CHASING THE MAP

Las Vistas Cafe – The Best Breakfast in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. Little did I know that was all about to change.

As you’ll soon learn, it wasn’t just about filling our bellies.

Las Vistas Cafe, located hilltop in Las Croabas, Fajardo, is not an easy place to find. Just ask my GPS. We drove in literal circles, climbed treacherous hills, and wound our way down to the end of dead end streets. Mildly frustrating, I might add, especially when your family of 4 is starving and in need of sustenance.

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I finally broke down and called for directions, which ultimately proved fruitless. I didn’t have a pen and paper, and tried frantically to remember the “turn left, turn right” directives among a plethora of other hurried instructions from a person who was clearly very busy on the other end of the telephone line. Our saving grace, before giving up and heading back to Luquillo for I’m sure a disappointing breakfast sandwich from the McDonald’s drive thru, was asking a local on the side of the road how exactly to get there.

The hill is steep and the roadside parking is narrow, but the open air, 360 degree panoramic view of Las Croabas is entirely worth the trek. The amazing view spreads out before you as you ascend the stairs to the rooftop eatery. But the moment your experience truly begins here, is when you’re greeted by the warmest smile and kindest of voices. Gladys Cuadrado is welcoming you to her cafe, and she couldn’t be happier that you’ve decided to join her.

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Gladys hard at work!

Gladys hard at work!

I instantly felt like I was a friend who had entered her kitchen. She guided us to our table, while making inquiries as to where we were from and if we were enjoying our stay in Puerto Rico. Striking up a conversation with her was easy and comfortable, and before too long my family of four were each affectionately referred to as “baby.”

My family - Bella, Steve, and Graeme.

My family – Bella, Steve, and Graeme.

After your coffee is poured, she offers you her world famous (it’s got to be by now, look at all the 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor) seasonal fresh fruit platter. Who, honestly, can say no to that, when many of the fruits come right from her backyard, and are so juicy that they virtually explode in your mouth? What really pushes it over the top, in my opinion, is the homemade sauce, infused with ginger, honey, and cinnamon. I’m salivating just remembering it. So good!

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The regular menu offers an assortment of traditional breakfast items, including a variety of eggs, meat, pancakes, and french toast. Also popular are the arepas, fried pieces of flat bread. You can’t go wrong with two words such as fried and bread!

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I decided on the eggs benedict special, topped with tender smoked salmon florentine on arepas, and a side of thinly cut seasoned potatoes. OH MY GOD. Sooooo good. It’s easy for a restaurant to mess up the hollandaise sauce. Not this time. It had just the right amount of tang from the lemon, but was smooth and buttery with a touch of bite from the pepper.

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My daughter ordered the coconut banana pancakes, which were soft, gooey pillows of deliciousness, and a side of sausage. Three large pancakes engulfed her entire plate, and even with all of us taking bites, there was still some left over. Portions here are NOT skimpy!

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My husband, the true chef and foodie amongst us, ordered the french toast breakfast. Made from a freshly baked baguette and sprinkled abundantly with powdered sugar and cinnamon, it was sweet and luscious without tasting too saccharined.

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Lastly, the fussy one of the bunch (aka, my son Graeme), ordered the scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and arepa. He LOVED the arepa, which quite frankly surprised me. I almost went into shock when he even considered trying it, let alone ordered it! That’s the power of Gladys’ persuasion, ‘cause she got that boy to try something he wouldn’t have even tried for his momma!

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Throughout the meal, although clearly busy welcoming and ushering out guests, asking tables if they needed anything, offering menu suggestions etc., Gladys regularly stopped at our table to chat. My daughter was taking her first year of Spanish class, and Gladys was more than happy to give her a language lesson, encouraging her to speak conversationally as much as she could.

Gladys offering suggestions to fellow diners.

Gladys offering suggestions to fellow diners.

I can’t recommend Las Vistas Cafe enough. Truly. Not only was the food delicious and fairly priced, but the sincere warmth and kindness expressed by not only Gladys, but her entire staff, was truly heartwarming. In a world of faster food and dispassionate service, Las Vistas Cafe was one of the best experiences we had while vacationing in Puerto Rico. So much so, that we were able to dine here once more before we left the island for home.

Gladys was happy to pose for a picture with me right before we were leaving.

Gladys was happy to pose for a picture with me right before we were leaving.

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