Saturday, March 28, 2009

Observing from... the Island of Manhattan!

I arrived in New York a few days ago and it feels so great to be back! Although I was born in Puerto Rico, I consider myself to be a New Yorker at heart. I spent most of my life in this wonderful city and there's no other place on earth like it. Well, London comes quite close to it. Anyhow, it has been a long time since my last visit and it has been really nice catching up with friends. In some ways, it does feel a bit strange to be back. I began to notice things about the city which I never quite appreciated in the past, when I lived here.

The wide array of cuisines available here is one of the things which I truly miss. Last night, I went to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants, a soba house, in the city. Unfortunately, I don't believe there are any authentic Japanese restaurants in Puerto Rico. Most of the "Japanese" restaurants are owned by Chinese people. Needless to say, they are not authentic and you'll also end up paying an arm and a leg for it. In Puerto Rico, I tend to stick with comida criolla and eat arroz y habichuelas. I've also ended up dining at places like Pizzeria Uno and Maccaroni Grill, places which I rarely went to as a Manhattanite.

Grocery shopping in the city is also something which I miss dearly as well. I was at a Whole Foods last night and a wave of nostalgia swept over me. The bountiful array of organic products and beautiful display of produce was overwhelming. We do not have a Whole Foods in Puerto Rico. However, if we did, I'm convinced more boricuas would eat fruits and vegetables. Believe it or not, meat is cheaper than vegetables on the Island of Enchantment. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why obesity is such a huge problem in Puerto Rico. The average price of Gala apples in Puerto Rico is quite close to the price which Whole Foods charges, $1.99 (per lb.). However, the apples at Whole Foods taste better, look better and they're organic!

Back in PR, Costco is my Whole Foods. That's where you can find the freshest produce at the most decent prices, compared to most of the supermarkets you'll find on the island. It's funny how I've become such a huge Costco fan since moving to Puerto Rico. Purchasing in bulk, like anyone in Manhattan can tell you, is not common given the small apartments. The majority of Manhattanites don't have cars either. All said and done, I've adjusted and learned to live with fewer options and choices. There are many aspects of my former New York City life which I miss, but I certainly do not miss the exorbitant prices of Manhattan!

(Please note: Costco is not a paid advertiser of this blog).

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