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Entries in puerto rico (3)

Tuesday
Aug122014

Postcards from Puerto Rico, Volume 2

Hi, sweeties! I thought it was about time to share a bit more about my Puerto Rican getaway with you. Ready?

Well. My mom arrived to hang out for a week in lovely, sunny, beachy Rincon. First thing we did? Went to get frappés, naturally.

In Rincon, you'll see signs for frappés everywhere. On the side of the road, at specific frappé shops, at ice cream vendors. So what's a frappé

Basically, it's like a frappuccino, but with any sort of flavoring, from soursop to cherry; from oreo to horchata; from queso to coconut. We went to Kahuna Frappé, which is in the Plaza Bonet. I chose the pistachio; mom got the pineapple. They topped them, I will guiltily admit, with cool-whip. They were just as amazing as they look: taste-wise, falling somewhere between a milkshake and a smoothie. Creamy and sweet and milky; mashed with ice, but not icy. A real delight. 

Frappes, Kahuna Frappe, Rincon

We also hit up a place called Cowboys, where they have horse rides (alas, not on the day of our visit as it was raining) and savory food. This also happened there, I thought I should tell you.

Puerto Rico

I did some sweet art on another rainy day. Love art

We went to an outdoor flea market and checked out some of the candy. It's very sweet and tends to be coconut-heavy.

Candy

I also realized I must be more famous than I thought, if they have murals of me at ice cream shops in Puerto Rico.

Flea market

On Sunday, we attended the farmer's market, where we got our fill of tasty foods. One vegan baker was selling sweets of all sorts; we picked up a vegan brownie and a ginger-lemonade. The brownie surprised me. It was more cakey, which I typically don't go for, but the lightness worked in this case: it was like eating brownie bread. Brownie bread, I have decided, is a superior type of bread to zucchini. Just in case you've ever wondered.

Vegan brownie

The baker in question was a very cool dudette who had actually gone to FIT; since I went to Pratt, we had a New York connection in common. There are actually a surprising amount of Northeasterners here, for various reasons. Some are surfers; some like the cheaper lifestyle; others come to live off the grid. It makes for great people watching and some interesting conversations. 

Vegan brownie, Puerto Rico

I also picked up a baggie of toasted coconut. I've been hitting this lady up every week--it's so simple but so good. 

Puerto Rico

We went to a fruit vendor and picked up what he called "guava pears" which he had grown on his property. A google search of guava pear resulted only in that guavas are related to pears, so maybe I just had a small guava? It looked different from guava I have seen before but apparently this is a regular kind.  Anyone have any info to offer on this? 

Guava

We went back to Dulcis Vita, which was a fantastic moment because I got more cheesecake. Yay!

Cheesecake

On this visit I also observed that they have amazing tables that can read minds. Whoa!

Cupcakes table

So. Much. Mango.

Mango

A few days into my mom's visit, I was able to "get" another yoga pose that has been eluding me. Seriously: look at this! Thanks to Centro La Paz for keeping me in yoga shape.

Foot behind head

We had a wonderful mofongo (a mashed plantain specialty here) feast at The Red Flamboyen, which has flamboyen trees all around.

Mofongo, Red Flamboyen

On a rainy day, I took a little while to practice drawing flamboyen flowers. They're so strange yet beautiful!

We went out for ice cream at Tip-Top Ice Cream in downtown Rincon, and I got the corn ice cream. If I had to describe it, I'd say it tasted like what creamed corn aspires to be in a dessert world. It was quite addictive, actually--if you ever see corn gelato or ice cream, GET IT.

Corn ice cream, Tip-Top, Rincon, Puerto Rico

I made biscuits. I'll share the recipe really soon.

Homemade biscuits

I got a new bracelet with my name on it.

Bracelet

I also learned how to make marshmallow fluff from marshmallows. I'll share that post on Craftsy in the next few weeks, so lucky you.

Fluff

I also met a new friend.

New friend

We didn't forget to treat ourselves; so yes, another tropical cocktail was maybe consumed.

And of course, I did some more sea glass paintings! Here's one in reverse.

Puerto Rico

Sadly I'm leaving Puerto Rico in a couple of days but I've had such a joyous time.

Happy summer! Love, CakeSpy 

Wednesday
Aug062014

Postcards from Puerto Rico, Volume 1

Seaglass paintings

Greetings from sunny Puerto Rico, my sweet readers! I don't know if I have ever told you this, but my parents have a house here, in the lovely beachside town of Rincón. I realize that this might make us seem wealthy or something, but it's really not like that. My dad, who has been a surfer since his teens, scrimped and saved and was able to make this house happen. Isn't that cool?

