Just Wandering

Today Scott and I are on our own, Jerry has to work. We have no car so we wander around checking things out withinin walking distance. We are looking for a nearby beach. We find a beautiful little marina, we find a little park. Remember I still have a lot of weakness in my legs so we can’t walk too far. The sky is looking ominous. We better head back, never find the beach.

We head back to the Metro and play some penny slots at the casino. I was playing with a $10 voucher the hotel gave me. At one point I was up $16! Then I quickly lost it all. I don’t think I’m cut out for gambling! It’s lunch time now so we head back to the Metro. We found our friend Linda there. She talks us into trying the croquetas, delicious little ham filled pastries(not really a pastry) more of a doughy fried treat. I have mofongo de pollo with mushroom sauce, it is like mashed plantains and cassava stuffed with chicken, very good indeed. Scott had the can can pork, this is a huge pork chop, the fat is left on and cooked to a crispy deliciousness! This food is very good but I am surprised that with all the abundant vegetation here, the cuisine is not bursting full of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables. Linda orders spaghetti, what!? Why would you order spaghetti in Puerto Rico? Interestingly enough Linda travels quite a bit and explains how she likes to order spaghetti in different places because you can get it just about anywhere and it always has a local twist and flavor to it. Turns out she was right, her spaghetti came with a light brown sauce and it had potatoes in it. More like a stew on pasta than the traditional Spaghetti and meatballs I grew up with. In the future I might have to try this. As for now I enjoy finding Puerto Rican foods that I am unfamiliar with.

We are still pretty tired so we spend the rest of the day hanging out by the pool, swimming and relaxing. The next few days are jam packed with adventure. So we better rest up!

Finally!

More waiting! Our flight keeps getting delayed. The 10:30pm flight turns into an almost midnight flight. If that would have happened this morning we wouldn’t have missed our first plane! There’s nothing we can do but wait. We board the plane and off we go!

We started Wednesday, it is now Thursday. It’s almost 3:00 am when we finally get to our hotel. We have been awake for almost 24 hours. I am beyond tired. The hotel is beautiful, clean, comfortable, a Hyatt House Hotel in San Juan. I notice lots of tropical vegetation and hear the little Ko-Kee frogs singing as we walk to the hotel, they sound like birds. I hit the bed and pass out. When we finally wake up we realize…we are finally here, we are in Puerto Rico! I am still really tired. We go hang out by the pool for a while. I do a little swimming, it feels good. I decide to try and swim every day while I am here to try and help work out the pain that I have been dealing with in my shoulder. I think it’s a damaged nerve. I dry off and soak up a little sun for awhile, it feels so comforting. Nothing to do but pamper myself!

We take a little walk and soak in some of the Puerto Rican flavor. Everyone is so friendly and eager to offer directions or advice. I am amazed that almost everyone here speaks english easily and fluently. They can switch back and forth from spanish to english effortlessly. We head to the Metro and have some amazing local cuisine. I had the Montuno Cubano, which has diced pork which is boiled then fried and sautéed in onions, a tamale, congri rice, and casava. Scott had a wonderful dish, Lomillo A Caballo,  beef steak and eggs. It was delicious and there was so much, we took some home for later.

Late afternoon we drove to La Torre, a cool little town, where we got to watch some filming of the movie that Jerry has been working on. A colorful patchwork of little buildings and restaurants lined the streets. All the sights and sounds were intoxicating. Pigs on spits, pallets for firewood, fried foods, hanging coconuts and plantains. Stray dogs, cats, and wandering chickens everywhere! We went to the Waterfront restaurant to pick up some food for the actors, it was on the Loiza boardwalk. The ocean was beautiful!

We had dinner with the filming crew. The caterers were set up in the middle of a field under a tent. The food was delicious. I was still kinda full from our late lunch, so I ate light. Scott had what he thought was a pile of mashed potatoes, turns out it was mashed plantains and they were delicious, way better than potatoes! We met some interesting people and had some good conversations. As night fell we started to get bitten by no see ums, it was time to go. We were still pretty tired.

Today was a day to relax, unwind, and depressurize from the last few weeks. I am amazed, we are finally here, in Puerto Rico!

Boston Bound 2

Boston

Ok so after a long road trip with plenty of trials and tribulations we make it to Boston. Boston is charming! The streets are lined with quaint little homes with flower boxes and gardens everywhere. The roads are crazy and everyone walks, I can see why as I would rather walk than drive here! You can take more in by walking, driving is a learned skill here. They say the roads follow the old cattle trails and I believe it! We were hungry from our travels so we stopped at a little place right by our hotel called Florentinos. Very good Italian food and seafood, delicious New England Clam Chowder! The menu is large but everything we tried was pretty good.

