April 17, 2013: Upon arriving at the hotel, I checked in and set out to my first food experience in Puerto Rico. My target: La Jaquita Baya – a small eatery in the Miramar neighborhood. Known by locals as one of the cities to go eateries, La Jaquita Baya serves up tapas and entrée size dishes of local flavors with a slightly modern twist. At first the eatery was difficult to find, but after driving down the block a couple of times we finally spotted it.
To enjoy as many options possible, my friends and I opted for the tapas. We sipped on mango mojitos (freshly cut mango in the mojito) and proceeded to order. The gallery below features all the incredible dishes we excitingly placed in our mouths.
Our first bite was on the braised short ribs: moist, flavorful and beautifully rich. The two taquitos were made of fish ceviche or ground beef in a crispy corn shell topped with salsa. Then came the crispy calamari… incredible.
For our second round of tapas, I curiously ordered the Asian style pork dumpings covered in sauce and thyme. They were delicious, but I feared I veered off my Latin course with that one. Ha! However, we finished off with an increible chunk of pork belly sitting on a round corn cake in a bath of scallion broth. Accompanied with a spoon to occasionally cover the pork belly with the delicious broth as we ravenously attacked.
Of course, I couldn’t leave without diving into some dessert. We ordered two. The ‘diplo‘ which was a warm chocolate cake stuffed with cream cheese, covered in vanilla ice cream and a cascading airy mound of Nutella mousse. The second, panetela de guayaba (a sponge cake stuffed with guava paste), topped with white chocolate ice cream, mounds of whipped cream, and shaved almonds.
To conclude, La Jaquita Baya was definitely the perfect first meal to have in San Juan. The staff was super friendly. The patrons all locals. We left smiling and absolutely content.