The Ponce Chronicles (Part 7)

Lemon! Or lime?  

Since arriving in Puerto Rico, we have not been eating solely at Subway; it just seems that way. Subway, after all, makes healthy sandwiches, quickly, for a good price. And there’s a Subway close to Home Depot, and another close to Sears. What more can you ask for? Well, variety for one thing, and local color for another. For dinner, we have tried to branch out a little. The results are decidedly mixed.

A place called Sabor y Rumba (Roomba? I like it!) has great ceviche (lime juice on a tasty fish), and I get my first taste of a local (to Boston!) craft beer: Sam Adams Rebel IPA. In Ponce? Yes, in Ponce. And you can buy it at Walmart. A highly recommended tapas place offers the most indifferent waiter service we have encountered in a long time, plus food of variable quality.

Limon-Lima_smHere we again put to the test something we first explored at a chain restaurant called Sizzlers*. Can you ask for a slice of lemon in a Puerto Rican restaurant and get lemon, and not lime? At Sizzlers, I knew they had lemon in the kitchen, because someone’s drink had a slice on it. I wanted some for my shrimp. I asked in my own, poor Spanish, “Por favor, limón?” Allysen backed me up by explaining in Spanish that I wanted lemon, limón, not lime, lima. The yellow one. I was rewarded with a cheerful delivery of lime. At the tapas place, we tried even harder, with Allysen explaining at greater length: Amarillo, yellow. The big one. Not the green one. This time the waiter arrived with a small cocktail napkin which he placed with almost obsequious care on the table. On the napkin: one tiny wedge of lime, just ripe enough to be yellow.

I have not yet asked for lemon in a restaurant and gotten it.

I have, however, learned that the best tostones (fried, smashed plantain) on the island appear to be found at Denny’s. (Yes, that Denny’s.)

*Sizzlers, on the whole, was a mixed bag. The low point was the buffet, where I saw some tasty-looking roasted small potatoes and heaped a serving-spoonful onto my plate. Moments after chomping down onto a piece, I experienced a change of heart. Gulp. Swallow.  “What did I just eat?” I choke. Allysen picks up a piece and inspects it. “Looks like fat, to me.” A passing waiter confirms: I have just taken a healthy serving of golden brown chunks of roasted fat. Buen apetito!

(Coming up in Part 8, Bureau of Certificates Bureau.)

[To read The Ponce Chronicles in order, start here.]


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