Puerto Rico: Day 2! (Eating is Believing)

13 Apr

We woke up to the rainy pitter-pat of… rain… on the leaves outside our window.  The streets were shiny black. Angry little rivers jammed themselves into leafy drainage grates that weren’t having it.

A beautiful day in paradise! Actually, it was. The mountains are soooo green. And the flowers vibrant. Nevermind the news story later about a man who emotionally recounted the tale of his horse washing away in the flash flood waters that day, only to find its way home again. Spinglish or Spanglish, that s*** makes your face cry.
What better way to kick off our jet-lag, than with some spankin’ fresh Pan Sobao. That’s me, some pan, and Ervin, driving back from the bakery. I sampled a few nibbles (read: entire loaves) on the way home.

Friends, if a Puerto Rican tells you “Puerto Rican bread is awesome”, believe them. With the fervor of a child on Festivus Eve, waiting for ChanuClaus. It. Is. Punch you in the face. Delicious.

With a schmear of Mezcla, a yummy don’t-look-at-it-too-long hammy spread, I could have died, my life complete. At least carbs-wise. Good thing I survived. I had like 700 more sandwiches to snarf.

I poured myself some black coffee and read my horoscope in Spanish. “The situation of to you warning! use Uranus friends now believe heart today.” I think I’m getting the hang of this.

It’s still raining. (And I notice Ervin’s wearing Crocs. Whaa–? Fancy LA boots don’t make no sense round here.)

What to dooooo….

Oh here! Some Puerto Rican hootch! We were watching a TV show about dudes who make illegal moonshine in Virginia, when I said to Ervin’s Dad “That looks pretty dangerous” and he nodded that it did.

Two seconds later, he hands Ervin a friggin bottle of Pitorro that was tucked beside the sofa. It’s a-million-proof liquor, knocked down to non-kill-y level with coconuts and raisins.

And ‘tis divine. Apparently there’s a guy who knows a guy…….. I dunno, it was a secret, in Spanish. I had nothing to go on. But ask for Tito.

Later we headed over to a longtime friend’s house to BBQ on the roof. They cooked up an amazing meal of Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas cooked under banana leaf) and 3-meat-meatballs. Paired with – what else – a fine Medalla Light, more stars in the sky than I can remember, and the warm hug of a sultry evening, we listened to one little girl play Shakira’s “Waka-Waka” on the sax.

It was pretty brilliant.

The party moved to another house where there was more Medalla Light, and a tiny child who threw a wicker ball into my face (by “accident” — but we had been eyeing each other for a while).

After everyone had gotten their drink on (Ervin and I made bloodshot eyes at each other and agreed we could not do this 10 nites in a row. I hi-fived my liver.), soup happened.

Like, from scratch and without much fuss. It’s really simple and everyone tells me that “Oh yeah, everyone just has this stuff in their cupboards”. The stuff to make this awesome soup. I wonder what I could make with the stuff in my cupboards: vinegar, almond butter, wilted lettuce, gum…

This was a lovely, soothing (supposedly it’s great for hangovers… as you’re still at the party), brothy chicken soup called Asopao de Pollo, with rice, and — *at this point, Ervin told me that if I write anything else, I’d have to kill all of you, so… (You are welcome!)

There were two Puerto Rican Boston Terriers at the BBQ. Somehow I even felt weird speaking simple Spanish to them. I found myself saying “Oye, oye, oye…” like I’m a Jewish Dog Whisperer.

People say the International Language is love. Or that laughing needs no translation. I tell you, there is a third element in the Blessed Trinity.

Butt scratching.

You can learn a lot from a bug-eyed terrier.

XX,

L

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