Puerto Rico - "It's an Experience" (part 1 - read this first)

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Luuuuuuuuuucy - I'm hoooooooooome!

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Holy Mofongo my friends - long time, no update!

And for good reason; I just spent a solid week vacationing in Puerto Rico, and you can bet your sweet bambulance that there are some good stories to share, so read on... :-)

The trip started way back during the summer of 2010, when I mentioned to my friends Jed and Jamie that I had a coworker who owned a nice condo in Puerto Rico. The coworker rents the condo from time to time, and as luck would have it, we could rent it for a reasonable rate. They expressed some interest, and we kicked-off a little (emphasis on the word "little") research into Puerto Rico. I believe much of that research was conducted while drinking, or at least within close earshot of a drinking establishment, because before I knew it, we had purchased roundtrip airfare and plunked down a modest deposit on the condo.

And so began our adventure. I extended the invitation to Amy; she accepted, and before we could say "tripleta," we were fully committed to a vacation in sunny Puerto Rico.

Note: Because of the size of this entry, it's broken into two pieces.

To continue reading this article (part one), click the link below.

To jump to part two of the article, click here.

To view the photo album (with 200+ pictures), click here.

Click below to continue reading Part One of the story...

Jed, Jamie, and I arrived at the O'Hare airport at around 5:30am on Tuesday morning... as you can see, the terminals weren't too busy during this ungodly hour:

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We sailed through security, scored some seats near our gate, and waited until 9:00am to board our direct flight to San Juan. During our wait, we fantasized and prophesied about what San Juan would offer - talk of food courts, pristine beaches, sun, fun, fresh markets, and plenty of latin culture dominated the conversation.

...After five hours in a cramped coach seat on an aging United airplane (which, thankfully didn't pull a Southwest sardine can on us) we were in San Juan!

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We picked-up our rental car - a stunning 2011 Ford Taurus Limited - and were on our way. The rental agent told me flat out that I was "loco" (spanish for "crazy") for not purchasing the damage insurance; I assured him that my insurance company would cover any losses and that he was loco for wanting $21/day extra for the insurance. Little did I know...

It turns out that there are two sides to every Puerto Rican person: there's the "pedestrian" side and the "driver" side. The pedestrian side exemplifies the "islander culture" - laid back, nothing's worth hurrying over, nothing's worth worrying about, no rush... that's the side that you encounter when dealing with restaurant servers, grocery store attendants, and any other type of service-industry person. It would be nothing to wait 10-15 minutes for a drink refill, or to stand in the check-out lane of a store for 20+ minutes as the cashier slowly completed a transaction, all the while making small talk with the customer. When it comes to serving someone or completing some type of business transaction, time is of no importance or matter - they have all of the time in the world.

And then there's the "driver" side.

Apparently every single driver in Puerto Rico has to (or had to) be at their destination like yesterday, and you (and you alone) are the only thing holding them up, so look out. Maybe it's because they waste so much time standing in line at the checkout, or waiting for a drink refill; regardless, once that ignition key is activated, Puerto Ricans turn into the Tazmanian Devil (and not just any Tazmanian Devil - think Taz, amped-up on 28 Red Bulls, 17 Snickers, a six-pack of Jolt, and a handful of pep-pills).

I long believed that Oklahoman, Texan, and Wisconsin drivers were the worst... but they can't hold a candle to the Puerto Rican drivers - rules, laws, signs mean absolutely nothing on the wild west roads that are the Puerto Rican highways and byways.

A stop sign? Merely a "suggestion." Lane makers? Don't exist. Turn lanes? Whatever.

Should you find yourself driving on a major highway (like, say highway 194 in Puerto Rico) and you were to encounter a mid-80s Chevrolet Nova torpedoing straight toward you at warp speed while in reverse, you'll know you're in Puerto Rico. The fact that the reverse-running-battering-ram bothers no one else is further proof that you're in for an interesting driving adventure.

And while I'm not a spiritual person by any means, I'm now convinced that a squadron of AAA-angels kept vigilant watch over our Taurus - we managed to escape countless "near misses" and returned the car with nary a scrape or scratch. Here's our beloved chariot as it sat in the El Yunque rainforest (if you look closely, you may see puddle under it, and that's not run-off from the air conditioner - it's the car equivalent of "peeing your pants").

