Category Archives: Best Of

8 Best Places in Rincón to Eat for Cheap


Posted by Cassie

Food at Cambija

Going out to eat is one of those luxuries that is just so nice every now and then. Living in Rincón we have some of the best food around, but it is not always cheap. Food in general is expensive in Puerto Rico due to shipping costs and so eating out is often even more expensive. In Rincón it can be really pricey because it is a tourist town and you can easily find yourself in a “tourist trap” paying outrageous prices like around $20 for just a hamburger if you aren’t careful. Even in more moderately priced locales, if you have a couple of drinks, add in the tax and tip, two people could easily spend $50 on a night out! So in order to still be able to enjoy going out in our own town, eat something fairly healthy and not a chain (AKA not Churches or Burger King) and spend under or around $20 for two people, here’s what we do.

Firstly, we don’t go out anywhere feeling famished. We eat a couple of boiled eggs, bananas or some chia seeds to fill up on our way out. That way we can often just order one entrée and share it!

Here are our top 8 + stops when eating out on the cheap. Also note that businesses are always coming and going in Rincón so keep your eye out for new places and realize that many of these may not exist in a year or two. (Editor note: This is current for March of 2017.)

Nopales

1) Nopales. This place just opened up in the new Econo strip mall and we love it. It is basically a Chipotle or Qdoba concept of burritos or tacos. We order one burrito and split it. $6 plus tax. The women who work there are also super friendly and nice. Definitely our current #1 favorite place to eat out on the cheap in Rincon.

2) Panaderias. Pretty much any panadería in town (or on the island for that matter) you will find lunch or dinner specials. Try EC, Calvache, Rincoeño or Econo’s cafeteria. A huge stryrofoam container full of chicken or lechón, and rice and beans will set you back about $6 plus tax. Or sometimes we order a sandwich for about the same price. I like the pollo asa’o.

cassie-tommy-poke

3) Food trucks. These can actually sometimes be a little more expensive because they are run by the owners themselves and often with fresh, local ingredients. Sometimes they later become brick and mortar locations like Mi Familias and Jack’s Shack.  Pizza Truck on the 413 is a quick, easy and cheap stop, but maybe not the healthiest fare. We love all the trucks on the corner by Mama Mel’s. Generally, most of these have shareable courses for around $8-12.

Calypso PDub
Calypso during an event

4) Calypso. You just can’t beat the happy hour rum punches, sunset view, music and decent bar food here. We usually share some nachos and a couple of rum drinks and can get out of there for around $20. One note: bring your own water. They will not provide tap water but will sell bottles.

Sunset 2 (2)
Sunset on beach by Tamboo

5) Tamboo. Another favorite mainly for the location, but the food is really good too. It is located right on Sandy Beach where we have witnessed sea turtles hatching as well as whales waving their fins at us. We like Mexican Tuesdays where they have really good Mexican food that changes every week. We’ve had awesome chimichangas and stuffed bell peppers. Entrees are usually about $13-14. With a margarita and a beer or two we can walk away about $25 lighter and a belly full.

qc-view-from-roof-of-rincon
Downtown Rincon (la plaza)

6) Downtown. There are now so many options in Rincon’s plaza area. Some are much more expensive than others, but if you are willing to share you can still get out of most of them for $20. Try all of them if you have time: Rincón Beer Company, Rincón Gyro, Café 413, Roots, Cappriccio, Mangia Mi, De Bocas, Brother’s Pizza. Note for those really on a budget: A pizza slice and a Medalla beer will be less than $5 at Brother’s!

La Cambija

7) La Cambija. Kind of a weird location right on the road down from the balneario, but they have some of the freshest fish at decent prices. The parking situation is also a little awkward because they have a little golf cart that will ship you back and forth. I like their fish ceviche, pinchos, tacos and burritos. About $8-10 per course or $4 for a pincho. Another place to bring your own water to avoid paying for it!

cofresi-pirata

8) Villa Cofresí.
Right on the water, it’s a great place to watch the sunset and drink Piratas which aren’t cheap, but pack a punch and are served in a coconut! We call this place the cruise ship of Rincón because it has that sort of feel. There is a fancier, air conditioned restaurant but to eat on the cheap, order from the bar and sit outside. A burger and fries is less than $10 I believe. Note: drink the piratas at happy hour and it’s about $2 less than regular price.

