I'm hungry, and I am sure that you are too.
Food and drink lay cornerstone to each day, and I attempt to savour each bite and sip.
I love food, and it shows.

Friendsgiving and Beets!

I recently had a Friendsgiving dinner party at my Harlem home with some close friends and co-workers, and we had a delightful menu filled with tons of food and wine. The best part of it all was the limited fuss and easy clean up—but my guest certainly were not made aware of these hosting secrets à la Barefoot Contessa. To start off the dinner, we had an amazingly delicious and impressive salad that took very little energy, but resulted in a majorly fancy payoff. 

Check this recipe out—you’ll love it!

Autumn Roasted Beet Salad:

Ingredients:

6 to 11 oz of mixed greens or mixed romaine

2 golden beets and 2 red beets

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup dried cherries

.35 to .5 lbs of 6 month aged Manchego cheese

¾ cup of walnuts

1/2 tsp of brown sugar

1 tbsp of sea salt

1 tsp of course ground black pepper

½ tsp of canola oil

For salad dressing:  

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (the best that you can find, it must be good enough to eat alone!)

¼ cup of aged balsamic vinegar (the best that you can find, it must be good enough to eat alone!)

¼ to ½ tsp of sea salt (to taste)

¼ to ½ tsp of black pepper (to taste)

1 tbsp of grade A or B maple syrup

1 ½ tbsp of honey

1-2 tbsp of Dijon mustard

 

Directions:

1.        Clean and dry beets. Place golden and red beets separately in tin foil with 1 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 1 ½ hours at 375 degrees. Take out and place in a bowl with plastic wrap, or a plastic bag for 10 mins. Cool and peel—the skins should just slip off. Slice thinly—approximately ¼ inch.

2.        Clean , dry, and place greens in bowl.

3.        Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet, and coat with oil. Sprinkle over salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast the walnuts on a cookie sheet at 375 for 3-5 mins. They are ready when you smell the nuts. Let walnuts cool for 10 mins.

4.         Place cranberries and cherries, and cooled beets and walnuts on top of greens.

5.        Crumble or grate Manchego on top of salad

 

Dressing

1.        Place ¼ cup of aged balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of grade A or B maple syrup, 1 ½ tbsp of honey, 1-2 tbsp of Dijon mustard in a bowl. Wisk together until incorporated.

2.        Drizzle the ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil into bowl slowly until thickened. Wisk for 2-3 mins until smooth. You may add more olive oil if the dressing the too thick, or you may squeeze a little fresh lemon juice to thin (this will add more acidity to the vinegar, which you can balance with a little sugar)

Dress salad and enjoy!

 

 

Poor Porc during Ramadan in Harlem.

For anyone who living in Central Harlem with a taste for the unholy swine, it is often a hassle to find some pork!

I refuse to settle for turkey bacon, turkey sausage, turkey ham, and all of the other abominations made of our November bird. Pork is just a way of life for me, and that is simply why I will never be a good Jew, or Muslim for that matter.

So, as bunny bunny turns into rabbit rabbit (the first of the month, of August specifically), I find it a delightful coincidence that I am cooking two pork dishes for dinner this evening, with a Latino-Italian spin.

Pour le plat du soir, Roberto and I will enjoy baked penne Bolognese and stuffed pork tenderloin. Pork two ways!

I am not a huge fan of recipes—they often feel limiting and conformist, but I do like to work with some guidelines when making food.

Guidelines: 

1) Experiment in numbers: When you decide to try out a new dish or cooking technique, have that be only part of your meal. This way, should the dish not work; you have the other part of the meal to rely upon (even if that is just dessert). Or have a delivery number handy—your choice.

2) Stay Consistent: Have flavors correspond to each other. Nothing links a meal together better than similar tastes. If you are going to use nutmeg in your Mac and cheese, why not add it to your chicken.

