Cuban Cuisine- 90 miles

Cuba is only 90 miles from the southernmost point of USA, yet I was not too exposed to their culture and their cuisine. We were wondering what food are they known for?

Recently, my friend and I discovered a few Cuban places in the city. We started out with their sandwiches and their coffee at a Cuban cafe. The spicy sauce they put into the sandwich was very favorable that I have never try elsewhere. What amazes me is their tiny cup of coffee. Although the cup was tiny, it was very strong that we had to add quite a few packets of sugar.

Given the positive experience, we went to another Cuban restaurant to try other specialty besides sandwich. Inside 90 miles, the decors on the walls resembles Latin style. There’s outdoor patio, two dining rooms (one of them over the tent) and another outdoor lounge on the other building connecting by a small bridge. After a few recommendations from our server, we made our order (calamari, empanadas, beef, and pork entrees served with black beans, plantain and rice). When the food runner brought the calamari, our eyes were widened.  It came with 3 bread stacked above a puddle of black sauce. We had calamari at many different restaurants before, but we had never calamari in an unrecognizable state. At first I thought, did we ordered the wrong appetizer? As we spoon through the sauce, we realized it is calamari. This must be the black ink from the calamari. Our mouth and teeth were blackened as we eat the bread.The taste was pretty good, not thick at all and quite flavorful. We even ask for more bread to accompany this sauce.  The rest of the food came right after. The empanadas (beef, goat cheese and shrimp) was bigger than expected but was great. I love the sweet plantain, it makes a good dessert. The meat especially the pork is very tender and juicy yet had that smokey taste to it. The beef was a bit salty for me. Overall, it was another great experience, the food and the atmosphere. We tried something new and quite interesting and learn not to judge a book by its cover.




Getting ready for spring-new adventures awaits

Spring is here in Chicago. For the past few weeks it has been raining. Today, the sky was covered with dark clouds in the morning but quickly drifted away in the afternoon. The temperature began to rose from lower 60s to high 80s. It was such a superb weather for sunbathing, I also meant for the plants. I took the remaining plants that survived the super strong wind from yesterday for a sunbathe. I also did a little shopping for our garden, got some tulip and ranunculus bulbs. It’s a matter of time before our garden blooms with colorful tulips, lilies, ranunculus, peppers, basil, mixed wild flowers, cherry tomatoes, and more additions in the future. This is what Spring is all about: the birth of life.  And also the beginning of a whole new adventure!

A whole new adventure, starting from food choices. As I was packaging for tomorrow’s lunch, I suddenly decided to ditch the same old kind of lunch (typical rice with meals and vegetables) and make sometime different.  Something I never had nor ate before: a nori sandwich. A sandwich made with seasoned rice (ketchup mixed with white rice) and added in whatever meat i can find in the refrigerator sandwiched between the rice and wrapped with seaweed. Technically, it’s more like sushi roll but in a different dimension and with different ingredients.