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Dec 29, 2013 05:39 PM

Traveling to Puerto Rico - food questions

I'm planning a week-long vacation to Puerto Rico and Vieques (a small island off the Puerto Rico mainland). As far as I understand it, these are my food options, but if anyone has any insight or experience with any of these options, or any other ideas for me, I would love to hear them!
- Chabad of Puerto Rico has a catering service that delivers to local hotels. Has anyone used this and can comment on the quality and freshness of the food?
Since I don't think Chabad will deliver to Vieques, which is a 2-hour ferry ride from the mainland, I think my choices on the island are limited to double-wrapped frozen meals and possibly cooking there on a George Foreman. A few questions:
- Will I run into problems bringing raw frozen meat into Puerto Rico? Would there be any other reason not to cook on a George Foreman?

- What kind of frozen meal options are there out there? Is there anything significantly better than the standard Meal Mart type dinners? (I'm willing to pay extra to eat tasty food!)

- I am concerned about all the transfers of the frozen food, and about how to store the frozen meals throughout the week. Does anyone have any experience/advice regarding getting a freezer in a hotel room, or possibly having the hotel store the food for me? I have even heard that some hotels will heat it for you and serve it to you in the hotel's dining areas with salad and bread (I would be ok eating salad in a hotel). Does anyone have any experience with this to say if it is worth doing or easy to come by?

Any other creative travel food ideas, or general travel tips, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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  1. dunno, but if Culebra has decent grocery stores (although not K, I'm sure) then surely Vieques has a few.

    and oddly enough, most of the fish outside of restaurants around those parts is sold frozen.

    sounds like more than a few of your food storage questions would be best answered by your hotel/guesthouse. it's OK to ask as most people speak at least Spanglish.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      and Fed-Ex/UPS deliver (just no 10:30 AM guarantee)

      1. re: hill food

        Thanks for the tip about the grocery stores...regarding fish, what could I do with frozen fish?

        1. re: DevorahL

          I think hill food was referring to the practice of some who keep kosher . . . they buy fresh fish, double wrap it, and ask for it to be cooked in the hotel/restaurant oven.

          1. re: queenscook

            oh I was referring to what can be found retail fresh. K? not a chance. but you're surely not the first observant Jew who has gone and this question has to have been raised before with your hotel. just saying the grocers there have more or less what you'd find in one in the 48. not much help I know, but there was more than I expected on Culebra so V MUST have better options. get ready for fantastic beaches and snorkeling!

            I'm used to staying in far more squalid places than Vieques where one takes what one can get.

      2. there are lots of restaurants in the ny area that will pack food thatll last the flight for you- where are you?

        2 Replies
        1. re: shoelace

          I'm in NY--which restaurants do you recommend? Will they ship directly to the hotel?

          1. re: DevorahL

            ive used noahs ark in teaneck, and theyll either pack them to travel with you, or ship them for you

            many of te kosher chinese places in queens/li, will pack for travel, ive used both chosen (in great neck) and annies (on union


            ive never dealt with them directly, but ive partaken of house of glatt in crown heights travel meals- i feel like they charged a ridiculously low price

            chap a nosh in the 5 towns and traditions will do it as well with advanced notice

        2. Mealmart and a few other companies make shelf-stable meals, similar to the frozen types. If they're available where you're located, and you'll have access to a microwave, I would recommend bringing at least a few of them. I have been pretty happy with the Mealmart ones (much less so with the La Briute ones that self-heat, which were barely edible). It's definitely not gourmet food, but they travel well, are easy to prepare, and are surprisingly decent, considering.

          1. Your best bet would be to email the concierge at your hotel regarding storing food. The concierge can speak with the food and beverage manager and one of them will email you back. Many hotels will be happy to heat your double wrapped food and serve it in the restaurant- they may charge you a surcharge or ask you to order drinks/salad.

            If you do go this route, print out copies of the emails and bring them with you. That way if the people you spoke with aren't there, you will be able to be helped.

            8 Replies
            1. re: cheesecake17

              Good idea re: printing emails! Thanks for the tip! Any suggestions regarding where to get frozen meals?

              1. re: DevorahL

                Yup, it's really helpful!
                I cooked my own meals, froze them double wrapped in throwaway pans. Labeled each with numbers, and kept a corresponding list. (I would call the f&b people in the morning and tell them to heat up #1)
                Many restaurants in NYC will prepare food to be frozen. Just let them know how you want it packed.

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  Thanks - I spoke to the hotel yesterday and they were absolutely willing to hold my frozen meals and heat them for me! It seems like cooking my own meals would be more economical than buying potentially subpar meals...any tips on how to make it come out great! I never use a microwave at home---what do I have to know about what kind of food to cook, how to cook it, etc? Thanks!

                  1. re: DevorahL

                    The hotels that I've been at were willing to heat my food double wrapped in the disposable pans.

                    Things that have worked well:
                    Baked ziti
                    Shepards pie
                    Zucchini or spinach quiche (no crust)
                    Rice & lentils
                    Vegetarian chili
                    Lasagna (meat or cheese)
                    Brisket (with gravy)

                    Steamfresh vegetables are great, since they can be microwaved. The hotel may be willing to put stuff in the fridge for you too - we once brought sealed packs of turkey

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Thanks - I'm going ahead with homemade double-wrapped meals. I'm using storebought microwavable trays, but any suggestions on what to use as a second wrapper? (I never use microwaves, so not sure if there is a difference between using plastic wrap, ziploc bags, any other wrapping?)

                      1. re: DevorahL

                        I'm not sure. I usually have them double wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven.

                        All the micro containers I have require the lid to be off

                      2. re: cheesecake17

                        Hi Cheesecake, do steamfresh veggie count as double wrapped?

                        1. re: PotatoPuff

                          I have no idea. Personally, I'd use them

              2. One hotel I was at (I think PR) let us bring a pan and utensil and made us eggs at the buffet