Nostalgic but Ready to Move On!
Oh the feeling to be back. Sigh. I fell in love with Puerto Rico and my heart aches on returning, it is such a strange feeling, because normally I feel very happy to come back home after a trip, but I felt so comfortable in Puerto Rico, not only because the island has so much wealth and beauty but also because the people are so warm and friendly everywhere you go. This place reminded me so much of Mexico, yet it felt much more safe and secure to travel without the worries of being mugged or cartel crimes. Kala and I moved into our new house just a week before we left to PR and I barely got to unpack anything (although the kitchen was the first room I worked on). I was worried about some boxes that had gotten wet and would start developing fungus, since there is a lot of humidity by the beach… but my Auntie Noreen came to my rescue, she helped unpack and organize our whole house before we would get back, and I can’t thank her enough for helping me create our new place like home, she is truly a wonderful and AMAZING auntie, I love her!
We flew to San Juan with a couple of friends, Paul deSomma and Marsha Blaker, whom Kala works with, blowing beautiful glass sculptures (you can check out their art by clicking on the link). We arrived in the evening after rearrangements of delayed flights and a loss of my debit card for the car reservation….it was pretty hectic :(. But the next day we went with the family and friends to celebrate Andy’s birthday, (kala’s oldest sister’s husband) at a beautiful restaurant; Marmalade, in the colonial town of San Juan. The lavish restaurant exceeded our expectations with its ten course vegetarian gourmet dishes and not to forget the desserts! The chef Peter Schintler was such a cool down to earth guy; it made the whole experience earthy yet extravagant! We spent the rest of the night exploring downtown in old San Juan and encountered a children’s folklore dance in the square and a nice jazz band playing at another plaza. Our final stop was at the Nuyorican Café, they had some sweeet salsa music (I couldn’t help but get my dancing feet on!) and so we ended the night with happy music and happy food.
The next day I went to the farmers market with my friends in San Juan and I was in ecstasy with all the foreign vegetables. I had never seen so many different types of roots for so many dishes. It was awesome! I spoke with every farmer that had a table and got ideas for how to cook these strange looking things. My favorite, was an herb called Recau, it is like cilantro but looks nothing like it. I was so happy buying all kinds of roots, vegetables, and fruits that I had to get a big sack (like for potatoes) to throw over my back since a few plastic bags were insufficient. And then I ran into the chef from our previous dinner at Marmalade! He was so nice and we started talking about the different types of vegetables that they had and what things to try… and then his lovely wife and daughter showed up. Ohhh I had the time of my life!!! Yay for the farmers market :), I will have to post some recipes of the dishes I cooked, because they were off the hook! I cooked a ñame (its like a potato) with olive oil and recau cilantro, then broiled it for crispiness, and paired it with caramelized coconut plantains, let me just say it was very nice!
So our trip was wonderful, it was also my first time snorkeling expirience and boy we saw so many different types of fishes, I saw a turtle, manta rays and an eel. It was quite magical but I ended up slipping on some rocks and I got cuts and scrapes all over me of which I am still healing. My left hand was all cut up and bleeding and the first thing I said was “oh no how will I cook now!??” hehe… Well now that I’m home it’s time to get back on track, I’ve learned so many new things on this trip and have come up with new ideas for recipes and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. Here are some more pictures of my trip, you can just click on the image to go to the next picture. enjoy