Puerto Rico: Mofongo, Gondules, and Pasteles…oh my
Another blizzard hit New York last week and made me realize how truly over cold and winter and snow I am. My weekend escape to Puerto Rico came just in the nick of time. I escaped with my friend Kerry, who was just as fed up with winter as I. It was both of our first ventures to the tropical New York and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping it involved warmth. A friend who is very familiar with PR gave me a culinary homework assignment to eat my way through. She knows that my stomach is usually what leads me to travel. Here are the quintessential PR foods I had to try before coming home:
Mofongo: mashed plantains mixed with different savory meats
Pasteles: a Puerto Rican tamale made with yucca or green banana and stuffed with pork, wrapped in a banana leaf
Arroz con Gondules: Rice and beans
This was totally do-able in a weekend, even with all the cooking I planned to do. We found this amazing little lunch spot just down the street from the house we had rented. It was a farm of sorts, with cows, chickens, turkey and pigs all milling about their land. At lunchtime they open up a little cafe near the street and serve delicious meats and classic Puerto Rican dishes. We ordered a steaming plate of amazing spare ribs, arroz con gandules, and a small bowl of mofongo mixed with chicarones (fried pig skin). Coco frio, or fresh cold coconut milk, was delicious and refreshing. We were surrounded by locals and their families, all chowing down on this delicious, very hearty fare.
However, pasteles are nowhere to be found so I will have to make them myself. First, however, there must be a nap….