James Beard chefs, farm dinners, rum distillery tours, cooking classes and piña coladas? Sign us up.

By Tracey Minkin
August 08, 2019
Jill Gehring/Getty

One of the most exciting aspects of Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria has been an explosion of a world-class culinary scene that just seems to be getting better and better. This year, local chefs Gabriel Hernandez and Jose Enrique earned James Beard Award nominations, and Paxx Caraballo Moll of JungleBaoBao was named to Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2019. Like New Orleans and Charleston, San Juan is turning into a bona fide food destination, and that means that it’s also generating a wave of culinary FOMO: With so many hot restaurants and bars cropping up from Santurce to Old San Juan, how can you make sure you don’t miss what’s hottest on the island, and how can you get access to those restaurants that are booking up fast?

Here’s the answer: This fall, Puerto Rico culinary expert (and Coastal Living contributor!) Kathleen Squires will join epicurean tour company Tour de Forks to lead a new culinary trip to San Juan and its environs, with insider access to some of the city’s best restaurants (both new and classic), cooking classes with its hottest chefs, and excursions to farms, beaches, and bars. What’s not to love?

Beach in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan
Tracey Minkin

The trip—Puerto Rico: Culinary Paradise—runs November 12-17, 2019, and includes a pre-holiday glimpse into some incredible Puerto Rican culinary Christmas traditions, plus accommodations at the gorgeous Serafina Beach Hotel in San Juan’s buzzy Condado district.

Chef and recovery volunteer Jennifer Herrera
Cedric Angeles Photography

Other highlights to drool over: a luxurious 4- course welcome dinner at Next Iron Chef contestant Mario Pagan’s flagship restaurant, Mario Pagan; a walking and tasting tour through Old San Juan with Coastal Living-featured Spoon Food Tours; a visit to Bacardi Rum Factory; a 3-course dinner at the James Beard Award-nominated Verde Mesa; cooking class led by chef Jennifer Herrera, pictured above and featured in our November 2018 story; a 3-course dinner at James Beard Award-nominated and Food & Wine Best New Chef Jose Enrique Montes’s restaurant, Jose Enrique; a typical Puerto Rican "Chinchorreo”—a fritter tour in the countryside—and dinner at El Pretexto Farm Lodge, recently featured in Travel & Leisure; a visit to a farmers market and farm; and a 4-course farewell dinner at James Beard Award-nominated Vianda restaurant. 

Small plate at Verde Mesa in Old San Juan
Tracey Minkin

Check out all the details (including itinerary and pricing) here, and prepare to leave your FOMO at home.

Cocktail at the historic Bacardi Factory
Tracey Minkin