3) Choose your time wisely: Your kitchen should not feel like Iron Chef or a short-order diner. Choose dishes that fit within a time you feel comfortable cooking. Don’t attempt to make a Coq au vin in 25 mins, unless you want wine-y salmonella. And if you are starving, then make yourself a little nibble while you are waiting for your meal to complete. I enjoy snacking on cheese, or something that doesn’t require cooking that I used in my meal, like nuts or peppers.

4) Sweaters don’t go in the oven: Your oven is probably one of your best time savers. You can use your oven to make everything from grilled cheese to bacon and eggs. I’d rather stick something in the oven at 325 than stand in front of the stove any day.

5) Similar Spices: I am never really a fan of buying spices that I am going to employ in one dish, and never use again. If you are only in the mood for Indian food once every six months, don’t buy tons of turmeric and fenugreek. My spice staples always are: sea salt, white/black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, hot and sweet paprika, hot chili, and herbs de Provence.

In the spirit of sharing my meal this evening, I will offer the closest thing to a recipe I can. Please feel free to change or substitute anything or everything. I just want to make sure you are loving what you put in your mouth :-)

A) Baked Bolognese

Items needed:

.75 to 1 lb of protein: ground meat (I like a 3:1 pork to beef mixture)/sausage OR minced meaty mushrooms

3 tablespoons of sofrito (I use the Goya store mix, but feel free to make your own)

2 teaspoons of ground onion

2 teaspoons of sweet paprika

Sea/kosher salt and pepper

4 tablespoons of vinegar (I like balsamic or champagne, something with tangy sweetness)

2 tablespoons of red wine or sherry cooking wine

Olive oil

Butter

1- 16 oz can of whole tomatoes

1 box of pasta (I like whole wheat penne, but use whatever you like. Just not egg noodles.)

Any REAL melting cheese of your liking

STEPS

1)   Heat some olive oil over medium heat in any pan that can be covered and has a good wide surface area that allows for even browning of the meat/mushrooms.

2)   When the oil begins to shine and shimmy, add the onion power and paprika. Stir and allow it to color the oil for 30 seconds. Don’t let it burn, if it does, just start again. Then, add the sofrito, and stir around for 2-3 min.

3)   Add the ground meat/mushrooms; combine with the onion-paprika oil/sofrito, and brown. Don’t stir vigorously—protein likes to take its time to color. Think of sunbathing.

4)   After the meat/mushrooms are brown (think brown like golden wheat or bamboo, not brown like leather, that is burnt), put up the heat a little, and add the vinegar and wine deglaze by scraping up the brown bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan.

5)   After half of the liquid is absorbed, turn down the heat and add the can of tomatoes (I normally use a potato masher to crush half of the can, and blend the other half. But if you like more texture, just hand crush the tomatoes, if you don’t want to be reminded of anything that looked like a fruit-veggie, then blend the whole lot.)

6)   Turn down the heat to medium-low to low, and allow to simmer (this means lightly bubbling); then cover and stir occasionally for 20-30 min, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the entire spoon.

7)   At this point, I like to add a little butter (like 3tbs), salt and pepper to taste, and allow to cool to room temp then refrigerate overnight. I find the sauce to be better the next day. 

8)   On the day of cooking, reheat the sauce with 3-5 teaspoons of water to maintain moisture.

9)   Cook the pasta to just under al dente—which should take about 6-7 min for a box.

10)  Drain (save some of the pasta water to thin the sauce seems if it seems thick; it should be like a thick stew, not a gravy) and combine the pasta and sauce and cheese.

11)  Place in a baking dish or ramekins, place some cheese at the top, cover with a lid or foil, and bake at 350 for 20-40 mins. Remove the lid/foil after 15-25 min and when the cheese is melted and browned, and then you are done!

Okay, I admit that I just wrote a recipe; and while I remain allergic to cooking directions, I acknowledge the utility of recipes. If this recipe works for you, let me know, and maybe I will share some more.

I would share some pictures of the end result, but, um. I ate it!

Enjoy!

