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Friday, August 29, 2014

Music Alert: Bebe – Siempre Me Quedara

Sharing the music that I will vibe to this weekend...

In the midst of longing for life in a Spanish speaking country as well as some island life, I can't help but listen to music that evokes nostalgia as well as inspires me to write and create. Lately, I have been listening to a lot of vocals and instrumental guitar, so for the next couple of weeks, you can expect to hear some fun and relaxing music picks every Friday.

Bebe is a Spanish singer who got international fame because of her two songs, "Ella" and "Malo." I was introduced to her by a friend of mine who added the Bajofondo radio station to my Pandora where I found her music. From there, I was hooked. I have found that a lot of her music is super versatile and fits into many aspects of my life – because of this, I can listen to her just about anywhere. I am bewitched by her vocals and her musical style, but I think it is the spanish guitar that suckers me in. 

Vibe with me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Restaurant Alert: Cafeteria Mallorca

The Wannabe Puerto Rican Diaries: Eating breakfast like a local



Cafeteria de Mallorca 

I decided to have a locals breakfast at this little place that I had walked by a few times, Cafetería de Mallorca. When I walked in, I felt like I was thrown back to the fifties – it was one of those blast from the past places – you know, the ones where everyone knows everyone and you have el mesero as your best man. I sat at the bar and ordered a tocineta y huevo ($5.25), basically a bacon and fried egg sandwich and I drank some hot tea ($1.50)As a Mexican American, I wanted to ask for salsa, but I knew I couldn't, that's basically against all rules of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, but we Mexicans, hot sauce on everything. Literally.





Here's what they did: Fried an egg (overcooked), cooked some bacon, slapped it on some thick buttered bread and put it in, what seems like, a panini press smooshing the nice bread and presto (see below). From sitting there as long as I did, I noticed that this sandwich pressing business was done to every sandwich. A Puerto Rican thing I suppose, similar to la tripleta




At the end of my breakfast, I realized that I had my breakfast paid for by one of the musicians staying at the hotel – Juan Carlos Fernandez Nieto. He's a cool Spanish dude who just happens to be a famous pianist who graduated from Yale (no big deal). Check him out. I felt special. >> 300 Calle San Francisco, San JuanPuerto Rico, 787-724-4607

Men update: 
  • Whether the men are old, young, fat or just plain ugly, they will make it apparent that they are checking you out. Notice that I didn't mention the attractive ones – yeah, they don't pertain to what I am saying.  If they notice you, they will walk right up to you and buy you a drink because if you're attractive enough, otherwise, don't get your hopes up that some exotic man will walk right up to you and show you how to salsa. Life just doesn't work that way.
  • Varieties: Like Los Angeles, you have the two extremes (super buff dudes and the dudes who have never lifted in their lives) and then everyone in between – the machos, nerds, pot heads, in betweens, the ones that know they're hot – Ladies, don't fall for the crazies! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Travel Alert: Day 22 – First World Problems

Strange things always happen when you're traveling. I have heard stories of people landing themselves in creepy hotels, having their luggage stolen or lost on a plane, getting stranded in a place with no signs, or catching the local sickness – the list goes on and on and sadly, that's life, but come on, we never think that this is stuff that happens to us, right? Wrong.

Last night, upon having drinks with some friends, I ventured to the ladies room (actually the men's room because I had to go so badly) and you know, I took out my phone, started texting, finished up my business and was on my way. As I approached my friends at the bar, I realized that something part of me was missing, something so precious that it was almost an extended part of my life. My iPhone was missing.

I quickly searched my bag and all the pockets in my black romper (with pockets) and my blue jean shirt coverup thing (with pockets), my friends hastily reached for their phones and called me; I ran back to the bathroom and searched everywhere – nothing.

We took out my friends iPhone and logged into the app "Find My iPhone," but it only located my laptop – my phone was clearly turned off, inferring bad intentions. From there, I called AT&T – the best service to use in Puerto Rico – and reported my phone as lost/stolen. The next best thing that I can do it wait, call my insurance company and hope for the best.

You see, there are good people and bad people in this world. The good ones will return your phone to the bartenders and report it missing, the bad ones will take the found phone, turn it off and eventually sell your white iPhone 5c for $200 just because they can. If you are ever in the situation where you see someone's phone, please return it to an individual that is in charge, because if this ever happened to you, I know that this is what you would want to happen. Money doesn't grow on trees, you know.

I deeply felt that this is something that was completely my fault, but I thought I would express to the world that my emotion, pain and withdrawals that I am experiencing without having my phone in my possession is only temporary because it is nothing compared to world hunger, so please, in order to make myself feel better and to show the world that my avid social-media-using-self is bigger than this trivial, first world problem, I encourage you to do something for someone else today because there are worse things that could have happened last night and that happen on this planet everyday, like world hunger.

I will leave you with a few things. In order to help stop world hunger, here is something fun to do if you're bored at work: go to http://freerice.com/category – you can play games and earn rice that can be sent to countries that need food. It's like 10 grains of rice and you're sending people food. Cool concept right?

