Old San Juan: Colorful, musical, comfort food mecca. I'm sure that I didn't even put a dent into experiencing this city, since I was in and out in precisely 5 hours, but I was able to wander, sample the local fare and had enough time to happen into some unexpected places.
Our first stop in Old San Juan was for breakfast at La Mallorca, where we had egg and cheese on Mallorca, which is a Puerto Rican pastry (similar to a French Brioche), coated with a dusting of powdered sugar.
We took a post-breakfast stroll around Old San Juan's colorful streets, finding our way up to Calle Norzagaray, where one will find a panoramic view of the ocean. While exploring the quaint streets, we happened upon a farmer's market selling fruits, pastries and other local goods. I bought a coconut water from a vendor who simply cut off a small layer on the top of the coconut, punctured it and popped in a straw. Delicious and refreshing!
If you were to see one store in Old San Juan, I'd recommend visiting Ole Curiosidades to browse their extensive collection of hand-woven Panama hats (each hat takes about 3 days to make!).
Seeking out good, Puerto Rican comfort food, our last stop in Old San Juan was El Jibarito. Our lunch choice was confirmed, when we asked a local woman for directions and she exclaimed, "I just came from there!" Her helpful directions lead us Calle Sol and into our destination. I ordered the Pork in Plantain sauce and yellow rice (per her recommendation) and was in pure comfort food delight. Ask for hot sauce if you want a little extra kick, and be sure to also order a side of Mofongo and beef Alcapurrias. And please do not forget to order a Pina Colada!