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Chef Elly's Fascinations: Chocolate, Travel and Jazz

Abuelita's, Puerto Rico, And All That is Jazz!

By Chef Elly Pendankar, Spicy Cilantro
Published on LatinoLA: December 1, 2012

Chef Elly's Fascinations: Chocolate, Travel and Jazz

Originally published at [url=]Spicy Cilantro[/url

Among my many fascinations, which in reality are far too many to name, I picked my top four holiday gifts and pleasures to receive.

My love of chocolate started at an early age. The first, of course, being from Mexican family was "Ibarra's" Mexican sweet chocolate para mesa, which translates into for the table‘«™ table chocolate only for cooking. I remember the first time I tasted it‘«™ the spiciness was such a warm and comforting flavor, with a hint of cinnamon.

Drinking it on a cold winter night with my brothers and big sis all laughing and watching TV in our pj's, we gradually ventured to try other chocolates‘«™ Hersheys, but then I discovered the German-made Ice Cube chocolate! Chocolate heaven!

As I have gotten old my palette has become more refined‘«™ La Maison du Chocolat has to be my all-time favorite. . Take a peek if you dare!

Traveling has always been a passion but having the time is another issue. Now that I am able to travel more than in the past, I vow to travel once a year to somewhere exotic and "warm". This year's adventure was to Puerto Rico, with side ventures to a Caribbean Island the highlight of my trip! Besides the good company, and warm weather, there was good food to make it that much more pleasurable.

Traveling an hour and a half from Baja Vega to Fajardo, then catching a ferry to the Isla De Vieques, we made a deal with a driver with a van who took us to the other side of the Isle where we drove down a long road for a good 15 minutes before finally arriving to Caracas Beach, the most pristine beaches I have ever seen‘«™ white sand and palm trees. Here before me was this beautiful cove, perfect for swimming with light waves and crystal clear water. Heaven! Highly recommended for those looking for a nice beach.

My oldest brother Sam "Mombo" Hernandez introduced me to the world of jazz music. Grover Washington is one of my all-time favorites, especially "The Best is Yet To Come" featuring Patti LaBelle, and a close second, "East River Drive" I have actually taken a cab down the FDR listening to it to see why it inspired this song, I now see the light!

Another fave: Rippingtons "Kilimanjaro" and "Tourist in Paradise" (Aruba) / an endless list of phenomenal music to get lost in. He played a lot of different venues and I had the pleasure of attending. Jazz festivals all over the place, my favorite were the Catalina Island Jazz Festival what a wonderful place to enjoy good music!


All Rights Reserved, ?ģ 2012, Spicy Cilantro

About Chef Elly Pendankar, Spicy Cilantro:
Elly graduated from California Culinary Academy of Cordon Bleu and now lives in New York City with her husband who is also a chef. She's owner of Elly's Eclectic Eats and is frequently hired by the rich and famous to cater their events.
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