20 julio 2015

Date gusto con la Ora Felice de il Perugino

Un buen cambio de ambiente siempre viene bien. Y qué mejor que una copita en la “Ora Felice” de il Perugino para relajarte entre amigos. El popular restaurante italiano en el corazón de Hato Rey tiene nuevo menú de cocteles, picadera y platillos para este verano.


De martes a viernes de 5 a 7 de la noche, puedes probar sus proseccos y vinos importados de Italia. Sus selecciones de Happy Hour están a 2x1. Prueba un Nere Basílico preparado con whiskey y albahaca o un Brooklyn Gun con bourbon, vermut dulce, angostura y syrup de albahaca. Si buscas algo más refrescante, el recomendado es el Rosemary Collins preparado con vodka, limón y sirup de romero.


Para la picadera, los favoritos son sus croquetas, los baby calamari o el salmón rillete. Si el hambre pica más fuerte, los chefs Luz Ferreira y Carlos Días tienen platillos bellísimos de temporada.

Saboréate unos raviolis de hígado de pollo y espinaca en salsa de trufas. ¿O qué te parece un pez espada en salsa de guisantes y chicharrones de prosciutto? El pulpo a la parrilla con ensalada de hinojo también suena muy bien.


Este verano, il Perugino también tiene menú de precio fijo con 4 platillos por $39, disponible de jueves a sábado para cena. Recibes 4.5% de descuento antes de impuesto por aquello del mitigar la carga del nuevo impuesto. Además, los miércoles el descorche (BYOB) va por la casa.


Reserva online por Open Table o llamando al 787.722.5481. El restaurante está localizado en el segundo piso del Popular Center en Hato Rey, 208 Avenida Ponce de León.

29 junio 2015

Opciones refrescantes para el verano de 7-Eleven

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El siguiente post es una colaboración auspiciada por 7-Eleven y Latina Bloggers Connect para la campaña de 7-Eleven #7EFresh. Todas las opiniones compartidas son nuestras.



Encontrar el apartamento adecuado en Chicago significa encontrar un lugar cerca del tren, el autobús, las áreas verdes y por supuesto, una tiendita donde puedas comprar lo que necesitas cuando vas de prisa. En nuestro caso, esa tienda es el 7-Eleven al lado de casa en la Avenida Bryn Mawr. Ahí vamos cuando se acaba la leche, los huevos o el guineo.

No solo está bien localizada, sino que más allá de los productos básicos, continúa impresionándonos con su variedad de productos saludables. Puedes conseguir ensaladas completas, huevos hervidos, parfaits de yogur, sándwiches y wraps, queso, humus y agua de coco.


Cuando tenemos la semana un poco complicada, no hay nada mejor que comprar un par de favoritos en 7-Eleven y salir a disfrutar de un almuerzo tranquilo en el parque de la esquina. Su ensalada Balsamic Garden y los vasitos de fruta son mis favoritos, mientras Nabol es fanático del Chicken Salad Sandwich.

Todo viene bien empacado para que lo lleves sin problema a donde vayas. Y si estás contando calorías, tienen varias opciones con menos de 400 calorías.


Los alimentos frescos de 7-Eleven se preparan en cocinas locales y se entregan a las tiendas en mismo día. De esta manera, se aseguran de mantener la calidad y frescura de sus alimentos. Los precios tampoco están nada mal. Mi ensalada favorita cuesta solo $3.99.

Este cambio importante en su estrategia corporativa viene como resultado de que más personas desean llevar un estilo de vida saludable, aún con sus rutinas complicadas. ¡Imagínate que 7-Eleven vende un promedio de 71 millones de guineos (bananas) cada año! Las opciones saludables continúan cambiando la vida de muchas personas y 7-Eleven es un vecino que escucha.

Conoce más acerca de estas nuevas opciones saludables en su página Web y encuentra una tienda cerca de ti. ¡Hasta la próxima semana!




Summer up with refreshing options from 7-Eleven

The following post is a sponsored collaboration with 7-Eleven and Latina Bloggers Connect for the 7-Eleven #7EFresh campaign. All opinions are our own.


Finding the right apartment in a city like Chicago means a great location close to the train, bus lines, green areas and of course that trusty convenience store where you can get what you need on the go. In our case, our neighborhood 7-Eleven on Bryn Mawr Avenue is where we go when we are short on milk, eggs or bananas.

It’s not only perfectly located, but it continues to impress us with an expanding selection of better-for-you options, beyond our weekly essentials. You can get a hearty salad, boiled eggs, yogurt parfaits, sandwiches and wraps, string cheese, hummus and coconut water.


When the week gets a bit crazy, there’s nothing like grabbing a couple of 7-Eleven favorites to enjoy a quiet lunch at the park. I particularly love their Balsamic Garden Salad and fruit cups, while Nabol is a big fan of their Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

Everything comes conveniently packaged to make it easy for you to take along, and if you are counting calories, you can find lots of options under 400 calories.

