Cuban Dining…Good Without Excitement

The food in Cuba was good, but void of the heat and spices I enjoy so much.  Actually, I would venture to say that had I stayed there for a few more days, I might have grown a bit bored with the cuisine.  While the Cubans tend to be conservative when it comes to experimenting with ingredients and flavors, the local produce is fresh and usually organic. And the chicken, rice and beans, a national staple, were perfectly prepared each time I had it.

Also, there were days in a row where I had delicious lobster for lunch and dinner, so I am not really complaining.

With the new ripple of paladars and privately-owned restaurants popping up, I look forward to a little more excitement in their culinary growth. 

Dining in Havana

Lamb in Vinales

Lobster in Vinales

Lobster in Havana

Pumpkin Soup in Havana

Chicken Sandwich at a Rest Stop in Pinar del Rio

Ceviche in Varadero

Chicken in Special Sauce at El Aljibe

Flan in Vinales

Dining in Vinales

Celebrating My Way Around Cartagena

Having checked into the lovely Hilton Cartagena so early in the morning, my plan was to take a long nap in preparation for the evening. Once I looked out my room window, overlooking the beautiful lagoon, that plan changed. I didn’t want to miss a single moment here! So, I got myself ready and hit the beach. I looked for a sports bar that was showing college football, to no avail. I did find a few nice waterfront spots, though. So, I settled on one, pulled up a seat and enjoyed lemon-garlic prawns, rice and an Aguila Light beer…or 3.

After a few hours of beach bar lounging, I headed back to the Hilton and got ready for a night out on the town. The partying began with a cocktail party on the Hilton terrace, complete with traditional Colombian dancers, followed a long night of live music, Salsa dancing and rum (Habana Club rum, that is!) at Cafe Havana. What a night!

A Little Central America For the Holidays!

With two weeks to go before we head to Central America, we’re beginning the search for “must-sees” from our readers.  Our plan, after El Salvador, is to spend 8 nights visiting Bay Islands/Roatan, Honduras, Belize City/San Pedro, Belize, and Costa Maya/Cozumel, Mexico.

Just the thought of great food, beautiful beaches, and gracious hosts is causing us to count down the days with excitement!  We’re planning to rent scooters and bikes as much as possible, otherwise, we’ll count on the locals to show us around.  Please send us any ideas/suggestions/stories you have to help us enjoy our short stay in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.  Here’s a list of what we have planned so far:

Clip N Zip Canopy Tours, Roatan

West Bay Beach, Roatan

A local bar for Salva Vida

Cave Tubing, Belize City

Bannister Island, Belize

Macy’s Restaurant on Bishop Street for authentic Belizean food, and the game catch of the day (armadillo or gibnut, perhaps), and hopefully Belikin Premium

Chacchoben Tour, Costa Maya

Los Chilangos Family Restaurant, Cozumel

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A Little Dining Table Trip to the Caribbean

This evening, we felt like dining in Bonaire.  Since we’re still in the States, we had to make do in our kitchen.  Having spent a little bit of time in Bonaire a couple years ago, we thought back to our favorite meals on that charming little sister of the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) islands.  We agreed, the best meal were, hands down, the simple, home-cooked meals that were prepared for us with such warmth and pride in the kitchen of a local.

Those memories inspired us to put on some calypso music, pull out our travel photos from Bonaire, and start cooking.  Along with a few Balashi beers (Aruba), we prepared and dined on the following delicious, yet very simple menu. Ban come!  (Papiamento for “Let’s eat!”)

Please leave a comment or email us for any recipes.

Tonight’s Menu:

Lightly Breaded, Baked, Boneless Pork Ribs
Brussel Sprouts Sauteed with Butter and Garlic
Rosemary Basmati Rice
White Beans w/ smoked Turkey Neck
Bread Pudding (with a big glass of Cupcake’s Red Velvet Wine!)

Garlic, Butter Brussel Sprouts

Lightly Breaded, Boneless Pork Ribs
Overlooking the Water of Bonaire

The Pink Sand of Bonaire

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Vacation Eating…From Home

The TravelingWrite team’s getting antsy.  We want to take a few weeks and go away and relax, eat and see new sites.  Sure, we were in Miami/Fort Lauderdale last weekend, but that was just a quick in and out trip for the football game.  It was a whole lot of fun, but we dined mostly on hot dogs and light beer!

We’ve decided to try something.  Since we have prior commitments keeping us local right now, we’ll simply spend the next week cooking and dining on food that reminds us of some of our favorite places.

We’re kicking off today with Soul Food Football Sunday with a Little Latin Flavor.  The plan is to prepare a bunch of yummy food, chill a case of beer, enjoy a Padron cigar between plates, and sit on the sofa and watch football.  All day long!  Its 9am, we only have about 4 hours to get this cooked and on the buffet table.

The Menu:

Spicy Steamed Jumbo Shrimp
Macaroni/Tuna/Salmon Salad
Slow-Baked, Lightly Browned Pork Roast
Fried Chicken Thighs
Red Beans w/Smoked Turkey Necks
Rice w/Sauteed Garlic and Diced Onions
Slow-Cooked Kale Greens w/Smoked Turkey Butt

Please feel free to email us, or leave a comment for the recipe(s).

Fried Chicken

Spiced Steamed Shrimp
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