Some of our adventures included The Boston Museum of Fine Art, simply amazing!  The Constitution, a beautiful ship which was first launched in 1797, docked in the Charleston Navy Yard. We saw the Bunker Hill Monument, Fenway Park, Cheers. We walked around the Boston Commons and watched a crazy one man band playing some great music, we strolled through Boston Gardens, beautiful. We went to Bobby From Boston, a wonderful vintage clothing store. The old floors even creaked as we walked around! So much to see.

Boston has a strong local food scene and a tradition of holding weekly open-air farmers markets, http://www.BostonFarmersMarkets.org There are plenty of foodie options in Boston. Chinatown has variety of Asian inspired cuisine and medicinal herb and spice vendors. Little Italy, as it sounds, has all the italian food and bakeries you could think of, try Mikes. And the influence of my mothers favorite, Julia Childs a longtime resident of Cambridge, lives on in many of the eateries. The Union Oyster House is the oldest operating restaurant in the United States. Quincy Market, part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, has a variety of restaurants and food shops. We ate at Dicks just for the fun of it, insulting waitresses, goofy hats and all!

We love hockey and went to a Bruins game at the TD Garden, we had a blast! Also stopped for lunch across the street at Halftime Pizza, a game day must! The town was humming because their beloved Red Sox had just won the world series. Statues throughout the town wore Red Sox jerseys!

One last place I must mention was in Salem Ma, a little place on the corner of Derby called Scratch Kitchen, it is a wonderful little place with a focus on regional and local farm fresh ingredients, right up my ally! Handcrafted sandwiches, soups and salads. I enjoyed it so much we ate there twice!

As for Boston, we loved it, a vibrant fun city. With so much to see and do. I am sure we will be back!

Boston Bound!

Off we go into the wild blue yonder! Ok well not really. We are driving all the way up the east coast in a huge RV, destination Boston, Massachusetts. We have no idea what we are doing. I tend to be a nervous passenger anyway but especially when we are driving someone else’s $900,000 RV! This thing takes up the whole lane! I feel like I could reach out the window and touch the semi trucks that are passing, yikes! But hey we have technology and we know how to use it! So…we program our destination in the gps on our phone and we’re off!

Well maybe not so fast…our gps doesn’t realize we are quite a bit larger than a car and winds up getting us lost in downtown Washington, DC. “Make a U turn” it keeps calmly saying. It’s not that easy to make a U turn in a 45 ft. long RV with tons of road construction, low bridges, and traffic! Ugh! Let me just say this RV was on some roads it should have never seen that day!  After about 45 stressful minutes of being lost we are finally getting back on track. Things are looking good until I look up and off in the distance I see the scariest looking bridge I had ever seen. This was The Francis Scott Key bridge, it is narrow and high! I couldn’t do this. Not today. Not after being lost for almost an hour. I have no choice! We must go on! I sat on the floor, held my breath, and looked at my iPad until we had crossed! We made it! We were finally back on the highway things were looking up…to be continued

Artichoke melt

Let the adventures begin!

Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far at all to have wonderful food and fun. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder. There is a tiny coffee shop tucked away behind KFC in Belleview, Florida that is wonderful! BD Beans Coffee Company, 5148 SE Abshier Blvd., the place is like a little oasis. The atmospher is relaxing. Becky the owner is very welcoming and sweet. The waitresses are friendly and helpful. The decor is eclectic with lots of wonderful whimsical decorations. On a beautiful day you can even eat outside in a little garden surrounded by plants and fountains, you almost forget you are sitting 50 feet away from highway 441! They are opened for breakfast and lunch. Of course they have coffee and tea. Definitely try a hot spiced chai, one of my favs, the exotic spices and frothy top are just delish!

And the food…the food is amazing! The food is fresh and homemade. They have delicious quiche and French toast, huge muffins, fresh fruit and bagels.  I enjoy it because I can get things here that you can’t get just anywhere. For lunch I recommend the artichoke melt with the cucumber dipping sauce, yum. And the sundried tomato sandwich on focaccia. Not to mention more traditional things like egg salad on Black Forest or a pressed Cuban. You can get an Italian soda to wash it all down, very good not too sweet just right. They have great soups all homemade, Italian wedding soup, tomato soup, potato soup, a different soup is featured each day. I just had the chicken and vegetable soup very good. And if your looking for something a bit lighter they have salads and smoothies too. If you are feeling indulgent they have desserts biscotti and cookies. They have crazy good cakes! I am not a huge cake eater BUT every year on my birthday I love to go there and have a slice of one of the wonderful cakes that Elaine bakes with a big ol cup of chai!

So, if your ever down in these parts check out BD Beans I think you will enjoy it. And by the way, check out the artwork, a lot of it is mine! 😊