Sunday, October 18, 2015

5 Days in October: A Return to Puerto Rico

October 2015
I went to Puerto Rico. Again. This time for five days. With four dudes. This is how it went down.

Luquillo Beach. We landed in the afternoon so we didn't have a tremendous amount of time. Decided to come out here to do some flyboarding, but because it's no longer tourist season, no one was around to take my money.
Still life.
The view.
Actually this little surf hut was around to take my money. Surfboard rentals were $10 for 2 hours. What a deal. Problem was the surf was around 10-feet. Way too high for me. As I paddled out, I just kept paddling over waves, way too frightened to challenge myself to take them (and wipe out). The white wash was just fine for this wuss.
This is the main reason we went to Luquillo. The food. There's a long row of food kiosks set up along the highway. Lot of diverse eats, but I remember falling in love with El Jefe Burger Shack on my previous trip and figured I'd introduce my boy, Pete, to one of the best burgers I've ever had. I got the half-pound ground chuck filled with braised short rib, and topped it with fried egg and avocado. It was amazing, but I'd recommend the burger filled with chorizo instead, because the rib and barbecue sauce overpower the meat's flavor. Drink with a few Medallas.
Self explanatory.
A friend of a friend hooked us up with a private tasting event, Rums of Puerto Rico, at Princesa Gastrobar in Old San Juan. All of PR's rums were out and about for the tasting, bigger names like Bacardi and Don Q, but my favorite was Caray Rum, who's owner we got to meet. He's a big fan of Astros star Carlos Correia. His kid went to the same baseball camp.
This was Anejo Gold Rum, which Caray hopes becomes a sipping rum much like with whiskey. I'm not a big sipper of alcohol, but this was quite smooth. The ambience may have been a factor.
This is one of the beaches at Rincon, a well-known surf town on the west coast of the island about 2+ hours away from San Juan. On the drive here, we ate breakfast at a Wendy's. Breakfast at Wendy's? Crazy! Crazy shitty that is. Now I know why Wendy's doesn't serve breakfast up here. Anyway, we rented boards from Mar Azul, a small surf shop about a 2-minute drive up the hill from the beach. Cheap rentals, as well.
This GoPro still is totally misleading. I didn't catch this wave but I wanted to look cool. Here's the deal, I rented a 7'6 board because it had a GoPro mount and I thought it would be sweet to get video. Low and behold, my skill set does not enable me to catch waves on a 7'6. Damn you, shorter longboard! #Fraud 
Downtown Rincon. Not much to look at except this guy. Who judging from the design on this memorial, probably communicated with mermaids and other sea-based species. #NoDisrespect #IgnorantAmerican
Upon some new local friend's suggestions, we ate dinner at a Cuban restaurant called Asere, in a neighborhood where all the locals hang, La Placita. The food was incredible, and they also had solid mojitos to accompany. I'm not a huge rice and beans fan, but them beans were indeed a musical fruit! Not because they make you fart, but because they're so good you hear a symphony when you're eating them (actually, that might've been the music on at the restaurant). 
This tuna tartare with plantain chips did not last long. We also got the ceviche but it was creamy, not as light as I prefer. Wouldn't recommend trying that bad boy.
I was impressed at how the bill was presented. In a Cuban cigar box. #ItsTheLittleThings La Placita is filled with different bars and clubs to hit. It's Santa Barbara's State Street, or like the West Hartford Center! #Sigh #ItsNothingLikeWestHartfordIfYouKnowWhatImSaying
The Friday night crowds at La Placita only got bigger as the night wore on. We didn't stay out too late as we had an early morning drive.

GoPro video:

Next: El Yunque National Forest, Old San Juan at night

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