San Juan: The Food

My opinion: the more places I visit, the more I realize there are just a few countries where food is a major attraction. Puerto Rico is not one of them. I’ve eaten a few “local” foods so far and only two were better than average.

The maintenance guy where I’m staying has been a wealth of knowledge. He told me about the cafe at the rear of the grocery store. My fish filet makes the top two list. Nothing fancy here, just tasted good. And it was $5.99. 👍

After leaving my intended restaurant for lack of a seat, I found Jauja Street Food & Spirits. It’s actually two food vendors under the same roof. I ate at Arepas Rellenas. According to my waiter, the arepa is a Venezuelan food. The Puerto Rican version uses wheat instead of corn to make the bread. An arepa is snack size so you need 2 or 3 to make a meal. I ordered the shrimp. Nicely seasoned, I’ll return for some other options.

The sign on the far right says Perurrican. That’s the other vendor, more of a full plate place. Many people start with an arepa then have the big plate.

Next up is Areyto Puerto Rican Fusion. I believe fusion is a word that translates to “our scam to charge higher prices.” I ordered fried pork with an Asian sauce. The meat was so dry I had to ask for additional sauce. Didn’t help much. The sauce was a few fried onions in soy sauce. The pleasant surprise of the meal was the malanga, a root vegetable. I tasted garlic as one of the seasonings. Whatever else they added made for a tasty side dish.

I don’t usually drink smoothies, but I have changed my mind about them after trying one yesterday from Crush Juice Bar. Mine had strawberries, banana, peanut butter, almonds and some other stuff. So delicious!

Most of my meals pass without any drama save for the occasional “sorry, we don’t have that today.” Not so yesterday. I’ve copied and pasted my Google maps review of Café del Ángel below.

“I’d give a zero star rating if I could. After sitting for 30 minutes waiting for my food, I asked where it was only to be told that the waiter never put in the order. Not only that, but he left the restaurant for half of the waiting time. We discussed for a couple of minutes what kind of mofongo I wanted so it wasn’t like he didn’t know. And the $10 drink the bartender concocted was worth half the price. Other people ordered and ate with no apparent complaints. Just my bad luck.”

From there I walked down the street to Ruben’s Café. I ordered mofongo con pollo but the waitress thought I said arroz con pollo, so that’s what I got. I was so happy to see food on a plate in front of me that I decided not to say anything. Towards the end of the meal a different woman asked me about the food. I jokingly told her that it was good but not what I ordered. She must have been the manager or owner because she gave me mofongo free of charge. That was my dinner last night. The good and bad in life usually evens out.

Shiner Bock is the featured image. I stopped in a bar in OSJ and asked for a dark beer. Thought I’d get a Puerto Rican artesanal, but was given a Texas brew.

That’s all for the food update. I’m going back to OSJ tomorrow or Thursday so there will be more photos.

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