I love Cuban food and was delighted to discover there's a Cuban restaurant in Denver. I've wanted to go to Cuba Cuba since I discovered it exists, so last night, I made it so. It was an easy half hour drive from home and I even found close parking on the street.
Jeannene is not as nuts about Cuban food as I am and she felt a bit skeptical when she saw the two brightly painted houses with the palm-lined walkway in front. I, on the other hand, found it completely charming. We were seated quickly, in a Florida-room-like space. There were large, colorful portraits in the walls and graceful lamp globes above.
The service was typically Cuban, warm and friendly. My mojito, while not as good as the ones I get in Miami---or the ones I make at home---was much better than the super-strong drinks many American bars pass off as mojitos. They're supposed to be light and refreshing, not get-you-drunk-quick strong.
We started with a trio of empanadas, each with a different filling. Usually, picadillo, a sort of ground beef hash, is my favorite, but the ropa vieja one was also delicious. I liked the mushroom one least. I was very impressed with the crust, done in proper Cuban fashion. I was only sorry they didn't have a guava & cheese empanada for dessert. I certainly would have ordered that!
For my main course, I had the lechon asado, juicy shredded pork that had been marinated in mojo sauce, a limey, garlicky concoction central to Cuban cuisine. On the side were black beans, white rice, and maduros, fried ripe plantains. It was all delicious. Jeannene had the vaca frita, a sort of frizzled beef dish, with the same sides. Elijah ate lots and lots of black beans & avocado, along with samples of the rest.
We split the tres leches cake for dessert. It's very Cuban, if not my favorite. This rendition, though, was very yummy and I liked the use of meringue topping in place of whipped cream.
My favorite thing about the whole meal, though, if I'm being honest, was the excellent cafe con leche I sipped with my dessert. The stuff of dreams!