Friday, February 5, 2016

      After our time in Old San Juan we headed west to spend Three Kings Day with family and to show Sean around my old stomping grounds. The west coast of Puerto Rico is the place I called home for the first 12 years of my life so it holds a very special place in my heart.  I should warn you though, this is a VERY picture-heavy post.  

ISABELA

     We decided to make Isabela our base camp during our time in the west coast because of its convenient location.  Perfectly located within the same distance to both grandparents' houses it became our "home" at night and for the few hours during the day we weren't at their place.  I think  for our next visit I want to stay here longer to truly enjoy and explore the area since this time around our schedule was so tight.  Hopefully the waves will be less rough next time around so that we can check surfing off our vacation to-do list. 
Grandma's beautiful orchids     /     Place you were most likely to find me EVERY morning before breakfast

MAYAGÜEZ

        Showing Sean my hometown's plaza was the highlight of this trip. You see, almost every Saturday evening of my childhood consisted of dad taking me and my sisters to the plaza for ice cream on a warm summer night and to admire the beautiful Christmas lights during the holidays.  I got to do all those things again but this time with Sean. It was so special to me and I couldn't help but imagine sharing the same experience with my babies one day. 

"DÍA DE REYES"/THREE KINGS DAY

   There isn't much photographic record of this day except for these low light/blurry pictures.  After all, most of my day consisted of nonstop cooking, baking, and eating while also indulging in the fact that for the first time in thirteen years most of the family was home for the holidays.  It felt so good to be back.  


CABO ROJO

    The day after Reyes we said goodbye to the family, promised to be back soon, and headed to our last stop in the west coast... Cabo Rojo.  We checked into the cutest little motel by the beach and called it a night shortly after.  Early the next morning, after a quick morning swim, we packed our things and headed out to explore the town.  We came across a bakery/market where we got breakfast, a delicious cup of coffee, and some essentials for a picnic lunch at the beach, and off to my favorite lighthouse we went. 
Like I said... essentials.
... and we're out! 

Next stop: Ponce




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

, , ,

Puerto Rico: Old San Juan

    A little over a month ago Sean and I returned to Puerto Rico to celebrate our anniversary and enjoy the Christmas season the island way.  Even though we landed on December 29th we were in no danger of missing out on the holiday celebrations.  They were actually at their peak since NYE was right around the corner and Three Kings Day was still over a week away (On the island we literally celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world.  It all starts on Thanksgiving day and ends well into January... "Las Octavitas").
    We decided to spend the first three nights in Old San Juan and welcome the new year in one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean and my personal favorite in the whole world.  As soon as we landed we took a cab the apartment and got ready right away for our anniversary dinner at La Mallorquina (the oldest restaurant in the Americas).  Lucky for us, the restaurant was just quick walk away so we made it in just in time.  After stuffing ourselves with mofongo, bacalaitos, and passion fruit frapes we thought we were ready to call it a night but then I heard music coming from the plaza... Game over. Off we went to dance the night away.
    New Years Eve arrived a couple days later. That morning we randomly bumped into my parents and sisters as we were walking out of the coffee shop down the street(we knew they were in Puerto Rico but didn't think we would all see each other till Three Kings Day) .  After a lot of hugging, kissing, and jumping up and down we all headed out to explore the city for the 1000x... it never gets old.  After a family dinner back at our place mom, dad, and the girls left.  Sean and I then left to meet up with some locals down by the bay to watch the fireworks and welcome the new year. An absolutely perfect day with those I love most.
Heading out to dinner on our first night "home"
"El Palomar"... the beautiful apartment we got to call home during those four days. 
Starting ALL our mornings with a delicious little cup of coffee from the mountains of Yauco.
Getting my dose of Mavi
Live music and dancing at the plaza every night.
Blurry but my favorite one... NYE kiss.


... Follow our adventures in this Friday's post!

Saturday, September 26, 2015


A couple of months I came across THIS recipe, and after some adjustment to the portions (portions below serve 3-4 people instead of 6) and ingredients (original recipe contains pancetta and real sausage) I decided to surprise Sean with it. He is usually the chef of the household so I decided it was my turn to treat him to a home-cooked lunch.  After watching him get up for seconds (and thirds) I made sure to add this one to our "must cook/bake again" book.  It takes quite a bit to make but I personally think it was absolutely worth it.

