Oh internet. How I’ve missed you and your fickle nature. Missed you so much, in fact, im doing exactly what I told you I didn’t want to do- I’m writing this from the beach, book waylaid, beer in hand. Of course, by the time y’all read this I’ll have been back in dreary, cold, wherever I live for a few days, but thus is the power of time travel.
I’m starting to convince myself I could happily move here for a month or two. Not forever, just long enough to bury my toes in the sand and forget about the real world for a while. Mammia Mia and I ate at our favorite little Italian place the other day, Il Bacaro, and watched people drift in and out of their adorable little apartment complex with their dogs. It was lovely. And the fact that the all-male staff were very accommodating with the bread and the wine certainly helped. Sidenote – what is it about Italian restarants and their men and their big doe eyes that gets me everytime? I just want to sit in the window with a glass of red wine and a bowl of homemade pasta and an Italian man. That’s all I want out of life. Well, and maybe something chocolate for dessert. And a puppy. And a million dollars.
Anyways. Me. Beach. The humid air. The softly lapping waves. The cold beer. Its all very Hemmingway. My ex-boyfriend Dali (speaking of Italians) would be proud. It was his birthday just the other day, by the by. Many happy returns.
If I could wax romantic for a moment (which is something I very rarely deign to do) let me just say how much I love the ocean. I read a line in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians just the other day, which of course I can no longer find, but it was something about the comforting stability of a place with water. But like, better. You get it.
Hey internet. I know, I know, it’s Yoga Tuesday. But I’m just really not in a yoga mood. So I’m continuing the Puerto Rico party.
Let me tell you about Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is a place that defies convention or explanation. It has cities built into the sides of craggy mountains and citadels perch on the edge of the sea. You can explore a lush rainforest by day and be back in time to change for dinner at an exclusive club. There are mangroves you can kayak into at night where the water lights up underneath your vessel like you’re Peter frakin’ Pan. All of this and you can still drive from one end of the place to the other in an easy afternoon.
If you told me about this place and I hadn’t already been here three times, I’d have said it was the fictional setting from a C.S. Lewis novel.
If the U.S. is a Norman Rockwell painting, Puerto Rico saw the painting, thought ‘Fuck it’, stripped off the canvas, blended it up with rum, and made a daiquiri with it.
I’m staying at this crazy hotel called La Concha where it’s far easier to just assume that everyone you see is famous or rich or fabulous in some way. Seriously. Three years ago, I ran into J.Lo and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Hudson (not all at the same time, but still). Last year Johnny Depp was there. This year, knowing my luck, Marc Summers is probably my next door neighbour. Mi familia and I went up the elevator last night with a model and a photographer who were definitely about to breech a clause of their contracts.
So I’m surrounded with all this poshness and wealth and exclusivity, and I can walk down the street and see homeless people next to a run down pub next to the Ritz next to a condemned building. We walked down a boardwalk to a meager little group of kioskos the other day, followed by stray dogs, and passed by a photoshoot with a car that Barney Stinson identified as a Lamborghini Murcielago.
Holy Frak, you guys. I HAVE FOUND THE BEST CHICKEN ON THE PLANET.
Technically, I’ve known about this chicken for an entire year, but I had to wait to make sure.
You know when you eat something spectacular, and it lives in your mind as this awesome experience, and it grows on you and preys on your weaknesses and then it’s so built up that when you go have it again, you are thoroughly disappointed because it doesn’t taste how it does in your memories?
This is nothing like that.
This chicken tasted the same as it did a year ago when I had it the first time.
Maybe even better.
This chicken can be found at Via Appia in San Juan, Puerto Rico. No, I’m not giving you an address. Work for it a little, punk.
Via Appia is technically an Italian restaurant. It is vivid and lively and always brim-full of people who do not speak a lick of English.
You will be tempted to order Italian food.
Do not do this.
Get the Chicharrones de Pollo with a cold beer. No, it’s not on the menu. It might be listed on the specials board. It might not. Roll with it. Smooze the waiter a bit. Flirt. Bribe him if you have to. DO NOT GIVE UP ON THIS CHICKEN. IT IS WORTH THE ELBOW GREASE.
When it comes out it will look like this:
I know what you’re thinking. This is not a pretty dish. You want it served to you on a cloud floating gently down from heaven. You want a chicken wearing a delicately woven crown of truffles and pixie dust. You want to be romanced with a chicken that sings you a love ballad as you masticate it with your pointy canines.
Shut your face. You can deal with it, pansy. And no, that’s not a Heineken, you putz. It’s a Medalla. Get with the times.
This chicken could make a Yakuza mob boss cry tears of joy. This chicken could probably end a war. Maybe even a World War. I wish this chicken was around when Hitler was just getting started, is basically what I’m saying here.
Maybe you think I’m overreacting a little bit. Maybe I am. All I’m saying is that I just watched the ocean come and go for like an hour and I’m feeling poetic and beautiful and a little bit romantic and that this chicken was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Via Appia, San Juan, Chicharrones de Pollo.