Recently, inside Restaurante Raíces in Old San Juan, chef Joshua Gutiérrez paced back and forth near the kitchen, while speaking on his cellphone. He had just gotten the bad news from one of his suppliers that no plátanos — plantains — would be available for purchase.
This news put Gutiérrez, 35, in a complicated situation: The restaurant’s star entrée is mofongo, a traditional Puerto Rican dish with a fried mashed plátano base accompanied by fish or meat, usually pork. Shortly after finishing the call, Gutiérrez took inventory of the rest of his supplies. He was missing some ingredients, and the ones he did have were mostly imported. It all hardly seemed real: a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant serving traditional Puerto Rico dishes with ingredients from Costa Rica or Colombia.Read more