I haven’t had much in terms of Puerto Rican food lately, though I’ve been to quite a few Puerto Rican restaurants in the past. It has been at least 3-4 years since the last time. So recently, while looking for a place to have dinner, I stumbled upon a place called Guavate, which is a Puerto Rican restaurant located near Waterford Lakes, on Alafaya just north of Curry Ford Rd.
It was early in the evening on a Friday, around 4:30 pm and Pearleen and I were headed to Guavate for and early diner. Upon arriving I noticed the place was quite full for that time of day, which was not what I was expecting, though a good sign.
We were promptly seated. Our server greeted us shortly after seating, took our drink order and quickly returned with our drinks. The menu was quite extensive and, as a result, we weren’t ready to order. After a few minutes of brainstorming over which items we should order, I decided on the Chicharones de Pollo (Chicken Cracklings) and Mofongo. The name Chicharones is quite deceiving, at least to me because I consider Chicharones to be only the skin with the layer of fat and some meat, fried to a crisp. This, however is non-breaded, but seasoned fried chicken, the difference being that the chicken is cut into much smaller, “cube”-sized pieces and the skin is very crispy. Perhaps the reason for being named Chicharones. Pearleen ordered the fried pork with friend green plantains, which was served with sautéed onions and the plantains (fried to a nice golden crisp).
Our food arrived shortly. My chicken was served in smaller cut pieces. The skin was as potato-chips crisp, while the meat was nice and tender, absolutely delicious. The contrast was between the two made it for a great mix of textures. My side was a generous portion of Mofongo, which was very flavorful, though slightly on the dry side.
The fried pork was juicy, tender and nicely seasoned. The fried green plantains were very crisp and fresh. Both portions were generously large, enough that neither of us could finish our meals, leaving us with plenty of leftovers.
I was looking forward to some Tres Leches, but I was quite full after our meals. That’s just one more reason to go back.