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(I'm getting ahead of myself with pictures, but I had to prove that nothing bad happened to the car.) So, where was I? Oh yeah - we had just picked-up the car and had the pleasure of our first drive in Puerto Rico. The second pleasure came when we quickly realized that Puerto Rico may actually be a nihilist state, because apparently they don't believe in road signs, house numbers, street signs, posting business hours, or sharing any other type of useful "navigational" information.

We had a GPS, which is fine and dandy so long as you have some basic data available to plug-in to it. We didn't have an address for our condo... when I e-mailed my co-worker to get the address, I was provided basic GPS coordinates (longitude/latitude), which our GPS couldn't accept.

So, I called the condo manager, and she didn't have (or know) the street name or number for our condo. Jed recalled the condo may have been on "Calle B," but our GPS didn't know where "Calle B" (that's spanish for "Street B") was. After some fumbling around, we somehow managed to find the place.

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Now... I realize the photo doesn't make the place look too good, but believe me - the condo was fantastic. We were staying in a small town located about 25 miles east of San Juan, called Luquillo.

It's a humble town of about 20,000 people; many of whom are retirees from the States. Yes, it's a little rundown in appearance, but it was quite safe, quite homey, and enjoyable. It also had an amazing proximity to and view of the ocean - our condo was literally 20-30 yards from this:

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We couldn't easily swim at "our" beach - the surf was a bit rough; but had we been surfers, it would've been stellar. In fact, there was a surf shop located just down the road from our condo (we would later visit the shop, which also hosted a stellar restaurant).

Back to the condo. So, yeah - the outside wasn't so great. But the inside was really nice. Behind those iron bars was a really nice porch:

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The porch led into the living room:

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It boasted a full kitchen, of which we didn't really use much (but in hindsight, probably should have):

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A family room/bar area sat just behind the kitchen:

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The family room had a nice flatscreen television (with DishTV), a DVD player, and a surround sound stereo/entertainment system. Located in the closets adjacent to the bar were a full-size washer and dryer - that came in handy as well. There was also a full bathroom, complete with a huge walk-in shower, on the first floor.

The second floor hosted three bedrooms and another bathroom. Here's the master bedroom, which had a large walk-in closet, a king bed, and tons of space:

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Here's the "back" bedroom:

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And the "front" bedroom (which was small, but would easily sleep 2):

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And finally, here's an "overall" view of the upstairs area:

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The condo featured solid - and I mean solid - concrete walls throughout. The place was like a tomb or bank vault; with 6-inch thick concrete walls, we never heard anything through the walls.

We did, however, hear everything by way of the windows, including a squadron of local birds that were relentless with their 4:30am wake-up calls. Every single morning, at precisely 4:33am (I swear those birds were in sync with the national atomic clock), we'd be roused from our slumber by what had to be a hundred birds, all calling to one another from perches that seemed to be positioned like 10-feet from our windows.

And if the birds didn't wake us, the Tejana music that blasted at 130-plus-decibels from every single car that drove past the condo at any given hour did. So, we didn't get much good sleep... it was just like being back at my craptacular apartment, only more tropical. :-) At least the birds didn't cough persistently or fight about girl scout cookie flavors like my neighbors do.

I know it sounds as if this was a miserable trip, but believe me, it wasn't. It was actually super fantastic, but nearly everything was an "adventure" (hence the title). We didn't get off to a stellar start, with the bad drivers, the lack of road signs, and the lack of any "local" culture; but the trip would eventually come out as a win.

And all of these "experiences" quickly spawned a phrase that we used throughout the trip. So many times we sarcastically sighed, "Well, it looks like we just got PR'd," meaning that for every up, there was a down; for every down, an up... it was quite "Yin-and-Yang." We never got too happy because a downer was just around the corner; we never got too upset because a win was waiting in the wings.

We got settled-in to the condo and realized that we hadn't eaten anything since around 5:00am. So, we set-out in search of some local food. It didn't take long for us to uncover two additional fine points about Puerto Rico:

1) Native Puerto Rican food stinks. It's all deep fried. And by "all," I mean all. We were hard-pressed to find any non-deep fried Puerto Rican dishes. We were also unsuccessful in locating any small, family-run food carts or trucks... for some reason, we had envisioned rows of authentic, locally-operated food carts or trucks, all serving-up wonderfully fresh and locally-sourced foods (like you'd find in Mexico). Boy, were we wrong.

