FOOD FOR THE SOUL

The story I’m about to tell has a sad beginning but, spoiler alert: THE MOST DELICIOUS END. Last summer I broke up with someone I deeply loved. One night as I was talking to my best friend over the phone, going over all the details of my recent break up for the 100th time, she came up with a great idea: Buy a ticket to somewhere in the Caribbean and book a couple nights in a luxurious hotel: “if you’re gonna cry, better do it with a glass of champagne in your hand in front of the sea” she said. And – she added – take me with you.

I knew exactly where to go: Puerto Rico. The place where I spent the happiest summers during my childhood, was the right place to mend my broken heart.

I booked at the amazing Condado Vanderbilt, it was exactly the kind of pampering I needed. During two days, all we did was go from the spa, to the pool, to the beach, and so on.

On the third day we decided to explore a little bit more around the area, and who would’ve known, that just a few feet away from our hotel I would find my favorite Puerto Rican dish, if not one of my favorite meals ever.

We discovered a local gem, it’s called Doña Ana, a restaurant over 40 years old named after its first owner Doña Ana, a typical Puerto Rican grandma who decided to share with the world her amazing taste. There I tried the “Bistec encebollado” one of the most traditional Puerto Rican dishes. It’s a very tender steak cooked on vinegar, local “adobo” and onions. It came with the typical “arroz con habichuelas” (white rice and beans). As soon as I tasted it, I was immediately taken to Latin flavor heaven. The secret seems to be on the use of “recao”, a kind of coriander added to Puerto Rican dishes.

My best friend tried another wonder brought right from latin flavor heaven, the Doña Ana’s pollo frito (fried chicken). Again, a simple recipe that becomes unique once local seasonings works its magic, it’s a taste you can only experience when in Puerto Rico. From that day on, we went there every day to try different dishes, the place never ceased to amaze.

No matter how broken your heart is, there’s nothing a couple of unforgettable days under the Puerto Rican sun can’t heal.

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