In Search of Mofongo

Trip Start Oct 17, 2006
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Trip End Oct 23, 2006


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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back to Viejo San Juan on the bus. We walk a different route through the streets today; stop in a few other shops and somehow find ourselves headed towards Los Castillos de Viejo San Juan - San Cristobal Fort, a castle built to protect the city from land invasions, and El Morro, a six level castle 140 ft above sea level, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. It's an interesting place; lots of history. I learned a lot about Puertorican history and got a refresher course in the Spanish-American War and those countries' influences on Puerto Rico. The Fort is beautiful and mysterious. I am amazed that they could build such a fortress.

All of that historical stuff caused my stomach to grumble. So we head out in search of mofongo, the dish Kristin insists we try while here. A friendly police officer gives us directions to "the best place in Old San Juan" for mofongo. Jibralito's (He-bra-lee-toes) is about seven blocks from the Fort; a pleasant, family-style restaurant in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We tell Angel, our waiter, that we're here for mofongo, and he smiles because he knows they've got just what we're looking for. Okay, you're wondering what mofongo is. It's a mound of mashed plaintain (similar to banana), spiced with salt, pepper, garlic and other seasonings. It's often stuffed with chicken, pork, shrimp or beef; or sometimes it's served as a side dish. Michael orders the shrimp mofongo and I opt for the fried red snapper with a side of mofongo. Silly me for thinking my fish would be a pretty little filet of fish. I should have learned from our trip to Barbados that they serve whole fish in the Caribbean-head, eyes, tail and all. Once I get past that, I really start to enjoy it, especially the mofongo. Fabulous meal!

Back to our hotel on the bus. As we get off, we notice a car rental place right across from our hotel. Why didn't we notice that before? We get pricing and decide to come back and rent a car tomorrow and head out to the rain forest. But for tonight, we decide to skip dinner (our bellies still full of mofongo) and go to sleep early to prepare for our big hike tomorrow.
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