Expanding the Blog (a little)

I thought this blog would only cover my Croatia/Slovenia trip, but decided I didn’t want to create a new one for every trip I took so I added ‘and more’ to the title. Now, I want to add something new to the ‘and more.’

Oaxaca, the city I’ve called home for 2 1/2 years, has much to offer. I will highlight special things about it. For example, I’m not going to publish a post for every restaurant I visit. When I encounter a special meal, then I will. Also, I have a friend visiting in May, so I will blog her week here. That’s the blog expansion.

My first post features a restaurant called El Quinque. It’s located in El Centro on Calle Miguel Hidalgo and has become the new favorite restaurant for me and two of my friends. We all agree El Quinque makes the best burger in Oaxaca. We’ve tested 4 of the places that show up frequently on Facebook pages and are highly rated on websites; one major reason is you get the burger the way you asked for it. Most places, no matter how you want it you get well done. Another is the bun; fresh, soft, but sturdy.

I honestly believe they serve the best steak as well even though I have not tried another one in the city. That’s a brazen statement but I will stand by it simply because of all the steaks I’ve eaten elsewhere in the past. What makes it stand out for me is that it’s made with aracherra, which is skirt steak, a cut from the belly of the cow. The meat must undergo a lengthy marination — usually with a concoction that includes citrus juice, garlic, chiles and onions. Aracherra is commonly used in tacos, fajitas and in Oaxaca, tlayudas. However, it tastes best as a regular steak, juicy, flavorful and tender; there’s a bit of a sweet taste to it. I can’t recommend this place enough.

An added bonus: since the owner is also the chef he’s probably going to be there to answer questions you may have. He speaks English. I guess that’s two bonuses.

San Juan Food – Part 2

The food scene improved the second week as I found a few places frequented mostly by locals.

The first was Cafetería Quisqueya, a Dominican restaurant where I ate succulent BBQ pork ribs. I also drank a couple of Cuba libres. I had to stop at 2 because as you can see from the photos, the 2nd one had much more rum than the first. I think the waitress liked me a little.

In Old San Juan across the street from Plaza Colón is the San Juan Food Court. It’s really only a bar in front and a cafeteria style restaurant in the rear called Grandma’s Kitchen. I had baked chicken, the tender, fall off the bone kind with a sweet macaroni salad, which seemed to be very popular in Puerto Rico. Tasty and inexpensive.

Then I went on a taco binge. Of course, the tacos in Mexico are better, but the Puerto Rican style wasn’t bad. Just different. And not as delicious. 😉 The first stop was 4Puntos Café. Two fish tacos and sangria.

One afternoon I walked to Plaza Santurce, an area of restaurants and bars that gets quite lively in the evenings, if you know what I mean. 😁 Too lively for me, anyway. I headed for El Coco de Luis. They pour a signature drink of whisky and coco water. Mine was 90% whisky so I didn’t get the proper taste. The highlight of the visit, and perhaps the food highlight of my trip, was their ceviche. Made from grouper fish, this was the best ceviche I’ve ever eaten. Simple and delicious.

The next place disappointed me because it calls itself a Mexican restaurant but doesn’t serve Mexican style tacos. La B de Burro is where I ate a carnitas taco. The meat’s flavor came close to what I’m used to and the cranberry cinnamon margarita (2×1 all day) tasted good, but I question how much alcohol it contained. Not much is my guess.

My final taco destination was a small bar that serves food, Pa’l West. I have no idea what the name means. Here I ordered one spicy crab and two fish tacos, and a gin-based house drink. None were no better than average in my opinion. However, let me say that all three places where I ate tacos are highly rated by the masses on Google Maps. I doubt many of the reviewers live in Mexico.

To find the best local food I’m a firm believer in walking a few blocks beyond where 99% of the tourists draw their “safe line.” That’s how I found the tastiest pernil al horno ever at George’s BBQ. While I was waiting for my food, Alfredo tried to sell me a beach house. He was a really nice guy whose family runs a real estate business.

I’ll finish this post with pastelillos, small empanadas. I ordered codfish, spinach and mozzarella and corned beef. They are great snacks and can be found at Cafe D’Luna.

I will publish one more post, a summary of sorts, about San Juan, travel thoughts and a cool video of a street mural.