Ingredients:

1 can of red kidney beans (if using dried beans refer to original recipe tagged above)
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 green pepper, deseeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch cayenne 
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1/2 pound Tofurky Italian Sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
about 5 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 cups cooked white rice
chopped green onions, garnish


Instructions:
  1.  In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the onions, celery, and
    bell peppers until vegetables are very well done, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne stir to combine.
  3. Stir in the garlic, parsley, thyme. Increase heat to medium-high and cook
    until the sausage is well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Add the softened beans to the pot, the stock, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and
    allow to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours 2, uncovered, until the beans are well softened.
  5. Taste and season with more salt or pepper.
  6. For a slightly smoother consistency, blend about 1/3 of bean and sausage mixture in a
    blender or food processor and return to the pot. This way, some of the beans will be
    ground smooth and some will be kept whole, creating a really lovely consistency. 

Enjoy!

-Check out #OurTableChronicles series on Instagram- 






Friday, August 28, 2015

Last week Melissa and I headed to the West Coast to get a taste of the city by the bay and to enjoy some much-needed sister time.  Unfortunately, Adriana wasn't able to join us on this one but hopefully next year will include all three Torres girls.  Some of these pictures will be familiar to those of you who follow me on Instagram, but I liked them so much I decided to share them on here as well. Just a warning, this is a very picture-heavy post, hope you guys don't mind. Here is a summary of our five-day adventure in San Francisco:

Thursday
After flying into SFO at around 8:30am we headed downtown, checked in at the Chancellor Hotel, freshened up, and headed back out. There was no time to loose. Because of the location of our hotel (right on Union Square), we were within walking distance to many of our must-see locations on our list. Our first stop? Chinatown. From there we roamed the whole city, with map in hand, finding sight after sight... Little Italy (where I had the BEST gelato to date... Blackberry Cabarnet), Lombard Street, Coit Tower, Grace Cathedral, and back to Union Square. By the end of it all we were too tired to even dress up for dinner. We ended up just walking a couple doors over to Lori's Diner for a hearty meal in our most comfortable clothes. To say we were spent after our first day would be a complete understatement. 
Friday
If we thought Thursday was exhausting we were definitely in for a treat.  We ate a quick breakfast at the cafe next to the hotel and to Fisherman's Wharf we went. Once there, we rented bikes and embarked on my favorite biking adventure to date. Our first stop was Pier 39 where we checked out the fruit market, all the cool little shops, and the famous sea lions. Afterwards, we followed the downtown coast all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Riding our bikes over the bridge was quite the experience. The wind gusts were so strong that we were propelled forward for most it thus making the ride definitely less strenuous but all the more terrifying (for me anyways, since heights are my absolute worst enemy).  The view was so beautiful, and our destination even more so. Definitely worth it. We rode into Sausalito just in time for dinner and some more exploring.  Instead of biking back to the city we followed the advice of the locals and took the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf. Best decisions of our lives... I don't think our legs would've survived the journey back. 
Saturday
My favorite day in San Francisco. 
One of our closest friends from college and her husband drove all the way from Santa Cruz to meet up and to explore the other side of the bay with us. We drove across the bridge and through very winding roads to Muir Woods where we walked along the magnificent redwoods.  From there we drove up to the very foggy Mount Tamalpais, down to Stinson Beach, and all along the cliffs of Shoreline Highway. Truly a breathtaking experience and the perfect way to spend the Sabbath... surrounded by nature in all its splendor and absolutely amazing company.  After sunset we headed back to the city for dinner at Belga and more gelato at Cafe Greco where we stayed until they closed for the night.  
Sunday
This was probably the first day we actually slept in. We only had a couple places left on our "Must See" list so we just relaxed for a bit.  From our Laurel Heights Airbnb room we walked to a small Brazilian cafe for breakfast and then we made our way to the Palace of Fine Arts. We concluded our day with a visit to the Painted Ladies in  Alamo Square and the Mosaic Steps. 
Monday
Our last day.
We woke up fairly early because we had two things left on our list... to ride a famous San Francisco cable car and to pay Ghirardelli Square a visit.  We were pretty excited about it but unfortunately a million other people had the same idea.  After trying to jump on the Powell-Hyde cart for a ride and being told it was too full time and time again, we gave up and went to get some brunch a nearby cafe. We were a little disappointed about not being able to cross off all the locations on our list but here is to next time.  Back at the airport we said goodbye to the beautiful city of San Francisco and to each other (Melissa continued her adventure to LA and I came back home to the Midwest)
With Sausalito (our destination) in the distance...
The view from the "other side".

Thank you San Francisco for the amazing memories and your beautiful sights! 
You have become my favorite city to date.

Check our our trip's hashtag #MnMTakeSanFran on Instagram for more pictures!


All rights reserved / You may not take any images or content from this site without written permission.