Puerto Rico

Eating my way through Fajardo, Puerto Rico

What started out as a girls’ trip to the Caribbean ended up being an excellent opportunity to check out the food scene in the eastern coastal town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico. We sailed a catamaran and snorkeled in clear blue water, spotted a baby lemon shark swimming on the shore, and fell asleep to the lullaby of the native coqui frog. However, we also tasted Puerto Rican mofongo and alcapurrias, and talked to Brooklyn transplants Chef Kevin Roth and his wife Idalia about their five-year-old Nuyorican restaurant La Estacion. Stay tuned for my upcoming story in The Latin Kitchen about how this couple is turning Puerto Rican food on its head. In the meantime, these are some outtakes from the trip.

The sparkling Caribbean behind us

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A Nuyorican at Better Being

Whenever you fantasize about comida casera, now you can get the flavors of Puerto Rico in a killer sandwich at Better Being 940, the newest midtown outpost from the creative force behind downtown’s Better Being Underground.

The sunny spot, which opened November 2012, is energizing the area’s food scene with its colorful market-driven menu, funky art, and downtown vibe. But the real headliner, to this Latinfoodie at least, is The Nuyorican, inspired by the Puerto Rican flavors of the Lower East Side and one of the restaurant’s most addictive sandwiches. more »

Latinfoodie Goes to Europe

Hello Friends, I’m thrilled to share with you my first international byline! I have just been published in Sabor, a food magazine distributed in the Netherlands. For their Winter 2011 issue, I had the honor of covering Latin American tamales, prepared throughout the Caribbean and Venezuela during the Holidays. The story has been translated to Dutch, but here’s the original story in English. Hope it’s what you need to kick off a wonderful and blessed Holiday season! ¡Felices Fiestas! more »

Puerto Rican Soul


Some of the ingredients for the sofrito

Some of the ingredients for the sofrito

To celebrate the Latin American spirit on Capitol Hill, infuse your dishes with a Caribbean kick. Try sofrito, the secret to the aromatic, flavorful cuisine from Puerto Rico. Sofrito resembles the holy trinity of Italian cuisine(onion, carrot, celery) in that it is the beginning of many dishes, but adds cilantro and culantro, herbs evocative of Latin America kitchens. Sofrito, also known as recaíto, is the essence of Puerto Rican cuisine: from stews to rice to casseroles, it imparts the complex flavors that characterizes much of this Caribbean fare–warm, aromatic, pungent and fruity.

In search of an authentic sofrito recipe, I made my way up to La Fonda Boricua, a Puerto Rican institution located in the heart of El Barrio in East Harlem. Here I ordered a dish of stewed goat (chivo guisado) and rice with pigeon peas(arroz con  güandules) with an avocado salad. The meat, to my dismay, was tough and excessively gamey, but its sauce was vibrant and perfumed with herbs and peppers, rounding out the nuttiness of the rice with its sweetness. 

Jorge Ayala, chef of La Fonda has shared his recipe of sofrito. Use it as a marinade for your favorite chicken or rice dishes, or any time you want to vary the flavors of your homemade meal. 


Sofrito(from Jorge Ayala of La Fonda Boricua)

1  cup chopped white onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup chopped red pepper

4 garlic cloves

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup culantro leaves

Blend all ingredients and add to ice tray. Freeze and use one cube per dish.

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