The Traveling Steve's

Way-cation in San Juan part 2

Our San Juan way-cation continues from the last post, this time with Steve (DOS) doing the posting. . .

While most people ask us why we take such short trips, the answer is quite simple…They’re FUN!!! We woke up Saturday morning at home in our own bed in Orlando, and then headed to the airport, took a couple of flights through Charlotte to San Juan.

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We had our lunch on the flight, Steve had a few glasses of red wine, just to help him relax after a hard work week. Before we knew it, we were landing in San Juan. We hopped in a taxi and in 15 minutes we were checking in at the Caribe Hilton.

We were given a lovely ocean view room on the top floor (10th) of the main building of the hotel.

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It was around 5PM, so we had three hours before our dinner reservation at Fogo de Chao, a really nice Brazilian Steakhouse. Fogo de Chao is a short walk from the hotel, and actually part of the complex of buildings, but we walked over to the restaurant anyway, to make sure we knew where we were going later that night.  It has been a few years since we’ve stayed here, but the whole area surrounding the main hotel has been rebuilt and looks quite posh with restaurants and condos.

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After walking to Fogo de Chao and seeing how close it was, we then walked around the Caribe Hilton property and nearby beach area, and sat in the outside lounge area overlooking the ocean.

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IMG_6620It was so relaxing just sitting outside watching the waves, and enjoying the sunset. The couple sunset cocktails added to the ambiance! While we live in Florida, it seems much more tropical here in San Juan, relaxing under the swaying Palm trees with a cold beverage.

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After our sunset drinks we headed up to the room to shower and change for dinner. The walk to Fogo de Chao is just a few steps off the Caribe Hilton property, and the restaurant was opened less than one year ago. We were seated (in our opinion as well as the waiter’s) in one of the best seats in the restaurant in a quiet corner overlooking the ocean and the hotels of Condado Beach in the distance. Not five minutes after we were seated we noticed the full moon rising over the ocean, truly a “MasterCard” moment.

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The service in Fogo de Chao was excellent. While you may actually have a waiter assigned to your table, all the servers are there to assist you, and throughout the meal at least a half dozen different staff members, came by the table offering assistance, as well as the ‘gauchos’ who served us table-side the many different meats that were offered.

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We ordered a bottle of Sequoia Grove 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. I think Steve may have also had a beer before we started with the elaborate salad bar. The salad bar could be considered a meal in itself. At the salad bar we first chose some wonderful Parmesan cheese which goes so well with our red wine. There are few things better than a good full bodied red wine with Regianno Parmesano to start the meal and a rich chocolate dessert to end it accompanied of course by the red wine.

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We had many delicious items from the salad bar, including assorted marinated mushrooms, roasted peppers, asparagus and maple roasted bacon. While Steve had his own choices, not including any of mine, with the exception of the maple roasted bacon. While Pork belly seems to be offered quite often in many restaurants, this maple roasted bacon was a real treat. Absolutely delicious.

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After the salad bar we started with the meats. They give you a paper disk, with red on one side and green on the other. The Gauchos (meat servers) wander around the restaurant with skewers of different meats. When the disk on your table is green, they stop by offering you the meat choice they are carrying. Steve and I have eaten at Fogo de Chao in Orlando and Miami, but this is the first time we have eaten in the restaurant in San Juan. You really have to eat slowly and not pile up too much meat at one time on your plate. We took maybe two choices of meat and then immediately turned our disk back to red to enjoy our meat before we scouted out for more. This keeps the meat on your plate hot and also makes for a much more relaxing meal.

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One piece of device I can offer when eating here, is too start with the salad bar, but don’t start the meat course until everyone in your party is ready. We once dined at the Fogo de Chao in Orlando with some good friends and another couple we had just met. The ‘new’ couple decided that they would have the meat first, while everyone else started with the salad bar. As the table was almost immediately descended on by the Gaucho’s, the meal just never flowed properly. I also think the Fogo de Chao in Orlando has a different atmosphere. Orlando has a tendency to have more kids dining, and the overall feeling of the restaurant is more casual and the quality of the meal seems lower than Miami or San Juan.  The Fogo de Chao here in San Juan is outstanding!

As we started with our main course, we were too busy eating to take pictures! Anyway, we had filet mignon, rib eye steak, garlic top sirloin, and at least three other meats that were all delicious.

After our main course, and a short rest, we shared a chocolate lava cake to go with our remaining red wine. Steve also had a glass of port. While I’m not really a huge fan of port, I think it ends the meal so nicely.

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IMG_6673After dinner we returned to the Caribe Hilton and once again sat in the outside lounge area and enjoyed the evening breezes and swaying Palm trees. There was some enjoyable, but quite loud music playing in the lounge, but by being outside the volume of the music was perfect.

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Before we knew it, it was approaching midnight and we decided to call it a night.

‘Twas a wonderful Saturday Way-Cation in San Juan!

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