Saturday, January 4, 2014

Destination San Juan Puerto Rico

My mantra is to say "Yes" more often than I say "No"   This leads us on occasion to travel destinations simply because without further thought we said "Yes".

Surrounded by the Caribbean and the Atlantic oceans and easily lured by the pristine beaches and tropical weather it is easy to imagine why you would easily say "Yes" to Puerto Rico.


Our ideal travel experience is discovering the local culture, food and the neighborhoods.  We take the opportunity to walk, and walk some more.  We enjoy being part of the local community and shy away from the tourist crowds.

We visited the local Farmers Market on a hot humid Saturday morning where citrus was front center.


 A local artisan cheese maker who produced a delightful semi-hard sheep's milk cheese.  We purchased a small wedge of her cheese, a baguette, a few slices of cured meat and fruit and called it lunch.



A small farmer selling his fresh plantains to the local restaurants that lined the cobblestone alley way of our rented loft. Our loft faced the back of a busy restaurant and it was a rare experience for us to be able to gleam restaurant life from their back door.


Love the Spanish colonial neighborhoods in San Juan. 



A refreshing local drink that is often sold by street vendors was Agua Frescas literally translated means "Fresh Waters"  A blend of pureed fruit, water, a squeeze of lime juice and a hint of sugar.  To say these refreshing drinks were delicious would be an understatement.  They were thirst quenching in the tropical heat of the afternoon.

You can easily make Agua Frescas at home and any ripe fruit is fair game.  My favorite on the island was a watermelon fresca which I enjoyed immensely.  



Watermelon-Lime Agua Fresca
Serves 4


Ingredients:
2 pounds seedless watermelon
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup or agave nectar

Directions:

For the simple syrup: Mix 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar.  Bring to boil over medium-low heat and simmer without stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs ( e.g basil or mint).  Let steep for 15 minutes until flavor has infused the syrup.

Blend all ingredients, adjusting sweetness as needed.  Strain through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth (optional).  Serve over ice.

Enjoy!



33 comments:

Ali @ JamHands.net said...

The colors in the picture of the citrus stand are so beautiful. They just make me happy :) I've never tried Aqua Fresca but I'm pinning this to try this Summer :)

We Are Not Martha said...

I would definitely say yes to Puerto Rico! I'd say yes to this drink, too :)

Sues

jenn from much to my delight said...

I went to San Juan last month as well as completely fell in love with the city and cuisine. Hope you found some good mofongo while you were there as well! I didn't have an agua fresca and am kicking myself for it. But I'm not worried because I've already decided to make PR a yearly trip.

Farm Girl said...

I love the bright colors of the building and I think I would love to visit there. I think the drink sounds fantastic.
How nice you can go for a visit.

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

Wow, what a great vacation and thanks so much for sharing some photos. So colorful and looks and feels just like I would imagine. I would have loved that Farmer's market.

weekend et coup de brosse said...

Très joli post ! Magnifiques photos.
Bonne année!
Cath.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

What a lovely trip!! The water is a beautiful color!! Perfect timing for you to be away from the states - we're all in a deep freeze!!

rosaria williams said...

Now you really made us envious!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

Terrific holiday. It's been years since I was in San Juan. I wasn't there long and remember walking on cobblestones for what seemed ages and fell in love with the place.

Big Dude said...

I'll bet a lot of folks in the Eastern US wish they were there for the next few days.

Karen Harris said...

I don't blame you, I would say yes to Puerto Rico too. What a beautiful place. Love this refreshing recipe.

Hungry Dog said...

I have never been to PR but it looks gorgeous. I am really craving a beach vacation these days...but we are closer to Hawaii so I imagine that is where we will land. Regardless: I love agua fresca and watermelon is my favorite flavor!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

so pleased you had fun :-) happy new year

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

This sounds like the perfect get-away after the holidays so you can relax and soak up some sun. I would say "Yes" too.
Sam

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What a great visit! Lovely pictures that take you into the heart of San Juan!

Ann Jones said...

Beautiful pictures! I love all the bright colors :) Looks like a great vacation!

Prestomktggroup said...

I really enjoyed the article, and the photography. San Juan is really better when you do get off the beaten path of tourists, Here is a book that I found helpful.
http://www.amazon.com/Puerto-Rico-Travel-Secrets-Unforgettable/dp/1441429093

Taste of Beirut said...

oh! wow! What a wonderful trip! Seeing your images reminded me of my Spanish course where the narrator travels throughout Latin America and ends up in San Juan. She did not go visit Cuba though. (it is called Destinos). Enjoy!

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

This is such a beautiful post, look at all those bright and festive colors! Makes me want to jump on a plane right now!

Catherine said...

Dear Velva, Wow!!! What a beautiful vacation to say, "yes" to. I am happy that you are bringing in the New Year with such beautiful memories made. I hope you put more pictures. I love looking at pictures.
Blessings dear. Catherine xo

Julie said...

Beautiful! I've never been there but have heard great things. Warn weather sounds good right now.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Looks like a place I would love to visit. Warm sounds so nice right now :). Delicious drink for warm weather.

Tina said...

I love the photos, the pne with the truck and produce in the back is very interesting abd cool! What a nice trip. I saw your comment and thank you so much for visiting :-)
It sure will be cold tomorrow but we are taking off to spend time with our son. he has leave from Ft Stewart.

Tina said...

I love the photos, the pne with the truck and produce in the back is very interesting abd cool! What a nice trip. I saw your comment and thank you so much for visiting :-)
It sure will be cold tomorrow but we are taking off to spend time with our son. he has leave from Ft Stewart.

Lori said...

It looks like a wonderful trip! Puerto Rico has been so high on my travel list. I'm not sure when we'll make it now that we are on the west coast, but I love learning more about it through posts like this. The agua fresco sounds so good!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

Lovely photos -- looks like a wonderful trip! I love agua fresca - we make it a lot in the summer. Delicious and refreshing!

Jennifurla said...

I love the vibrant pictures! I need to get out more, though I'm spoiled in living in San Diego.

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Our local taqueria has a new agua fresca everyday and I actually prefer it to the tacos! Loving the pictures of Puerto Rico, I had no idea it would be so colorful :)

Kitchen Belleicious said...

WOW! Oh wow! I wish I had been there! It looks amazing. So glad you got to get away!

~~louise~~ said...

Spur of the moment excursions are thee best!!! I'm all warm and cozy just looking at these colorful pictures, Velva. Although it's pretty darn cold out, I wouldn't even mind a sip of that Agua Fresca. Thank you so much for sharing...

absence alternatives said...

Beautiful pictures. Glad that you had a lovely time there. Bet you're missing the warm, sunshine there mighty bad right now. Burr. :-)

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

A beautiful place.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Velva, how fun! And that watermelon drink looks so refreshing. I've always (and I mean for decades!) wanted to make a watermelon drink, but then I start eating the watermelon and it's so crisp and wonderful to eat that I hate to put it into the blender. But this summer, I'm going to sacrifice one little watermelon to the blender!

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