We do a lot of research on Chowhound before trips to find the best places to eat, and this time we supplemented it with advice from my college friend Lourdes who lives in San Juan, and our friend Miguel, whose family has a guest house in the mountains of Cayey.
Here’s a typical Weisz family move: on the packed last day of the trip, in which we needed to fit a trip to the beach and a foray into Old San Juan to see El Morro and go to a dance class with Lourdes, we still drove almost an hour to Guavate, a town that is known for a long winding road lined with restaurants serving nothing but barbecued pork. We ate a pound of crispy delight at Rancho Original and then got right back in the car and drove an hour back. It was worth it.
Ezra also enjoyed the food in Puerto Rico. At eight months, his food horizons are starting to broaden, and I’ve been wanting him to try more flavors (garlic! cinnamon!), just as he is starting to demand food with interesting textures (banana and avocado chunks! Cheerios!). I brought a starter pack of food from home, but decided ahead of time to try, within reason, to feed him parts of our meals, rather than obsessing about making sure we had enough official Baby Food.
I brought a few bibs, bowls, and spoons, a big ziploc bag full of cheerios, another full of quick oats, and a lunch bag with a few ounces of frozen breastmilk, and a few cubes of frozen baby food. (TSA regulations allow you to bring that stuff in addition to your baggie full of shampoos, by the way, even if you don’t have a ticket for your babe.)
It was pretty much right on, and I could have brought even less, since the milk kept for a few days, but by the time we got to Florida (more on that tomorrow), it was starting to sour. Every morning in Puerto Rico I made him some breastmilk oatmeal and stirred in a little spoonful of one of the veggie purees I’d made. For the rest of the day, he had cheerios and little mashed up pieces of what we were eating. At one restaurant, the waitress made him a bowl of soft rice and broth and brought it over without us asking for anything. At another, I discovered that a disappointingly limp vegetable side dish is actually a great thing if you’ve got a baby on board. Bland steamed carrots and broccoli soft enough to mash with a fork? Yes, please!
There were days when I wondered if he was getting quite enough to eat, but I reminded myself that at this age, he’s still getting almost all his nutrients from nursing. I also tried not to worry about the complex list of foods babies should and shouldn’t eat, deciding to trust my instincts and common sense: ceviche=no, scrambled eggs=yes. Plus, he spent most of the trip filling up on sand, anyway.
There’s another, longer, more general post in there about how I decide what to feed this kid, but it will have to wait, because next up: Uncles!