The foodies in our group can hardly wait to hit the streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico for our Food & Culture Walking Tour this afternoon, one of two excursions I’ve chosen on our fourth annual Publishing at Sea cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
But we have two classes today on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and I’m teaching one of them—a session on “The New Rules of Writing Press Releases.”
Here’s a recap of the day.
At my presentation on press releases, authors had more questions than I had time to answer. My biggest take-away tip: today, we write press releases for consumers first, and journalists second. The best way to get publicity isn’t with a press release but with a customized pitch that includes a good “hook.”
The press release is collateral material. It’s a necessary part of a publicity campaign because it includes most of the pertinent details needed if someone wants to cover your story.
Kelly Johnson of Cornerstone Virtual Assistance presented a session on “Tech Tools for Authors Demystified.” Her best tip: make quick and easy screen-capture video with Jing, sort of a Camtasia light. Jing videos are limited to five minutes for instant focused communication.
Select any window or region you want to record, and Jing will capture everything that happens in that area. From simple mouse movements to a fully narrated tutorial, Jing lets you record everything you see and do and then lets you share your videos.
We arrive in San Juan.
Six in our group meet at the end of the pier where Natalia, our tour guide, welcomes us. We’ll be walking the streets of Old San Juan, discovering its delicious foods at three restaurants, meandering through the historic neighborhoods and learning about Puerto Rican history.
First stop for the appetizer is Cuatro Sombras, a local restaurant where we dine on toasted sandwiches made of Black Forest ham, provolone cheese and guava butter. We all agree the guava butter makes the sandwich. When we arrive home, we’ll look for a Mexican grocery that carries Goya products and buy a jar of guava paste. Mixed with butter, it makes a fruity, sweet spread that’s perfect for sandwiches.
We learn about the coffee beans that grow inside cherries, the same beans used for the naturally sweet espresso we sampled.
Here’s author Cheryl Obermiller, giving thumbs up to guava butter.
Second stop is Rosa de Triana for the main course: mofongo. Shredded chicken sits atop sliced fried plantains, served in a deep wooden cup. The plantains have the consistency of chunky fried potatoes. No Puerto Rican meal is complete without rice and pink beans.
But the star of the show—the one we’re still talking about—are the mojitos that they let us make ourselves, right at the table.
We followed the recipe you see here and started by dropping three mint leaves into the bottom of a glass, adding lime juice and sugar and crushing it with a long pestle. Add club soda, rum and ice.
I passed on the rum, but my virgin mojito was still a refreshing drink that just might be a staple this summer.
On to Princesa Gastroba for dessert. A rectangular white dish had a piece of flan and coconut chocolate cake. Next to it, candied papaya was topped with four tiny squares of fried cheese. The small servings were perfect after that heavy meal. We skipped dinner on the ship.
All aboard. We leave for St. Maarten.