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Culinary Tour 2010 • Puerto Rico

March 14, 2010 by Joan Nova in Culinary Tour Around the World, Family-Size Meals, Party Menus, Travel Retrospectives | 20 Comments

I’ve got a real treat for you. We’re having dinner in a private home on this stop of the Culinary Tour. As you may know, I’ve spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico. It was definitely my playground when I lived in New York. Less so now that I live in FL, but I still manage an annual trip and a reunion with my friends. I was actually in Puerto Rico for a few days during the period between the Argentina and Brazil stops on the Culinary Tour. It was a very food-centric experience from the highs of the trendy El San Juan Hotel restaurants…to road stands in the mountains…to a dinner party in a private home which I present here.

The party took place the night I arrived at my friend Elba’s beautiful condo in the Isla Verde area of San Juan. From the terrace, overlooking the pool area, you can see the planes landing; from the living room windows you see the ocean. But that night, I didn’t see much because there were 20 people to talk to and, as you will see, lots of food to eat.

Sweet plantain turnovers filled with picadillo stuffing (savory ground meat)

Bacalaitos (cod fish fritters)

Guacamole served in the avocado skins

Shrimp Ceviche

King Fish Escabeche

Arroz con gandules y morcilla (rice, pigeon peas + blood sausage)

Flan de queso y mango (cream cheese and mangos)
Torta de Santiago (brought by one of the guests from a Spanish bakery)
Home-made mango paste and white cheese.
“Pitorro” (Puerto Rican Moonshine with mangoes)

Most of the food was prepared by my friend Norma who just started blogging. In fact, while we were in PR, I tutored her on setting up the blog. I encourage you to subscribe to Platanos, Mangoes and Me. I imagine over time she will be posting recipes for many of the dishes you see here and others.

At the conclusion of our tour (after this week’s round-up on Wednesday), I will be posting more about Puerto Rico.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. How fascinating…Puerto Rico! It’s a place I really don’t know much about…but I love all the food served at this amazing dinner party! You had me at the first picture…mmmm!

  2. Ellen says:

    What a delicious looking feast. I could live on the ceviche and the guacamole alone. Yum.

  3. Oh my, that’s one amazing looking dinner! Love the guac served in their skins, and the shrimp ceviche looks divine. Thanks for sharing your adventures :-)

  4. Wow, quite a feast! Wonderful authentic dishes there! Wish I could taste all of them!

  5. norma says:

    We did have a wonderful time and thanks for posting my dishes and for starting me on this wonderful blogging journey.

  6. My my, notice the colors of this food. Thoroughly visually excited and hungry now.

  7. A feast for the eyes Joan and well worth a trip to Puerto Rico for the food alone. Thank you so much for organizing this culinary jounrey. It has been a fun learning experience. Where do we go next:D

  8. Nathan says:

    Que rico, unfortunately I won’t be able to make it Puerto Rico today :( or tomorrow, I have to many leftovers and won’t be able to get to making the “Arroz Apastelado” :(

  9. redkathy says:

    Oh Joan I just love love love Arroz con gandules! And bacalaitos, oh my gosh I haven’t had those in almost 30 years. Hoping to see a pasteles recipe in the round up. Those are my all time favorite dish. I really should learn to prepare them!!! I did subscribe to your friend Norma’s blog.

  10. ap269 says:

    The sweet plantain fritters look very scrumptious. Also, I really love the idea of the guacamole served in the avocado skin. Thanks, Joan, for organizing this culinary journey. Can’t wait to learn where we go next!

  11. Erica says:

    I made mofongo! Puerto Rican food is so delicious!I would love all those dishes! I am going to miss this tour, Joan!

  12. What a delicious-looking series of photos here! The bacalaitos have especially caught my attention.

  13. peter says:

    Whoa…this was a pleasant surprise after the click. I’ll have some cod cakes, some plaintain and cake, gracias.

  14. Ben says:

    Simply amazing! Just looking at the food is making me want to be in La Isla del Encanto right now.

  15. Robin Sue says:

    What a wonderful meal full of so many foods and flavors. I have not been to Puerto Rico in ages, I may not be allowed back in!! In my younger days friends of mine and I toured the fort and needed to be back to the ship soon, but we lost track of time. When we realized were were going to miss the ship we started to run through the city. We needed to take as many short cuts as possible. One was right through a museum which turned out to be the majors mansion. So now we have guards chasing us. Well we made it and they forgave us when we told them we thought the house was a museum! Oh to be young again (and stupid)

  16. I will miss this tour…..maybe I’ll have a Nigerian one :-). Thanks for being a gracious and giving hostess. You’ve done a lot for my Geography! Stay well and my post will be up tonight before I head off….

  17. Maria says:

    I just saw a travel show on Puerto Rico this morning and was thinking how unlucky I am not to have yet gone there! Your trip sounds amazing. And to food? it looks divine!

  18. Núria says:

    OMG!!! What an awesome party… look at the dishes! Una comida fantástica Joan! Your bacalao fritters look a bit like our buñuelos de bacalao, MMmmmm, love them; and the rest of the food too.

    The only idea I have of Puerto Rico comes from the movie: West Side Story. I wish I could be there and watch the ocean through a window too :D

  19. Eosboriken says:

    It is nice to see the food of Puerto Rico explained and showed by others than boricuas! Muchas Gracias! But I would like to suggest you to get out of San Juan and go to other areas of the Island in which you will be able to enjoy a bigger variety of traditional food, specially seafood. I am from Ponce but I am a fan of Joyuda, Salinas, Guayanilla and other towns with a great taste and variety of puertorrican food. If you have not visit those areas, please do so and enjoy! Buen Provecho!

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