With a whole slew of athletic types making the trek to San Juan this upcoming weekend for the Ironman 70.3 events, we’ve got Puerto Rico on the brain. Since its inception in 2006, the Ironman 70.3 series has become the fastest growing triathlon series in the world. On Sunday, March 18, ambitious amateurs and steadfast pros will undertake the 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run across the island and in its clear blue waters.
Whether you are a dedicated racer, enthusiast, voyeur or happen to be in the neighborhood, we know just the spot for post race eats. While the athletes need to replace carbs after such a grueling physical event, watching them in action will make anyone hungry as well. For home-cooked Puerto Rican food at its finest, head to El Jibarito, which celebrates Puerto Rican tradition in everything from its name (Jíbaro is the moniker given to mountain farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries), to its decor (splashes of lively tropical colors and cheesy island paintings). Tucked away on Calle Sol, a quiet residential street in the northern part of the city, this working-class joint cranks out all sorts of divinely delicious ‘comida criolla’ (traditional Puerto Rican cuisine), and almost every one comes with heaps of rice and beans. Most of the Spanish-speaking diners are regulars who know exactly what they want, so just tell the server you’ll have what they’re having.
The food is displayed cafeteria-style at the end of the restaurant, next to a grizzled old man who doesn’t talk a lot. Servers screech Spanish, laugh with regulars and keep the bustling, homey atmosphere upbeat. Food arrives fast, but you won’t be rushed out. This isn’t the place to come for haughty dining. Instead, take a plastic seat at the Formica tables, browse the menu scribbled on old paper, and enjoy the bustling local ambiance and hearty, delicious food.
Less a restaurant than a lunch counter, El Jibarito serves straightforward Puerto Rican fare like sancocho (seasonal soup), greasy grilled churrasco steak, camarones al ajillo (shrimp with garlic), and amarillos fritos (fried sweet plantain) and mofongo (mashed plantains with your choice of meat).
Classics like fried red snapper, Fricasse de pollo (chicken stew), chillo fritto and other hearty fare highlight the menu. But make sure you save room for the homemade tres leches and guava cheesecake.
They’re nothing short of ambrosia!
The flavors are humble, rich, and mouthwatering. And the joint is about as ‘Rican as you can get in the old city. Overly lavish portions see to it that no one leaves El Jibarito hungry.
280 Calle Sol, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
Jeep Ironman 70.3 San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Race Date: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Start Time: 6:50am (Pros) & 7:00am (Amateurs)
Time Limit: Entire Event is an 8-Hour Time Limit (Jeep Ironman 70.3 San Juan Official Cut-Off Times)
Swim Waves: 2012 Jeep Ironman 70.3 San Juan Swim Waves
Location: Caribe Hilton Hotel, Los Rosales Street, San Geronimo Grounds, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901