From the Mofongo to the rellenos to the pinchos (meat on a stick) to amarillos - it's all deep fried. And then stored under a heat lamp. And then reheated when you order it. So, our first search for good food resulted in a visit to the very un-Puerto Rican restaurant called "The Brass Cactus." It was located at the end of our street and was highly recommended by many folks (how or why remains a mystery to this day).

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The Brass Cactus menu featured such delicacies as chicken wings, cheese fries, burgers, and Coors Light. Too tired to ferret-out a real Puerto Rican restaurant, we settled on the Cactus and choked-down some chicken nachos and a plate of ceviche.

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Semi-nourished by the TGI-Friday-esque meal, we headed back out, in desperate search for a "real" restaurant or local market, which led to our second realization:

2) There were more Walgreens, KFCs, Applebees, and Wal-Marts (deceptively re-branded as "Amigo" stores) in Puerto Rico than there are in the mainland USA. No joke - every corner hosted either a Walgreens or an Amigo (again: a Wal-Mart), or a KFC, or a Taco Bell, or a Shell gas station. Where was the local flavor? Where were the local markets?

Amy hadn't yet arrived; her flight was due in at around 10:30pm that first evening, so after our fruitless search for a food cart or a local market, I returned to San Juan to pick her up. The 10:00pm drive to-and-from the airport was largely uneventful, and once safely back at the condo, we had a native beer ("Medalla Light"), unwound a bit, planned the next day's activities, and then hit the hay.

Our first full day would take us back to San Juan, for some sight-seeing and the hope of finding some non-deep-fried, non-chain, authentic Puerto Rican food. Well, at least we saw the forts of Old San Juan, the blue cobblestone roads, and the ports.

There are two incredibly massive, completely impressive, stone-and-brick forts in Old San Juan. They were built in the late 1500s and have withstood quite an array of challenges - primarily a number of skirmishes, battles, and full-on wars. Their sheer size was unbelievable; and when you consider these were built before any type of modern construction equipment was available, it's all the more impressive.

Here's the first fort we visited, as seen from downtown Old San Juan (about .75-miles from the fort):

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We paid $7 for a seven-day pass to the forts and set about exploring the monstrous marvels of engineering. To consider some of the ingenious feats, consider the freshwater dilemma. In the 1500s, when the forts were constructed, there wasn't much by way of fresh water available. So, they built angled trenches around the entire perimeter of the topmost levels of the fort; the trenches fed into larger channels, and the channels fed into large cisterns (canisters) that housed tens of thousands of gallons of fresh rainwater.

You might ask, "Well, what's the big deal?" But consider the size of the place (monstrous), time period (1500s), and that everything had to be hand-built (no welders, CAD machines, etc), and things get impressive.

There were underground tunnels, designed to covertly move troops from one section of the fort to another; look-out towers (called "Sentinels"), sniper stations, officers quarters, cannon rooms, and even a dungeon. It was really fascinating - here are some pictures, along with brief descriptions:

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View from one of the mid-levels of the fort; you can see a Sentinel tower, the cannon openings, and the thickness of those massive walls.

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A store of cannon balls, on one of the upper levels of the fort.

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A close-up of a Sentinel tower. They could hold maybe two normal-sized adults. Was most likely a lonely assignment.

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The view from one of the Sentinel towers.

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Look at how thick those walls are - again, this was built in the 1500s.

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Door handle to the officers quarters; look at the details.

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Inside the officer's quarters, which were a little nicer than the enlisted men's quarters. Notice the tile flooring and the nicely finished walls (electricity/outlets were added during World War II timeframe).

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This was how the enlisted men lived. You had better hope that your neighbor/bunkmate wasn't a loud snorer.

We spent a few hours exploring the fort and then decided to set about finding something for lunch. We were still convinced that there had to be a good, authentic restaurant in the area, so we spent several hours walking through Old San Juan, in search of that ever elusive "good food."

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After 3 solid hours of walking and turning-up nothing, we stopped at a restaurant near the governor's mansion. At this point, we were famished, tired, hot, and cranky. I think I would've ate my shoe if we would've walked much longer. We decided to try some of the authentic foods. Jed ordered a Monfongo variant:

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Jamie ordered traditional Mofongo with some type of seafood:

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Amy ordered a chicken and rice dish:

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And, thanks to some miscommunication, I wound-up with Pinchos (fried pork medallions):

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For some reason, I thought the Pinchos were grilled and that they included some type of accompanying vegetables; I was picturing fajitas or something similar... but instead, I got a nice greasy plate of deep fried pork. Yum.

