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Puerto Rican Baked Chicken In San Francisco

San Francisco is a city I've always wanted to visit. Recently there to attend our son's wedding, we had just three magical, whirlwind days to see it all and we crammed them full of experiences we will never forget! (Read more about San Francisco in our blog post here)

Walking around, exploring and seeing the sights, we managed to cover a lot of ground. Starting from Union Square we toiled uphill along Powell Street, meandered through Chinatown, walked along the Embarcadero and ended up in Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.  It was a great way to experience the city even though I couldn't feel my feet by the end of the evening!

Since we were in San Francisco over the weekend, we decided to spend a leisurely Saturday morning exploring the popular farmer's market located in and around the Ferry Building.

We spent hours browsing stalls by artists and craftsmen, visiting farm stands selling fresh local produce and stocking up on unusual preserves (strawberry marmalade), vinegars (blood orange vinegar) as well as dried and smoked vegetables and fruit (smoked plum tomatoes, dried Meyer lemon segments) - all the things I can never find in Toronto! The espresso almond brittle (from G.L.Alfieri farms) alone is worth the trip; stock up on plenty because it is never enough!

If you plan to visit the market, best not to eat breakfast before going, for every vendor has something for you to taste. As you sample your way through to the inside and rear of the building, you will find many cafes, restaurants and food trucks where you can try even more food!


We got beef tamales and fish tacos from an outdoor Mexican food stall and picnicked on a bench overlooking the Bay, while soaking up the sun (yes, the sun was out, however briefly!). In that perfect moment everything tasted so good and all was right with the world!

Sol food Restaurant serves amazing Puerto Rican food, so of course we had to eat there! The highlight was Pollo Al Horno (baked chicken), black beans and garlic fried plantains. Doused liberally with their special Pique Sauce of vinegar and red chilies, and washed down with copious amounts of fresh orange juice, it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable meals we had during our trip!

PR chicken - 1.jpg

The saucy marinade enveloping the chicken and steam generated by covering it during the first half of baking, keeps our Pollo Al Horno incredibly moist and tender. When the weather is good I simply throw the marinated chicken onto the barbecue for some summery grilled flavour!

Puerto Rican Baked Chicken (Pollo Al Horno)

1 1/2 lb bone in chicken drumsticks or boneless thighs (about 6), skin removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt to taste

1/4 cup each: olive oil, water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp each: oregano, ground cumin, paprika, ground black pepper, onion powder (or use 1 tbsp finely chopped onions)

Make a few deep slashes in each piece of chicken and place in a large mixing bowl.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients and mix well with the chicken.

Cover and marinate chicken, preferably overnight in refrigerator for flavours to develop.

Preheat oven to 400F. Transfer chicken with all of its marinade (scrape it all onto the chicken) to a lightly greased, deep baking pan large enough to hold pieces in single layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 min, then remove foil and continue baking chicken uncovered until it is golden and cooked through, another 30 min.

Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle pan juices over top. Serve with a wedge of lemon if desired.

Serves four

Read more about San Francisco in our blog post here.