Discovering a new cuisine is like making a new friend. I mean, let’s face it. We have first impressions and stereotypes of the people we meet and until life grants us the beautiful opportunities to discover, and we actually have the courage to do so, our first impressions and stereotypes remain in our head. Well, the same goes for cuisine.
I first had a try at Puerto Rican cuisine in the US when we flew there for a cousin’s wedding. My cousin married someone who owned a Puerto Rican restaurant. It was a very rushed, short trip so there was not a lot of time to really explore, but what we did get to try is the Tres Leches cake. One word: divine. That’s saying a lot because my family, including myself, do not have a sweet tooth, but this one is really one of those exceptional desserts. It was unforgettable.
So when my husband and I were canvassing for his wedding suit in Legaspi, Makati and spotted a Puerto Rican restaurant, I remembered the Tres Leches and vowed to visit the restaurant after the wedding festivities were done. Outside was also a sign that said “Cuban Sandwich,” which was enough to convince us to go back. We have been wondering where we could get a hold of one ever since watching Jon Favreau’s film, “Chef.”
The restaurant is called Sofrito. And Sofrito, as their menu states, is a “fragrant blend of herbs and spices used throughout the Carribean, especially Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. It’s used to season countless dishes of stews, beans, rice and occasionally meat. In most cases, it is the foundation upon which the rest of the recipe is built.”
We finally had a go at it and it was every bit wonderful. The server who greeted us was cheerful and warm and even made recommendations.
We first had the Asopao which was described in their menu as a “thick and hearty chicken soup freshly made everyday. The best, best soup when feeling low or nursing a hangover.” It was priced at P150 for the small bowl (which my husband and I shared) and at P300 for the big bowl.
The small bowl comes with plantains – salted, garlicky fried banana chips that this restaurant is apparently famous. I saw two to three people who came in to just take out a bag of them. The soup was really hearty and comforting. We had a long, tiring day and it was just perfect to soothe our tiredness away. The small bits of rice in the soup was the perfect touch to the tomato-based chicken soup.
The much-awaited Cuban sandwich did not disappoint when it finally arrived. My husband and I shared one which was priced at P270. It was a good choice to split because it was pretty filling. The jalapeños were really a good touch to the gentle flavors of the ham and roasted pork.