We sampled each others' dishes; Jamie's mofongo was probably the best, followed closely by Amy's chicken and rice dish. We paid our bill; which, if the greasy, deep-fried food doesn't kill you, the prices will - food is expensive in Puerto Rico - our modest lunch ran just over $80.

We noticed that the restaurant was not only near the governor's mansion, but that it was also right next to Pigeon Park. This park is a popular meeting place for local pigeons and affords an awesome view of the harbor where the cruise ships dock.

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And here's the inside of the park:

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After hanging with the pigeons for a bit (none of us got tagged), we walked along the shoreline to San Juan's other fort. It turns out that our ticket to the first fort allowed us entry into the second fort, so we decided to explore the second fort as well. In hindsight, once you've seen one old fort, you've more or less seen them all, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Here we are approaching the second fort, which was quite a bit smaller than the first fort, believe it or not. This photo may provide some appreciation for the massive size of these things:

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I'll spare details and post a bunch of photos with brief captions.

Inside the fort, walking along one of the perimeter paths:

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On the middle level; notice the stairs to the right, and how steep they are. There was a ramp next to the stairs that they used for hauling munitions, weapons, and supplies between the levels:

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A view from a sniper's perch:

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And one more view of the coast with the fort for size appreciation.

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The only thing left to do while at the fort was climb that massive set of stairs... :-) Here are Amy, Jed and Jamie working their way up the flights:

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We left the fort and walked back to our car. We made a few stops along the way - here are a few photos from our journey:

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With our feet plenty tired from walking so many miles on those beautiful blue cobblestones and the relentless sun making us thirsty, we stopped into a local bar for a quick bit of refreshment. We loved the vibe of this particular bar - it was huge, featured some awesome woodwork, and had comfy seats in an al fresco setting. We had a few drinks (I went with Sol, a Mexican beer; Jed and Amy had a DonQ (local rum); Jamie had a virgin pina colada (being pregnant and on vacation has its drawbacks)):

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And Amy and I hammed-it-up for an "arm picture":

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We eventually made our way back to the car, which we had parked in a large parking ramp near the cruise ship port/piers. When it came time to pay for our time in the ramp, we grabbed our parking ticket and went to the kiosk to pay. Just as I was getting ready to insert the ticket, an attendant came running out from a back room and told us to wait for a minute. He said they wouldn't accept a credit card because the machine wasn't working properly.

Jed and I had cash, so we went to feed cash into the machine, but apparently the only thing that was working was the coin slot. So, we stood at the machine and watched the attendant feed dimes into the coin slot while yelling instructions to someone who was apparently sitting inside of the machine. Seriously! We eventually got a paid ticket, but were laughing so hard at the thought of this little guy jammed into that machine, that we could barely walk back to the car. Here's our ticket; you can see the attendant helping another patron in the background:

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We figured our adventures were over with for the day, but even the drive back to Luquillo afforded us another opportunity to be "PR'd." As we approached the toll booth, we chose a lane and waited in line, just as you would normally do at any toll booth in the world. Only, our lane wasn't really moving - and then we noticed there was a guy who was arguing with the toll attendant; he got out of his car, stomped around, got back into his car, filled out some paperwork, got out of his car, and so on. It took at least 10 minutes for us to get through this tollbooth... PR'd, for certain.

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We eventually made our way back to the condo, unwound for a bit, and then made our way out to dinner. We had heard about and read numerous reviews for the local "Kioskos," and decided to give them a try.

Kioskos are a series of food shacks and small bars that are situated right between the ocean and Luquillo's main highway (PR-3). There are sixty (60) of these kioskos, all of which are butted-up against one another - think of a typical strip mall, but make it completely open air, and make each one about the size of a one-car garage.

Each Kiosko has a number and a name; we were told that #20 (The Lighthouse) was good, as were #12 (El Jefe) and #2 (La Parilla). Unfortunately, as we would quickly discover, nearly all of the food from the Kioskos was served.... (wait for it...) yep, that's right: deep fried!