NYC Restaurant Week(s)!

I have developed the habit of dining out at least twice per week—bear in mind, dining out could be ordering delivery from Oui Oui Crepes and Pizza or Harlem BarBQ-- in order to save energy from a long work week and introduce myself to various permutations of flavor. And there is hardly any better temptation to dine out than NYC Restaurant Week!

NYC Restaurant Week occurs only twice per year, and I always look forward to it. I must admit though, I always found myself too busy or broke to partake in the experience…until last week. As a perused the menus of participating restos, I was drawn to some familiar favorites: Cuban, American, and French…but I wanted something more interesting, something more fancy and expensive. Sure, Restaurant Week was founded to entice new patronage at restos…but for me, the event is an opportunity to eat somewhere elegant where would never rationalize paying full price. On a Wednesday night, I somehow scored Friday evening reservations for 4 at Delmonico’s. I was extremely excited to have the chance to even step foot in such a historic culinary institution. Despite being one of the oldest restos into in NYC, chefs at Delmonico’s created Chicken à la King and Baked Alaska…yum!

As I arrived with my party on a cold January evening, I was almost fainting from hunger and anticipation—I made sure not to eat lunch in preparation to devour my meal and quelled my hunger pains by repeatedly gazing and fantasizing over the prix-fixe menu.

Sidenote: I would like everyone else to know in advance, that there is no reason to be ashamed of prix-fixe—chefs spend their time assembling the menu, and its often the closest thing one could get to a chef’s tasting menu/table on a budget.  

As we were seated, I had to order a gin and tonic to pass away the day’s stresses and act as an aperitif to open up my palate to the long awaited flavours coming my way. 

After some more drinks, I eagerly ordered:

First Course: Wild Mushroom Risotto with Pine Nuts, Aged Pecorino and Saba

I rarely eat risotto, despite loving it. Everyone seems to make it differently, and I have been too sacred to attempt making it on my own—but this dish inspired me to attempt homemade risotto one day. This dish….hell, the entire meal, exemplified the glory of simple ingredients and traditional preparation. I still dream about the creamy, yet perfectly al dente texture of the rice contrasted by the earthy meaty-ness of the mushrooms. 

Main Course: Filet Mignon (prepared medium) with Lyonnais Potatoes and Glazed Carrots 

What I am about to say may be taken as sin by some, but I have to admit: I have not always been a fan of filet mignon. I often prefer more textured and marbled cuts of meat—but I discovered at Delmonico’s why I used to dislike filet mignon: I would order it overdone! Filet mignon may be one of the simplest cuts of meat to cook…and one of the simplest to mess up. I was expecting something more than a traditional paring of potatoes and carrots, but I’m not going to complain about something delicious. 

Dessert: Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

I often veer away from chocolate desserts, preferring something more palate cleansing—but reference to chocolate and hazelnuts immediately provokes thoughts of one of my favourite foods: Nutella! While the flavours of the cake only vaguely resembled Nutella, I was amazed by the glossed volcanic black sheen of the ganache coupled with an assortment of milk and semi-sweet chocolates. It was just perfect.

All of that for $35! I could only imagine how expensive it would have been à la carte.

I love NYC Restaurant Week! 

Where did you go for Restaurant Week?

——————————————————————————————————-

Here’s the full resto week menu, for curious minds: 

Delmonico’s Restaurant Week Menu:

First Courses:

Delmonico’s Organic Salad

Arugula, Endive, Baby Beets, Lady Apple, Roasted Tomatoes, Candied Hazelnuts

Daily Soup

Chef’s Preparation

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Pine Nuts, Aged Pecorino, Saba

Seared Sea Scallop (Dinner Menu Only)

Braised Veal, Butternut Squash, Sweet Onion Marmalade

1867 Classic’s Lobster Newberg (Supplement $10)

Brandy, Cream and Caviar

Entrees

Slow Braised Beef

Parsnip Whipped Potato, Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Classic Chicken A la Keene

