Robaina's plantation

Monday, 18 September 2017

Luis Enrique Camejo (Cuban Artist) Havana

                      I've been seeing this artist's paintings hanging on walls all over Havana for a few years now. His painting style is like sketching but using a paintbrush rather than pencils or crayons with the subjects being city landscapes or scenes rather than depictions of something that needs interpretation, great for someone like myself who knows nothing about art.
                      The prize winning artist was born in Pinar del Rio on January 19, 1971, today he works and lives in Havana near La Esquina de Tejas in Havana’s Cerro district. He went to the Pinar del Río School of Art from 1982-86 before attending the National Art School in Havana (1986-90) and graduated from the Superior Art Institute of Havana (ISA) in 1996. He taught at the Superior Art Institute of Havana since his graduation in 1996 up until 2007. He has had the good fortune of showing his works all over Europe, the Americas and Cuba, winning several prizes along the way. Luis sold his first painting in 1991.
                      There wasn't that much information on this artist but his works are unmistakably his as you can see scrolling down the paintings which I've posted. I don't know of any other artists that depict the same themes that Luis does. I like his body of work, or at least that of which I've seen, I hope you do as well.

Studio: Calle Infanta #1459 e/ Universidad y Estevez,
             Cerro, La Habana
Phone: +53 (5) 276-4485  +53 (7) 883-7880  +53 (5) 272-2172

Central Park New York 2014

Bicicletas 2010



Untitled 2009

From Series 'Malecon' (Cadenas) 2009

From Series 'Malecon' 2011

From Series 'Panama' 2009

Untitled 2009


Estudios Para China Walk 2011

Estudios Para China Walk 2011

Untitled 2010

Untitled 2010

Shenzhen 2011

Vol.XIII no.3 2011

Estudio Para Tsunami no.1 2007


Untitled 2015


Untitled 2010

Sunday, 17 September 2017

H.Upmann Factory (Havana)

                       The Hupmann brothers, Herman and August, were bankers and ship owners who after opening a branch of their bank in Havana in 1840 decided to get into the cigar business. They opened their first factory on Calle San Miguel #85 in 1844 but by 1874 with increasing demand they moved to Calle Cuba #64. The larger space wasn't enough and had to move once again by 1891 to a space that was famously known as "La Madama" on Calle Carlos III #159.
                        Through the years the H.Upmann brand received many accolades from exhibitions around the world winning gold medals from cities in Europe, Asia and North America. Their latest factory still wasn't enough and forced them to rent work space around the city to help with the production of the lesser brands that the company had acquired. A new factory was built in 1905 in the town of Calabazar 13 kilometers south of Havana on Calle Meyrelles #11. Between the two factories employing 1200 workers, it made them one of the largest producers of cigars in the country.
                        World War I was the beginning of the end of Hupmann family ownership of the company. Due to their ancestry being German, they were blacklisted and banking operations suspended until 1920. Eventually the banks and shipping company were closed and the cigar factories sold for well below market value. In 1922 the H.Upmann company along with all it's assets was bought by Frankau S.A., a British company, but sold to Menendez Garcia and Co. by 1936. Alonso Menendez and Jose Garcia, both of which were already in the cigar industry, had also registered Montecristo as a brand in 1935. There is some speculation as to how the was to be but once in the hands of Menendez and Garcia the Montecristo name had become world renowned. In 1944 they moved to Calle Amistad #407-409 behind the Partagas factory that was on Calle Industria in Centro Habana. Although there was a slight interruption after the revolution in 1960, production continued at this location until November 2003 after-which it moved to an old cigarette factory located on Calle 23 e/ 14 y 16 in the Vedado district.  
                   It's been several years now that the Upmann factory has been operating out of the Romeo Y Julieta factory on Calle Belascoaín #852 entre Peñalver y Desagüe, Centro Habana while (it's been said) the Vedado location is under renovation. It seems that not too long after they moved into the new place, about 10 years, they've had terrible floods from water coming in through the roof. Sadly, I never got to see the old place on Amistad but I've had the fortune of visiting the new location several times before the renovations and the current one at RyJ. I remember seeing some of the same faces I saw years ago on previous visits. One thing hasn't changed, the quality of the cigars coming out of this factory are still some of the best, especially their Piramides. The Upmann factory is know to be the best for rolling the Piramide Vitola and that's why it's the only factory other that El Laguito that's been given the task to roll the Cohiba Piramide Extra. Of course there are always plenty of Montecristo's still being rolled with H.Upmann being the original Montecristo factory.