And this.



Be careful out there and happy travels.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Restaurant Alert: Il Bacaro Venezia, 152 Calle Cruz, San Juan, 00901, 787-977-5638

Mambo Italiano at Il Bacaro in Old San Juan




A single ladies romantic evening out on the town should consist of candles for mood lighting, attractive men to wait on you, light music playing in the background and a wonderful assortment of wines and spirits. Lucky for me, I found just the place.

Going to restaurants solo is a new thing for me, but heck, I figure: I'm single, in my twenties and I am not going to look like this forever so why not wine and dine myself while I can without having the pressure of extra baggage and commitments – the mentality of my age, I suppose. Now onto the food.

Il Bacaro proved to be not only a great little Italian restaurant, but is also a great place for kids, large groups, families, couples and singles (Yay!). I had a great time conversing with myself and also my best friend in LA (Hi, Eric!) via technology (Thanks, technology) and enjoying the flavors and creativity displayed on the menus provided. Il Bacaro has a great wine selection and also provides a bar for all of your spirit needs and the menu consisted of some classic Italian dishes like linguini and spaghetti as well as some lovely seafood plates – that is where my heart skipped a beat.

After carefully reading and examining the menu as well as asking my handsome waiter what he recommended, I decided upon the seafood risotto in cream sauce as well as the pumpkin soup as an appetizer.

Fun fact: The menu was in Italian and English, so when I ordered this said, zappa de giorno or whatever, I thought it was a pumpkin salad. LOL JK
Tip: Always trust your gut in restaurants. Order what you know you will like and eat. This will allow you to make the most out of your eating experience and also your wallet.

The staff was friendly and helpful, not to mention attractive.

Note: Ladies, cute dudes serving your food and the bartender is a badass chick (Holla!).
Now for the main event.

Pumpkin soup – This light and warm summer soup is infused with garlic and ginger.

Seafood Risotto – Jam packed with muscles and clams, shrimp and irresistible cream sauce. Quite a filling plate and worth every penny. I could eat this plate all day long.
 At the end of my meal and my night, I was a very happy girl.

Travel Alert: Day 16 – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

#StormEdition

Daily Reflection: Dedicating this post to my coworker, René for dealing with me and my boredom on light and rainy days – he deserves the shoutout. Q pa.

Wet and wild – This view from the Print restroom does not normally overlook a tropical rainforest.

Today was the first time that I really experienced a tropical rainstorm and surprisingly, I wasn't that impressed. I hate to brag and call myself well "storm" traveled but it wasn't much of a change compared to the rain storms that I am used to in Los Angeles. Anyway, the climate took up a good portion of my day – I woke up late (no sun, I mean, come on. Who really wants to get up before the sun comes out anyway?), and it prevented me from utilizing my bartender skills at the beach house. Other than the crazy weather change and guests flights being cancelled, it was an overall good day.

On a stormy and cool evening like tonight, I can't help but notice how romantic this old hotel feels. Rain has to be one of the most romantic climates – it brings couples indoors to snuggle or fulfills some chick's bucket list of kissing in the rain and on an island, no doubt, has to be a bonus. Unfortunately, like any other major weather change, there is a downside. In this case, the rain provides an uncanny musty smell, but that's all part of the adventure, right?

Blown Away – The storm was so bad that businesses closed down. Classy. 

Okay, so it rained. What do I want a cookie? A t-shirt saying that "I survived"? No, thanks. I'm cool. I did in fact have a nice romantic with myself on Friday night which was pricey and delicious! 

Il Bacaro Venezia 
Address/Dirección: 152 Calle Cruz, San Juan, 00901
Telephone/Teléfono:(787) 977-5638

My meal? I got this light and savory pumpkin soup and paired it's flavorful creaminess with a white cream, seafood risotto. Pardon the coming poor photography – dimly lit restaurants aren't always great for taking pictures of food, but I do do my best to please.

The starter – Summer flavors enough to tease the palate for something creamy to pair with it.



The main course – Seafood delight | Cannot go wrong with this plate. 'Twas beyond delicious and I couldn't stop eating.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Travel Alert: Day 4 – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

The Wanna-Be Puerto Rican Diaries: When in PR...

As the saying goes, "Blondes have more fun." Pssh. Try being Puerto Rican


I cannot believe that it has been a week since my last post – I am still in shock that I am in this beautiful place. I feel like the people here take its wonder and beauty for granted, but I guess that is how it is in every picturesque location on this planet, I mean, people have to live somewhere, right?

Though I have been to Puerto Rico before, I now have a mature observation of what the young people are like here. Here's my take on them.

[Please be advised that the following statements are a little out of my character.]


