Walking into Casa Adela is either a reminder of a sunny island, or an homage to the lands that no longer are home, as if the owners have brought their lost land here to the East Village. The whole place is indeed reminiscent of a local kitchen of San Juan or its suburban beaches, as relatives, friends, and employees come in and out early in the day to say hi or clock in. The elderly owner, the namesake in fact, sits in front of a mixing bowl at the back table, the first person greeted by anyone paying their respects.
Casa Adela is a bit of an icon in the area, and probably will be until the world ends. Do a quick search and someone will either tell you to eat the pernil or the rotisserie chicken. They're both worth ordering. The pernil is my favorite, and despite many recommendations to grab the sandwich, I would instead ask for it as an order on its own, for many reasons.
An order of the pernil ($9.95, above and below), is a slow roasted pork shoulder, and getting a plate of it affords you the opportunity to also connect it with the delicious rice and beans. Eat a piece on its own and close your eyes to find every spice in the marinade, or dunk your meat in the restaurant's famous beans.
Skip the batidas ($5, below) here though, my batida de papaya was heavily sweetened and laced with cinnamon. One would be better served with a Coke or just water, to concentrate on the important part of a trip here: the food.