Dining La Vida Loca in San Juan, Puerto Rico

December 2022 Update:

If you're reading this, whether it's your first time on my blog or your 90th, I'd like to thank you for being here. All of your compliments towards my writing, and interest in my foodventures over the last six years has made all the time I've dedicated to the research involved with my blog worthwhile. Moving forward my posts will have a new, casual, short hand format. I hope you'll enjoy this new direction and the next six years as much as the first.

Marmalade - Old San Juan

Strolling the quaint town of Old San Juan while enjoying a Baccardi Mojito, you couldn't be blamed for wondering whether you were in the Caribbean or somewhere in Western Europe. Its lantern lit, cobblestone alleys, and narrow pastel colored row house fronts exude European-Latin architecture. This should come as no surprise since Puerto Rico was founded by Spanish settlers. Old San Juan has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983 and to this day it has kept its Latin flare. The Spanish influence has also passed the test of time in the culinary form. Walk into Marmalade restaurant and get transported to a modern dining room within an original stone structure. The designer uses long curtains draped from tall ceilings to divide intimate dining rooms, lit with soft, non overwhelming neon colors. Iowan born Chef Peter Schintler applies Caribbean flavors to Spanish cuisine, combining local produce with the best ingredients available world wide to create wow-worthy, innovative dishes. His flavor combinations and modern platting have changed the way some people, including myself, see Puerto Rican cuisine. For more information visit www.MarmaladePR.com.

Grilled Tuna, Forbidden Black Rice, Baby Bok Choy,
Organic Peanut-Miso Broth Scented with Ginger & Lemongrass

Fluke Crudo, Watermelon, Ginger, Wasabi, Lemongrass Ponzu

Red Snapper Ceviche, Grapefruit, Avocado, Smoked Chili Dressing, Tostones

Seared Diver Scallop in its Shell, Red Curry Squash Spaghetti, Broth Scented with Bok Choy, Roasted Oyster Mushrooms, Tumeric-Garlic Puffed Quinoa Crumble

"Millionaires Ice Cream" - Homemade Black Truffle Ice Cream, White Truffle Honey,
Roasted Hazelnuts, Topped with Shaved Summer Truffles

La Factoría Bar - Old San Juan

As a lover of good eats and unique sips, I often find myself reading articles about both new & well established restaurants and cocktail bars around the world. If there's even the slightest chance that I'll ever find myself in that city or town, I'll pin the location so I have it in my back pocket for what ever the future holds. Am I ever glad that I saved La Factoría Bar. This unmarked bar - that's correct, no signs or exterior advertising, is the only bar in South America to be nominated by the James Beard Awards, and maintained its position in the World's 50 Best Bars for five years. The truly local hideout boasts six rooms, one to satisfy any patrons thirst and vibe. For more information visit www.LaFactoriaPR.com.

Streets of Old San Juan

Champeta - Don Q Añejo, Pineapple and Ginger Fermentation

La Factoría Bar's La Facto room

Mario Pagán - Condado

Puerto Rico may be a small territory, but its people are proud of their culture, and the island’s culinary scene is enjoyed by locals, tourists and across North America. In the heart of the Condado neighborhood, next to lux hotels and posh shops, Chef Mario Pagán has taken it upon himself to put a modern twist on his native cuisine at his namesake restaurant. When patron's walk in to the minimalistic space their attention is immediately drawn to a work of art at the back of the restaurant which uses mirrors to give the piece a multi-dimensional illusion. For more information visit www.MarioPaganRest.com.

Mario Pagán Interior Source Mario Pagán

Santa Cachuca - Fresh Muddled Pineapple, Mezcal Espadin, Agave Nectar,
Lime Juice, Chili Powder, Oregano and Red Pepper Flakes

"Bites" from top right to lower left;
-Tuna Tartare, Plantain Tostones, Sesame Aioli
-Escargots, Yuca, Bacon, Mofonguitos, Velouté
- Gouda Croquetas, Sweet Papaya

Magdalena 2.0 - Vodka, Gin, St-Germain, Lavender & Berry Infusion, Lemon Juice

Lamb Shoulder Confit, Goat Cheese & Truffle Cauliflower Risotto, Cranberry Sauce

From a quaint & quiet island, to the entertainment capital of the world. See how the team at L'atelier de Joël Robuchon are carrying the legendary Chef's legacy, here.


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