Vibrance in Puerto Rico: Part 1
Back in early June, I took a vacation to the island of Puerto Rico to indulge in much-needed relaxation under the Caribbean sun. There was a lot going on in my life at the moment between changes with my physical health and the recent passing of my cousin. I had debated on even still going to PR as I’d be leaving the family to mourn amongst themselves for a few days while I was gone. After going back and forth, I decided I needed the air. I packed my bags and prepared to take a flight the next day.
Back in 2016, I had visited Puerto Rico during Key’s birthday. I fell in love with the atmosphere and care-free vibes; it was chill. The food was unmatched with the American food of the states. The azul color of the ocean and golden sand of Piñones beach had me soaking in paradise. I had become one with the beach and entirely zoned out. It was honestly one of my best memories the way I felt so relaxed.
“The relaxed feeling was what I was looking to relive.”
Puerto Rico suffered from Hurricane Maria last year in 2017 and some parts of the island are still left devastated. As we flew in, I could see the difference between what the beauty my eyes captured the first time in 2016 and this time in 2018 with the devastation. That being said, some part of me still felt home. This is where I needed to be right now, at this moment.
When traveling to PR, you’ll need to catch a taxi out of the airport. Rideshare services are not permitted to pick up travelers from the airport, they are only authorized to drop off. We hopped in a taxi and made our way over to Ocean Park. The Airbnb we lodged at was located within steps of the beach and just a short walking distance to a variety of restaurants and convenience stores.
Let’s start with the food!
There is absolutely no way you’d miss this spot with its purple exterior. Just a short walk up the street, we came here for desayuno. Café Provi is a two-for-one special where you can eat and also buy some goods. We ordered the French toast, empanadas, and taco sandwich. Listen you MUST order that taco sandwich! I promise you’ll be in a food coma. My goodness, that bad boy was so flavorful and here I was trying to be modest with French toast. The taco sandwich is stacked with layers of ground beef, cheese, and love between multigrain bread (‘cuz some of us like to watch our figure, okay!) With some plantains on the side, your stomach is going to be singing to you!
Mist Rooftop Bar + Kitchen:
Mist Rooftop was listed under participating restaurants during PR Restaurant week. I booked a reservation and we caught an Uber Friday night to Carolina. Mist is located on the top floor of a hotel. If you’re unfamiliar with the area of Carolina, it’s where most of the hotels, American restaurants, and tourists are located. Personally, I prefer to lodge by the locals, but whatever your heart pleases.
Mist is a nice spot with a gorgeous ocean view. Making the reservation for Friday night was perfect for watching the sunset. We ordered the yucca fries, rum and coke, Grilled Churrasco, and Penne pasta with chicken. The food was good, but it wasn’t memorable to me. I liked Mist more-so for the rooftop view, so if that’s something you’re looking for then check it out.
*** La Casita Blanca:
This was one of my FAVORITE spots! I’m going to let the pictures do the talking because I will visit this place every time I come to Puerto Rico. Between authenticity, vibes, and customer service, you’re coming here for sure.
Café El Punto:
Be sure to grab dinner while visiting Old San Juan. I remember when I first walked up to Café El Punto, I was trying to figure out where the seating area even was; it didn’t seem like a restaurant at first. The host pulled back a curtain and revealed a cozy dining area filled with décor and art pieces. I ordered the Pollo y Carne Molida Tostones. The dish was composed of shredded chicken and ground beef filled into plantain cups. I understood why this place had so many reviews. The chicken melted in my mouth, ground beef seasoned to perfection, and let’s face it, plantain with anything is a hit!
This place is a must if you’re in the Ocean Park area! Even Obama has been a visitor to this cafe! Kasalta is a bakery and café. There’s a little something for everybody here: deli sandwiches, soups, pastries, and real meals with wine. I first visited Kasalta during Key’s trip and I ate here twice during that stay. Obviously, I was going to back again this time. I didn’t try any of the real meals offered at the front end of the counter (I think that’s the restaurant portion), but I got my selection of pastries and sandwiches. I got the Bistec on one occasion and the Turkey breast on another. The Bistec is made up of shaved steak, onion, Julienne fries, and ketchup. The turkey sandwich has turkey breast, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Do not be fooled; the julienne fries are not the same as French fries. I am no longer a pork eater (by choice), but from when I first ate here, the Cuban sandwich and scrambled eggs with ham, onion, and peppers were also delicious.
Café Tresbe boasts an outdoor setup with three spots to try food or drink from. We ordered grilled churrascco and a burger from 1765 restaurant. Nothing beats a late-night meal better than steak, a burger, and a cold Medalla. The music, warm night, and good food had me vibing out.