Bienvenido a Miami

On a recent business trip to Miami, I made sure to sample some Cuban food — something that we don’t find often here in Vancouver. I’ve never eaten so much meat, beans, rice and plantains in my life!

Okay, so maybe I overdosed a little bit during my short stay, but the food was so delicious I couldn’t help it. I tried Cuban food in my hotel bar, in a mall food court and in two Cuban restaurants (Casa Larios at 7705 W Flagler St, Miami and David’s Cafe II at 1654 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach). I don’t eat beef all that often, but this was a chance to indulge. With one exception, I ordered churrasco each time. Churrasco is grilled beef, Latin American style. I’m not sure that it’s native to Cuba, but there is a form of churrasco in almost every Latin American country.

Churrasco as Miami Cubans serve it is a skirt steak, something that we don’t usually see at the butcher’s in Vancouver. If you are looking to substitute something for a skirt steak, the closest cut would be a hanger steak or a flank steak. The steak is accompanied by chimichurri sauce, which originates from Argentina, and is delicious. A blend of parsley, garlic, oil, vinegar and other ingredients, depending on the variation, it’s similar in consistency to a salsa, but not spicy.

Churrasco seems typically served with your choice of two accompaniments. I always chose the mixed rice and black beans along with plantains. Who knew you could do so many things with plantains? I had deep fried plantains, plantain patties (tostones), and plantain chips (mariquitas), served with the most garlicky sauce I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying, and those were only some of the options that I saw.

Now that I’ve had a week to detox, I wish there were more opportunities to explore Cuban food in Vancouver. I haven’t been to Havana restaurant (1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver) in quite a while — perhaps I’ll have to visit again soon.


2 Responses to “Bienvenido a Miami”

  1. Posted on February 8th, 2007

    Wow, sounds delicious. Beef isn’t on many menus in Cuba since cows are used on farms and for milk only. Thus, fish, pork and chicken are what you usually find. The exception being that Jews are allowed to slaughter cows for beef for obvious religious reasons.

    I don’t consider Havana truly Cuban cuisine – I’d say it’s more Cuban-inspired at best. Is there even a real Cuban restaurant here in Vancouver?

  2. Posted on February 11th, 2007

    It definitely seemed like beef was THE meat of choice, but perhaps that is the American influence. I did have chicken one night, which was absolutely outstanding.

    If anyone knows of a “real” Cuban restaurant in Vancouver, please post it! I need a fix.

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