We’re heading out to sea after an all-too-brief visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico. A lot of us are clustered on the starboard side of the ship, enjoying some great shots of Castilio de San Moro, one of the iconic images of this city and of Puerto Rico. It’s an opportunity for some great photos with an offshore perspective of the old battlements.
But it’s also a reminder that I have to get back here again, someday … and when I do, to plan on staying longer. Today’s visit really WAS all-too-brief, and I had barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in this city, not to mention other parts of this island.
A short day … but it got off to a GREAT start, with a walk uphill into the heart of Old San Juan, and breakfast at a century-old restaurant and pastry shop I learned about from a television show.
That show was Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Host Andrew Zimmern started his visit to San Juan with a stop at La Bombanera, and I was following his lead. Many know Zimmern for his forays into cuisines - both the foods and the preparations - that might give the average American palette more than a little pause.
But he also finds a place at tables serving foods that would make us feel right at home. And such was the case for La Bombanera. I was there for the coffee and the mallorcas. That’s what has made this eatery a breakfast-before-work staple with local residents since 1902, and what has gained the attention of food and travel programming on television, and the attention of tourists such as myself.
The staff was welcoming, and took good care of us The orange juice was fresh-squeezed, and refreshing after our walk up the streets. The coffee was dark-roasted and strong, and prepared - then topped with foam - from an espresso service that was probably as old as I am.
And the mallorcas? Imagine a large, fresh-made Danish, served with butter, or sliced open and filled with any combination of egg and ham, cheese and bacon … all of them topped off with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
Andrew likes ‘em ... and do do I.
And that was just the start of the day. There was also a ferry trip across the harbor, a tour of the Bacardi distillery, and a quick visit to one of the colonial fortresses that are a significant part of Old San Juan.
At the end of day, we boarded the ship with plenty of pleasant memories, some photos and some souvenirs. But there was also the knowledge that we had barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do … heck, we’d barely scratched the surface of scratching-the-surface.
Sigh .. someday.