As the only vegetarian hotel in San Juan and the #1 rated bed and breakfast in Puerto Rico, The Dreamcatcher is fervently proud of their Head Chef Jerome Valencia for trailblazing the vegan scene in this region with his innovative, delicious cuisine - and so am I!
Committed to low carbon footprint offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, the hotel is famous for its breakfast & brunch served daily and sourced mostly local. The array of juice blends, homemade hemp milk and kombucha elixirs all made with natural ingredients appealed to me the first time I visited a few years ago, but I recently got to experience breakfast delights all over again as well as The Dreamcatcher's new Dinner Series hosted every Friday, where four-course vegan dishes are artistically presented by local chefs who share the same commitment and dedication in supporting local farming.
Enter Chef Jerome who returned home after a few vegan pop-ups and private dinner tours in New York. And what a grand entrance it was. Exploring his versatile ways with flavors and ingredients, deepened my ethos for eating well and reinforced my appreciation for avant garde culinary talent in the vegan world.
My first Dinner Series started with the first course, a lentil, coconut and lemon soup topped with kale pico de gallo. Moving on to second and third with a Caesar salad with locally-sourced lettuce, caper garlic croutons and walnut parmesan, then and almond crust pizzetta topped with tomatoes, caramelized figs, cashew truffle sauce, carrot almond ricotta, basil and roasted eggplants. Sounds like a mouthful because they were! Yet, these deliciously light courses left room for the fourth– a decadent hibiscus cheesecake with mixed berries cream and walnut coconut crust. A dream within a dream came true for me.
Caesar salad, local lettuce, caper and garlic croutons, walnut Parmesan.
Hibiscus cheesecake with mixed berries cream and walnut coconut crust.
A native of Puerto Rico, born and raised in San Juan with a passion for adventure, Chef Jerome inherently incorporated healthy living and conscious cooking at a young age, however, it wasn’t until 15 years ago when he started to follow a Rastafari diet of Ital cooking that he decided to live mostly vegan and only cook what he deems appropriate for his way of living while maintaining his culinary background of Afro Caribbean, Italian and Puerto Rican cuisine. With a focus to introduce the vegetarian and vegan way of life in Puerto Rico, Chef Jerome then launched his own company Ki' Organic Vegan through a series of food trucks and pop-ups, one of which is where Sylvia de Marco, vegetarian and founder of The Dreamcatcher discovered him and soon after placed him at the helm of Dream’s kitchen.
"The Dreamcatcher is the only hotel offering this lifestyle in our community, and it also represents our energy and intentions," says Jerome. "The philosophy and ambiance is to connect with yourself, and the food is an essential part of this. There's really a soul and energy here in every corner."
Reservations are required for Fridays' Dreamcatcher Dinner Series. 4-course menu is $45 with wine pairing at $20.
The Dreamcatcher: firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 787.455.8259, 2009 Calle Espana, San Juan, PR 00911, dreamcatcherpr.com
Photo credits: Andria Mitsakos, Chef Jerome, Dreamcatcher
Cover: Veggie Hotels