It’s that time of year again where I get to share my favorite treats and eats throughout the past year and I am super excited about this post! 2017 has been such an amazing year for me. I lived in five different cities in three different countries, met the love of my life and visited the homeland of my grandmother. 2017 has also taught me so much about myself, mental health and what I want and do not want out of life.
I also had some incredible food throughout my travels this year and I’m happy to share them with you and hopefully inspire you to try to create these dishes at home or, better yet, bring you to these places (especially Puerto Rico but more on that in a different post).
Let’s get started….or hungry..
1. Mofongo –all over Puerto Rico
Mofongo is a classic traditional dish of Puerto Rico made from mashed plantains filled with your choice of meat, seafood or veggies topped with a yummy (usually tomato) sauce. It’s ridiculously delicious and super filling.
2. Rice and Beans (Arroz con Gandules)- all over Puerto Rico
THIS is the most important dish in Puerto Rico. Arroz con gandules was typically the “poor mans” meal but now it’s a staple in the cuisine of the island and much of the Caribbean and Latin America in general although, in different variations. I’m not lying when I say that I had this every other day, if not twice a day.
3. Toasted Ravioli –St. Louis, Missouri
How do most culinary accidents turn into delicious staples known around the country and even the world? Actually, it seems as if St. Louis, Missouri has a few of those. Well, toasted ravioli is one of them. Traced to have originated in the Italian neighborhood of “The Hill” in St. Louis, toasted ravioli was an accident when a chef from the restaurant Mama Toscanos dropped ravioli into the fryer and a brother of some famous baseball player was there at the restaurant, tried it and loved it and it became famous. Generally, the ravioli is stuffed with ground beef, deep fried, sprinkled with parm cheese and served with marinara sauce. I had it at IMO’s pizza but I hear it’s best at Charlie Gittos.
4. Passionfruit Mojitos
I don’t drink a lot of alcohol (anymore) but this is one drink I actually crave! Mojitos originated in Cuba but I had my fair share of them in Puerto Rico and out of all the flavors I had, passionfruit was by far my favorite. It’s sweet but also tart and I think it pairs perfectly with the rum and mint in mojitos.
5. Fresh shucked oysters and clams –Boqueron, Puerto Rico
I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory. We sat down at a kiosk (food stall) in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico in a small town called Boqueron and feasted (literally) on oysters and clams that were caught fresh that day and shucked for us. Lemons and hot sauce were provided along with the seafood and at an insane price of $5 per dozen! I couldn’t believe how fresh this seafood was at such a low price. It was one of the best seafood experiences I have ever had.
6. Bulletproof coffee
I made both vegan and non-vegan versions of this and they were the best cups of coffee I have ever had in my lifetime. I don’t even like going out and getting coffee anymore because I make them so good at home. I will have pictures and recipes on my other blog soon so I’ll spare the deets here but seriously, this coffee is so creamy and tasty you’ll want to try it if you haven’t.
7. Corn cakes- Mango Restaurant, St. Louis
Thomas ordered these while we were out at Mango restaurant in St. Louis. Mango is an upscale Peruvian restaurant in the heart of downtown and it’s very romantic inside aside from the American football games played. Anyway, they are called Tortillas de Choclo and they are basically corn cakes that resemble pancakes topped with a “spicy” sauce, a cream and traditional Latin American cheese. There were red onions and other veggies on top and it was all so good.
8. Enchiladas- Maria’s Frybread, Phoenix, Arizona
I have absolutely no idea why I keep forgetting I visited Arizona this year but yeah, I went there and had THE BEST ENCHILADAS OF MY LIFE. If I remember correctly, when you order enchiladas there you get a choice of spicy or mild. We got spicy and holy s*** they were so spicy I could just barely taste the enchiladas but still, they were delicious. So if you’re in the Phoenix area definitely hit up this small restaurant and get yourself some enchiladas but maybe start out getting the mild and then adding hot sauce as you go.
9. Falafel sandwich –Al Tarboush Deli, St. Louis
For only $5.50 you can pick up a falafel sandwich at a deli in the Delmar Loop area of St. Louis. It was a really good falafel that reminded me of the falafels I had while living in Greece. Don’t forget to pick up a piece of pistachio baklava either..or stuff for your hookah. Yeah, they’ve got that there too.
10. Bacalaitos –All over Puerto Rico
I have to end the 10 best things I ate in 2017 with something fried of course. Bacalaitos are something that I’ve had in Spain but found that it has been perfected in Puerto Rico. Basically, it’s just a big flat piece of fried chunks of codfish with cilantro, garlic and seasonings. They are super cheap around the island and washing it down with a cold can of Medalla is absolute perfection.
And that’s it! Whew, I made it through a food post actually not hungry for once. Now I’m just homesick for Puerto Rico. But I’ll be able to have some of these delicious treats soon! Can’t wait!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you’ve had any of these dishes in the comments below and what you think about them.