Served over Buttered Noodles

Daily Market Catch

Chef’s Seafood Presentation Changes Daily

Filet Mignon (Dinner Menu Only)

Lyonnais Potatoes, Asparagus

Delmonico Classic Steak (Supplement $15)

20 ounce Boneless Rib Eye Served With Chef Selection Of Vegetables

1867 Classic Lobster Newberg (Supplement $20)

Brandy, Cream and Caviar

Dessert

Winter Fruit Parfait

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Classic Baked Alaska   (supplement $5)

Walnut Cake, Apricot Jam, Banana Gelato, Meringue

Lunch Menu $24.07, Dinner Menu $35.00 plus beverages, Tax and service. Cannot combine with any other offers.

Classic Dishes Were Created At Our Stoves . 

Orbit: Comida de Puta

Yup, that is the name of a dish at Orbit, one of my favourite resto-bars in El Barrio. I visited Orbit the first time for a poetry/music event, at which I only drank from the bar, but there was something about the ambiance and the smell of deliciously familiar food at the small tables that provoked me to catalogue the resto for a future meal. 

I went to Orbit  for dinner with my best friend Erika, who despite her wide palate, is not the type of person to try tons of new things. I’m Latino (SURPRISE!), and I am a sucker for fancied versions of comida abuelita (trans: grandmother cooking), but only when it is done well. I was in a super-carnivorously masculine mood that night, so I had the churrasco (trans: skirt steak) with chimichurri and rosemary fries, accompanied by a Stella Artois. Erika ordered the house specialty: Boneless Chicharrones de Pollo (Latin@ chicken tenders) marinated in Bacardi with mojo sauce and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I was delighted with my perfectly seasoned and grilled churrasco, but a bit surprised by the small size of the steak and the dry-waxy texture of the fries—nevertheless, the flavour was warmly memorable. I am still disappointed, however, that I did not opt for the specialty. I sampled Erika’s plate, and it was simply amazing! Chicharrones often tend to be dry, and bit greasy and flavour-less, but the rum marinade worked wonders on these morsels of pure pollo heaven. The meal was wonderful enough for us to invite three more friends from various points in NYC to Orbit for countless rounds of drinks and conversation. 

Numerous re-visits to Orbit resulted in similar out-of-this-world flavour experiences, but nothing really matched my first, until I convinced my partner, Roberto, to accompany me to the resto for Brunch shortly after we moved to Harlem. Ah, it was such a warm welcoming to a hungry soul tired by arduous weeks of moving. 

As I read the menu, reading the drinks menu first (why else would you have Brunch?), I immediately noticed a hilarious, yet delectable sounding dish: Comida de Puta (trans: Whore’s Food). Despite not identifying as a puta, I was immediately attracted to the meal: maduros (trans: fried sweet plantains), fried eggs, yellow rice, and bacon. I was in El Barrio bliss, with a lychee martini. 

Comida de Puta was everything I hoped and desired it would be. Such a simple dish, without much innovation or fuss that relied upon uncomplicated ingredients for a dynamically complex flavour profile. The soft buttery textures of the maduros and eggs melded perfectly with the crisp, smoky bacon—and the yellow rice rounded off the dish with sunlit perfection. 

Oh, but you did not think I was finished…did you? Roberto opted for the sweet side of the brunch menu and ordered the Corn Flake French Toast Crunch.

And it tasted just as incredible as it looks. I have eaten my fair share of Pain Perdu, but I have never had anything as exciting as Orbit’s take on French Toast. Why choose cereal or french toast when you can have both?! The contrast between the bread-pudding custard interior and the crisp, lightly sweet coating were perfectly punctuated by tart, chunky jam and Canadian maple syrup (syrup that amazing could only be Canadian, eh?)

Come and get some of this yummy comida (de puta). I know you want it…puta :-) 

Some Honorable Mentions for Fave Foods

My readers have great taste! Here are some of their fav foods—-what food do you love?