Honorable Mentions: These places are not very cheap, but they are really good, beautiful and/or different. You can still get out for around $30 if you are careful of your selections and share food.

Secret Thai
Having fun at “Secret Thai” or “Thai Lady’s”

Secret Thai: Ask around and you will find it through a series of strange directions that include two snakes. The very best authentic Thai place that everyone knows about but…hush, doesn’t! Bonus: You can bring your own beer!

Dancing
Bar area of Copa Llena

Copa Llena: Right on the water by the marina. Romantic and beautifully lit. After a fantastic meal you can sit out on the Adirondack chairs and put your feet in the sand.

surfer spot
Surfer’s Spot during the day

Surfer Spot: This is the place for the best cheeseburger I have ever eaten and we are from beeflandia Colorado! They have great pies and other food too, but the cheeseburger is just divine especially at $9 including fries that we can share. I don’t even really eat beef, but I make an exception for this cheeseburger in paradise! The only drawbacks are that it is only open really late at night to serve the night scene and right on a busy road (the 413).

English Rose: Up in the hills overlooking the ocean you can have a wonderful breakfast. There are not many breakfast places, and this is the best both in food and ambience. It’s really not too expensive either.
english rose view
View from the English Rose

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2nd Annual Hot Sauce Contest


Posted by Cassie

Last Monday we attended and I participated in the 2nd Annual Rincón Hot Sauce Contest. It was a pretty rainy day, but cleared up quite a bit toward the evening. I competed with a mango-jalapeño sauce that was somewhat similar to my award winning sauce, Hot Kiss, from last year. I gathered and used the mangos that continue to grow and fall from the huge tree above our cabana.

Mango Jalapeno
Some mangos and jalapeños

I also made another cute label. This time the sauce was called Mango Jalapeño Tango.

Mango Jalapeno Tango
Britton says they were ”salsa” dancing :-)

Considering the rain and cooler weather there was a pretty decent turnout. We had fun trying all the different salsas. Of course there were some that were just too hot for my taste and took a whole can of beer to wash the burning sensation away!

Rincon Balneario
Set up at the Rincón Balneario

Caution Hot
¡Cuidado!

We hung out for quite a while. We even saw our neighbor and his uncle hanging out at the Balneario bar. I had him come over to the event and I think he regretted it. His face turned bright red after eating the burning peanuts. I tried to warn him to only have one peanut but he ate about 3! Pobrecito!

Neighbors
Our neighbor José on the far right turned the color of Britton’s shirt after eating the pique.

Later that evening the psychedelic/rock punk band Blacks en Tela played live and we enjoyed hanging out and hula hooping. About half-way through they tallied all the votes and announced the winners. I won 1st place for best label art and 3rd place for best flavor overall! Not too shabby! (You can find a full list of the winners at this page.)

Three winners
Jamie, Trina and I were three of the winners and we won these great tie-died shirts

It was also the evening of the summer solstice and we saw a beautiful sunset before the full moon. Overall a fun, fantastic evening. Thanks Frances and Greg for all your hard work in putting this together!

Walking at sunset
A fiery end to a fiery hot sauce contest

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Rincon Hot Sauce Contest (and my Award-Winning Sauce)!


Posted by Cassie

Living in Rincón is so fun because so many people are living self-directed (and often very unique) lives and when something sounds fun, oftentimes people will just go ahead and do it! That was the case when our friend Frances (and Greg) decided to put on a Hot Sauce contest at the balneario (public beach).

Frances Hot sauce contest
Official Poster of the contest

I have made fresh salsas before, but never a hot sauce. But hey, it was for fun and I love hot sauce and salsas and anything creative. The main difference (as far as I can tell) between a hot sauce and a salsa is that the hot sauce has vinegar in it and usually salsa doesn’t. Also it tends to be used much less liberally than a salsa dip. But in the end it really didn’t matter because at this event there was every type of sauce, salsa, dip, hummus, what-have-you.

As for my hot sauce, I chose to do two jalapeño based ones. In Puerto Rico, pique  as people call it, is often not very picante at all. I often miss the spicy foods and salsas we had at all the Mexican restaurants in Colorado because while some Puerto Rican food is very delicious, it is just not very hot and spicy. I have seen Puerto Ricans get red in the face over mild Pace salsa Ha! Wusses! :-)  Hot spice is just not a thing here. So it was fun to go to an event that set our faces ablaze! Wowza!

