Puerto Rican Food For The Soul: Avocado & Roasted Grouper


roasted grouper

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I enjoyed what has been hands down the best meal I have ever eaten in my life at Fern Restaurant at the St. Regis Bahia Beach in Rio Grande. A Jean-Georges restaurant, the menu focuses on contemporary American dishes with a global influence and local Puerto Rican twist. When there I enjoyed a degustation and wine pairing meal, with six courses in total (actually seven, as our waiter surprised us with their avocado pizza topped with jalapeño, cilantro and lime for some local flavor). The above photo is of a hearty piece of roasted grouper served with aromatic black beans, avocado and scallion, which was paired with a 2010 Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 Rose. The dish was an excellent example of the blending of Asian and Puerto Rican flavors, with the beans being the most important flavor-enhancer in the dish.

A few other pairings I enjoyed during the experience included hamachi sashimi served with a soy-ginger dressing, radish and avocado and paired with a 2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling; grilled beef tenderloin with gingered shiitake mushrooms and a soy caramel emulsion paired with a 2010 Bridelwood Bordeaux blend from the Central Coast of California; and a piece of slow braised black pepper octopus with sweet onions and aji dulce paired with a 2011 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viogner from California.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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