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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On the Road: Food Made with Love

To say that I'm a little tired of rain is an understatement. We had rain during our honeymoon, and we returned to the Bay Area to more rain. Rather than complain, I'm going to imagine that we're back in Puerto Rico, gathered around a table about to enjoy amazing hospitality and a bounty of food.

For you see, the night we visited Pasta y Puebla, it was raining cats and dogs (had been raining all day). This was arguably our best meal in Puerto Rico. Let me rewind a little bit. Our friend's uncle recommended this restaurant in Loquillo; it was billed as a warehouse. Coming from the Bay Area, my idea of a warehouse was different than a Puerto Rican warehouse. Pasta y Puebla is less than a block from the seawall and is closer in appearance to that of the old fish shacks I frequented in Morro Bay, CA as a kid than a warehouse.

When the kitchen is closed you wouldn't guess it's a restaurant; the windows are squares cut into the walls covered with boards on hinges. (We drove by it at lunch - they're only open for dinner.) At full capacity, they can accommodate maybe 16 people.

A brief aside, everything basically shuts down during the rain. We came by Pasta y Puebla two nights before we were to leave and discovered we were too late, they'd just shut down the kitchen and turned off the gas. The owners were very apologetic and asked us to come back the next night, promising us some appetizers.

The next night - our last night in Puerto Rico - we returned to Pasta y Puebla. Having read Yelp reviews, we were excited to try the food and had high expectations. It was still raining, so tables were arranged to avoid to leaks in the roof.

Our expectations were not high enough. The first appetizer brought out were Mussels.

The mussels were perfectly cooked - not chewy but melt in your mouth amazing. They were presented with a little garlic, tomato, basil, and oregano - all of which were balanced so nothing overpowered.

Next up was baked eggplant sprinkled with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

To finish off the appetizer course, they surprised us with Escargot. (I could have eaten an entire dinner just of the appetizers!)

For my entree, I chose grilled chicken. For sides there were two options, Coconut Rice or Penne Pasta with choice of sauce; I selected penne pasta with the garlic and oil sauce.
Chicken w/Penne Pasta & Garlic & Oil Sauce

The chicken was moist with a nice sear. I'd not thought of tossing pasta with garlic and oil; I'm definitely a fan. It was light, yet flavorful. It's a sauce I'm going to add to my repertoire. cubes chose the scallops with penne pasta in an Alfredo sauce.
Scallops w/Penne Pasta & Alfredo Sauce
The scallops were seared nicely and cooked evenly through; a feat one of the restaurants we ate at on our mini-moon wasn't able to accomplish.

Hopefully the sun is shining where you are, or, if not, you're staying warm and dry. More details of what we ate and where we visited later this week, stay tuned!

Bon Apetit!
Credits: All images taken via iPhone by Eden Hensley Silverstein for Recipes for the Good Life. More photos from the dinner on Flickr.

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