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Puerto Rican/Dominican Food FINALLY

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OK,
It took me hiring a contractor to do some exterior painting at my house outside Annapolis to finally get a GOOD rec. on a place in the MD/DC/N. VA area that serves REAL Puerto Rican food. I am not talking about some Caribbean fusion etc...I am talking mofongo relleno, yucca, tostones, arroz con gandules. Food I used to get in Puerto Rico when I lived there and my wife grew up on there. Before we found this place we would only be treated to these signature dishes once or twice a year when we visited my wife's family on the island.

About the place: Manna is short on ombiance and BIG on food. The plates and portions are enough for two. We go there for, and would suggest to a newcomer of REAL Puerto Rican food, the mofongo. This dish is the signature relleno (home cooking/old fashioned) of Puerto Rico and a favorite of teh Dominican Rep. as well. There are variations between the styles from PR to DR, but it is neglegable.

There are quite a few threads about Puerto Rican food on here and I figured I would help some people out. This is not the type of place you find unless you are looking or happen to speak to someone who has been there.

Here is a link for the place: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide...

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  1. Sounds yummy (I am half Puerto Rican and miss Mofongo) one question - is it strictly carry out or is there somewhere to sit and eat in the place. I live in Alexandria - I want to be prepared...:-)

    1. I, too, am half-Puerto Rican and wish there were more places in the DC Metro area that offered PR food. Takoma Park? Hmmm---but I live in LoCo... Thanks for the tip though. If I'm ever in the vicinity for some reason, I would drop in there.

      1. Thanks for the rec on Manna. I too would love to know if there's any room to eat in.

        Los Arrieros in Silver Spring has a Dominican side to their menu. I've only eaten there once, but I had a very satisfying and unusual dish of mashed plantains and chorizo.

        1. Been meaning to check this out -- I've been craving Puerto Rican since I got back from San Juan a few months ago. Finally had the chance to get there this past weekend. We were the only non-hispanics in there; wasn't too busy but we were early, around 6pm on a Saturday.

          They do have a decent amount of dine-in seating. I enjoyed the mofongo (huge portions) -- though the meat that came with it (mine was chicken, BF's was pork) were both fried till they were dark, dark brown -- to a crisp. This was unlike the meat offerings on mofongo I had while in Puerto Rico, but I'm not familiar enough with PR/Dominican food to know if this is how it was intended to be. I didn't really care for this overly cooked texture.

          Loved the bed of "salad" (shredded iceberg, chunk tomatoes, beautiful sliced avocados) with tangy lemon dressing served underneath the mofongo. Note - this mofongo is served "dry", without the sofrito/tomato sauce on top. I guess I had it both ways in PR but I tended to prefer the "wet" version.

          The side of maduros we ordered was heavenly -- beautifully ripe and fried to a light crisp.

          They have horchata as well -- I enjoyed it but it could have been blended a little bit more; the rice was still a tiny bit grainy.

          Prices were decent; mofongos $13-15 each (though technically one portion is 2 meals worth for me).