Havana, Cuba !
90 miles south of Key West is one of the most intriguing islands in the Caribbean. A country influenced by Taino/ Spanish/ African cultures. Shaped by War/ Democracy / Communism and so much more. You here this and people say that however what I decided was to go find out for myself, so that I may share with you all. Recently the U.S. made travel to Cuba available for U.S. citizens. The relationships between the two governments still has a long way to go. I’m hopeful as well as many others the opportunity for improvement grows.
The fertile lands of Cuba are known for Sugarcane and Tobacco. Sugarcane that produces one of the finest rums in the world, Havana Club. Tobacco which is handcrafted into the most desired world class cigars. I was told the best way to enjoy a cigar was after a good meal with a glass of rum. During my holiday in Cuba we chose to stay in Havana, New Havana to be exact. A lively area with hotels, clubs, restaurants and a great mix of people just a short walk to Malecon.
On the recommendation of mi amigo Hugo, across from my hotel we found the best food out of all the restaurants we dined at in Cuba. On Calle 21 that place was Havana 21 Cafe & Restaurant. A small upstairs restaurant with a white table setting. After drinking Mojitos and Daquiris all day we opted for wine for dinner. The menu was extensive so we kept it simple. I ordered a Fish filet and potatoes with garlic and olive cream. Root vegetables puree ( Yuca ) and plantains ( Maduras ). My Tee ( Tablemate ) ordered a grilled fish , vegetables , rice and black beans. The entrees were fabulous in presentation and heavenly in taste. A real plus the staff was excellent and the prices were reasonable. Across from the Hotel Capri in New Havana is hidden gem of the city Havana 21 Cafe and Restaurant.
Lazy Dog Cafe!
When I’m in So Cal ( Southern California ) visiting one of my favorite pastimes is shopping and eating. So of course you may catch me at the Del Amo Fashion Center. A beautiful outside two level mall with a lively courtyard. A place where young couples shop and dine and the even younger hipsters skateboard and sip milkshakes.
My favorite restaurant there is the Lazy Dog Cafe. A Big exposed wood lodge feel with a fantastic open kitchen. They totally have the best happy hour with a great selection of drinks and apps from $3-$6 bucks plus T.V.’s galore for game viewing. The menu entrees at the Lazy Dog Cafe simply delightful. If you’re dining on the weekend they even have awesome brunch.
P.S. … Best of all you can bring your dog with you and sit in the outside dining area. Lazy Dog even has a canine menu. Cool+Cool= Cool!!
Sweet St. Louis!
In the city which sits on the Mississippi River under the Gateway Arch, it’s good to see when things are as fantastic as advertised. Short and sweet when talking good eating in St. Louis. Oooh Baby destination Sweetie Pies! First learned of Miss Robbie by watching her TV show on Oprah’s OWN network. I quickly fell in love with the show. She felt just like a tuff loving grandmother or your favorite aunt, where you were always guaranteed to get some good advice served up with some unbeatable food. Let me tell you didn’t get to meet her when I showed up at Sweetie Pies at the Mangrove. However Miss Robbie’s presence was felt once you walked in. The cafeteria style made from scratch soul food restaurant was well staffed. Everyone knew their job and worked together with the goal to deliver a fresh hot dish. I ordered the Fish/ Mac n Cheese/ Yams/Green Beans.
Wouldn’t be right if I walked away without tasting the Peach Cobbler. In doing so I’m here to give out the full grade of A+. Dropped in a second time at the same location on a different occasion and Sweetie Pie’s maintains an A+. The servings are well enough to save for tomorrow and guess what, taste even better on the second day. Sweetie Pie’s doing soul food right holding down St. Louis!
Chicken N Waffles!
Summer is here, school is out that means keeping those kids occupied. What better than a trip to an amusement park. Took the old piggy bank down to Chase and walked away with enough for tickets to Universal Orlando. It was my first time going so I was just as excited as the kids. It’s a duel park, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios filled with all sorts of favorites from television. They offer rides like the Hulk, Spiderman, Shrek, The Minions, Transformers and Harry Potter. You can enjoy the great music shows or tryout to compete in a live taping of The Fear Factor. My favorite place to visit was Springfield, home of the Simpson’s. That’s where the kids decided to stop and eat. So of course they chose to get in line for a Krusty burger. While waiting for them I went to see Cletus at Cletus Chicken Shack.
That’s where I saw his Corn Flake battered chicken between two waffles, lettuce and tomato with maple syrup mayo. As wacky as it sounds, the sandwich tasted great. Who would have known Cletus was a genius. Fun day with fun food even washed it down with a Flaming Moe.
Little Spoon Eatery !
Recently I was traveling thru Charlotte, NC where I found this unique Breakfast/Lunch spot. Little Spoon eatery is a farm to table restaurant in Myers Park. There are many great places to eat in Charlotte but Little Spoon tends to bring a fresh and exciting approach everytime. The food that Little Spoon delivers is nothing short of a eye popping experience and a mouth watering sensation. The ambience is one to be desired as well. We as people love to know where our food is coming from. Nice to know your safe with Little Spoon since mostly all their ingredients are local.
Here’s one of the dishes you can find on the menu. Special thanks to Chef Branden for sharing the recipe.
Jerk Chicken Marinate:
2 tbs allspice berries
1 tbs thyme leaves
4 garlic cloves
2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved, stems removed
6 scallions, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 2-inch piece ginger, thickly sliced
2 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of 2 large limes ( about 4 tablespoons)
6 large chicken legs, leg and thigh attached
Cooking Method- Marinate chicken for 6 hours.. Preheat oven to 350F, Grill or Pan sear chicken to lock in flavors. Cook for 45-1 1/2 hours or until tender.
Cole Slaw Recipe:
Apple ,cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise, brown sugar, bbq sauce, vinegar and coconut flakes.
Cut an apple, a carrot, and some cabbage very thin. Add your brown sugar, vinegar, Bbq sauce, coconut flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
Morning Pic Me Up!
Good morning, Good Eaters well I’m glad the weekend and the stress it brings is over. I really need a pick me up Green smoothie. I’m what you call a smoothie head. I believe a good smoothie can almost make anything better and I got the recipes to prove it. Now get those blenders out and let’s get started. The key is preparation, well for me anyway. I wash cut and freeze most of my fruit ahead of time it make things easier if having a smoothie is a part of your daily routine. Ok for this recipe you need
3) Parsley root or just regular parsley
6) Strawberries or other fruit of choice
9) Coconut water , plain water or organic juice (your choice)
I also add my powder greens aka superfood, you can use whatever brand you choose or not it’s optional. Blend all your ingredients and watch the magic happen. Now grab your to go cup well in my case mason jar and head out the door. Enjoy!