Dinner at Gallo Pinto – we decided on a few appetizers from their menu and these “Mofonguitos” were one of our favorites at the table. Crispy basket made from green plantains stuffed with shredded pork and topped with fresh guacamole, what more could we ask for?!
We spent an entire day touring the “Zona Colonial“, known to house the first Cathedral of the Americas, as well being the historic central neighborhood of Santo Domingo, oldest permanent settlement of the New World and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Pick a cool and breezy day to do this, as the monuments are not air-conditioned and it does get hot in them! Museums and sites each have an entry price of RD$100 (about US$2.50), not bad compared to museums prices in the US go for $10-$20. Tours include an audio set in various languages that guide your walk through the historic buildings.
When it was lunch time during out Zona Colonial walk, we stopped at one of the most popular and most prestigious restaurants not only in the Colonial area, but Santo Domingo. Pat’e Palo Restaurant is nestled in a row of restaurants and bars and stands out for its incredible food. During the month of December, a “Gastrotour Menu” is set up and that’s what we tasted. Pictured here is the first course of our tasting menu – house made burrata with a tomato tartar and crostini topped with a white sardine and herbed olive oil.
Think about the Dominican Republic and you might automatically think about RUM. Thankfully, we were invited by Brugal Rum to experience their production and distillation process – from sugar cane fields to the rum in your glass. We’ll be sharing a detailed account of this experience as well as some delicious drink recipes soon, so stay tuned!
Lunch at Boca Marina is a must-do when you are in Santo Domingo. About 45 minutes from the bustling capital and tucked in between crystal turquoise colored water and a small town called Boca Chica is Boca Marina, a restaurant literally on the water. The perfect spot to relax on a weekend while sun bathing and enjoying their fresh cuisine.
Sunday lunch at El Cantabrico was a humbling experience. Known for its Spanish cuisine, El Cantabrico does a few things extremely well. They don’t boast the latest culinary trends or serve in the most stylish way. What they DO is serve some of the most amazing paella you’ll ever have, as well as a suckling pig quarter that will have you licking your fingers and wanting more. The “Paella Valenciana” is colorful and cooked to perfection with chicken, sausage, beef, pork, prawns, lobster, clams, and mussels. The “Cochinillo a la Segoviense” is a quarter of a suckling pig, marinated in garlic and very few other spices; cooked over a fire and obtaining a deliciously crispy crackling and moist meatiness on the inside.
Can you believe this was my first visit to Altos de Chavon and Casa de Campo? Known for its gorgeous villas (where Shakira and other celebrities spend their holidays), it’s also the home of the Chavon Ampitheather (see above). “A re-creation of a medieval European village conceived from the imagination of Roberto Copa, a former Paramount Pictures set designer, and Charles Bluhdorn” -Wikipedia. A fantastic day trip about 2 hours from Santo Domingo, with plenty of restaurants to choose from!
Of course we had to stop at Adrian’s Tropical Restaurant on El Malecon and have some Mofongo! Made from mashed green plantains, lots of garlic, and crispy pork rinds, it’s the perfect side dish to a good steak. Served with a small bowl of sancocho to drizzle over, it’s known to revive the dead (or better yet, the hungover souls!)
Our first helicopter ride! This was a few days after a day of deep sea fishing, where I could not even stand I was so sea sick. But oddly enough, this helicopter ride was smooth sailing! Flying over the coast and being able to view the gorgeous beaches from the clouds was a gift unlike any other. So happy to have shared this experience with M!
Our visit to El Sendero del Cacao, an organic cacao farm in San Francisco de Macoris, about 3 hours from the city, was well worth the travel time. We walked through the entire process, from seedling to harvesting and a few tastings in between. A more detailed account to follow on the blog in the next few weeks.
Gorgeous isn’t it? We were lucky enough to stare at this unfiltered view for an entire week while staying at the Bavaro Palace Deluxe, recently renovated and completely packed with restaurants, a calming spa, casino, and so much more. One of my favorite resorts in the Dominican Republic, by far!
On our last full day in Santo Domingo, my Mom and I woke up early to make Pasteles en Hoja and seriously guys? I can’t wait to share this recipe with you all! I even have a video of my Mom making them step by step! It was my first time making these and it was amazing to be able to have my Mom teach me her ways.
Enter the Rafflecopter form below and be eligible to win the package pictured above. Included in the prize pack:
- 1/2 pound Cafe Santo Domingo
- 1/2 pound Monte Alto Cafe (grown and roasted in Jarabacoa, DR)
- 1 jar of Mango marmalade
- 1 jar of local honey
- 1 bar of Kah Kow, local chocolate
- 1 small pot of cocoa butter
- 1 set of 3 espresso cups with folkloric images
- 1 tin cup with hand-painted Jacaranda tree (iconic to the DR)
- 1 Pilon (wooden mortar and pestle)
- 1 ball of raw cacao from El Sendero del Cacao (not pictured)