife in Fort San Jeronimo. To the left of my wife is a new building being built by Hilton on the acess road to the Fort. This has sparked a major protest in the area. Everywhere went went around the property we encountered armed riot police. I didn't take pictures of the police because they didn't look too friendly.

The protesters have built a tent city around the front of the construction area.

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This used to mark the entrance to the Fort. The protesters want the construction to stop and the building torn down. The day before we arrived they breached the security and a mini riot was quelled


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Now the food. Every morning I walk over to the Condado area just past the Condado Plaza Hotel to The Hacienda.

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The Huevos rancheros are some of the best. Homemade corn tortillas, beans and a red chili sauce. I call San Juan the Land of the $22 breakfast. Breakfast at The Hacienda in $6.75 including coffee and juice.

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And its more than just the food. Here is the view from my table.

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My next stop is in Old San Juan. Rumor has it that this place invented the Pina Colada. Barrachina also has great Puerto Rican food. You can dine in the open piazza or air conditioned rooms.

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Here is a shot of the menu.

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My favorite is the Chicken Mofongo. Mashed plaintains covered with shredded chicken and a red creole sauce.

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My wife had the steak fajita. The steak was thick but tender with a crisp exterior. The flavor was excellent.


4/23/2008 [/img]


This is the point where my girls go shopping and I find somewhere to hang out. We took our traditional picture of my daughter Maria in front of Maria's Bar. They shopped, I drank.




No trip to San Juan is complete until you had a burger at El Hamburguer

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First you get the fixens





Then the hockey puck shaped burger arrives. Fresh and moist.


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Ask anyone in San Juan where the best burger is and they will send you here.[/img][/img][/img]




joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 11:25 AM
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Wow did I screw that up. I will try to figure out what went wrong. The preview looked good. Sorry.

ias61942
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 11:34 AM
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you took great pictures and did a wonderful job with this presentation.
Good luck, and glad to see you had a great time in P.R.

tsores
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 11:40 AM
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Directly across the street from the Caribe Hilton is a small joint to the right of the parking garage. As I recall, it is a convenience store on the left and a sandwich shop on the right. They have good Cuban sandwiches there. I take one with me on my way back to the airport. Makes for a good snack on the airplane.

ayersian
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 11:48 AM
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Joerogo, thanks for your international RF report! I'm glad to see that others are venturing away from the U.S. of A. and discovering great Roadfood. And that burger looked incredibly good! More, please... Chris

kland01s
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 12:55 PM
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Makes me miss the little Puerto Rican place we had near my work that made the most awesome monfongo anything.! Great photos.

NebGuy
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 1:10 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

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Please Don't tell my wife I put her picture on the internet, She'll kill me.

If your wife sees this just explain to her that your girlfriend looks a lot like her.

irisarbor
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 3:15 PM
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Nice to know my Hilton points are hard at work, p*ssing people off all around the globe...
SIGH
but really nice report, and great pix, too!

Nancypalooza
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 5:18 PM
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So we have a new Puerto Rican place in town we haven't tried yet; can you explain the mofongo thing some more?

Twinwillow
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 5:39 PM
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There is a roadside food place up in the rain forest that has a fantastic reputation for their whole roast pig. I've never been there and I don't recall the name, but it has been featured on TV food shows. That would be my first stop the next time I visit PR.

Anyone know of it?

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 6:50 PM
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I don't know what went wrong but a lot of text is missing from my post.

The picture at Maria's bar is a tradition. Thats my daughter Maria on the left. The girls go shopping and I go in Maria's.


joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 6:52 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tsores

Directly across the street from the Caribe Hilton is a small joint to the right of the parking garage. As I recall, it is a convenience store on the left and a sandwich shop on the right. They have good Cuban sandwiches there. I take one with me on my way back to the airport. Makes for a good snack on the airplane.


The place has been cleaned up and remolded. I didn't go in but I think its just a store now. And the place on the corner that served P.R. food is now a Subway.

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 7:01 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Nancypalooza

So we have a new Puerto Rican place in town we haven't tried yet; can you explain the mofongo thing some more?


I don't know exactly how they are prepared, I would guess boiled then mashed and fried with seasonings. Great flavor.

Adjudicator
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 7:34 PM
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I remember the best food I had when I lived in PR was from the street vendors.

Foodbme
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 7:42 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

quote:
Originally posted by Nancypalooza

So we have a new Puerto Rican place in town we haven't tried yet; can you explain the mofongo thing some more?


I don't know exactly how they are prepared, I would guess boiled then mashed and fried with seasonings. Great flavor.


Google mofongo recipes. You'll get plenty of ideas.

wookman8
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 7:44 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

I don't know what went wrong but a lot of text is missing from my post.

The picture at Maria's bar is a tradition. Thats my daughter Maria on the left. The girls go shopping and I go in Maria's.




Joe; your text is all there but you seem to have inadvertently
posted two pics side by side and it pushed the margin way over.
Great pics and story Joe! Keep 'em coming!

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Wed, 04/23/08 8:37 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Adjudicator

I remember the best food I had when I lived in PR was from the street vendors.



The only street vendors in Old San Juan were ice cream and snow cone(hand shaved ice).