Queues de Castor 

Beevuh!

Sandwich Poulet Croustillant à la Sud-Ouest

C'est ça que j'm

Chicken Picatta

CAPERZ!

Knoppers

i want some right NOW!

Yummy Food

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover my passion eating, cooking, and drinking. I was once cursed with a limited palate that craved for nothing more than McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets and French Fries—-while I still love me a number 7, I have learned to explore other parts of the menu. I credit my time living and studying in other countries as the key catalyst for giving up my finicky ways. While I still remain squeamishabout mayonnaise, I have discovered a love for mixing it with ketchup..or BBQ sauce if I am feeling adventurous.

Whatever your parents told you about not playing with your food is bullshit, the only way you can learn to love food is through playing with it, and in the process, discover flavours that excite you, and ones that just make you gag…just watch out for food allergies and intolerancies!

I also believe that food can be a reflection of one’s character—-if you’re vegan, you probably have a high level of social consciousness, and are CRAZY to give up bacon! The list goes on…but speaking about lists, I would like to share a list of my favourite things with all of you, and I don’t mean Oprah’s list—I’m too working-class for that fanciness.

Favourite Foods:

Schweppes Agrum

I discovered this citrusy, tangy, slightly sour beverage in my best friend’s small European fridge. I was instantly hooked—but I can’t seem to find it in NYC!

Blue Cheese

I am lactose intollerant, but I will not allow that to stop me from delighting the wonders of dairy and dairy products, especially CHEESE! I find it difficult to discern between my favourite cheeses, but it is something about that creamy, crumbly, periwinkle-tinted ambrosia that drives me crazy…and not to mention it smells more pungent than anything a human should consume. Viva Blue Cheese!

Boar’s Head Deluxe Ham

My late father was a butcher for most of my life, and I distinctly remember visiting his job to observe the craftsmanship involved in de-puzzling food. He also provided me with a distint palate that continues to only be satisfied by this sweet, slightly salted treat.  

Crème Brûlée Donut from Doughnut Plant 

I used to work as a College Advisor at a high school in the Lower East Side, and on my way home from work, I was beckoned by a smell of freshly-baked sinful carbs…ah, Doughnut Plant. I bought almost all varieties of doughnuts left at the counter, and arrived at home with a stomach ache…but it all so worth it to discover the Crème Brûlée doughnut. 

Poutine

What could be better than French Fries, Gravy, and Cheese? NO, not “disco fries”—POUTINE! I used to live in Montréal as a teenager, and I credit this period as my gastronomic  awakening. I developed an unrelenting hunger for this dish…a hunger that continues to this day. Poutine is never really a poutine, without cheese curds, and that is what makes this delicacy so unique. Q: Want to make me happy? A: GIVE ME POUTINE! 

Hot Dogs (from Gray’s Papaya)

I was a broke-ass college student, up to my neck in loans from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, and I refused to eat pizza every day from Ray’s Pizza alongside the number of other Langer@s. It was during this time that I re-discovered Hot Dogs, and the recession special from Grey’s Papaya. I’m already salivating.  

Haribo Gummi Fruit Salad

I have a big sweet-tooth that often craves the trill of a new take on a childhood favourite: gummi candies! This candy is unique in its strong flavor profile that is not interrupted by sugary sweetness—and at least the idea of eating a fruit salad takes away some of the guilt of eating candy. 

Hazelnut Spread

Some of you may be asking yourself: WTH is this?! Most of you will know its sibling, Nutella—but I often desire something a bit more uncommon: White Hazelnut Spread! I would often eat tubs of the Albert Heijn variety while living in Amsterdam, and I would use it in tons of food: coffee, bread, even in creamy pasta sauces. Lekker!!!

Lindemans Lambic: Kriek

I love beer. Its liquid carbs, and who wouldn’t like that? But sometimes, I desire something more fruity with my carbs, and I was delighted to meet my inamorato: Lambic. If you don’t like beer, you will LOVE lambics. 

