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Found 16 results

  1. All I want is a great Cuban Sandwich...: Devon & Blakely (qwertyy)
  2. Sooner or later when hanging out on the Upper West Side, one of our group (usually someone who grew up there or used to live there) will always suggest we head over to La Caridad 78 for some sustenance. It is a Cuban and Chinese restaurant founded by Chinese immigrants to Cuba who later fled. This is not a fusion place. Oh, no, this is old school. Half of the menu is Cuban, and the other half is Chinese, and that is really how it should be. This is not a trendy place. It just pumps out solid food in extraordinary portions for the hard working folks (as well as the overpaid) on the Upper West Side. The small dining room could charitably be described as unadorned, but who really cares. The place bustles with local families, cab drivers, and everyone else who passes through the area. The tables are generally filled, but turn over quickly. I tend to favor the Cuban dishes, such as the Chuleta En Salsa De Soya (Pork Chop In Black Bean Sauce). Sure they were not thick, but there were at least 5 pork chops on this plate. Other dishes were similarly abundant. Do not be put off by the menu. Believe me, it looks odd. Almost jarring. Go with some friends. Order some plates to share with a few beers (very limited beer menu). This food is good; not great, just simple, generally well executed, plentiful, and affordable. Do not forget to check out the handwritten specials on 8 1/2 x 11 paper taped to the wall. We tried the Homemade Fried Dumplings and were glad we did. There are some pictures on their Facebook page (in addition to their website), if you are interested. Cash only.
  3. Just returned from my second foray up to Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville. Excellent traditional Cuban dishes. Great soup, great picadillo and ropa viejo, and the best flan I've ever come across---very dense, served in wedges like a torte. Crispy tostones and maduros. They also have Cuban sandwiches which I haven't yet tried but they looked good at the next table. Unfortunately a ways out (about 15 minutes past Silver Spring on Rt 29) It's located on Rt. 198 about 300 yards west of Rt. 29, in a strip center towards the back and a bit out of sight from the road, on the North side. But worth the drive. Better than Cubanos, and definitely better than Cuban Corner IMO. Eve Z. gave it a good write-up a few months ago. And if you go on a Friday eve. the Amish farmers' market on the corner will be open and that by itself is also worth the trip. Highly recommended.
  4. I am amazed that we don't have a thread for Cuban Corner. I did a double-take, then a triple-take, and still can't believe it.
  5. I posted a review in Intrepid Traveler, but the Dining Guide includes Fauquier County, so here is another observation. In a few words, this is the best Cuban restaurant within 50 miles of Washington DC. Setting aside the noisy bar area and the slow service, this quaint little gem is decorated in a nice Cuban/Spanish style, and somewhat hidden in a large strip mall on the eastern edge of Warrenton. The food is very good, the prices are reasonable and the mojitos are great. I enjoyed a great tapas sampler tonight and I'm going back tomorrow for a Cubano sandwich. Tonight I had the pulpo (octopus) a la Gallega, spicy mussel tapa, scallops in paprika and lechon (pork) asado, all of which were spot on. I accompanied these dishes with a couple of mojitos, straight up originals instead of the many variations on the menu. I'll say that the octopus -- in a garlic-oil sauce with perfectly cooked potatoes -- was superb. The scallops in paprika were perfect, fresh and moist on the inside and nicely crisp on the outside. The lechon was the best pork dish I can remember enjoying in a long while, nicely specked with fresh chopped onions and fresh parsley. And the spicy mussels were buried under a spicy tomato sauce that begged to be sopped up with all the bread in sight. And speaking of bread, before all the tapas arrived there was bread on the table with an interesting dipping sauce of oil, lemon, garlic and grated cheese, so there wasn't a lot of leftover bread! And these four dishes, with two mojitos for me and two glasses of wine for Lady Kibbee, along with tax and generous tip, added up to a mere $80. I'll admit my judgment may be a bit blurred by a pair of mojitos, but I have been searching the DC metropolitan area for good Cuban fare for years. If I bite into a decent Cubano sandwich there tomorrow, I will sing the praises of this place high and low, near and far. Please add this jewel to the Fauquier County list in the Dining Guide, and count on multiple additional visits from Kibbee Nayee in the future. UPDATE -- Returned today for the Cubano sandwich, and it was very good. I can't truly say it was better than any Cubano in the DC area -- there was one at Acadiana as a special that was about as good, but it trounces anything I've tried at Cuba Libre or Fast Gourmet, for example. The bread was perfectly pressed, and the ham and Swiss cheese inside were very nicely warm, balanced against the briny crunch of the pickle. The pork looked like the pieces of pork that otherwise ends up as lechon asado, but this was a darned good sandwich. I swapped the side of fries for the plantains, and I'm glad I did. Crisply sweet on the outside and almost creamy on the inside, they were very good. I declare this restaurant the best Cuban restaurant in our extended area, and despite the trek, it's a heck of a lot closer than Miami.
