Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

A desperate need for Puerto Rican food, part 1

May 27, 2009
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Recently, I rode the coattails of my event-planning wife and got to slum around in the Caribbean; more notably, in Puerto Rico. Previously, this was all that I knew of PR:

One viewing of the Puerto Rico episode of No Reservations, and I was hooked. I wanted to taste every delicious food around. And, while every cotton-headed ninnymuggins out there tells you to stay on the resort property when in the Caribbean (sorry for the strong language), how can you possibly experience a new place?! Sure, the Starbucks was clean and comfortable at my resort; sure, everyone spoke English and made me- Mister Gringo- feel “comfortable”, but I really wanted to get out and “do as the locals do”.

So, our plan was to head out from Fajardo and go to Guavate/Cayey, exactly where Bourdain stuffed his grateful maw with delicious roast pork, or lechon:

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Surprisingly, we made it there alive. I can’t believe that we weren’t carjacked, kidnapped, murdered, killed by druglords, or sold into slavery. C’mon! It was a regular drive through some beautiful country! Nothing sketchy. You’d think- reading some of these travel review sites- that every country outside of San Francisco is a cesspool of corruption and militant coups: sort of like the country that Schwarzenegger single-handedly destroyed in his most-artistic opus, Commando. Frankly, everyone we met was EXTREMELY friendly; some didn’t speak English, but I tried to pull a little spanish out of my cabeza, and we always seemed to figure it out.

My skills from my modeling career coming back to me on cue.

Tucked away from the Highway a bit was Lechonera Los Pinos. We passed quite a few to get to this one, but it was worth the drive.

My friend- whose English was almost as nonexistent as my Spanish- hacking our lunch off the beautiful roast beast.

Case and point: there was a serious disconnect as I got spanish-speaking stage fright at Lechonera Los Pinos, but somehow, Heather and I ended up with this spread, all for under $15:

Incredible Lechon. Crispy skin and tender meat. Actually, when cooked without smoke (as we know in BBQ shacks), it’s actually more like roast turkey. The big difference is the crispy skin. Oh, the crispy skin.

Some of the best rice & beans I’ve ever had. It’s a shame it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to order them. Yeah, I know the words “arroz” and “frijoles”, but they had like 5 different kinds of each.

Morcilla, a type of blood-sausage, gets its dark color from- yes- blood. I’ve always been told that it’s something I have to try. I did, and man, it’s pretty dang good. Stuffed with rice, garlic, and other great flavors. Seriously (and unlike the chicken feet in a previous post): don’t knock it ’til you try it!

Too much good food to talk about…to be continued…