My husband and I, after a year and some change of married bliss (ish), decided to take our delayed honeymoon. Where to go? We wanted to go to Hawaii. Europe was an option. But since I am mistaken for being Puerto Rican every day of my life, we thought we should go see what it was all about.

We stayed at the LaConcha Renaissance Hotel, which was a beautiful, modern hotel in the Condado area of San Juan. Considering my husband and I always argue over how our new house should be decorated, this was decor we both agreed on. There was a DJ booth in the main lobby (spinning Euro tracks, yes, but still…), drinks flowing and cool people everywhere. (We ran into the guys from LMFAO there.)

For breakfast, we had Maizena, which is a traditional Puerto Rican breakfast food. My husband, whose family is Nigerian, calls it “soft cereal”, and had it growing up as well. It’s basically corn starch, used to thicken water to make a pudding type mixture. You can top it with anything, like toasted coconut.

In the hotel, there is a fancy restaurant called La Perla Restaurant. My husband wanted to go here because he thought it had something to do with the lingere brand. Um, no. But it was beautiful. The restaurant was situated in the actual shell that you see above. (Get it, La Perla = Pearl…)

Once we left the hotel, we visited Bombornera, the famous pastry shop that has been open since 1902.

Ah, Mofongo. No, I’m not cursing at you. Everyone talks about Mofongo, the famous dish from Puerto Rico. It’s a plantain based dish that takes fried plantains and mashes them into a sort of bowl like thing that they stuff with meat or seafood and then cover in a sauce. After biking around San Juan (yes, I convinced my husband to do this somehow..), we got the most amazing Mofongo.

We didn’t just eat — we did go parasailing.

And THEN: We stumbled upon Casa Lola. When I found out that it was a restaurant by Roberto Treviño, a former Iron Chef winner, I was obsessed. You know I’m a chef stalker. (Evidenced here , here and here.) The place was delicious, with traditional Puerto Rican food and impeccable service. Seriously, we ate here 4 times in 7 days. It was ridiculous.

From Top Left, Clockwise. Plantain-wrapped shrimp with codfish, arroz con pollo, fried green plantains, garlic shrimp with beans and rice.

And then there was the secret sauce. A cross between habaneros and jalapenos, it was sweet and spicy and the chef wouldn’t give us the recipe. We ended up requesting to-go containers every time we ate and smuggled it back to the US.

They had fried country cheese with papaya sauce. Amazing. And tres-leches cake. So-so…

And more food. Top left then clockwise: chicken salad with fried green plantains, Bocanegra cake (chocolate cake with marshmallows and graham cracker ice cream), grown up lemonade (grapefruit juice with honey, muddled lemongrass and white rum), fried plantains topeed with lobster meat.

All in all, everything was AMAZING. We had such a good time, and we will definitely be back!

~ Dana

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