But it gets better; most of the food from the Kioskos isn't made fresh to order. No sir, it's fried well in advance, placed into containers, set under heat lamps, and then displayed to passers-by:

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After walking past most of the Kioskos, I decided to give one of them a try - I had high hopes for it, as the lady who was working there took time to hand roll the dough; this was going to be a "made-to-order" relleno, not a "from the heat lamp to the microwave" relleno:

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But then I cringed when I saw it being fried... something tells me the grease hadn't been changed or cleaned in a while:

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PR'd again. We decided to make one more pass through the Kioskos, with the intent of eating dinner at El Jefe (#12). El Jefe supposedly had some excellent burgers, and so long as they weren't deep fried, we were willing to give them a try. We were pleased to see burgers being hand-formed and grilled (on a charcoal grill), potatoes being hand-cut (fresh), and drinks being mixed and served in a cleanly environment. Win!

We scored a table and immediately noticed that every single wall (including the ceiling) was covered in handwriting from previous patrons. Apparently, visitors are encouraged to leave some words of wisdom on the walls:

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We tried the ginger mojito, which was the house specialty, and we also tried the Jefe fries (cheese fries served with smoked bacon and scallions). They were pretty good:

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The place was plenty busy, so it took a while for our food to arrive, but when it did, there was a mix of emotions. The burgers looked great, but the fries and/or onion chips looked to be a tad greasy. Here's Jed's order of sliders:

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And Amy's cheese burger:

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And my "specialty" burger which was a burger that was stuffed and topped with a habanero and jalapeno mixture, and served with onion pedals:

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That burger packed a bit of a punch, thanks to the habaneros, but it was tasty. And best of all, it wasn't deep fried. We enjoyed our dinners, had a few more drinks, and then made our way back to the condo for a well-deserved night's rest.

Our second day in Puerto Rico included a visit from Amy's friend from Wisconsin who now lives in Puerto Rico. As irony would have it, Amy's friend is also named Amy - thankfully her last name starts with a "V," so we'll refer to her as "Amy V" from now on. Amy V brought her young daughter, Whitney along; the two of them spent two days with us and helped clarify some of our misconceptions of the area. She also confirmed that Puerto Rican drivers are unsafe, insane, and truly dangerous. Wonderful.

Amy V arrived to the condo about mid-morning, and we decided to hit the beach for some sun, sand, surf, and relaxation. We loaded-up a cooler with beverages, packed our bags with books, snorkeling gear, and some towels, slathered-on the sunscreen and took the short 2-minute drive from the condo to the public beach.

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The public beach was spectacular. It was clean, quiet, had plenty of palm trees, and even offered a gentleman who rented beach chairs for $5. I brought along my snorkel set with the hope of seeing some awesome sealife, but the water was so calm and so clean, and the floor so sandy, that we didn't ever see much by way of fish, coral or other sea life. The swimming was still quite awesome; look at how calm and blue the waters are:

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The water temperature was perfect - it wasn't too cold, nor was it too warm. I took advantage of the perfect temperatures and conditions to swim a few laps; it's amazing how much better a person can float in salt water. After about 30 minutes worth of swimming, I headed back to the beach, grabbed a Medalla Light (locally made beer, 80 calories, and almost no alcohol... they were like drinking water), and took a photo for my coworkers back in Wisconsin to enjoy:

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Funny - rather than wish me well, they told me that I "suck" and that I "look pasty white." Ha! I couldn't really argue with their assessments, so I turned-off my e-mail and read a book while enjoying the 88-degree weather, slight ocean breeze, and low humidity.

The need for lunch eventually struck, and our options were limited to the Kioskos; the public beach and the Kioskos sit adjacent to one another... Here's our extra greasy lunch... notice the oil pooling and collecting on the plates? Sigh.

On the left, we have a Pionono Carne (fried tostones filled with fried beef, wrapped in a fried plantain); on the right a Papa Relleno (stuffed potato, deep fried).

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I thought that a conch mofongo might afford a non-greasy alternative, but once again, I was wrong. Look near the bottom of the photo, and you can see the pools of grease - it's as if they have so much extra cooking oil on the island that they pour it over everything, just to get rid of it.

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We left the Kiosko $45 poorer; our cholesterol 100 points higher; our waistlines 3-4" larger. Yep, those items cost $45. Unreal.

