Courtesy of Thinkstock
“¡Cuidado con los pajaros!” said the counter guy, as he pointed to my food on the table outside. I quickly figured out what he was saying, meanwhile birds were descending on our food.
After shooing the feathered scavengers away, my dad and I dove into our roasted chicken and Magna beers at El Verde BBQ. It’s the very definition of roadside dive as we could almost touch the cars going by. Following the advice of Anthony Bourdain, we had taken a chance on the place, pulled in, and began eating without fear.
Randomly, a grizzled man plopped down at our table. He said a greeting in Spanish that my dad responded to in between bites of juicy chicken. One reason I choose Puerto Rico for this father-son trip was because my dad taught himself Spanish. I figured he’d enjoy getting to use it.
Then the old man spoke to me in English: “It’s good that you bring your dad here. My dad is 90 now and we see each other often. That is good.” He also told us how long he had lived in the Puerto Rico, how much he liked his homeland and he offered some of his thoughts about life in general. Then he said goodbye and left.
As he got into his truck, all of the workers waved goodbye. We soon learned that the man we were talking to was the owner of the restaurant.
I liked his style. No showy welcome to his restaurant, no attempts to win our attention with a free beer and no questions about what we thought about the food. It was just a pleasant conversation from a pleasant man while eating pleasant food.
In the space of an hour, Puerto Rico taught us three lessons: watch out for birds stealing your food, random roadside dives are delicious and always welcome a stranger to the table.
Courtesy of Greg Stroud
- Written by Greg Stroud
Tonight at 9|8c, Andrew becomes one with the great outdoors, fishing, digging for stinkheads, hunting and more. Catch a sneak peek of tonight’s episode in our Alaska Pictures slideshow.
Plus, watch a clip from tonight’s episode: Andrew joins a local in Sitka, AK, who dives for abalone, sea cucumber and octopus!
Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, Feb. 10, but you don’t need to cross the ocean for the party. The most widely celebrated Chinese festival is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity into your life. Spot a dragon, the bearer of good luck, or set off some firecrackers to chase off evil spirits in one of these cities – our picks for the best cities to ring in the year of the snake! READ MORE
Everything’s coming up apples in Washington State. While the Midwest and Northeast saw an early spring, a hard freeze and then a drought this year, the Northwest is enjoying an apple bonanza: We’re talking 108 million bushels, each a hefty 40-lbs. box. That’s a whole lotta apples — slated to be the second highest number on record in Washington State. READ MORE
The Best of the Road RV continues to make its way across the country searching for America’s best small towns. Our road warrior, Allison Otto is capturing the wonders of Small Town America.
Check out Allison’s latest dispatch from the road, where she gets a taste of small town life — one bite at a time:
Biting into a hot, fried cinnamon-apple pie in Gainesville, TX; sipping a salt-rimmed prickly pear margarita in Santa Fe, NM; enjoying a freshly charred romaine salad drizzled with a blue cheese cream and balsamic reduction in San Luis Obispo, CA: This is how I discovered America on this Best of the Road journey.
Strawberry tart from Café Eccell in College Station, TX.
The sweets, the spices, the savories—I’ve been truly lucky on this trip to sample so many of the unique, creative dishes this country has to offer and the variety of meals that make American cuisine my favorite in the world. But what kind of traveler would I be if I didn’t share my finds with you all? So here–in no particular order—are five of the best:
1. Prickly pear margarita from the Coyote Café in Santa Fe, NM: Try this signature drink in the evening in their rooftop cantina with a bowl of chips and the café’s fresh guacamole. Heaven!
2. Strawberry tart from Café Eccell in College Station, TX: Pattie Sears, a College Station resident since the 1960s and a member of the College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, said this tart— filled with Bavarian cream, topped with apricot-glazed strawberries and chocolate shavings in an almond-lace cookie shell– was a can’t-miss in College Station! I savored every single bite while listening to Pattie’s stories of College Station’s history. Thanks, Pattie!
by Jimmy Im
It’s not all about tacos and margaritas anymore.
Last week in Cancun, spring-break revelers flooded the bars and clubs for a Mexican-style St. Patrick’s Day, while Jersey Shore‘s Snooki and JWoww filmed scenes for a new show at Beach Palace Resort. But while nightlife remains an iconic fixture of the destination, Cancun has been luring a new type of traveler: foodies. From March 15 to 18, hundreds of visitors participated in the inauguration of the region’s first food and wine festival, a boon for Cancun’s growing culinary scene.
The Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival proved that Mexican gastronomy is no joke — in fact, traditional Mexican cuisine has been named to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list — as almost 30 world-renowned chefs from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the US brought their culinary flair to the region to celebrate the local cuisine and introduce their own techniques to an emerging culinary destination.
Headlining the event was Ferran Adria from the highly touted elBulli restaurant, universally known as the world’s best restaurant for several years. (It closed in 2009.) While the festival honored Ferran at a gala reception and dinner, more than 30 culinary events were also open to the public.
’Tis the season for enjoying delicious food. Between the barbecues at the college football tailgate, holiday cookies and New Year’s Eve, food consumes us nearly 24 hours a day. So naturally, when you travel, deciding where to eat is essential.
For our beef lovers, we have Big Beef Paradise. See a selection of restaurants across the US that cater to the carnivore in us all.
This holiday season, warm up with our Hot and Spicy Food Paradise slideshow and Food Paradise: Cookies slideshow. Great ideas for the cookie monster in us all.
Austin’s SXSW festival isn’t just for music fans, interactive geeks and film snobs anymore; it’s also for foodies. There are dozens of food trucks set up along the streets, and the choices range from mild to wild. Festivalgoers can make a pit stop at Before The Cone food truck, which is set up outside the Convention Center, to pick up a waffle cone filled with bacon and a mixture of decadent ingredients.
If you’re looking for something a little tamer, then visit Short Bus Subs. These guys serve up deli, chicken and veggie sandwiches with unique names, including the “Hot For Teacher,” “Summer Vacation,” “The Cheerleader” and “The Pep Rally.” And don’t be bashful, there are other food trucks to sample, including Mighty Cone, Flip Happy Crepes, Torchy’s Tacos and Hey Cupcake!
There are lots of opportunities for foodies to mix and mingle at SXSW. Food bloggers and Tweeters hold bleet-ups or tweet-ups to sample some of Austin’s offerings. The Big Texas Beer Tweet-up provided beer connoisseurs the opportunity to hang out and sample a variety of beers with local, self-proclaimed “Twunkards” (tweeting drunkards). Others joined the TacoJournalism’s Taco Mafia for breakfast tacos after a long night of SXSW parties.