What’s even better is that 7-Eleven’s fresh foods are prepared in local kitchens and delivered to stores daily. This way they can ensure the quality and freshness of their products. Prices are not bad either. My favorite salad is only $3.99.



This important change in corporate strategy comes as a response to costumers like us who wish to live healthy lifestyles regardless of our busy schedules. Can you believe that 7-Eleven sells an average of 71 million bananas in one year? Healthier options make a difference in people’s lives and 7-Eleven is a neighbor that listens.

Find out more about their better-for-you options on their website and locate a store near you. Until next week!



This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with 7-Eleven and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions are my own.

25 junio 2015

Puerros rellenos gratinados

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En el norte de España, se preparan recetas maravillosas con los puerros. Se cocinan a la parrilla, se hornean, se fríen, se guisan o se preparan al vapor. Su sabor dulzón y delicado se transforma en cada platillo.


La semana pasada, mientras buscábamos restaurantes para un viaje a Barcelona, encontramos un par de lugares que servían puerros rellenos de gambas o jamón y queso. No sé a ustedes, pero la idea nos pareció maravillosa. Era imposible esperar a nuestro viaje para probarlo. Nos pasamos la tarde del domingo tratando de averiguar cómo prepararlo en casa.

En lugar de gambas o jamón, sin embargo, decidimos rellenar los puerros de habichuelas blancas guisadas. Hervimos los puerros unos minutos, los freímos rápidamente en aceite y los horneamos con una salsa cremosa. Los resultados fueron increíbles. El puerro en sí sabía como a espárragos y con el relleno de habichuelas, se convirtió en una comida vegetariana completa. Tienen que probar la receta.


Puerros gratinados rellenos de habichuelas blancas – Ingredientes 
  • 4 Puerros 
  • 1 Taza de crema 
  • 4 Dientes de ajos 
  • 1 Huevo 
  • Harina para empanar 
  • Aceite de oliva o canola para freír (como una taza) 
  • Sal y pimienta la gusto 
  • 1 Taza de caldo vegetal 
  • 1 Taza de queso parmesano 

Para las habichuelas (frijoles): 
  • 1 Taza de habichuelas blancas orgánicas 
  • 1/3 Taza de pimientos morrones 
  • 1 Cucharadita de pimentón español 
  • 1 Dientes de ajo machacados 
  • ¼ Taza de cebolla picadita 
  • Sal y pimienta al gusto 
  • ¼ Taza de hojas de apio picaditas (celery) 
  • 1 Tomate picadito 
  1. Corta la parte blanca de los puerros, como a 6 pulgadas de largo. Esta es la parte que vas a hornear. (Corta la parte cercana a la raíz lo más pegadito posible a la raíz para que no pierda la forma al cocinarse.) Guarda el resto del puerro para la salsa. 
  2. Enjuaga los tallos blancos para eliminar impurezas. Corta el resto de las hojas y enjuaga también. 
  3. Pon agua a hervir con una pizca de sal. Hierve los tallos por 8 minutos. Remuévelos del agua y déjalos descansar en papel toalla. 
  4. Espolvorea los tallos con harina. Rebósalos en huevo y fríelos en un poco de aceite hasta que estén dorados. Déjalos descansar en papel toalla. 
  5. Mientras, prepara las habichuela colocando todos los ingredientes en una cacerola. Cocínalas por 15 ó 20 minutos hasta que el guiso quede espeso. 
  6. Para la salsa, saltea los puerros picaditos en unas gotas de aceite de oliva. Añade el ajo y cocina por 5 minutos antes de añadir el caldo. Sazona con sal y pimienta y cocina por otros 5 minutos. Añade la crema y permite que se espese. Colócalo en la licuadora. 
  7. Luego, rellena los tallos. Haz una incisión con un cuchillo, como si fueran canoas de plátano y rellénalos con las habichuelas. Colócalos en un molde engrasado, cúbrelos con la salsa y el queso parmesano. Hornea a 500 grados por 10 minutos o hasta que estén dorados. 

Stuffed leeks au gratin

Home cooks in northern Spain do wonderful things to leeks. They transform them in the grill, they bake them, fry them, stew them, steam them. Its beautiful mild flavor changes every time. 


Last week, as we were browsing restaurants for our upcoming trip to Barcelona, we found several places that served leeks stuffed with shrimp or ham and cheese. And I don’t know about you, but that sounded pretty darn wonderful to us. We couldn’t wait that long to try it for ourselves, so we ended up spending our Sunday afternoon trying to figure out how to make this at home.

Instead of shrimp or ham, however, we decided to stuff our leeks with delicious stewed beans. We boiled the leeks for a bit, fried them slightly and baked them with a cream sauce. The result was amazing. The leek itself tasted a little bit like asparagus and the stuffing turned the recipe into a complete vegetarian meal. You must try this recipe at home.