  6. Yes the general consensus here is that Banana Cafe on Captiol Hill is crap...so why start a thread you ask, because there is new found proof that even crappy restaurants can produce a good dish and I have found that dish at Banana Cafe: The plantain quesadilla! The tortilla was perfectly golden brown and crisp, the plantains meltingly soft and delicious...a light smear of sour cream set it all off. Conversely the stuffed yuca with chorizo, carrots and olives off the "tapas" menu was a disgusting mess.
  7. Oh, yeah. This is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or snacks if you're in Glendale or Burbank [Also now in Downey]. Their fried potato balls (with meat in the middle!), in particular, are so not LA.
  8. Last month we visited BlackTail, the new Cuban-themed bar in Battery Park from Sean Muldoon & Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog. We really enjoyed ourselves, and we're always amazed at how much attention to detail Sean, Jack and their team put into creating world-class establishments. http://blacktailnyc.com
  9. I was born in Philly, but I grew up in South Florida. I may have been weaned on cheesesteaks and hoagies, but when I learned about food, it was cubanos, lechon asado, and tostones. So, like all other ex-pats, I am always in search of a cubano, with that perfect blend of crusty grilled bread, ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. Cuban Corner in Rockville does fine in a pinch, as does Cubano's in Silver Spring and Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville. Amateurs, all of them. Mi Cuba has been open since January, and I'm sorry that I took this long to stop in. The space is painted bright and cheery, which matches the staff - at least three of whom greeted us within our first minute in the door. And though I was ready to use my "menu Spanish", all of the staff were fully bi-lingual. Definitely seems like a family operation - though I didn't clarify, looks like "Dad" cooking in the back from "Mom's" recipes and "Grandma" helping out. The menu has all of the Cuban standards - it's a small place, so it's not as extensive as the others mentioned above. With only two of us dining, we decided to stick with the classics to give the place a run. Empanadas de Carne ($2.50) were a spectacular start. The turnovers were crispy in every bite but slightly chewy in the center, just the right ratio of a tangy shredded beef stuffing in the center, and unbelievably two of them on the plate for that price. Papa Rellena con Pollo ($2.95) also had two of the larger-than-golf-ball appetizers on the plate. Crusty on the outside hiding pillow-soft mashed potatoes surrounding a flavorful center of shredded chicken and vegetables. Lechon Asado ($9.95) was glorious - a heaping pile of roasted pork, onions and spices, served with a pile of tostones (deep fried plantains), a mound of white rice, and a side bowl of black beans. And yes, there was a Cubano ($7.95). And it was gorgeous. And it was huge. And it was the best cubano I have had in many, many years. Most cubano sandwiches fall down in two places - they use a baguette or some crappy bread, and they use plain sliced roast pork. This bread was perfect - exactly as I remember from my years in Miami. And I think the roast pork was the same pork from the Lechon Asado. Do the math - for $23 + tax/tip, two of us had an authentic Cuban lunch in the middle of the skyrocketing rent area of Columbia Heights - and we had enough leftovers for lunch for one the next day. They could have served only one empanada and papa rellena for that price, a third less food on the lechon plate, and a much smaller cubano, and at those prices, I still would have considered it a deal. Run, don't walk, to Mi Cuba Cafe, sez I. Two side notes: When I told the chef on our way out where I was from and what I thought of the food, she came very close to crying while thanking me. In the middle of our meal, someone came in for a takeout order by bike. Stupidly, he left it sitting against the parking meter in front of the store, not chained up. The chef saw someone grab it while the bike's owner was in the restroom, went tearing out of the restaurant to grab the bike back from the thief, and brought it around through the back door of the restaurant. But given this imgur post, that seems like par for the course for them.
