Thursday, August 27, 2009

Semi-Homemade Staycation: Puerto Rico!

With summer's end fast approaching, I thought it was about time I shared our Semi-Homemade Staycation - we experienced Puerto Rico! I've gone on and on about the negative side of this damn recession.... the positive side is that we've done some things as a family that we usually wouldn't. Like take a staycation. I still can't wait for the economy to turn around and to go on a VAcation with the family, but the fun part of this was that we all got involved in the planning and execution of our "trip."

The inspiration:
Our trip to Puerto Rico last summer when I was 7 months pregnant with G-man. We left Big Sis at home with her grandma (wow, the memories those two made!) and Mr. Fix-It and I got to relax and get away!
The memories:
First, I want to share with you couple pics from the trip and the island, so you can see what we were trying to recreate. Mr. Fix-It and I at the poolside bar...

For the record, Puerto Rico was a great place to vacation while pregnant!

This restaurant is called Parot Club and is located in Old San Juan. It was so amazing we ate there twice!

Puerto Rico has amazing color everywhere you look.

And the food? Was SO GOOD! That was the deciding factor when it came time to decide where to staycation this year. Our favorite was this trio of appetizers from the Parot Club. (We're already planning to try to recreate these at some future time, but we didn't get quite this ambitious yet!)
The top layer is a type of nachos with plantain chips (yum!!) and a pork brisket type of meat. Y'all know my love of brisket tacos... The next layer was an empanada (saw lots of recipes for these when searching for Puerto Rican food. I think we'll try 'em next time!) But these empanadas are especially good because of that balsamic glaze on them.... heaven! And the third level was calamari (although I think we had something slightly different... maybe scallops...)
The ambience:
To recreate the scene, we dressed in bright colors and played music from the island. Lots of dancing ensued...
I pulled out anything colorful I could find to decorate for dinner. The smell of coconut candles floated in the air!
The menu:
We started with the drinks! ;) Frappes are a fruity drink that are easy to find in Puerto Rico! We mixed up the Frappe Tropical without the alcohol (then Mr. Fix-It and I added some coconut rum to ours!)
The food:
We went with some dishes we'd seen in practically every restaurant on the island.
We made Puerto Rican Pork Chops (somehow I only got pics of the colorful relish and not the actual pork chops!)
And served some black beans and rice with it (the semi-homemade way, a box of Zatarain's!)
Then for dessert, we Fried Plantains (we didn't really fry ours... more of a sautee... but I think we'll try frying them next time!)

Oh, and for a totally semi-homemade touch..... these coconut mnm's really worked, too! ;)
If you're thinking you'd like to try a Puerto Rican Staycation..... this is a great recipe resource!

The final effect:
Here are the Semi-Homemades, enjoying the sounds, smells and tastes of Puerto Rico!
Hmmmmm..... I wonder where we should 'go' next? I'm sure some of you have some great ideas.... share 'em!!


MaryBeth said...

What an awesome idea! The recession totally sucks. Our vacay this year was with the inlaws...they paid. You created some wonderful memories for your fam!

*kimmie* said...

SO fun! I love it as usual!

MissBliss said...

I am very impressed! What fun...

I did not know there are coconut m and m 's... and how funny, we have real coconuts in the freezer right now from our yard and I have been putting that coconut to use... and tonight Mr. Wonderful made plantains for the first time...

really the most I've achieved in the kitchen lately has been chocolate and peanut butter no bakes... this is very inspirational!

the dancing pics are sooo cute...

if you ever want a getaway, the south beach apartment is up for grabs when we head to Colorado in the summer... ;)

Seersucker Scrapper said...

What a great idea! It looks like you all had so much fun!

Oh, and thanks for the tip on the coconut M&M's. I did not know about them.

Special K said...

So sweet! One of our anniversary years I recreated a cool ice cream in a pineapple dessert we had on our honeymoon in hawaii. Sometimes one cannot afford what one wants, it's taking the time to enjoy the fun that's the best. You did GREAT!!!

Becky said...

What a fun idea! I love it!

Danielle said...

Wanted to come by and thank you for the sweet comment.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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