food, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Bistro Café // Isla Verde

Bistro Café in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico offers a variety of dishes—including salads, gyros, and sandwiches—accompanied, of course, by the staples in the menu: breakfast dishes that are served all day long. These include dishes such as pancakes, french toast, and waffles, all equally delicious.

My first time at the café, accompanied by my mother, we were served coffee immediately—two beautifully crafted flat whites. After looking at the menú for a while (everything looked so delicious, I had no idea what to choose; and the option of breakfast for lunch??!!) I chose the salmon and goat cheese croissant. It definitely did not disappoint. The smoked salmon was savory and the goat cheese was creamy and perfect with the salmon. Spinach added some texture to the croissant, which was soft and buttery. The savory was balanced with the sweetness of honey in the mix, perfect for the smoky flavor of the salmon and the calmer goat cheese flavor. The croissant was topped with powdered sugar, which is never a bad thing (in my opinion). My mother ordered a tuna wrap (a bit boring) but she absolutely enjoyed it so I recommend that as well. For my next visit, I am eager to try something for breakfast—perhaps french toast? Or something with Nutella? We’ll see.

Anybody visiting the metro área in Puerto Rico, or anyone living nearby, I recommend the Bistro Café for breakfast or lunch. Also, order the freshly squeezed orange juice—it is absolutely delicious!

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food, Uncategorized

Home-Cooked Kaftas

Kaftas (Lebanese beef kebabs) are a favorite dish of mine when dining at Tierra Santa—a Middle Eastern restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The restaurant’s kaftas are delicious, but my mother’s take on them is even better.

Here’s how she makes them and the ingredients used in the process:

Blend (in a food processor): 1 onion, lemon juice, clove of garlic, parsley, a little bit of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of these—salt, pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, cumin, and paprika. Mix is done.

Then, with hands blend in with the mix 2 pounds of ground turkey meat and make small, oval-shaped kaftas.

These are barbecued and left to grill 5-6 min on each side before turning.

Keep in mind, these are a variation because we’re using ground turkey instead of ground beef.

The end result? The kaftas are well-seasoned, juicy, and cooked just right (not overcooked or undercooked.)

Thank you, mom! For anybody interested in dishes such as this and looking to dine in the metro area—visit Tierra Santa—or try these at home.

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food

An Unlikely Combination

Tayzan Bar and Grill in Condado, Puerto Rico features Chinese, Japanese, and Puerto Rican cuisine. It is one of my favorite restaurants in the metro area because of the quality of the food and the excellent service.

I’ve posted on mofongo before—check out my posts “Mini-Mofongos” and “Trying Trifongo”—so it’s no surprise that I quite enjoy it. At Tayzan, a restaurant known for its amazing sushi—notable ones include the pinky roll, and if you’re looking for something “boricua,” the churrasco roll. There’s the option of ordering mofongo with a side of chicken, meat, or fish. My choice was the sweet and sour chicken. I admit, if I were to choose again, I would pick the grilled salmon, considering both plates are heavy (mofongo is fried and mashed green plantains and the sweet and sour chicken is battered and fried.) However, it was a treat to mix mofongo bits with sweet and sour sauce, despite the accompanying mayo-ketchup (which was left untouched.) It was an unlikely combination, but a good one. Mofongo with sweet and sour sauce? I recommend it.

I also recommend Tayzan’s sushi—I highly recommend it. Favorites include the pinky roll, orgasmo roll, california roll, churrasco roll, and the shrimp tempura roll. If you’re in the metro area and are looking for Chinese and/or Japanese cuisine with a twist, try Tayzan. Or if you’re looking for awesome sushi—it is the best sushi I’ve tried in the metro area. You’re guaranteed a great sushi boat!

 

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food

Mini-Mofongos

Mofongo—mashed fried plantains—is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine. My grandmother made these with organic plantains, mashed and fried in coconut oil. My thoughts (and only mine since I did not tell her my full opinion) are the following:

1.They are a bit too greasy, the coconut flavor from the oil is too present in the mini-mofongo.

2.The texture is too soft—they end up crumbling upon grabbing, which is a bit disappointing.

Overall, the mini-mofongos are not bad, they just need a little work (perhaps frying them in another oil?)

  

I will attempt to make these this weekend and see what comes of it. Maybe another technique will help keep the small, round shape of the mini-mofongos. A better binding is needed so they hold up rather than crumble.

food

Melt in Old San Juan

About a week ago I had a lunch date with my good friend Natalie. She suggested we try some grilled cheese sandwiches at this new place by the Plaza de Armas located at the Plaza de Armas Hotel in Old San Juan. “Melt,” she said. I was like “What? Melt? I’ve never heard of Melt!” It was an opportunity to try a new place despite our favorite—brunch at St.Germain—another great place to try in Old San Juan. I was charmed by the lovely décor and the cool-looking menu showcasing an assortment of delicious-sounding dishes. We both ordered from the “melts” section, of course. My dish was a combination of melted goat cheese and guava jam on two slices of thick, white bread. The side was a small salad of leafy greens with guava dressing. My first impression upon biting into my melt: absolutely delightful. I was in heaven savoring the goat cheese and guava combination and the thick, yet soft bread was a perfect vehicle for the mix of flavors and textures. What seemed like a simple grilled cheese sandwich did not disappoint. The salad was small but it was delicious, the greens good for intermediate bites between the eating of sandwich (it was no small feat, considering the good-sized portion!)IMG_0428IMG_0429IMG_0430IMG_0431

If you’re a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches or are looking to try something new, try Melt in Old San Juan, you will enjoy a delicious meal (there is also breakfast served all day long!)

 

 

food

What to Eat: Trying “Trifongo”

Mofongo—mashed fried plaintains—is a staple dish in Puerto Rico. It is often served stuffed with meat or seafood and it’s absolutely delicious. My favorite way to have is by itself rather than stuffed. When I heard of a restaurant serving “trifongo”—a mix of green plantain, sweet plantain, and yuca—I was surprised that such a mix existed. Even though this is also a typical food to eat in PR, it is less traditional than mofongo and less frequent in restaurant menus than its counterpart. I decided to try the trifongo at Fefo’s in Old San Juan, and it definitely did not disappoint. I chose the trifongo stuffed with churrasco or skirt steak. Honestly, I prefer mofongo because it is simpler and you get the full flavor of the plantain, but the trifongo was an interesting mix of flavors. The yuca or cassava was present in flavor and the green plantain was not overbearing (the stronger of the two in flavor.)

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