  10. Arepas Pues joined the Downtown Silver Spring dining scene in April, replacing a Quiznos Sub on Fenton Street (next to Sushi Jin). After seeing some online reviews that seemed to show inconsistencies in both food and service, we decided to give them some time to iron out the kinks before we visited for the first time. Today, we gave in and decided to stop in for lunch. We stopped in during the middle of a quite busy lunch service. In addition to several groups and couples dining in, there was quite a bit of takeout orders being picked up. A good sign. Tajadas: Fried sweet plantains with salty cheese Empanada de Carne La de Pernil Arepa (foreground): Roasted pork shoulder, tomato slice, spicy sauce (the spicy sauce!!!) La Safrina Arepa (background): Chicken, mayonnaise, avocado, cheddar cheese - served cold, it was like a delicious chicken salad Sancocho de Cola: Oxtail soup slow-cooked with potatoes, cassava, green plantains, served with rice & avocados. My wife LOVED this - it reminded her of her mission trips to the Dominican Republic while in pre-med! We really enjoyed our lunch, and will definitely frequent them in the future. Arepas Pues 8555 Fenton St (next to Sushi Jin) Silver Spring, MD 20910 (240) 670-8020 | Facebook
  11. Sophie's Cuban Cuisine has been open for about a month now in the old Singapore Bistro spot on 19th St NW, between L and M. There's carryout with fairly extensive steam-table offerings (as well as empanadas and the like) on the first floor, with table service offered upstairs. I've just been there once. The waiter pushed the Mariscada ("Seafood in Cuban Sauce"), which sounded good on a raw, wet day. I swear it hit the table less than 60 seconds after I ordered it. Maybe 2 minutes tops, seriously, and predictably the seafood (shrimp, mussels, squid, and some sort of white fish) was tough and overcooked, having all clearly been simmering in the tomato-based broth rather than cooked to order. I don't want to judge a new restaurant on one dish so I'll be back next time I'm in the area to try other things, but unfortunately I can't recommend the only meal I've tried so far.
  12. Website 301-663-1036 9 East Patrick Street Frederick, MD 21701 Closed on Mondays, like a lot of places in downtown. Located in a fairly small storefront along E Patrick Street, right across from Nola and very close to the Carrol Creek parking garage. It's small, but it's pretty hard to miss, with a nice bright blue sign, and some outdoor seating even. This place is pretty darn good I have to say. Most of the entrees are simple platters of <Meat> + Rice + Black Beans + Plantains, with boiled or fried Yuca as a substitution option. Which is great. There are also sandwich options, soups and salads, and some pretty good desserts. The online menu seems to be a bit out of date with the one at the actual restaurant, there were many different options when I was there than what appear online. We've tried both of the Empanada appetizers, both were good but I think I prefer the ground beef one better. My wife tried two different beef entrees, I tried one that was a fried chicken breast with cheese and tomato sauce, and another that was simple fried morsels of pork. All of the entrees were good, I would recommend the pork as it was delicious, fairly salt, extremely dense, just a nice lunch for a Sunday afternoon. The Tres Leches here is good, my wife also liked the Guava Empanadas. The Espresso they have here is no joke, made my tongue tingle to drink it. Also make sure to grab a Cuba Libre to enjoy while you watch the hipsters waiting 3 hours for a table at Cafe Nola across the street.
