So, I’m not a foodie and I’m definitely not a food critic, but I can discern good Puerto Rican food from bad Puerto Rican food for two reasons: 1) I’ve screwed up enough white rice and red beans to know the difference; 2) at one point in my life, I did call this evergreen, 112×40 mile island, home.
In Miami, gourmet Cuban restaurants are a dime a dozen, but Puerto Rican restaurants, specifically good Puerto Rican restaurants are hard to find. Cuban food, while similar, is not a close substitute to the food of my youth.
The Spanish word “criollo” refers to something that is native, specific or authentic to a region, a country or a people — in this case, Puerto Rico. This weekend, we were super excited to find a Puerto Rican restaurant, Raices, which promised to deliver on all things criollo.
Located in Homestead, Florida, this restaurant serves island style food which reminded my husband and I of the food kiosks in Piñones we used to visit along the sandy northern beaches in Puerto Rico. We ordered mofongo — a fried plantain dish mashed together in a pilon (a wooden mortar and pestle) with onions, meat and vegetables; piononos – a rolled ripe plantain filled with ground beef and cheese; and the staple of all Puerto Rican food, red beans and rice.
We also ordered tembleque (translated it means tremor) – a traditional dessert made of coconut cream, milk and spices — to polish off our meal.
I strongly urge all foodies and non-foodies who are interested in sampling traditional Puerto Rican food to visit Raices Restaurant for great service plus affordable and tasty food.