Casa rosa

While that is inspiring, that is not the point of this post--it's just to explain why I am here. It's a nice and quiet place to spend time, write, and do artwork. 

Puerto Rico

I have been doing a ton of work on my potential memoir (as referenced in this post), and have been really pleased with the result so far. 

But that's not all I've done, so I thought I would share a few snapshots of the tasty times I'm having. Consider it a virtual series of postcards, from me to you!

I mastered a yoga pose I've been trying to get for weeks, just in time for my dad to capture a beach shot. Woot! A huge thanks goes to my teacher Leia Hays for helping me master this one.

 

I did a series of "dessert confession" illustrations with all of my dessert-y quirks. Dessert Confessions Dessert Confessions

And even though per my "confessions" I am often underwhelmed by panaderia offerings, there is a treat in Puerto Rico that is always an exception...we get ours at La Rincoeña...Downtown Rincon, Puerto Rico

The treat I speak of is cupcake-sized macaroons known as "Besitos de coco". They are made by a local wholesaler and are available at many of the bakeries. They're rich as all get-out. I love them.

Macaroon

After my dad left, I decided to bake a cake, a sort of adaptation of basbousa, but made with olive oil for a mediterranean feel. It came out quite well, and I shared some with my neighbors.

Olive Oil Cake

On a rainy afternoon, I did a series of teeny tiny paintings on seaglass. 

Seaglass paintings - puerto rico Seaglass paintings - Puerto RicoSeaglass paintings - Puerto Rico Seaglass paintings - Puerto Rico

While going to the aforementioned panaderia, we had noticed a new bakery in town, called Dulcis Vita. They do more American-style cupcakes and cakes. I went back a few days later, and I got an Oreo cupcake and some chocolate cheesecake.

Cupcake, dulcis vita, puerto rico

Living up to my "dessert confession" I put salt on the cheesecake before devouring. Was it ever good. I was impressed by both the cheesecake and cupcake. Very good, better-than-mom-made type of stuff.

Dulcis vita, Puerto rico

I checked out the art walk downtown, which was very sweet. One of my favorite sights was a truck that pulled up to sell lanterns. It looked like a truck full of rainbows, and it made me smile.

Art walk, Rincon, Puerto Rico

I did a series of "sweets and yoga poses" illustrations, just for fun.

Yoga

And, OK, yes, there was maybe a tropical cocktail involved somewhere in all this.

So, you're getting the idea behind my tasty adventure in pretty Puerto Rico. If you'll excuse me, I need to go to the store to pick up some supplies to make my own besitos de coco...stay tuned for the recipe next week!

Happy summer!

Saturday
Sep082012

Quesitos de Guayabas from Snow Bakery, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Quesito de guayaba, Snow Bakery, Rincon, Puerto rico

Ever heard of something sweet called "quesito"? It's ok, neither had I – and I am a professional.

The name translates roughly to—cute alert--”little cheese”. I told you it was cute! But what is it, exactly?

Well, to the uninitiated, a quesito is kind of like the tropical version of a cheese danish. But it is not quite a cheese danish itself. Differences? First, the pastry part is a little flakier. In recipes I found, it looks like it is typically a puff pastry.

Second, the shape. It's not a big flat round saucer; it's kind of cigar-shaped. This doesn't seem to be absolute, though; some versions that I saw were folded over, with two kissing ends meeting in the middle, and exposed ends. It's filled with a sweet cream cheese. And the most popular variation, by what I saw in the Rincon, Puerto Rico area, was the quesito de guayaba – the guava and cheese filled quesito. Here's an example of another one, from The Noshery.

 

This is a highly pleasant pastry, I must tell you. The flaky exterior gives way to a soft and slightly gooey interior, and there's a beautiful moment when you reach the unique middle texture where the gooey fillings have baked into, and beautifully altered, the texture of the pastry. I wish I could live in that moment. Or at least make it last longer than part of a bite.

The melding of the flavors is also quite nice—the buttery flakiness of the pastry, the sweet richness of the cheese, the mellow sweetness of the guava. It makes for an absolutely perfect complement for the small, potent cafe con leche that the panaderias all seem to serve in Rincon.

The Snow Bakery did a very nice job at the quesito de guayaba, and I sure hope to repeat the experience at a later date. In the meantime, if you're not Puerto Rico-bound any time soon, try out a recipe for them here.

For directions to Panaderia Snow Bakery, click here.

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