Rincon, Puerto Rico
My family and I will be vacationing in Rincon next week. I've searched this board and haven't come up with too much, and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations (for anything, as long as it's delicious; from take-out carts to upscale and everything in between). Thanks.
I'm pretty sure you've already come and gone but for breakfast the English Rose is really really great. It's up on a hill (one lane road, watch out for traffic coming down), and the view is spectacular.
There's also a place that I *think* is called Cerdito del Cielito. It's a BBQ joint but it's also a fishmonger. The proprietor spearfishes his catch every morning. We had a house with a grill, so we made ample use of him.
Hope this reply finds you before you leave. The problem with your request is that, outside of major cities like San Juan and Ponce, it's really hard to find places because no one really advertises - everything is word of mouth, especially for the best mom&pop places. You'll also definitely need a car. That being said, I've got some tips for you:
1. If you like ice cream, you MUST try Heladeria de Lares, in the town of Lares. They're a fantastic ice cream shop, and they specialize in interesting, exotic flavors. The last time I was there, I devoured a scoop of avocado ice cream, along with a scoop of corn ice cream. Sounds terrible, but it was heavenly. They also have a rum raisin ice cream to die for - with real rum (yummy).
2. Since you'll be staying in Rincon, you'll be right next to a couple of the best surfing beaches on the island. I would definitely ask the surfers for recommendations. They spend a lot of time in the area and will know a number of places. They will also know where the good street vendors and food shacks are.
3. Cabo Rojo has some great seafood places right on the water. Haven't been there in years, so I don't know what's still there. I'd ask around.
4. The nearby town of Mayaguez is home to the University of Puerto Rico's Engineering School, so it's the Caribbean version of a college town. The town is pretty famous for its brazo gitano (literally translates to Gypsy arm - it's a rolled up cake filled with a variety of jams and fillings). I would definitely go by a panaderia (bakery) to taste some brazo gitano, and to try either pan sobao or pan de agua (the main kinds of bread that are made in PR), with a cup of Puerto Rican coffee. Panaderias are also a great place to do breakfast, and some also serve great pressed sandwiches - I'd definitely try the Cubano sandwich (pork, ham, swiss on pan de agua) or the Medianoche (same fillings, different bread). Mayaguez is also famous for a concoction they call sangria - not what I would consider a traditional sangria - that's definitely a love it or hate it proposition. It's definitely too sweet for me, but I thought I'd mention it.
5. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has a program where they designate a number of restaurants on the island as Mesones Gastronomicos (http://www.gotopuertorico.com/mesones...). These restaurants all offer either traditional Puerto Rican or Puerto Rican fusion food, and must meet PRTC's standards for quality. Some of these restaurants are associated with hotels, but others are what I consider real Puerto Rican restaurants (like El Ancla in Ponce, and my favorite seafood place on the island - Tulio's Seafood). I'd check out the website to see what's in your area.
I have more recs, but these are for places on the East side of the island, and I don't know how far you're willing to drive. If you want these recs, let me know.
Hope you have tons of fun!!