  13. The comfort food thread inspired me to post this as well as utilize my two hour early dismissal to go to That Cuban Place in Frederick for my own local comfort food. First of all, there is nothing fancy about this place, though they've improved the property immensely after years of neglect by a notorious slumlord (who still owns the place unfortunately). The cooking is also very simple, offering sandwiches and mostly slow cooked entrees that they seem to start early in the morning and serve throughout the day. But nothing speaks to their simplicity as much as the small white board behind the counter where they write the day's specials followed by their motto, "It's all good!" I can say that everything I've had has been at least decent (a mojo marinated bistec being my least favorite b/c it remained tough after slow cooking) but oftentimes things are just wonderful. Today things were wonderful. I was craving comfort food to warm up this sleet-filled day while watching my brackets collapse and surprisingly noticed they had their ropa vieja, which they only guarantee on Thursdays. Slow-cooked in the aforementioned lime-based mojo, the ropa vieja combined with the hefty portions of fried plantains, rice, and beans to hit the spot and provide lots of leftovers for just $8.50. I especially appreciate the friendliness of of the young Latino couple who own and operate the place. While I was waiting for them to prepare my order today, the owner gave me a free shot of great Cuban coffee ("Hey, I'm having some, so you have to, too") and let me satisfy my curiousity by tasting today's other special--oxtail. I hope that oxtail comes back so I can have a full order because it was extremely rich with lots of flavor-enhancing fat, the main ingredient of comfort food. The owner says that he slow boils the oxtail with lots of bay leaves and then re-uses the leftover liquid for what he considers to be the world's best fatty beef stock. Next week's special is cow tongue. We'll see if I get the guts to try that one. I think their most popular item is their Cuban sandwich made with authentic Cuban bread, though freshness can make it slide between phenomenal and ok: Before dinner they prepare them ahead of time so they can just throw them on the grill press. Panera does the same thing, but I'm coming here to avoid Panera. As first time restaurant owners and with three people at most running this small place, I'm sure they're still figuring out ways to balance quality and efficiency. They still have things to figure out but deserve to survive as they currently operate on the exact border of Frederick that transitions from the gentility of Third Street to the tatoo magnet of North Market's 300 block. Luckily the winter will soon pass and they won't have to battle the landlord over heating issues for several more months. The food and atmosphere here are quite satisfying and welcomely free of pretention. I hope they stick around. If in Frederick antiquing and looking for a quick meal, I'd resist the ease of the endless chains and fast-food joints lining Rtes. 40, 85, and 355 and head downtown to enjoy a new part of historic Frederick. 300 North Market St., Frederick, MD 21701. 301-760-7776. Pax, Brian P.S. TCP was mentioned in the Washington Post's shout out that JLK posted, but I've never had the courage to try their empanadas that sit on that rotating warming rack. Not sure even if they're homemade.
  14. I came across Coppelia because I was looking for a spot that's open for breakfast at 7am on a Sunday. Coppelia is open 24 hours. (I wasn't in the mood for a 24 hour Korean place.) It calls itself a "latin diner." I started out as the only customer, and the server was friendly. I had the huevos rancheros, a side of tostones, strawberry juice, and a cortaditos (espresso/foamed milk - came unsweetened). The huevos rancheros were 2 eggs (arrived with broken yolks), creme fraiche type cream, and tomatillo salsa on a crispy tortilla with beans and rice underneath. (Picture below.) I enjoyed the eggs, especially paired in a bite with the crispy tortilla. There was some salsa on the eggs, but more salsa would have been great. I enjoyed the beans and rice - good flavor, not salty. I also liked the tostones - crispy, hot, not too greasy. The strawberry juice was a bit too sweet and thick for me. I'm not sure if Coppelia will be on my regular NY rotation, but it's definitely someplace I'll go back to when I'm looking for an early morning breakfast. And it has wifi, no password needed.
  15. Last weekend Mrs Jpw, Peanut and I re-visited Cubano's after a long absence. What struck me first of all is the contrast with Mi Rancho across the street (and yes I know one is Mexican and one is Cuban). Where mi Rancho is a neighborhood cantina, Cubano's is the elegant hotel restaurant. You can almost picture yourself written into a spy novel set somewhere in Havana in the 1950s. As a result you pay a little more than you typically would in a Latin restaurant, but it's worth the trip. With white linen and heavy flatware, the plastic covered menus are somewhat incongruous. But the menu's numerous delicious sounding dishes set expectations fairly high. The mojitos, which appeared at a speed only to be explained by assembly line construction, started out with a hell of a punch, but mellowed into a more than passable version with the proper backnote of mint as we perused the menu. Forgive as the exact dish names escape me, but my pork "lechon" -- essentially shredded barbecued pork butt was well cooked and tasty with a hint of citrus: Carolina style Q gone Latin. Well cooked tostones came with a beautifully tart and spicy dipping sauce. But the star of the night was definitely Mrs JPW's foil-steamed red snapper. Cooked perfectly with a hint of lime and served with steamed veggies. The service gang clad in their "black and whites" performed very smoothly (with a small hiccup or two) and were more than accommodating of Peanut. Definitely a place to move into our regular rotation of local SS dining.
  16. Walked by this the other day. On King Street, at Henry - right next to Nickels and Schefler. Apparently, their Grand Opening is tonight. Anybody have any details?
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