I went on 27-mile bike ride this weekend through different neighborhoods of Cleveland. My ride took me through Shaker Square, Buckeye/Woodhill, Slavic Village, Newburgh Heights, Brooklyn and the Cleveland Zoo. As I was heading towards Ohio City, I was surprised to be in this place that seemed so familiar, yet so foreign at the same time. The streets were nicely paved, the houses and buildings were cute, but there was something distinguishing this particular neighborhood from all the other ones I’ve seen so far. As I rode my bike through those streets, I had this very strange feeling of being somewhat “unnoticed”. I was at the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Cleveland, riding through one of the nicest part of the Clark/Fulton area, and I felt I was blending with the rest of the landscape, just another brown face enjoying the Cleveland summer.
I’ve been to plenty of Puerto Rican restaurants, bars and business in Cleveland throughout the years; most of them are sprinkled through the near West Side. I’ve also been to other Puerto Rican neighborhoods, but I have only been to this particular area at night (and during the winter, and drunk) so I had not seen all the people walking, and interacting with each other, and making those blocks really feel alive. As I rode by, I was overwhelmed by the strong smell of pernil (roasted pig butt) coming out of one of the houses, and I was seriously tempted to head in and beg for some.
As I was riding, I realized that a few days from now Puerto Rico will be celebrating one of its biggest holidays, the day we celebrate our current constitution – July 25th. Different people of different political ideologies celebrate different events on the same day by going to massive political gatherings. Most people though, go and enjoy a day at the beach. I thought that it would be cool for me to share a couple of recipes inspired by Puerto Rico this week, to join in the celebrations through food. I’ll share the first one today, and the next one later this week.
A day cannot start in Puerto Rico without a cup of strong coffee, and naturally, we go for a second (or third) one throughout the day. For today, I have a cold coffee drink that’s perfect for taming the summer temperatures. This cold latte brings the coffee flavor I like, with the freshness I need to deal with the summer temps. There’s two secrets to this recipe. First, there’s a touch of chocolate powder in it, to deepen the flavor without making it chocolaty. The second, is that I don’t serve it over ice; I don’t want my drink to become more and more watery as time goes on. I use a shaker or a blender bottle with as much ice as possible (otherwise your drink may get overly diluted) so I can chill my drink, and then I strain it and loose the ice. As a bonus, you’ll get the light foam that forms in the process.
On the road shortcut
Nutritional info per serving (1 serving):
164 calories, 22 g carbs, 5 g fat, 8 g protein
1 cup 2% milk
2 shots (2 oz.) espresso, freshly brewed
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon chocolate powder (not plain cacao powder)
- Pour the espresso over the milk. Add the sugar, and the chocolate powder. Mix gently.
- Fill a shaker with ice (I use a blender bottle). Add your drink and let it sit (undisturbed) for 90 seconds. Swirl your drink for 5 seconds and pour.