I was looking for the baked potato guy, no luck.

tacchino
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Thu, 04/24/08 1:29 AM
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The best mofongo that I had in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic came from hole-in-the-wall places, that had similar recipes. Boiled and mashed green plaintains, with delicious pork cracklings mixed in, and marinated red onions on top. Delish!

kland01s
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Thu, 04/24/08 8:31 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Nancypalooza

So we have a new Puerto Rican place in town we haven't tried yet; can you explain the mofongo thing some more?


Mofongo is mashed plantains and can have just about anything mashed in to it. My favorite is the heavily garliced version of plain mashed plantains that is served as a side. The garlic just reeks! Yum!!

Nancypalooza
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Thu, 04/24/08 9:50 AM
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They've got a mofongo chicken soup on the menu; I'm gonna have to try it.

leethebard
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Thu, 04/24/08 9:55 AM
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Never been...so thanks for taking me along. Food looked great!!!

Jeep2000
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Fri, 04/25/08 9:37 AM
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We stayed at the Condado Plaza Hotel and had breakfast at The Hacienda.
Loved the Huevos rancheros!!

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Mon, 02/13/12 3:01 PM
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I have to remove the Hacienda from my Puerto Rico Favorites List.
 
Looks like new owners, the place is all cleaned up and remodeled.  They even replaced the old wood windows that opened up to the ocean with ugly aluminum ones.  Most menu items were under 10 bucks, now most are between 20-30 bucks.  We went for lunch, the food was not good at all.
<message edited by joerogo on Tue, 02/14/12 11:18 AM>

tsores
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Mon, 02/13/12 5:09 PM
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joerogo


I have to remove the Hacienda from my Puerto Rico Favorites List.

Looks like new owners, the place is all cleaned up and remolded.  They even replace the old wood windows that opened up to the ocean with ugly aluminum ones.  Most menu items were under 10 bucks, now most are between 20-30 bucks.  We went for lunch, the food was not good at all.


Bummer.  Thanks for the update.

MetroplexJim
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Mon, 02/13/12 5:19 PM
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PR is wonderful.  We've been numerous times and I prefer staying on the Condado (area where the Caribe Hilton is, along with a number of other hotel/casinos) rather than at the El San Juan or the various resorts as you are within walking distance of Viejo San Juan and other interesting stuff.
 
Tony Bourdain did a "No Reservations" there which is an excellent guide to some tasty local places.  A "Newyorican" buddy of mine once took me up in the hills for some "fun & frolic" that included a place on the way that was built into the side of a steep downhill.  The low level had the live pigs, the middle level had the butcher and kitchen, the road level had the "restaurant" which was basically picnic tables, card tables for dominos, and a bar.  That was a true "pig out".  The rest of the trip to the mountains involved roosters, games of chance, moonshine rum, and a number of hospitable young ladies.  Can't talk about that much here.
<message edited by MetroplexJim on Mon, 02/13/12 5:20 PM>

Greymo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Mon, 02/13/12 5:30 PM
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joerogo


I have to remove the Hacienda from my Puerto Rico Favorites List.

Looks like new owners, the place is all cleaned up and remolded.  They even replace the old wood windows that opened up to the ocean with ugly aluminum ones.  Most menu items were under 10 bucks, now most are between 20-30 bucks.  We went for lunch, the food was not good at all.

 
 
They put new mold in the units?   Heck, our insurance company paid out big bucks to remove the mold from our lower level as a result of our hurricane this past fall!


mr chips
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Mon, 02/13/12 10:27 PM
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Trudy, sam and i went to Puerto Rico 9 years ago and had the time of our life. MLB games, lot of great stuff in Old San Juan. and loved mofongo. Missed this one the last time around.

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Tue, 02/14/12 8:46 AM
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I also found the baked potato cart....after I already had lunch of course.  The reason I couldn't find him on my last 6 or 7 visits is because he doesn't work weekends.  He parks in the same spot on Calle Fortaleza, M-F.  The BP with pulled pork is heaven.
 
Greymo, Smart A$$.  You would think, as a remodeler, I would get that right. 
 
But my absolute favorite reason to visit Puerto Rico........
 

 
Ooops!  Wrong picture.
 

 
Nobody!  Nobody does up a pig like the Puerto Ricans.  The skin is crisp, yet it melts in your mouth.  The seasoning is simple and highlights the juicy pork.  If you are ever in Puerto Rico, seek out the pig!   

pnwchef
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Tue, 02/14/12 10:03 AM
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It looks like there is a lot of nice tender succulent meat in the upper body.

MetroplexJim
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Tue, 02/14/12 11:33 AM
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pnwchef


It looks like there is a lot of nice tender succulent meat in the upper body.


There is no praise too high for either the pulchriture or the attitude of the young Puertoricania.

joerogo
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Tue, 02/14/12 11:48 AM
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Because of the hit and miss I have been experiencing with the street vendors, I sought official clarification from the highest and most informed sources......Taxi drivers.
 
There are only three locations in Old San Juan for food vendors.  The corner on Calle Fortaleza where the baked potato cart is, outside of El Morro and one spot down by the pier.  Ice cream and shaved ice can be found around most tourist spots.  

pnwchef
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RE: San Juan, Puerto Rico RoadFood - Tue, 02/14/12 1:14 PM
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Hey Joe, There is a Dogger on here from Puerto Rico, it looks like they sell your favorite toppings............
 
thesuperdogpr
Right now my money maker is a dog I call the UltraDog. Reg bun, a bed of mashpotatoes, the dog, chili, onions, cheddar cheese, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard and pototeo shoe-string chips $2.50