Only as wild as the vines in our back yard. Every year the wild black raspberry vines creep a little closer. It’s almost overwhelming to keep up with, but this time of year it’s all good. Because there is pie (made by our friend Dan) and wild black raspberry mojitos! The pie was gone from the 4th of July party before I got a picture, but the mojitos made their debut this evening.
See the recipe here. Just add a handful of black raspberries after the limes…and muddle them in as well. Cheers!
It’s been cold. (Apparently too cold to do a post since New Years Eve…sorry!) I’m sure everyone is aware that it’s been a cold winter. The polar vortex, or whatever the heck is causing this cold spell, has been all over the news. I feel like this tree.
I want to be warm, walking down the brilliantly sun-lit blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan with my beautiful wife. We would start towards El Asador on Calle de San Francisco. Along the way we would see a picturesque purple balcony and a few cool cats hanging around. When we arrive, we would sit at a table with a view of the street. The awesome bartender, Daniel, would make us mojitos with Don Q Cristal. They would be super refreshing. Daniel would bring our order of ceviche. It would be excellent and flavorful. We would sit, laugh, and enjoy.
For the first post of the new year, I am finally following up on the new years eve post with a must do for all of you traveling to Old San Juan. Heather had done lots of research on where to go for local cuisine, and the first place the hotel concierge mentioned lined up with one of her options. Café Puerto Rico. A few blocks walk from El Convento (more on this wonderful hotel to come), we ended up on the edge of Plaza Colon and entered the cafe. It was crowded and lively and we were told to come back in 38 minutes. Yes 38. Never have we received such an exact return time. We wandered a few doors down to the Parrot Club for a cocktail, and listened to a jazz trio for 36 minutes, then quickly returned.
Heather at the Parrot Club.
A mojito seemed like an appropriate first drink, along with a coconut martini.
We were rewarded for our patience with a private table on the balcony overlooking Plaza Colon. I can’t say how lovely a view I, in particular, had without showing you my view.
Heather at Café Puerto Rico, overlooking Plaza Colon.
We ordered mero (grouper) and tiritas de churrascos (skirt steak) mofongos rellenos, and a couple of tropical drinks. This ended up being our favorite meal of the trip!
Mofongos, lit with the dimmest of streetlights. Stellar.
Here are a few more visual highlights from the evening. More from Old San Juan to follow soon. Cheers!
A garita at sunset overlooking Bahia de San Juan.
Bahia de San Juan at sunset. The Bacardi factory is across the bay.
La Rogativa monument.
A view down Calle Las Monjas. Cats are a prominent feature of the area.
One of the many spectacular house number signs that can be seen throughout Old San Juan.
P.S. If those of you who subscribe (thank you so much for following along!), could let me know if the galleries appear correctly in your e-mail, I’d appreciate it. They look lovely in the on line post, but it showed up in my and Heather’s e-mail all broken and random. I’ve contacted WordPress about it, so hopefully we can get it resolved. Thanks!
Do you watch Burn Notice? If you do, you’ll know who Sam Axe is, and that the minty mojito is mentioned frequently. If not, I suggest you mix up a few of these and look for the show on USA.
We were fully immersed in the mojito when we went on our honeymoon to Puerto Rico, including the oddly silly tour of the Bacardi factory (which you should ask me about). We had all kinds: sweet, not sweet, super minty, barely minty, mint pulverized and whole. Pulling from all our experiences, we created our favorite classic style mojito; Minty, not too sweet, not too wimpy.
You can never go wrong mixing lime and sugar, but adding mint is what this drink is about. Thus the minty mojito, as Sam says. Take 10-15 medium sized mint leaves and place them in the bottom of your glass, pour in a splash of rum and muddle until the leaves are well crushed and the flavors are released into the liquid. (Breathe deep, the scent is marvelous, too.) Add lime wedges equal to half a lime and muddle some more to release the lime juice. Add crushed ice, 1 1/2 ounces light rum, 1/2 ounce simple syrup, 3 ounces lime seltzer, and stir. Take a sip and envision yourself on a Caribbean beach!
Mint, meet the muddler. Muddler, meet (and crush) the mint.
The muddling process (old Cuban sugar bag not mandatory).
The splendidly refreshing mojito! Warm weather in a glass.