  • The Male Puerto Rican Species – Dear sweet Mary and Joseph, I am in the land of gorgeous Latino men. Thus far, the male market here has definitely exceeded my expectations, though I would like to point out that my assumptions that the majority of the male population is sub 5"7 is in fact correct, but there are a select few that are taller than that that really should just walk around shirtless. 
    • BONUS: The dudes can dance too! If you like a man who can dance and sound absolutely adorable when trying to speak English (if they cannot already since a large portion of the population can) this or any other Latin country should do. I feel like Argentinian dudes are taller. Hmmm... Next trip!
    • ATTENTION VISITING LADIES: Beware the old creepers that do exist and the ones that come here to vacation, I mean, I know those types are everywhere, but here they appear to be especially stalkerish and gross.
  • The Female Puerto Rican Species – Gorgeous. Bodacious. Insane dance moves. Racks of steel. The men on this island literally have it made, but I guess so do a lot of the old creepers that come here for vacation. I would like to mention that my alter-ego is Puerto Rican and her name is Inez and she is incredibly sexy. Unfortunately, she does not seem to be coming out to play, since I have been here – I guess she can't convince people of her "Puerto Rican" heritage. Carajo.  
    • BONUS: They're friendly for the most part, if you look like a hopeless chick – they'll help integrate you in the group and teach you some sweet moves. All hips, baby.
    • ATTENTION VISITING MEN: To date a Puerto Rican woman, you have to be a REAL man, none of that talk the talk junk, these chicas like action. Additionally, you're going to get your heart broken or your nuts crushed – these ladies do not play around and are ridiculously scary drivers.

On a night out on the town, I saw some women that legitimately didn't look real – they were just too perfect! Their perfection did in fact render me speechless and I too, felt like a gawking member of the male species as they passed me with their luscious locks of Caribbean perfection and voluptuous curves. Is there a store that sells stuff like that?! I mean, I guess plastic surgery would do the trick, but like, come on! You're setting a standard that is too unreasonable to be met. Oh, well.

Next.
Where I am staying:
The Gallery Inn, Old San Juan 
The Gallery is this gorgeous old victorian bed and breakfast that I just happen to be living in for a month – I got lucky enough to work here!

 All that said and done, here are some rad pictures and a cool video that I am sure you'll enjoy – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words, so...

OLD SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO | Nice view from one of the balconies of the hotel.
CALLE SAN SEBASTIAN | Down this cozy little street and all around this area are a slew of cutesy shops and restaurants. I went to one with my boss for "Sunday Funday" – we just drank mango margaritas, had beer and some food.

Comida 

Before I arrived in Puerto Rico, my knowledge of the fare served on this island was limited. Of course, having a Puerto Rican aunt helped a little and I was familiar with a few dishes, like pasteles and fried plantains, but as a whole, I wasn't too sure what the cuisine was all about aside from being deep fried and lacking in vegetables. 

Yesterday, my boss, Jan D'Esopo and I went out for lunch to enjoy drinks and also talk business at her favorite little place, the Palmas Restaurante. There we had a plethora of mango margaritas and beer as well as ordering some arroz con pollo or chicken and rice. 
Arroz con pollo/Rice with chicken plated with tostones
The way they served it, it resembled a Puerto Rican version of Chinese chicken stir fry – every country seems to have a similar dish. The dish was garnished with what seemed to be a single bell pepper and also came with tostones on the side. 

I was not really familiar with the side until I arrived and realized that a large staple of this culture involves plantains. Tostones are mashed plantains that they deep fry – you can enjoy them plain or dip them in guava sauce (also a popular condiment). Plantains are literally used everywhere – chips, dessert, flour, paste, etc.


Bebidas

Try this bad boy out for size.


Mango Margarita with pleasant San Juan background


MEDALLA | When in Puerto Rico, you drink the beer there.


If you're not into the whole Medalla bandwagon and you're more of a craft beer person, not to worry, La Taberna del Lupolo has you covered. They have an insane amount of craft beer and it's all great.

BEER DECOR | Nothing like a wall full of absurd beer quotes (too big to get the whole thing/looks like I have to go back. Yippee!).



Monday, July 14, 2014

Celebrity Alert: Nadia G of Bitchin' Kitchen

T-2 Days Till Take Off

She's pretty and loves bacon. What's not to love?
Happy Monday!

Today is the second to last day at my editorial/dine internship. Last week my Dine Editor, Lesley, gave me a great opportunity to have a phone interview with one of my favorite foodie celebrities, Nadia G of Bitchin' Kitchen. The phone interview went very well – I got a lot of useful information and although we mostly spoke about food and her favorite places to eat and her new show Bite This that is airing tonight on the Cooking Channel, we also spoke about one of our favorite fashion accessories – shoes. 

Nadia is spunky and fresh and incredibly foodie and fashionable, not to mention, super bad ass – fingers crossed that we become friends one day so that we can have epic cooking sessions and bond over bacon and tattoos (I should probably get one first – maybe I'll just keep the conversation at ice cream cone stilettos.).

Long story short, here's the article both pretty and published as well as a picture of Nadia.

"Stay hungry." – Nadia G, Bite This