Current Location
Calle Belascoaín #852 entre Peñalver y Desagüe,
Centro Habana

H.Upmann factory on Calle Amistad from 1944 to 2003

H.Upmann factory on Calle 23 in Vedado from 2003 to 2013

H.Upmann factory 'La Madama' from 1891 until their liquidation in 1922

Latest H.Upmann factory on Calle Belascoaín once the RyJ factory in Centro Habana

Entering latest H.Upmann factory on Calle Belascoaín

Moistening the Leaf once out of the bales


de-stemming process

Rolling Room

Colour Selection

Testing the Draw

Quality Control Room


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Rejoneo Asador (Miramar) Havana Restaurant

                   According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Rejoneo is: "the art of bullfighting from on horseback with a short barbed spear". That would explain all the references to bulls or bullfighting hanging on the walls or sitting on ledges around the restaurant. What does that have to do with the food here? I would guess that because their emphasis is on meats....I suppose it works.
                   The restaurant is located next to another restaurant that I frequent regularly and when I say next to it, I mean right next to it in the same building connected to it. Tic-Tac is the other restaurant that serves fresh baguette sandwiches at a reasonable price until late at night (used to be open 24 hours). Rejoneo is more like a steakhouse with a rather large selection of dishes to choose from on it's menu. I honestly don't know how they can carry all that food since most times when I eat at Tic-Tac I hardly ever see anyone there (maybe I come at off times). The evening we decided to eat at Rejoneo there may have been one or two other tables at a restaurant that seats 50. Tic-Tac on the other is almost always serving several tables at one time at almost anytime of the day or night. The big selling item at Rejoneo is the meats which you will cook yourself at the table on a heated volcanic rock. The night we dined at Rejoneo we were in no mood to cook our own food so we ordered things that were already cooked in the kitchen. I started with the Carpaccio de Rez Veneciano (Beef Carpaccio) which I found to be of good quality but in my opinion not presented properly. Did they want to be different, put some raw onions on the dish and call it Venetian? For those of you who don't get the connection...when Liver is done Venetian style (fegato alla veneziana) it's sauteed with onions. I say don't change a dish that's already perfect, they had also topped it with Arucola (perfect), they should have just sprinkled a few capers over it or left it I said, the quality of the meat was perfect. My spouse started with the stuffed eggplant appetizer, mini eggplant cannelloni stuffed with vegetables and cheese, which she enjoyed with no complaints. I wasn't feeling overly hungry and went with the Ribs appetizer for my main and for $4cuc it was quite the portion, I enjoyed them immensely. My spouse on the other hand had the filet mignon cooked in the kitchen for her main course which was cooked exactly the way she wanted and which she found to be of a better quality than most places. The service was pleasant and attentive and the atmosphere simple and appealing. We sat on the patio where I was allowed to smoke my cigar and everyone was happy.
                    In conclusion, we will return and maybe if I'm not so lazy next time I will have them bring out the volcanic rock so I can cook my own meats at the table. Not overly expensive considering what your getting for your dollar....worth a try if you're in the area.

PS....I forgot to mention (was reminded while posting the pics) the menu comes with pictures of the dishes being sold.

Hours of Operation
Every Day: 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight

Calle 11 esq.84 No.8220,
Miramar, Playa
(+53) 7 203 5190

Enrollado de Berenjena (stuffed eggplant) $5cuc

Beef Carpaccio $9.50cuc

Costillas de Cerdo (pork ribs appetizer) $4cuc

Filete de Rez (filet mignon) $14cuc