White bean stuffed leeks au gratin - Ingredients 
  • 4 Large leeks 
  • 1 Cup of cream 
  • 4 Cloves of garlic 
  • 1 Egg 
  • Flour for coating 
  • Olive oil or canola oil for frying (About a cup) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 Cup of vegetable stock 
  • 1 Cup of parmesan cheese 

For beans: 
  • 1 Cup of organic white beans 
  • 1/3 Cup of roasted red peppers 
  • 1 Teaspoon of Spanish paprika 
  • 2 Garlic cloves, mashed 
  • ¼ Cup of onion, finely chopped 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • ¼ Cup of chopped celery leaves 
  • 1 Tomato, diced 
  1. Cut the white part of the leeks, about 6 inches long. This is what you are going to bake. (Cut as close as possible to the roots, so it holds its shape.) Keep the rest the leek for the sauce. 
  2. Run the white stalks through water to remove all dirt. Chop the rest of the leaves and run them through water as well. 
  3. Boil water with a pinch of salt. Then, boil the leek stalks for about 8 minutes. Remove them from the water and let them rest on a paper towel. 
  4. Coat the leeks in flour. Then, coat them with a beaten egg. Fry them in a little bit of oil until golden brown. Let them rest again on paper towel. 
  5. Meanwhile, make the beans by combining all the ingredients in a pot and cook them for 15 to 20 minutes. The stewed beans should be pretty thick. 
  6. For the sauce, sauté the remaining leeks with a drop of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the stock. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cream and let it reduce until it thickens. Blend. 
  7. Once the leeks are cooled, make a little incision with a knife to stuff them with the beans. Place it in a greased pan, cover with the sauce, add the cheese and cook at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden.

23 junio 2015

A taste of Humboldt Park

Post originally published in Chicagoislander.com
A sip of sweet café con leche and freshly baked criollo bread is a wonderful thing any day of the week, even more so amidst one of the worsts winters Chicago has ever seen.


Two years ago, Nabol and I found Café Colao driving down Division Street in Humboldt Park, the city’s Puerto Rican neighborhood. At 5 degrees, there were hardly any people on the street. But this small panadería was thankfully open, like any authentic panadería would be. You could smell the aroma of warm bread from across the street.

It was our first taste of Puerto Rico outside of the island. Exactly what we needed.

We found traditional quesitos filled with cream cheese and other pastries with guava. There was freshly squeezed orange juice, pineapple and passion fruit juice. You could even get a week-old copy of Claridad if you wanted, a newspaper that has been promoting “the fight for Puerto Rico’s independence” since 1959.

It was slightly bizarre to be enjoying our beloved treats while looking at the snow outside, but I just focused on my precious cup of coffee imagining I was back home. 


Across the street, there was Casita Cultural with a small park celebrating the community. A statue of Pedro Albizu Campos, the leading figure of the Puerto Rican independent movement, was standing tall right in the middle of the square, covered in snow. Another piece of artwork honored political hero Lolita Lebrón, someone who Millenials in the island would most likely have to Google.

Boricuas in Chicago are very proud. They live and breathe their heritage. And in case you had any doubt, there are two ginormous 60-foot Puerto Rican flags along Division Street to remind you. This community was built in great part by generations of Boricua families who started to arrive in the 60s and 70s looking for opportunities they couldn’t find back home. They are business owners, teachers and politicians.


Their stories are preserved in the impressive Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture dedicated to the history of Puerto Rican culture and diaspora. They even have their own Fiestas Puertorriqueñas, an annual sumer festival that is somewhat similar to one of our island’s town carnivals.

We attended this past weekend for the first time. There was salsa and reggaeton, fritters and piña colada.

Nabol got a plate of rice and beans, and a plantain “canoe” filled with beef. It tasted just like the ones you get at any cafeteria on the island. And those beans, let me tell you... Those stewed beans were amazing.


It's comforting to keep coming back. Yet, somehow, as we were eating picnic-style on the beautiful green lawn, looking around and listening to others speak Spanish with our Caribbean accent, we couldn't help to realize that we haven't completely found our way into the community. We might be getting there, or we might have to start a thing of our own. After all, our island experiences are slightly different. We are a different generation, with a different context and reason for being here.

Meanwhile, Humboldt Park continues to evolve into a community with its own unique flavor, way beyond being just the "Puerto Rican neighborhood." This is a very powerful place. It's where many have come to be themselves and redefine themselves in a new land.


Case in point is the awesome “jibarito” plantain sandwich that we tried, also for the first time, at the festival. Just like Salsa music was born in New York in the 70s with all of the great rhythms from Cuba and Puerto Rico, this “jibarito” was born decades ago in Chicago with all of the wonderful ingredients that we know and love from the island.

Similar versions started to appear on the island since then, but if you go to Puerto Rico today, just a handful of places will have a similar item on their menu. In Chicago, a “jibarito” is in itself an institution, dearly loved not just by Puerto Ricans, but everyone in the city.

As we continue to grow roots in our new city, we hope to become part of a new generation of strong-will people who gather to build something just as meaningful. We hope to give our corner of the world a taste of its own, to build a warm home for others like us regardless of how cold or how hard it gets. And if we are lucky, we might even come up with our very own version of the famous jibarito.