Lychee Bubble Tea with Nata de Coco

I don’t care if bubble tea is no longer fashionable—it is still delectable! I am a fan of almost all types of boba, but I find the Lychee green tea to be the best! But if you’re in the mood for an alternative to a milkshake, I would highly suggest trying the Taro Milk Tea—-the purple hue is enough to excite me :-)

Lemon and Limes: 

One of my ancestral last names is Cintrón (trans: Citrus), so it must be in my blood to give eyeteeth for Lemon and Lime. I can eat these fruits as they are, and always incorporate them in my cooking. 

San Pellegrino Limonata: 

Think Electric Carbonated Lemon. (pssst: I’m drinking one right now.)

Patacón (from Cachapas y más)

You cannot get a better sandwich than this. Who needs bread when you have Platano?! I love my Patacón with shredded chicken, fried white cheese, lettuce, and sauce (I believe the sauce to be mixture of ketchup and mayo, but who knows its good!). I am tempted to hop on the 1 train to get one right now. 

Scallion/Cream Cheese

This is sort of cheating because I love both Scallions and Creme Cheese separately, and when combined you find a marriage that cannot be broken up by Prop8. I love my scallion cream cheese on a multigrain bagel from Murry’s, just make sure you have some mints.

Stroopwafel

While the Dutch may not have some of the best savory dishes (think: Stamppot), I am in love with their sweet foods, especially Stoopwafels. I almost thought they were Canadian, in their maple-like syrupy surprise, but I was wrong. I love this delight over coffee, dipped in Vla, or on their own. 

Walnuts

Walnuts are one of those foods that pair well a whole range of sweet and savory foods. I love them in salads, desserts, roasted, salted, and candied—and they’re good for you!

Squash

Yes, I know you’re reaction may be closer to WTF than yum, but Squash is one of the best veggies ever! I grew up eating squash purees, and I have continued to love squash in all of its forms today…especially deep fried! 

What are your favourite foods?

This has to be one of the saltiest dishes I have ever eaten in my life. I was reluctant to go to Cuba Libre during my friend’s birthday weekend in Atlantic City, but I choose fancied familiarity. 
Cuba Libre is located in the Tropicana Hotel alongside a number of other restos, bars, and a cheesy over-priced chain nightclub. Customers are greeted by a 1950’s era convertible painted red, white, and blue with the Cuban flag crowning its hood. Something told me to prepare for faux-authenticity á la Olive Garden (and I love me some Olive Garden!).  
As the server approached, we collectively ordered pitchers of Mojitos…what else do you drink in a Cuban resto??? The mojitos were delish in their cane-suger minted sweetness, but I missed the kick…I missed the rum…where the hell was the rum!?
I further relented and downed a few to accompany the bread, which was served as the first course. I relished the bread’s breath of the oven welcomely punctuated by the garlic-vinegar mojo slathered atop. Carbs are always heaven. 
I ordered the Ropa Vieja (trans: Old Clothes) as my main dish, and despite the plate’s impressive presentation, I could not stand to finish without risking dehydration. The flavour of garlic, spanish onions, lime, tomato, and long, slow cooking were interrupted by the harsh iodised saline of whatever salt the cook threw into the once-beautiful dish. But you better believe, I ate all of that yummy crispy platano sitting a top of the stew. 
I am not sure what the 10 other guests ate…with the exception of the 3 in my immediate proximity: the birthday girl, my best friend, and my partner, which all ordered the arroz con pollo. I cannot speak in depth about the dish…but I can certainly say that arroz con pollo should NEVER result in a dish with a texture closer to risotto con pollo…yuck! 
I don’t even remember what I had for dessert—my tastebuds were still stressed from the last course. 
I hate giving bad food reviews, especially as my first post, but I would not lie to my readers. I also would never suggest for them to spend an arm and leg on salty, mushy Cuban food. Come to my house for some real stuff…or just go to Cuba Libre for the mojito, just make sure you bring a little bottle of Bacardi to spike your drink. 
Information:
Cuba Libre: Atlantic City
The Quarter at Tropicana Casino & Resort
2801 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401Phone: 609.348.6700 Fax: 609-348-6704
http://cubalibrerestaurant.com/i/

This has to be one of the saltiest dishes I have ever eaten in my life. I was reluctant to go to Cuba Libre during my friend’s birthday weekend in Atlantic City, but I choose fancied familiarity. 

