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.

More San Juan Sights

After the hurricanes hit Puerto Rico the governor wanted to show that the city of San Juan was recovering. He wanted a positive symbol to illustrate this so he hung the colorful umbrellas on a block in OSJ. I believe the light blue building at the end of the street is the governor’s mansion. On another block near La Plaza del Mercado de Santurce. I discovered more umbrellas, all white. Regarding the hurricanes San Juan is functioning well but I can’t say about the rest of the island. Much work must be needed somewhere because an Uber driver told me it would take 10 years for PR to fully recover.

One day I went shopping at Plaza las Américas, a mall with more than 250 stores. Of all the places to choose from I ended up at J. C. Penney’s. 😁 It was a good choice because I paid $70 for $160 worth of clothes.

Sales tax in PR is outrageous. 11.5%.

Two castles were built to protect San Juan from foreign invaders (French, British, Dutch and Portuguese). The larger of the two is San Cristóbal Castle; the smaller one at the point of the island is San Felipe del Morro Castle. Next to El Morro is a cemetery. Seems odd to put one right on the water’s edge. These photos are of both castles and with a couple of exceptions aren’t too interesting. A castle (I would call them forts) is better seen in person.

The last photo is a room where soldiers slept.

This next photo shows El Morro in the distance and the cemetery on the right. All white grave stones.

Puerto Rico doesn’t only worry about hurricanes. These signs are found on the streets around the two beaches near where I’m staying.

That’s it for today. There will be another food post in a few days, then back to Mexico.