Chef Paxx Caraballo Moll has a cartoon on their shirt and mismatched socks on their feet while they consider prep for the week ahead.
“I have some daikon radish; maybe I can roast it and make a vinaigrette.”
They move around the kitchen cleaning, yelling into space about someone who didn’t “put the fucking spices away,” and goofing around with their number two, Robert, as now-defunct but forever-beloved garage-punk band Davila 666 plays on the stereo.
Monday is prep day in the kitchen at El Departamento de La Comida in the Tres Talleres neighborhood of San Juan. Eighty percent of the food cooked here comes from within Puerto Rico—agroecología, it’s called, because it’s farmed sustainably without pesticide—and the staff is waiting for farmers to arrive with product. Slowly, they trickle in over the course of the day bearing beautiful eggplant, zucchini, and pomarrosa, along with a gift of pitorro, or moonshine.
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