Cuba Libre is located in the Tropicana Hotel alongside a number of other restos, bars, and a cheesy over-priced chain nightclub. Customers are greeted by a 1950’s era convertible painted red, white, and blue with the Cuban flag crowning its hood. Something told me to prepare for faux-authenticity á la Olive Garden (and I love me some Olive Garden!).  

As the server approached, we collectively ordered pitchers of Mojitos…what else do you drink in a Cuban resto??? The mojitos were delish in their cane-suger minted sweetness, but I missed the kick…I missed the rum…where the hell was the rum!?

I further relented and downed a few to accompany the bread, which was served as the first course. I relished the bread’s breath of the oven welcomely punctuated by the garlic-vinegar mojo slathered atop. Carbs are always heaven. 

I ordered the Ropa Vieja (trans: Old Clothes) as my main dish, and despite the plate’s impressive presentation, I could not stand to finish without risking dehydration. The flavour of garlic, spanish onions, lime, tomato, and long, slow cooking were interrupted by the harsh iodised saline of whatever salt the cook threw into the once-beautiful dish. But you better believe, I ate all of that yummy crispy platano sitting a top of the stew. 

I am not sure what the 10 other guests ate…with the exception of the 3 in my immediate proximity: the birthday girl, my best friend, and my partner, which all ordered the arroz con pollo. I cannot speak in depth about the dish…but I can certainly say that arroz con pollo should NEVER result in a dish with a texture closer to risotto con pollo…yuck! 

I don’t even remember what I had for dessert—my tastebuds were still stressed from the last course. 

I hate giving bad food reviews, especially as my first post, but I would not lie to my readers. I also would never suggest for them to spend an arm and leg on salty, mushy Cuban food. Come to my house for some real stuff…or just go to Cuba Libre for the mojito, just make sure you bring a little bottle of Bacardi to spike your drink. 

Information:

Cuba Libre: Atlantic City

The Quarter at Tropicana Casino & Resort

2801 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Phone: 609.348.6700 
Fax: 609-348-6704

http://cubalibrerestaurant.com/i/

I’m Hungry in Harlem

Most of my fondest memories are grounded in food. 

The warmest memory I have of my maternal grandmother involves me watching her make her buttered sweet mangú and super lemony lipton’s black tea whenever I was sick. I would sometimes even pretend to be ill in order to see, smell, and taste her gastronomic masterpiece. 

The catalyst for this blog is not yet known. I believe the idea came to me while walking on St. Mark’s Place with my teenage niece on Christmas Day. In conversation with Lauren, I realized that I was able to transfer some of my fondest food memories after her impassioned response to my suggestion to share a small bowl of Poutine. She wanted Poutine over Pizza—smart choice. 

I want to share with all of you my life in food, or my life as it is colored and shaped by memories of taste, smell, and simply delicious goodness. Food should not simply be about nourishment. How many vitamins are in a package of Swedish Fish? Nope, no Omega-3 fatty acids, just plain red, artificial yummy-ness. Food is also not just about what you eat, but also what you drink. The texture, the color, and how drunk it will get you. That is why I choose to think about Food in terms of Sofrito… Sofrito is a mixture of various ingredients: a flavourful foundation.

Sofrito, and other ways to eat and drink will be my travelogue of culinary journeys, critiques, and experiments. 

What have you eaten lately?

Don’t act like you don’t eat at night.

Don’t act like you don’t eat at night.

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