The last time I wrote I was complaining about the unceasing cold weather of Ohio. Well, much has changed since that post. I have exchanged the cold of Ohio for the unceasing warmth of Florida. Having been in my new habitat for a few months now, I am happy to report that I like it much more than I thought I would. Each trip to the grocery store brings new regional food discoveries and who knew that sunshine could be such a mood restorative? I can’t wait to share all of my adventures, but today I’m writing about a meal that happened before I left Ohio.
Since I love food so much, and since I had many people to bid farewell, it is no surprise that before leaving I had many going away meals. I could write about all of them. I could write about authentic Hungarian cuisine topped off by Mitchell’s Ice Cream. I could write about my surprise dinner at Nuevo and the amazing tequila flight that I sampled. I could write about Park Street Pizza. And I might yet write about those places, but today I’m writing about my Puerto Rican feast.
My friend from work is Puerto Rican, and when she told me we were going to get authentic Puerto Rican food for lunch I could not wait. When we got to the restaurant she helped me order because although I’m trying to learn, my Spanish is not bueno at the moment. All of the food was even better than I hoped it would be and I got to try something from my foodie bucket list!
So what did I have?
Tostones-Tostones are flattened and fried plantains. If you’ve never had a plantain, it looks like a banana, but is starchier. It’s kind of somewhere between a banana and a potato. I like to dip mine in the beans.
Chicharrones– This is fried pork skin and it is amazing. Like probably top 10 favorite foods amazing. If you were to give a plate of chicharrones and a plate of bacon and tell me I had to pick one, it wouldn’t even be a contest. I’d grab for the fried pork skin before the word bacon was even out of your mouth.
Arroz con Habichuelas- Puerto Rican Rice and Beans. Two words for this: comfort food. I don’t even know how to describe the flavor, other than I dreamed about it for days afterwards.
Escabeche– Escabeche is a plantain and chicken gizzard salad. The plantains and chicken gizzards are cooked. (These gizzards were really tender, not like the times I’ve tried to cook gizzards and ended up with a chewier texture). The cooked gizzards and plantains are mixed with a vinaigrette and there you have it. I can only imagine how refreshing this would be on a hot day.
Morcillas- And finally, saving the best for last. It’s not pictured, but I also got to try something that has been on my foodie bucket list for a while: Blood Sausage. Blood sausage is exactly what it sounds like. Pork blood is mixed with rice and spices, stuffed into a sausage casing, and then cooked. The important thing to know is that the texture isn’t like you would expect from a typical sausage. It’s softer, almost like a pudding or a stuffing. It was like nothing I have ever tasted, and I actually liked it a lot. I would definitely eat it again.
So that was my farewell feast! As an added bonus, now that I live in Florida finding the ingredients to make authentic Puerto Rican food is considerably less difficult than in Ohio. Maybe soon I’ll try experimenting.