Pigs everywhere! I had no expectations when my girlfriend told me about Guavate. She’s Puerto Rican so she’s always going on about how: “Babe, you have to try the Lechón from Guavate with a Medalla.” WTF is lechón? Well, “lechón” is the Spanish word for roasted, delicious, succulent pork.

by My Puerto Rico Experience

Our mission was simple:

  1. Travel to Puerto Rico.
  2. Survive my girlfriend’s family reunions all around the island.
  3. Catch some long overdue sleep in our comfy bed back at the Courtyard in San Juan.
  4. Get as much sun as possible; since New York can be brutal during the winter and yes, we were kind of pale.
  5. Drink as much “Ron” and “Cerveza” as our livers could handle, which is a lot.
  6. Eat until we couldn’t breathe.

My girl hooked us up with a nice suite at the Courtyard by Marriott in Isla Verde and the view itself was worth the trip to Puerto Rico. We could see the whole beach from our balcony. It was a pretty cool beach resort in San Juan where we could come back and get tanned after all the activities were over.

Her cousin picked us up at the hotel and we headed to Guavate in Cayey. The drive was less than an hour and it was chill. Not much to see until we got to road #184. We got there around 3:30 and took a while, driving around until we stopped at El Rey, where we got “arroz con gandules”, “lechón” and “pasteles”.

It was really cheap and good, and our stomachs didn’t take a hit, so we headed for the next joint, Lechonera Los Pinos. There I tried the blood sausage or “morcilla” for the first time which looked really sketchy for a hot dog but turned out to be spicy and very tasty. The “yuca” was also a win.

After a couple of hours of drinking Medallas and waiting for the food coma to pass, we headed for El Rancho Original, where we got “Rellenos de Papa” and “Empanadillas” (stuffed fried potato and turn overs). My favorite part of this place was the live salsa music and the vibe. People were having a blast drinking beers and dancing.

We were meeting more family members so we went to the other ranch, El Nuevo Rancho. It was at the top of the hill and with a better view than the other Rancho. There was loud music too and what looked like a dance hall attached next to the restaurant. Pretty random but my girlfriend said it was perfectly normal. The pork was even better than the first one we tried. Smoky and crunchy.

I felt so full at this point, I was beyond a food coma but my girlfriend insisted we had to try one last thing: the “mofongo” (fried plantain). We stopped at El Mojito where we did buy Mojitos and shared a huge ball of mofongo. It was so good, but I couldn’t enjoy it since our mission had been complete: “Eat until we couldn’t breathe.” Too much food, too little time, but one thing is for sure: Skip the bacon, eat pernil!