I used jalapeño peppers as well as a few poblanos for the base and spicy component of my two hot sauces. I can’t wait till we can do another annual garden for veggies, but for now I just had to get them at the store.

Lot sa jalapenos
Spicy jalapeño peppers

I also thought up a few different hot sauce names and drew out some designs. Here are the two that made the cut:

Hot Kiss Holy Jalapeno

Once the sauces were completed, we headed over to the balneario.

Me and hotsauces
Bringing the heat (they would probably be more in the “medium” category of spiciness)

The event was super fun and crowded! I was surprised how many people showed up with great sauces and food.

Hot Sauce contest
Hanging out under the flamboyan tree with a dj and of course hula hoops for kids of all ages

There were a few categories to enter and I entered Caribbean and Jalapeño. Others included Habanero, Freestyle, and Fruit-based. And there were different ways to win in each category. There must have been about 20 entrants in each category! Really great participation. I really didn’t expect much for mine since it was my first time ever making a hot sauce (and we arrived late, no surprise there), so the next day when the results were announced I was super shocked to find out that I had won in the Jalapeño category for best name (Holy Jalapeño). But more amazing was that Hot Kiss won for best overall flavor in the Caribbean category! Now I can say that I make award-winning hot sauces! Another lifetime first thanks to living in Puerto Rico.

Awards hot sauce Who doesn’t love winning an award or two?!

Some people love recipes, so here’s the basic recipe for Award-Winning Hot Kiss. As my family called my cooking growing up, it’s definitely a Cassie Concoction!

Ingredients
(to sautee/cook)
10-12 Jalapeño peppers (leave one or two to add raw for more heat)
1-2 Poblano peppers
1 cup fresh cut pinapple (sautee some and add some fresh)
tiniest amount of red onion (I am not a fan of onion)
5 cloves garlic (3 to sautee and 2 raw)
Sautee oil (coconut oil)

(to add in fresh)
1 fresh mango
1 fresh passionfruit
1 teaspoon or so salt
pinch or two cumin
dash of ground pepper
dash of ground cayenne
handful of fresh cilantro
juice squeezed from half a fresh grapefruit
juice squeezed from half a fresh lime
dash of chia seeds (thickener but not totally necessary for taste)
2-3 shots of distilled vinegar (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Directions:
Sautee in a high heat oil (I used coconut oil) about ten jalapeño peppers after seeding and and slicing length-wise, 3 cloves of garlic, half or 3/4 of the poblano, a little red onion, some pineapple and some salt. Sautee for about 5 minutes. Then add a bunch of water (maybe 1 1/2 cups?) and let it cook some more for about 20 minutes stirring regularly. Wait till it is about room temperature and then start the blending process.

Next take the raw ingredients including the leftover raw garlic, jalapeno/poblano and pineapple and add them with all the rest of the list in the blender with the sautéed/cooked items. Slowly add the vinegar until you like the taste. If you want it spicier, add more fresh jalapeño or poblano. Transfer to a jar of your choice. Refrigerate and then eat when cool! Will last quite a while in the fridge. ¡Buen Provecho!

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Best of the Rincón Film Fest


Posted by Cassie

This weekend we went to our first film festival! It was the 7th Annual Rincón Internationa Film Festival and took place at various locations throughout Rincón for about a week. We decided to go to the Best of the Fest night because it would showcase the award winning short films and we also wanted to check out the Casa Hines Mansion which we had heard about but never actually visited before.

Cassie and Casa Hines
Me at Casa Hines

We loved looking at the property and landscaping as well as the architecture. It is a beautiful place beach front and we enjoyed a nice sunset before the movies began.

mansion

Bill and BrittonBritton and our friend Bill overlooking the courtyard

Inside HinesUpstairs balcony area

We enjoyed the films from each of the categories: Fright Night, Comedy, Puerto Rican Film, Action, Date Night as well as the music videos.

Me and B at sunset

One of our new friends here even made one of the music videos called Johnny, that was featured and it was filmed almost entirely in Rincón and the music is by a local band called The Disfunction. We also watched two other great movies that were filmed in Puerto Rico: Chula and Mi CorazónMi Corazón was interesting as it had a sort of not-so-hidden message about the United States’ impact on Puerto Rico.

Overall, we had a great evening of film and fun even with a little rain thrown in.

Screen at Film

 

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