Puerto Rican Food Inspiration

by Kimberly Hickok

Have you ever eaten something at a restaurant and wished you could recreate it at home? That’s the challenge I’m facing. A few months ago I had two meals in Puerto Rico that were absolutely fabulous – Chicharrón de pescado, pique criollo y limón at Casa Lola Criollo Restaurant and the Ceviche at Perla.

Chicharrón are fried pork rinds. What Casa Lola did was brilliant. They took the concept of fried pork rinds, which are crunchy and salty and made a chicharrón-inspired fish dish. They took grouper, cut it into small pieces and then lightly battered and fried them. The result? A light, savory, kind of salty, crunchy fish bite. It was served with rice and beans.

See how light the batter is? The tricky part will be getting the seasoning just right.

Rice and beans, a Puerto Rican staple, should be easy enough to duplicate, right?

I’m going to try to recreate the dish with some of the Steelhead that Mark caught.

The second dish, the ceviche, was also wonderful. Lots of lime, but not too much.

Shrimp, clams, squid, octopus and a firm white fish. I know I can find the seafood – getting the marinade right will be the challenge. But I’m up for it. I can do this.

I’m hoping that by recreating these dishes I can relive the warm breezes, blue sky and ocean views that we are definitely NOT experiencing right now in January.

The view from Perla in La Concha hotel on Condado Beach, San Juan Puerto Rico. Open air, ocean-front dining. Awesome!

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Kimversations Puerto Rican Rice and Beans » Kimversations July 9, 2013 - 7:54 am

[…] The rice and beans we had there were fantastic and I’m going to try to recreate the recipe based on how I’ve made them before and from my recent memories of them in Puerto Rico. […]

derryX July 31, 2014 - 7:29 pm

If you’re going into Old San Juan, you gotta check out Cafe Manolin. It’s literally a hole in the wall little diner, but their prices are extremely reasonable and the portions are plentiful. It’s one of those places that you walk in and realize it’s where the locals eat. When I say we bought our plane tickets to eat at this place, I’m totally being serious! (Well that and sitting on the water at Hacienda Don Jose in the Condado).

We went to an amazing place called Kasalta in Ocean Park, but we weren’t able to scratch the surface on navigating through their menu because my Spanish is really rusty, and they don’t understand English too much there. They have artisanal cheeses, cured meats, exquisite baked goods, sandwiches and other cafe items, and fine dining dishes. You’d never expect that last bit walking into the place, because it’s really casual. I’m working on blogging this experience soon.

If you’re into art, I recommend checking out the Museum of Art. Inside there is a beautiful restaurant called Laurel Art Bar. It’s definitely fine dining, and was one of the best meals I’ve ever had on the island. I’m working on writing this one up soon, too. I’m way too behind!

I have a good handful of posts from vacation that are in progress, so keep checking back in to see if any of the other spots we checked out look like something you want to hit on your next visit!


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