On the way back, we saw a stray dog - they're every where in Puerto Rico - so I snapped a picture. Not only is it depressing to see so many stray animals wandering the streets, but look at how dirty the area behind the Kioskos is. It's as if the shops simply throw their trash straight out the back door. The ocean is literally 30 yards from the Kioskos, but they treat the space like a landfill. It was quite depressing.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach, reading books, talking with Amy V, watching Whitney play in the sand, and simply relaxing. On one of my subsequent afternoon swims, I managed to find a sand dollar that was in fairly decent condition, so I propped it against my sunscreen and took a picture. The seagull in the background literally "touched down" for a split second, just as I took the picture.

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Amy V confirmed for us that nearly all Puerto Rican food is deep fried, but she wasn't sure why. She did say that native food consists primarily of fried pork, fried plantains, and very little fruit or vegetables (other than plantains), and that food carts/trucks are few and far between. As much as it stung to hear that news, it was good to know that we weren't crazy.

Amy V and Whitney headed back to their hotel, which left the four of us (Jed, Jamie, Amy, and me) to try and figure out some dinner plans. We fired-up an internet connection and did some searching for grilled (or non-fried) food in Puerto Rico, and eventually discovered a small restaurant called "La Estacion" in Fajardo.

Fajardo was only 10 minutes from our condo, so we hopped into the car and made our way to La Estacion. Of course, finding the place was easier said than done because it didn't have a real address, just some sketchy directions as posted on their website. But, we found it, and quickly fell in love with what we saw:

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Turns out that in its previous life, La Estacion was a gas station. And then some folks from New York (famous, accomplished chefs) bought the place and converted it into a restaurant. They vowed to use only locally sourced (caught/killed/grown) ingredients and to cook as "cleanly" as possible - smokers and grilling would be the primary cooking methods. Them menu consisted primarily of this board, posted in front of the cooking area:

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We really liked what we saw! We grabbed a seat at the bar, ordered some local drinks, and waited for a table. After about an hour or so, we were seated and promptly ordered some appetizers, including this pork tenderloin pincho. I'm proud to report that it was not fried, but instead smoked and then finished on the grill with a little homemade barbeque glaze and a piece of garlic toast:

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We also ordered an unusual appetizer that consisted of a Nathan's hotdog, wrapped in a piece of bacon, dusted with Puerto Rican spice rub, and topped with an avocado. It was the chef's homage to his home town of New York City and his new home in Fajardo:

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Our server asked what we might like for the main course, and I inquired about the fish special. She told us that they had a "handful" of fresh caught yellow snapper (caught earlier in the day), and that it was grilled and served with a fresh papaya salad and baked tostones. WIN!

Jed ordered a smoked ribeye steak - the beef was locally raised, all natural, no grain; Amy and Jamie ordered the special, which consisted of slow-smoked local pork tenderloin, tostones, and some type of Puerto Rican rice/bean dish that wasn't really rice or beans - it just looks like it.

Jed's steak looked incredible:

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The girls' pork tenderloin looked fantastic:

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And my grilled yellow snapper looked unreal. I was so happy that I almost cried - fresh fish, grilled, no oil, all served with a fresh fruit salad and some baked tostones.

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Friends, I've had some great meals in my life, but that fish may have been the best meal I've ever tasted. Yes, it had a head and a tail. Yes, there were bones. But it was absolutely amazing. I quickly figured out how to pull the fish from the bones; I think I had to deal with maybe 3-4 stray bones total. I suspect the freshness of the fish helped quite a bit as well; it was firm, flaky, and so incredibly awesome. Here's all that remained after I had my way with it:

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I thanked the fish and the chefs for that wonderful dinner and vowed to return at least once more before leaving Puerto Rico. As a testament to how local and fresh the food was, we overheard the chef telling the hostess that they were "done" for the night - the food was all gone. Thankfully we heard this just as we were leaving!

Once back at the condo, we watched a little television, reminisced about our first good meal of the trip, and planned the next day's activities, which would include a trip to the El Yunque Rain Forest.

Continued in the next entry...click here to read more.

For the gallery (200+ photos), click here.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on April 17, 2011 9:22 PM.

Puerto Rico - "It's an Experience" (part 2 - finish reading here) was the previous entry in this blog.

Puerto Rico, Part III & Miscellaneous stuff is the next entry in this blog.

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